What Every Investor Should Know About Short-Term Rentals: An Essential Guide

Enrique V Urdaneta


The stories of people who have amassed great fortunes through short-term rentals have sparked a frantic rush among investors to acquire these types of properties. Who wouldn’t want to own a property capable of generating three or four times more income than one rented annually? However, as with any investment, betting on short-term rentals involves certain risks that should be mitigated. Before deciding to invest, it is essential to consider several aspects.

The Importance of a Real Estate Agent Specialized in Short-Term Rentals

A key point when investing in short-term rentals is hiring a real estate agent specialized in this type of market. Few understand its dynamics deeply, and therefore, it is crucial to have an experienced professional in this field. This agent will not only be familiar with the volume of tourists demanding accommodation in the area but also with the applicable regulations and tax regime, which are fundamental tools for providing correct guidance to the investor.

The Advantage of Properties with a Proven Rental History

It may be tempting to invest in newly built properties offered at lower prices. However, for short-term rentals, the recommendation is usually to invest in established properties located in desirable areas with a low vacancy rate that guarantees solid returns on investment. Although these properties may be more expensive, the long-term benefits will offset this higher initial outlay.

The Need to Understand Short-Term Rental Regulations

Few housing markets have not established restrictions for property owners regarding rentals. Therefore, it is crucial to start your investment process by investigating whether the building’s and the area’s regulations allow this type of rental. Additionally, it is advisable to conduct thorough research on current regulations and pending legislation in the specific area where the property is located.

Location: A Key Factor in Short-Term Rental Investment

As with any real estate investment, the location of the property is a crucial factor to consider. Most tourists prefer to stay in places close to markets, restaurants, beaches, and other tourist attractions. They also appreciate proximity to transportation. Therefore, both the location and the type of property to acquire may vary depending on the area and its demographics, necessitating a detailed study before making the investment.

Property Management for Short-Term Rentals

A frequently overlooked but crucial element in short-term rental investment is property management. Given the high turnover of tenants in this type of rental, effective property management can be time and resource-intensive. Therefore, short-term rental property owners must be prepared to dedicate significant time and effort to daily operations. These include cleaning between tenants, performing minor repairs, communication and customer service, managing reservations, and more.

An attractive alternative for many owners is hiring a property management company specialized in short-term rentals. These companies handle all the aforementioned aspects and additional services such as advertising your property and price optimization. Although this option involves an additional cost, it can result in a higher and more consistent return on investment, while allowing you to free up time to focus on other aspects of your real estate investment business.

It is important that if you decide to hire a management company, you research and compare various options. Not all property management companies are the same. Some may perform better, have a better reputation, or offer more competitive rates than others. Ultimately, the best choice will be the one that meets your needs and expectations as an owner and the specificities of your property.

Financial and Tax Considerations

Besides operational and location aspects, financial and tax considerations are equally fundamental when investing in short-term rentals. As an investor, it is vital to understand the financial implications of operating a short-term rental.

From a financial perspective, it is crucial to consider the additional costs that may arise in this type of operation. For instance, property maintenance can be more expensive due to the accelerated wear and tear caused by high tenant turnover. Additionally, you may need to invest in furnishing and decorating the property to attract tenants.

On the tax side, it is important to know your obligations as a property owner. Some localities may require you to pay specific taxes for short-term rentals that do not apply to long-term rentals. Additionally, you must consider the income taxes generated from the rental income.

Proper financial and tax management and planning will allow you to maximize your returns, avoid unpleasant surprises, and ensure the long-term viability of your investment. It is advisable to seek advice from an expert in real estate finance and taxation to ensure all your bases are covered.

In Summary

Investing in short-term rentals can be a lucrative opportunity but also carries risks. As an investor, it is important to consider several key factors, including hiring a real estate agent with experience in short-term rentals, choosing properties with a successful rental history, understanding local regulations, property management, financial and tax aspects, and, of course, the property’s location.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a short-term rental? A short-term rental is a type of property rental for a short period, usually days or weeks, very popular in the tourism sector.

How much can an investor earn from short-term rentals? The profit can vary significantly depending on factors such as the property’s location, season, demand, and property management. A standard return in the market ranges between 6% and 9% in the US, not including property appreciation, which also represents a return on investment when selling or refinancing the property.

Are short-term rentals legal in all cities? No, each city or state has its own regulations regarding short-term rentals. It is crucial to be informed about local regulations before investing.

Is it better to invest in new properties or established properties for short-term rentals? While new properties can be tempting due to their lower price, established properties in good areas usually offer a more solid return on investment.

What role does a real estate agent play in short-term rental investment? A real estate agent specialized in short-term rentals has a deep understanding of the market dynamics, which can be crucial for correctly guiding the investor.


Enrique Vicente Urdaneta

Real Estate Advisor | eXp Realty | EVU Luxury Homes


[email protected]




Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended to provide a general understanding of the topic. However, please note that I am a real estate agent, not a lawyer, accountant, tax, or financial advisor. This content should not be taken as legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. The laws and regulations related to this topic can be complex and may change or expand in the future. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a qualified professional, such as a specialized financial or tax advisor, before making any decision based on this information. As a real estate agent, I can provide various options and professional guidance related to the real estate aspects of your investment strategy, and for matters related to tax implications, legal issues, and financial planning, please consult with the appropriate professionals, which whom I have allies I can refer.

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