Advice please! How to know if place will succeed as rental?

I hope it’s acceptable for me to post this question here. I’ve been managing several Airbnb homes in Portland Or for three years so I definitely know the ins and outs of this world…and I love it! I’m searching for my first home purchase, with my own short-term rental in mind. I found a potential place in an area just south of Portland (about 15 minutes) that has a separate area for guests that would work great. There’s a huge carpeted room with a fireplace for sleeping/living with a hallway that goes to a full bath and laundry area ( laundry would be shared with us but we’d each have our own doors to enter it)…plus a separate entrance for guests and access to the yard and garage for storage. My two concerns:

  1. There is no kitchen and I assume many hosts are in the same boat but supply a hot plate/microwave and small fridge? Is this a big deterrent to not have a full kitchen for guests?
  2. The house/yard are great. Everything is fresh and new and lovely. It’s on a very short dead-end street with only about 10 homes…all old, modest…but well-maintained. The street is very quiet. BUT that little group of houses on that short street is surrounded by lower income housing (townhomes, small apartment complexes, and a few single-family homes)…plus there is a huge mobile home park beyond the end of the dead-end street but it’s not accessible via cars or pedestrians…but you can see it if you walk to the end of the dead-end street and peek through the fence/shrubbery separating the areas. But just hanging out around the house, you’d never know any of it was there…but you can see all this as you are driving to the property, since there’s only one way in. Nothing quaint in the area by any means and not exactly a great place to walk or bike. There’s a Goodwill super center being built a few blocks away so that could be really good or really bad, depending on how you look at it. There’s lots of shopping but it’s all big chains, like mcdonalds, walmart, starbucks, and lots of convenience-type places. There is a library, which is nice. But not a walkable, attractive, charming place at all and not much appeal beyond the rental property itself. I suppose the main appeal to this rental would be convenience to Portland area attractions and freeways…and comfort of the home itself. There are not many rentals of similar size/set-up in this area to compare so I feel like this would be a huge gamble on my part. I’m considering paying a bit more to have that extra ADU space so it’s a tough decision. I’m not even certain what I would charge. The houses I manage are huge and are in the center of hot areas, so this would be a totally different direction and would likely attract very different types of guests. I’m not sure if anyone can even answer this but I thought I’d put it out there! Thanks for reading.

Are you close to large companies? or conference center?

Are there any other AirBNBs around? If so, what are they like or what are they offering? Also, are there any hotels/motels around?

If it’s your own home, the first issue is - do you want to live there? If so, do you need the rental income? If you don’t need the rental income then I’d give it a go. It sounds like there are a lot of residents in the area, and there may be people who want to visit and need somewhere to stay. This is in addition to any tourists who you might get.

I’ve seen quite a few places with a kitchenette. A sink, fridge and microwave should suffice, and you can just mention it’s a “heat and eat” place.

And if it’s a rental home - does your landlord allow you to sublet for short term lets and have you looked into appropriate home content insurance that allows for short lets?

@Helsi She says she is searching for her “first home purchase.”

I have a similar set up. I have a private room with ensuite bathroom and private entrance, no kitchen. I also don’t live in an upper income area. There are some pretty junky houses on my street. Some people say it’s nice, some ding me on location. One advantage to more modest neighborhoods is that neighbors are less likely to complain about you doing airbnb, IMO.

In the last month I added a small refrigerator and microwave and you will get more business if you have those items. The only sink is the bathroom sink and there is no stove or hotplate. If you want longer term rentals (like 6 weeks traveling nurses) you might need a kitchen. If you want a few nights singles and couples you don’t need it. Are you close to the freeway where you would get travelers off the interstate? I do and I don’t think those guests care much about neighborhood, just easy access to the highway.

As others say what’s most important is if you like the house. If competition increased or Airbnb was outlawed in your community, what would you do. I understand wanting to find a property that lends itself to rental income but keep in mind there are many things out of your control that could threaten Airbnb income.

You are right, it was that post talked about rentals so I missed the first reference to purchase. The second point regarding insurance is still valid.

I would not touch that with a ten foot pole, unless you can afford it without income, and you are able to live in the whole house and afford it if there are no rentals. Do YOU love this place?..for YOU, not for a renter?
Are you sure that house meets code? …would it qualify for a mortgage?
You will get slaughtered on location and that could hurt your ability to rent.

Nope…not close to much but shopping and major freeway into portland, which would be the main draw to renting. The few airbnb rentals in that same area seem to draw travelers passing through town on road trips, I discovered after reading reviews.

I love the house and the lot…and surrounding houses in immediate area are fine. The house is totally remodeled and move-in ready and yes it is financeable for sure. I probably would not buy it if it didn’t have the ADU since the location is not ideal…so that’s something to consider. Thanks for the thoughts! It’s a tough call.

