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How Airbnb Investors Can Minimize Risks When Buyin…

Second homes and investment properties fascinate investors, who turn to Inman’s weekly Property Portfolio email newsletter as well as agents who work with this special class of client. This month, we’ll go deeper on everything from the latest at Airbnb and Vrbo to the changes investors are making to their portfolios in a shifting real estate market.

Scott Kunz has a home in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania that he says is ideal for family gatherings, such as reunions, holidays or vacations.

That is, until the township he was operating in changed its rules around short-term rentals.

Once a welcome place for investors looking to make money by offering places for guests to stay for a night or longer, Tobyhanna Township moved this fall to limit the age (25 or older) and the number of people (no more than 10) who can book a short-term rental. It was one of several nearby townships that became Airbnb boomtowns during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that has since moved to strengthen regulations of short-term rentals.

After Tobyhanna moved to put strict regulations in place, Kunz says he now faces the prospect of lowering his daily rates and possibly a higher vacancy rate, both big negatives for homeowners who are increasingly turning to platforms like Airbnb to turn their homes into investments.

“We had meetings with [the township] where we showed them presentations,” Kunz said. “We showed them data, how handyman contractors, cleaners, everyone pretty much now relies on this income.”

“They simply don’t care,” he said of the township.

An industry that started as a way for homeowners to rent out extra space in their homes for a night or two has led to a new asset class of investors buying homes with the express purpose of generating revenue through short-term rental platforms.

That change has made way for battles between investors, surrounding neighbors, homeowner’s associations and politicians.

The ensuing fights show the risks short-term…

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