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Are Condos A Good Investment? A Guide to Investing in Condos For Short-Term Rentals

Low-angle Photography of Gray Concrete Condominium

Quick Answer

Condos can be a good investment for short-term rentals, offering lower upfront costs, desirable locations, and potential for high rental income. However, thorough research on local regulations, HOA rules, and rental market conditions is crucial to ensure a profitable and compliant investment.


Investing in condos for short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb has become increasingly popular in recent years. For aspiring investors and current Airbnb hosts, condos can offer an attractive opportunity to generate rental income and build long-term wealth. However, investing in condos for this purpose requires careful consideration of various factors.

This comprehensive guide will explore whether condos are a good investment for short-term rentals. We'll examine the growth of the short-term rental market, the advantages of investing in condos, potential challenges and considerations, how to choose the right condo, and strategies for successfully managing a short-term rental condo. By the end of this guide, readers will have a thorough understanding of the key aspects involved in this type of investment and be better equipped to make informed decisions.

The Short-Term Rental Market

The short-term rental market has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, driven by the increasing popularity of booking platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. In 2022, the global short-term rental market size was estimated at USD 109.76 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% from 2023 to 2030. The United States has been a major player in this market, with the U.S. short-term rental market valued at USD 29.09 billion in 2023 and projected to reach around USD 81.63 billion by 2033.

Advantages of Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals offer several advantages over traditional long-term rentals. They provide property owners with greater flexibility, allowing them to use the property for personal stays when it's vacant. Additionally, short-term rentals can generate substantially higher cash flow compared to long-term rentals, with some properties earning 2-3 times the amount of monthly rent. The demand for short-term rentals has been fueled by travelers seeking unique and authentic experiences, often at more affordable rates than hotels.

Popularity of Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO

Airbnb and VRBO have been at the forefront of the short-term rental market's growth. As of January 2023, Airbnb was the third most visited travel and tourism website in the world, with roughly 5.6 million active listings in 220 countries and 60% of its users being millennials. The platform has seen significant user growth, reaching an estimated 150 million users globally. VRBO, which stands for "Vacation Rentals by Owner," has also gained traction, with about 2 million listings in 190 countries and 150 million users.

Advantages of Investing in Condos for Short-Term Rentals

Investing in condos for short-term rentals offers several compelling advantages for Airbnb hosts and aspiring investors. One of the most significant benefits is the lower upfront costs compared to purchasing single-family homes. Condos are typically more affordable, making them an attractive option for investors with limited capital or those looking to diversify their portfolio with multiple properties.

Easier Management and Maintenance

Condos are generally easier to manage and maintain than single-family homes. Many condo buildings have on-site property management, which can handle tasks such as repairs, landscaping, and common area maintenance. This can save investors time and money, allowing them to focus on managing their short-term rental business.

Desirable Locations for Short-Term Renters

Condos are often located in desirable areas for short-term renters, such as urban centers, tourist destinations, and areas with easy access to transportation and amenities. These locations tend to have high demand from travelers seeking convenient and accessible accommodations. By investing in condos in these areas, Airbnb hosts can attract more bookings and potentially charge higher nightly rates.

Amenities and Services

Many condo buildings offer a range of amenities and services that can be attractive to short-term renters. These may include fitness centers, swimming pools, concierge services, and secure parking. By offering these amenities, Airbnb hosts can differentiate their listings and provide a more appealing experience for guests.

Potential for Appreciation and Wealth Building

Investing in condos for short-term rentals can also provide opportunities for long-term wealth building through appreciation. As the value of the condo increases over time, investors can build equity and potentially sell the property for a profit in the future. Additionally, the steady cash flow generated from short-term rentals can be reinvested into other properties or used to pay down mortgage debt.

Personal Use and Flexibility

Another advantage of owning a condo for short-term rentals is the ability to use the property for personal stays when it's not rented out. This can provide investors with a vacation home or a place to stay when visiting the area. The flexibility to block off dates for personal use while still generating rental income during other periods can be an attractive feature for many investors.

Challenges and Considerations

While investing in condos for short-term rentals can be lucrative, it's crucial for Airbnb hosts and aspiring investors to be aware of the potential challenges and considerations involved.

Local Regulations and Restrictions

One of the most significant challenges is navigating local regulations and restrictions on short-term rentals. Many cities and municipalities have implemented laws and zoning regulations that limit or prohibit short-term rentals in certain areas. These regulations can vary widely, from requiring permits and licenses to imposing occupancy limits and minimum stay requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal issues, and the inability to operate a short-term rental.

HOA Rules and Restrictions

In addition to local regulations, condo investors must also contend with homeowners association (HOA) rules and restrictions. Some HOAs may prohibit or severely limit short-term rentals, while others may require approval or impose additional fees. It's essential to thoroughly review the HOA bylaws and rules before purchasing a condo for short-term rental purposes.

Higher Operating Costs

Operating a short-term rental condo can involve higher costs compared to traditional long-term rentals. These costs can include utilities, cleaning, supplies, and more frequent maintenance due to the higher turnover of guests. Investors must factor these expenses into their financial projections and ensure that the potential rental income justifies the additional costs.