I would like to share with you, then, that it sounds quite similar to my house, except that I am lucky because my property is waterfront.
I bought here 17 years ago, because I needed the ADU for aging parents, etc.
Downtrodden, undesirable neighborhood, but close to the bridge to town.
The ADU has served me well over the years…but my parents are gone, children grown.
Not Surprisingly the market has altered in 17 years, and this ( once downtrodden) neighborhood is one of the costliest and most desirable in our tri-county area, as it became the last hold out of waterfront close to town.
Before ABB existed, I became STR the ADU, so successfully…that I remodeled the ADU, moved into the ADU, and now rent the full upscale house instead.
It has been a good ride.
Be sure you love the house, the neighborhood, and consider what the unknown possibiltities are for the future. And be aware that regulations can change and STR can be outlawed, so dont back yourself into a financial corner…make sure that no matter what…you can afford the house and the mortgage.

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I love this post and your happy story.

I was thinking something similar about how neighborhoods can change both for better and worse. The freeway won’t move, but the trailer park might. My own house wasn’t in a very nice/upscale neighborhood and as neighbors have come and gone some houses are more run down, some are more fixed up. But I love my house and the proximity of the neighborhood to the things I care about. It’s on a a ridge so has a bit of a view and most houses on the view edge of ridges here are much more expensive. This was in my price range.

if the OP finds the perfect house in the perfect location it’s going to be more expensive.

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There are maybe four other Airbnb rentals in the area and two are entire houses and two are private rooms. This space would be somewhat in between (private quarters attached to main house.) They seem to be fairly busy, from what I can gather. I would need the rental income to live there with ease. I have a back-up plan to cover the mortgage, which involves taking on more responsibilities with my current job. I’d be okay with that for awhile…but not my ideal long-term plan. It’s just so darn hard to pass up when you find a house ready to go. I could literally start renting it out within a few weeks after moving in if I wanted to…but, again, it’s a risk! Thanks for responding…

That’s great advice! Portland and the surrounding area are in a big transition so it’s anybody’s guess which way the area I’m considering will go. There is a trailer park nearby and, for all I know, it could be knocked down and new homes could pop up. Or that area could remain “the hood” so to speak, kinda as it is now. The street I’m looking at has virtually no crime but the area surrounding it has some–and a lot of homeless folks around too. But that is so typical of Portland, I hate to say. It’s a quirky town with no clear boundaries of good versus not so good areas. It’s literally block by block. But I really appreciate you sharing your story. I love hearing how that worked out for you!

K9KarmaCasa…you are so right about the perfect house in the perfect location will be more expensive. The problem here is investors from California have come down and flipped houses all over town and are driving up prices. I keep running into these perfect move-in ready homes in down-trodden neighborhoods and I look at the price and think…really!!!–in this neighborhood? It’s really a very strange market here right now. What I need to find is a cosmetic fixer with good bones in a decent neighborhood…but those seem to be very rare now around here.

I am sorry we never got to meet and I hope you enjoyed your time in our area.

I understand. And remember I bought when ABB was only a thought wearing diapers. It is critically important that you consider your mortgage payment, and whether you can make payment if ABB and STR goes away. Or if you cant, can you hang onto until you sell ( not at a loss ). Nobody can answer these questions for you, and nobody has the crystal ball. That is why I emphasize that a home should not be viewed only as an investment…you should Love it, and can live there and can make the monthly payments, even without ABB and STR. If you had to LTR the ADU can you comfortably make the mortgage? I think that is a criteria to consider…

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@georgygirlofairbnb I ended up not making down there yet. I realized when I got about a week into my trip I’d been too ambitious in my plan. But I will come that way and we will meet. And I am planning to stay with that same host you found for me if she’s still in business when I get there.

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Would you feel comfortable posting the MLS listing?

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I say go for it! If you give it a few years and decide to move to a better area surely you will have increased sale value with your business venture for the astute buyer. Make sure you have a guest book to show off to future prospective buyers and get a comprehensive building report to try to find some faults and negotiate them down a bit on price!

We previously had a separate unit (10’ from our main home) which was a huge room with queen bed, couch, TV, armoire, pub table and 4 chairs, separate full bath, with a countertop cabinet thingie we made in the main room. On that countertop was a coffee maker, a new fangled hot plate, micro, undercounter refrigerator, toaster oven. We had lots of overnight or two night visitors.

We’ve stayed in similar places in Medford and Grants Pass OR and loved them. We either eat out, or bring in take out for dinner. Breakfast is there in the room, as its cereal and toast. Lunch is out and about. Oh, and for us, being dog friendly is necessary, as we travel with our two cattle dogs.