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What To Ask A Realtor When Buying A Short Term Rental

Buying a vacation rental property is an excellent way to turn your investment properties into a lucrative income stream. But there are so many factors to consider when purchasing that the process can seem daunting. Let us break down some of the considerations for you and give you some questions to ask when looking at a property.


By Derick Hargrave

Published on November 8, 2022


When it comes to purchasing a vacation rental, one of the first things to consider is your budget. Before meeting with a real estate agent, be sure to have a clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend on your rental property. This will help ensure that you don’t overspend on your dream vacation home.

In addition to your overall budget, there are a few other important things to consider when budgeting for short term rentals. First, be sure to factor in the cost of furnishings and decorating. Vacation rentals are often unfurnished, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of furniture and other necessary items.

When meeting with a real estate agent, ask about their experience with vacation rentals in your price range. They should be able to provide you with a list of properties that fit your budget and answer any questions you have about the purchasing process. With some planning and research, you can find the perfect vacation rental within your budget!


When considering purchasing a vacation rental, one of the most important factors to take into account is the location. You’ll want to make sure that the rental is situated in an area that is popular with tourists and has plenty of activities and attractions nearby to keep them occupied. Here are some questions to ask your real estate agent about the location of potential vacation rentals:

  • What is the crime rate like in the area?
  • Is the rental situated near any beaches or other tourist attractions?
  • What kind of public transportation is available in the area?
  • How far away is the nearest airport?
  • What attractions are nearby for potential guests to visit? 


If you’re considering purchasing a vacation rental, you should keep a few things in mind when furnishing the property. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the furniture is comfortable and inviting. This means choosing pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. It’s also important to consider the size of the furniture in relation to the size of the rental property. You don’t want your furniture to overwhelm the space or make it feel cramped. 

Another thing to think about is whether or not you want to include appliances and electronics in the rental. Most of your guests will appreciate having these items on hand, but they can also be an added expense. If you decide to include appliances and electronics, be sure to choose energy-efficient models to help keep costs down.

An overview of items needed to outfit a vacation rental is available for additional information on the costs to consider.

Rental Income and Occupancy Rate

As a rental property owner, you’ll always look for ways to increase your rental income. One way to do this is by understanding your occupancy rate. Your occupancy rate measures how often your property is rented out compared to how often it could be rented out.

 For example, if you own a vacation rental property that could be rented out 52 weeks out of the year, but it’s only rented out 40 weeks out of the year, then your occupancy rate is 77%.

To increase your rental income, you’ll want to focus on improving your occupancy rate. Here are a few questions you can ask your real estate agent to help you achieve this goal: 

  • What’s the average occupancy rate for vacation rental properties in my area?
  • What is the average nightly rate for similar properties in the area? 
  • What can I do to make my property more appealing to renters?
  • Are there any off-peak times when vacancy rates are higher? If so, how can I make my property more appealing during those times?
  • What are some tips for marketing my vacation rental property?
  • How can I keep my costs down to offer competitive rates?

Maintenance and Upkeep Costs

When you’re thinking about purchasing a vacation rental, it’s important to factor in maintenance and upkeep costs. After all, you’ll need to keep the property in good condition to attract guests and earn a profit. Here are some questions to ask your real estate agent about maintenance and upkeep costs:

  • What is the estimated monthly cost of utilities (electricity, water, gas, etc.)?
  • What is the average monthly cost of trash removal?
  • What is the approximate monthly cost of landscaping/lawn care?
  • What is the average monthly cost for general repairs/maintenance?
  • Are there any major repairs/updates that will need to be made in the near future? If so, approximately how much will they cost?

 Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of what you can expect to spend each month maintaining your vacation rental property. With this information, you can start to develop a budget and determine whether or not purchasing a vacation rental is a reasonable investment for you.

Short term rental Regulations and Restrictions

If you’re thinking about purchasing a vacation rental, it’s important to be aware of any restrictions or regulations that may apply. Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on any regulations you need to be mindful of in your specific location. You’ll want to ask your real estate agent about the following:

  • What are the HOA fees, and what do they cover?
  • Are there any restrictions on renting out the property?
  • Is there any city or state requirements on short-term rentals?

If you are considering multiple cities to invest in a vacation rental, check out our short-term rental regulation guidesfor background on the local rules.


When buying a vacation rental, it’s important to understand the tax implications. You’ll want to ask your real estate agent about any local taxes that you must pay as a vacation rental owner. You may also be responsible for paying state and federal taxes on your rental income. Be sure to speak with a tax professional to determine your tax responsibilities as a vacation rental owner.

Some sample questions to consider are:

  • What kind of taxes will you be responsible for?
  • Are there any tax breaks or incentives available?


There are a few key questions you should ask your real estate agent before purchasing a vacation rental property when it comes to insurance. Here are a few of the most important questions to ask:

  • What type of insurance is required for the property?
  • How much will it cost to insure the property?
  • What type of coverage does the policy provide?
  • What is the claims process like if something happens to the property?

An experienced real estate agent should help you understand the insurance requirements for your vacation rental property and be able to provide a contact to find a policy that meets your needs.


Asking the right questions when purchasing a vacation rental can save you a lot of time, money, and headache down the road. We hope that our list of questions for real estate agents has given you a starting point for your own research. Remember, there is no such thing as too much information when making such a large purchase.

Written by

As a content writer passionate about travel and hospitality, I have a unique perspective on short-term rentals. With years of experience creating engaging, informative content for various clients, I enjoy communicating the benefits and appeal of short-term rental properties. I've been an Airbnb host for the last three years, consistently providing my guests with a high level of hospitality.