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Tips for Starting an Airbnb in South Florida

South Florida’s sunny beaches and fabulous weather attract millions of visitors every year. You can take advantage of the region’s wintertime tourism boom by investing in an Airbnb property.

While Airbnb has become mainstream, here’s a breakdown in case you are unfamiliar with the concept. Rather than staying in hotels, many travelers are now opting to rent out residential properties. The company Airbnb facilitates these transactions by showcasing listings and handling bookings and payments directly on its website.

You can invest in an Airbnb in one of two ways:

  • Renting out a portion or all of your primary residence 
  • Purchasing an investment property to rent on Airbnb 

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. No matter which approach you choose, the following tips will help make your Airbnb a success. 

Know the rules

When Airbnb was first launched in 2008, few cities had regulations regarding the renting out of private homes. However, as the platform increased in popularity, many states and municipalities have introduced new laws to increase consumer rights and protect existing neighborhoods.

Before investing any time or money into your airbnb, you must review your local short-term rental laws. In Miami-Dade County, all vacation rental property owners must apply for a Certificate of Use. At the state level, there are license requirements for some types of airbnbs. 

In addition to government regulations, you may also have to follow rules enacted by your condo board or homeowners association. Dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s to make sure that you are free and clear to rent out your home under all applicable rules. 

Choose the perfect location

If you are purchasing a property to use as an airbnb, location is key.  Choose a property that will appeal to the type of renters you are hoping to attract. Couples looking for a romantic getaway may prefer seclusion over accessibility. On the other hand, families with children would appreciate easy access to activities and sightseeing.

You also want to choose a location that is attractive but has few competitors. For example, small beach towns with lovely vistas, but not enough visitors to warrant a chain hotel can be a boon for Airbnb owners. 

Since you will not live in the Airbnb, also consider a location that will have year-round appeal. While Florida’s amazing weather brings visitors at all times of the year, the season peaks between November and April.

Look for investment opportunities that have all-season attractions nearby, such as convention centers, universities, sports arenas, or theme parks. 

Design the space

Convenience and coziness are two of the reasons travelers choose Airbnb. Keep this in mind when designing your property. 

If you are renting out a section of your primary residence, try to keep guest quarters as private as possible. Finished basements with separate entrances are much more attractive than shared spaces. 

If this isn’t possible, at least ensure that the room you are renting out has an ensuite bathroom. You can then set up the room like a boutique hotel by adding a small coffee station, minifridge, and television. 

Choose a design style that will appeal to a broad range of people. Contemporary and modern furniture with clean lines tends to do very well. 

However, since memorable Airbnb tend to attract more attention, don’t be afraid to insert some personality into the design. A bold accent wall or thoughtfully chosen pops of color can make an otherwise boring room stand out. 

Advertise your property

While the website Airbnb will showcase your property, it is easy for it to get lost amongst the hundreds of other listings. You must raise your property’s profile by sharing high-quality photos on social media or your own website.

You can also encourage guests to upload and share photos on their personal pages.  

Track your finances

Managing an Airbnb is lucrative, but also comes with a lot of expenses. You will have to keep a close eye on all your costs, including various forms of sales and income taxes, in order to ensure you are making a profit. 

If you own several Airbnb, handling the financials can quickly become a complicated endeavor. In this case, find an accountant who is experienced in the vacation rental industry.