Tenant Turnover and Vacancies

Short-term rentals typically experience more frequent tenant turnover and potential vacancies compared to long-term rentals. This can result in increased wear and tear on the property and require more time and effort to manage bookings, cleanings, and guest communications. Investors must be prepared to handle these challenges and have strategies in place to minimize vacancies and maintain a consistent occupancy rate.

Competition from Other Short-Term Rentals

As the short-term rental market continues to grow, investors may face increased competition from other properties in the area. This can make it more challenging to stand out and attract bookings, particularly in popular tourist destinations. Investors must be strategic in their pricing, marketing, and property management to remain competitive and maximize their occupancy rates.

Financing Challenges

Financing a condo for short-term rental purposes can also present challenges. Some lenders may be hesitant to provide mortgages for properties intended for short-term rentals, as they may view them as higher risk. Investors may need to explore alternative financing options or be prepared to make a larger down payment to secure financing.

Managing a Short-Term Rental Condo

Successfully managing a short-term rental condo requires a combination of strategic planning, effective marketing, and efficient operations. Airbnb hosts and investors must be prepared to handle a variety of tasks and responsibilities to ensure a positive experience for guests and maximize their rental income.

Furnishing and Equipping the Unit

One of the first steps in managing a short-term rental condo is furnishing and equipping the unit to meet the needs and expectations of guests. This includes providing comfortable furniture, high-quality linens, and essential amenities such as kitchenware, toiletries, and Wi-Fi. Creating a welcoming and well-appointed space can help attract bookings and encourage positive reviews.

Setting Competitive Rates

Setting competitive rates is crucial for maximizing occupancy and rental income. Airbnb hosts should research the rates of similar properties in the area and adjust their prices based on seasonality, demand, and local events. A tool like BNBCalc can get you insights about these prices and comparisons, allowing you to make informed decisions.

Creating an Attractive Listing

To stand out in a crowded market, Airbnb hosts must create an attractive and compelling listing. This includes using professional-quality photos that showcase the unit's best features, writing detailed and accurate descriptions, and highlighting unique selling points such as amenities, location, and nearby attractions. Optimizing the listing for search engines and using relevant keywords can also help improve visibility and attract more bookings.

Guest Communication and Management

Effective communication with guests is essential for providing a positive experience and managing expectations. Airbnb hosts should respond promptly to inquiries, provide clear check-in instructions, and be available to answer questions and address concerns throughout the stay. Establishing a system for managing bookings, payments, and guest information can streamline the process and reduce the risk of errors or miscommunications.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and well-maintained unit is critical for ensuring guest satisfaction and protecting the property's value. Airbnb hosts should establish a thorough cleaning protocol between guest stays, including laundering linens, disinfecting surfaces, and restocking supplies. Regular maintenance, such as replacing filters, checking for leaks, and making necessary repairs, can help prevent larger issues and keep the unit in top condition.

Compliance with Regulations and Taxes

Short-term rental owners must comply with various regulations and tax requirements. This may include obtaining necessary permits and licenses, collecting and remitting occupancy taxes, and adhering to local zoning laws and HOA rules. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines, legal issues, and the loss of the ability to operate a short-term rental.

Hiring a Property Manager vs. Self-Managing

Airbnb hosts must decide whether to self-manage their short-term rental or hire a property manager. Self-managing can provide greater control and potentially higher profits, but it also requires significant time and effort. Hiring a property manager can relieve the burden of day-to-day operations, but it also comes with additional costs and a loss of some control. Investors should carefully consider their goals, resources, and experience when deciding which approach to take.


Investing in condos for short-term rentals can be a lucrative opportunity for Airbnb hosts and aspiring investors, but it requires careful consideration and thorough research. The short-term rental market has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by the popularity of platforms like Airbnb and the increasing demand for unique and flexible accommodations.

For Airbnb hosts and aspiring investors who are prepared to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities, investing in condos for short-term rentals can be a rewarding and profitable venture in the growing sharing economy.


Is Investing in a Condo for Short-Term Rentals a Good Idea?

Investing in condos for short-term rentals can be a lucrative venture, as they often have lower upfront costs compared to single-family homes and are located in desirable areas. However, it's essential to research local regulations, HOA rules, and potential rental income before making a purchase.

How Do I Maximize My Condo’s Occupancy Rate on Airbnb?

To maximize your condo's occupancy rate, ensure your listing has high-quality photos, a detailed description, and competitive pricing. Offer amenities that appeal to short-term renters, maintain a high cleanliness standard, and provide excellent customer service to encourage positive reviews.

What Are the Legal Requirements for Running a Short-Term Rental in a Condo?

Legal requirements for short-term rentals vary by location. Research your city and state regulations, as well as your condo's HOA rules, to ensure compliance. You may need to obtain permits, licenses, or pay specific taxes. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines or legal issues.

How Can I Efficiently Manage My Short-Term Rental Condo?

To efficiently manage your short-term rental condo, establish a thorough cleaning and maintenance routine, streamline the check-in and check-out process, and maintain open communication with guests. Consider using property management software or hiring a property manager to help automate tasks and handle day-to-day operations.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.