Intro to Bozeman

Is it a Good Idea to Own a Vacation Rental?

by Liz Nitz

I suppose the answer to this is complicated and really depends on one’s goals with the vacation rental, how much work one wants to put into the rental process and the cost/benefit analysis of purchase price and rental income.

I will use my vacation rental as an example.  We own a vacation rental on the Big Island of Hawaii at the upscale Mauna Lani resort.  We purchased it in 2014 when prices were still somewhat depressed from the great recession.  We put down 30% and have a second home mortgage with rate less than 4% for the rest.  We have large HOA (about 1400 per month) due to the fact that in Hawaii the HOA takes care of all exterior elements including landscaping, exterior paint, roofing, common areas such as fitness center, pool, beach club etc.  But considering we are not on the island for 10 months of the year, we are happy to pay someone to manage all of that for us.

We advertise our home on Vrbo and Airbnb.  Those websites have changed a lot over the years and charge the renter more than they used to but people are still using them.  I have seen a huge shift in the past few years away from Vrbo and much more to Airbnb.  A general rule of thumb is that foreigners will use Airbnb as will younger (millennials and younger) Americans but baby boomers and some genX will use Vrbo.    It has been fascinating to watch this evolution.  We also do have quite a few return renters that will just contact me directly after their first year.

The big question that one has to answer which will directly affect if you lose money on the vacation rental itself or break even (assuming you have a mortgage), is how involved do you want to be with the management of your rental?  First thing you need to look at is the IRS code – https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc415 and then discuss with your accountant.  You must take the rules of this very seriously.  There are a few more issues to discuss with your accountant as enumerated here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/own-a-vacation-home-heres-how-the-new-tax-law-affects-you-2018-12-03  How much you can write off on your taxes and the passive activity loss is directly affected by your activity.

So what that means is that for the best tax benefit, you need to actively manage your vacation rental – that means taking the bookings, communicating with guests, keeping a maintenance log, and doing as much of the work yourself at least to get up to the 750 hours per year.  If you have a booking agency deal with your guests, you are not actively managing your property and while you may have some tax advantage, it is nowhere near where it would be if you did it yourself.

Another large factor is just income vs expenses.   Before purchasing a vacation rental, I would check occupancy rates pretty carefully.  Can the home be rented all year long?   Are there seasonal adjustments in rates and what are the rates?  Does the number of nights rented per year times rate cover your expected expenses? What about the weather?  We picked our location on the Big Island partly because of its very strong rental history and the consistent weather.  It is always in demand as there is no rainy season, no mud season, etc.  We are also rarely affected by flight delays as there is no snow coming this way.  As a result, we enjoy high rates of occupancy.

But to be in demand as a vacation rental, one has to maintain your home carefully.  Things cannot be broken, everything should be sparkling clean, it should be well equipped.  We regularly upgrade and repair elements in our home so it is pristine.  As someone who manages her own rental, I watch the reviews carefully and strive for perfect reviews every time.  The only way to achieve that is to pay attention and make sure you visit your place.  In my opinion, anyone who is self-managing needs to visit once a quarter at least.

Let’s take money out of the equation though.  What do you get for a vacation rental?  For us, we are happy to meet up with our family members who live apart from us in a place that has years of happy memories.  Even though we enjoy traveling to new places too, there is something special about everyone knowing we are going to a favorite place that is stress-free – knowing what to expect has a lot to do with the lack of stress.

In the end, everyone needs to take a look at the cost-benefit analysis and weigh the work against financial impact versus your happiness that you get from enjoying your second home.

Check out this website https://buyvacationrentals.net/ for more vacation rental purchase information!

 

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Rental Investment Property in Bozeman

Vacation Rental Investment Property in Bozeman

A few years ago, Bozeman redid the city zoning map. In an attempt to control and steer growth, and to keep home prices affordable, Vacation Rental Investment Property were curtailed and limited to very specific areas.  Any grandfathered vacation rentals could not keep that status

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Bozeman’s Growth Plan for the Future

Bozeman’s Growth Plan for the Future

Bozeman in the summer of 2020 saw an influx of out-of-town buyers who helped the median home price jump more than $88,000 from July to August. And the Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch is predicting the market to stay hot during the typically slower winter months. All this

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The following homes listed below were just listed in the last 7 days. This seller’s market is hot so we keep a close eye on the latest inventory. Subscribe below for instant updates of your ideal criteria.

