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4 things that Make a Vacation Rental HOT or NOT!!!

Important Considerations when purchasing a Vacation Rental

1.) Location- Location- Location!

This can not be emphasized enough.

How close is the subject property to the beach?

How close is it to area sports parks, state parks like St. Andrews State Park, shopping at Pier Park, restaurants and recreational activities? Chief among these amenities…. still being the BEACH! And how easy is it for them to access and park? Walking, biking, golf-cart distance or a short ride in the car?

Easy and convenient access to our beautiful beaches is the number one contributing factor to whether a vacation rental property will succeed or fail.

Tip: If purchasing in Panama City Beach, keep your focus around Front Beach Road and Thomas drive. Look for properties closest to beach access or directly gulf front. In Santa Rosa Beach, or “30A”, keep in mind there are only a few public access points, so make sure deeded beach access comes with the property and there is a way to get there

2.) Property amenities

What else does the property offer? Especially on a rainy day? If it is a private home does it offer a private pool, hot tub, or other perks that make relaxation easier? If it is a condo does it offer pools, restaurant or tiki bar by the pool, indoor or heated pools, a fi tness center, game room, snack bar or activities for the children? Does it have plenty of elevators and easy parking? The less people have to leave the property the better. Think about when you go on vacation, what makes life easier?

3.) Verify the rules

The property board or HOA will dictate many things ranging from pet policy to parking to how you can renovate or rent your unit out. Knowing these conditions before you purchase is imperative. Does the building allow short term rentals? And if so, do they allow third party rental management companies?

Do they only allow the on-site property management company or could you interview different companies and choose what is best for you? This is crucial in order to put you in the driver’s seat. You will want to interview different rental management companies to see which is the best fi t for your personal situation and income goals, rather than being stuck with a single company.

Purchasing a vacation rental is not for everyone. Some simply want to offset the costs of their family beach getaway, while others are focused on finding a property that can generate as much income as possible. Make sure you align yourself with a company that understands your objectives.

4.) Check the building’s Financial Fitness

If you are buying a condo, you are essentially buying shares of a corporation, so you must ask yourself…. is the business healthy? What do their budgets look like? Do they have reserves set aside for emergencies, future repairs or insurance deductibles? Are their monthly charges sustainable? Are there any pending lawsuits or liens that could increase assessments? Does the building, the common areas, and desired unit seem to be in good shape or are there examples of deferred maintenance? Will you be spending your money renovating or will you just need to do a little decorating? If there is a lot of work to be done to prevent you from collecting income right away, the property might not be worth your time.


There are many things to consider when purchasing a vacation rental property and these of course are just a few. Every area, building and property present their unique set of pro’s and con’s depending on the goal at hand, budget, and appetite for risk.There are questions you must ask yourself……Can you afford to pay the expenses if the property does not actualize income for several months? Our team at Beachy Beach Real Estate is here to help you navigate the process and fi nd out if owning vacation rental properties is right for you. At the end of the day, we want to help you “dream” and see that your fantasy of owning a place at the beach could be a reality! For questions about the process or a specific vacation rental property, click here to reach out to Whitney Stevens today!

Whitney Stevens, REALTOR®
850-348-7302 | [email protected]