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| Starting Your Short-Term Rental Journey |

What do you do to get started before you're even ready to get started?

For months at a time, I would scan Zillow, Realtor, you name it, for the exact type of property I was looking for. For almost all of 2021, I was putting in offers left and right, and getting beaten out by cash offers just as quickly as I could send them in. The real estate market for even the most remote areas of Michigan was absolutely insane. (I should add, we bought our first house in early 2021 as well and had a pretty smooth experience, so I was lulled into thinking this would be easy as well.)

What I didn't think about was that sweet spot for investment properties. The ideal range for return on investment deals is anywhere from $100k - $200k in a higher market like 2021. Unfortunately, that's right smack dab where our budget was. I couldn't get my realtor to write up offers fast enough before hearing back that the sellers had already accepted another offer. On one particular property, I even wrote a letter to the sellers (obvious flippers who had done a quick and low-end turnaround in a few months,) pouring my heart out about how much I wanted the property, what I intended for it, and to please consider my conventional offer. In classic house flipper fashion, they could really have given a flying F.

If you're like me and are looking to start your business by buying a property with the intention of using it as a short-term rental, this is the post for you. There are a few options to consider once you have a good idea of your budget, where you can pull cash from, and what your timeline looks like.

Consider these while beginning your search:

  1. A separate property from your main residence that would be a good fit for travelers.

    1. Think about location. What areas are popular around you? Can you find something on the outskirts, a short drive in? Would you use this rental yourself, or will it be strictly STR? (More on the idea of a 'second home' in a later post.)

  2. Undeveloped, or partially developed, land.

    1. Are you open to the idea of building from the ground up? This could be a good option if you have a slightly higher budget, more time, and are looking to completely customize your dream space.

    2. Location is important for this as well, with more caveats. You will have to think about putting in electricity, gas, a well, septic, etc. And depending on how far out the property is from these hookups, things could get more complicated.

    3. Consulting a builder beforehand is essential. The land plot will need to be surveyed, given a percolation test, a soil test, and overseen by the builder before they can decide what they can build and if they can build.

  3. A smaller experience to get started that isn't a property.

    1. Have you ever been perusing Airbnb, and nestled into cabins and lake houses is, yes, a tent, an RV, or something similar? These are still great options if you aren't quite ready for a full-blown house or condo.

    2. Testing the waters can be a great leeway into jumping into the STR game. Consider what you have available to you and use it to your advantage. Have a 5-person tent and a guaranteed camping spot your family sequesters every year? Throw in an air mattress, some cute sheets, and a hot plate, rent it out for a summer and see how it goes!

I agree, the last one is a little far-fetched. But many people got to where they are by thinking outside the box, or in this case, outside the four walls. You would not believe the number of tents for rent in Michigan throughout the summer. The best part is that so many have all 5 star reviews and some are even SuperHosts!

I'll be outlining my personal journey in the coming posts, so get notified of when those go live! I'm so excited to have you along for the ride.


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