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1582 New Holland Way, Bozeman, Montana 59715

1582 New Holland Way, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.16Acre
1,685Sqft
Stunning brand-new to be built, home, located in a convenient in town location. Walking distance to the Gallatin Regional Park, Dinosaur Playground, Dog Park and ponds. Homes feature shaker cabinets, quartz counters, luxury vinyl plank flooring. 8 foot doors throughout! A generous Master suite with huge walk-in shower, dual vanities and spacious closet. Good size living, dining, kitchen areas.
$487,500

1560 New Holland Drive, Bozeman, Montana 59715

1560 New Holland Drive, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.12Acre
2,015Sqft
Stunning brand-new home to be built, located in a convenient in town location. Walking distance to the Gallatin regional park and Dinosaur playground. Home will feature shaker cabinets, quartz counters, luxury vinyl plank flooring. Main level has a 1/2 bath, living, dining, kitchen. Stainless appliances, enormous garage.
$525,951

434 Black Bull Trail B, Bozeman, Montana 59718

434 Black Bull Trail B, Bozeman, Montana 59718

1Bedroom(s)
1Bathroom(s)
776Sqft
Easy lock & leave lifestyle in one of Bozeman's most sought after communities! Find your piece of Montana in these brand new 1 bedroom condos, located steps from all of Black Bull's incredible amenities. These units are single level with a spacious bedroom and full luxury bathroom. Exquisite finishes are included throughout.
$359,000

402 Meriwether Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59715

402 Meriwether Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3Bedroom(s)
3Bathroom(s)
0.13Acre
1,864Sqft
This townhome is in the heart of Bozeman is estimated to begin construction in November 2020. Units will include modern finishes such as LVP flooring, stainless appliances, granite counter tops, decks for entertaining, and a full landscape package. Interior units are 1,588 sq. ft. with 2-bedroom, 2-baths with single attached garages. Exterior units are 1,864 sq.
$435,000

432 Meriwether Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59715

432 Meriwether Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3Bedroom(s)
3Bathroom(s)
0.10Acre
1,864Sqft
This townhome is in the heart of Bozeman is estimated to begin construction in November 2020. Units will include modern finishes such as LVP flooring, stainless appliances, granite counter tops, decks for entertaining, and a full landscape package. Interior units are 1,588 sq. ft. with 2-bedroom, 2-1/2 baths with single attached garages. Exterior units are 1,864 sq.
$435,000

67 Wickwire Way, Bozeman, Montana 59718

67 Wickwire Way, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.19Acre
2,067Sqft
Settle into new construction at Black Bull. Located steps away from club amenities and backing to open space, "The Bungalow" offers single level living at its finest. The Bungalow is just over 2,000 sq feet, with 3 beds and 2.5 bathrooms.
$849,000

1484 Stewart Loop, Bozeman, Montana 59718

1484 Stewart Loop, Bozeman, Montana 59718

4Bedroom(s)
3Bathroom(s)
2.26Acre
3,181Sqft
Welcome to Sunrise Homes in Gallatin Heights subdivision, located in beautiful Bozeman, Montana! This 3,181 sqft home is absolutely stunning! With 4 bedrooms, a flex room that can be used as an office or study with double glass doors just off the entrance, 3.
$794,804

1704 Lincoln Street C1, Bozeman, Montana 59715

1704 Lincoln Street C1, Bozeman, Montana 59715

2Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,041Sqft
Sweeping views of the Bridger Mountains from this brand new condo complex, and incredibly well located; just a short walk from the Bozeman Fieldhouse. These new construction condos boast dual bedroom ensuite. Bathroom shower and floor are tiled, and shower doors are glass.
$339,500

1704 Lincoln Street B8, Bozeman, Montana 59715

1704 Lincoln Street B8, Bozeman, Montana 59715

2Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,041Sqft
Sweeping views of the Bridger Mountains from this brand new condo complex, and incredibly well located; just a short walk from the Bozeman Fieldhouse. These new construction condos boast dual bedroom ensuite. Bathroom shower and floor are tiled, and shower doors are glass.
$339,500
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Windermere Downtown Bozeman

135 E Main St.

Bozeman, MT 59715

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