Many people dream of owning a vacation home. But often concerns about maintaining it, renting it out in the off-season, or even justifying the expense when it’s only to be used for a couple weeks of the year keep them from making the dream a reality. Now condo hotels, an innovative type of vacation home ownership, provide a welcome solution to all these problems.
Also known as condotels or aparthotels, condo hotels have been growing in popularity as an approach to owning a luxurious second home.
Condo hotel buyers purchase an actual condominium unit in an upscale hotel or resort. The property functions as a full-service hotel, and owners have access to all facilities, amenities and services just like hotel guests.
They receive a deed to their unit and can use their vacation home when they want. When not in residence, they can place their unit into the hotel’s rental program and share in the revenue it generates. Like most real estate investments, the owner can also sell his condo hotel unit at any time and may make a profit on its appreciated value.
Young professionals, baby boomers and seniors alike are just beginning to discover the benefits of owning a condo hotel unit. They appreciate the hassle-free nature of condo hotels as a second home in which a professional management company handles everything from property maintenance to finding hotel guests to rent the units. They also consider condo hotels a means to diversify their investments.
Condo Hotels Are Not Your Parents’ Timeshare
As hybrid properties, condo hotels differ from timeshares in a number of ways. With timeshares, buyers pay only for the right to use the property for a set amount of time each year, usually a single week. They don’t own the title to the property, and they do not receive any rent revenue for the weeks they’re not in residence.
Condo hotel owners can use their condos when they want throughout the year, within the guidelines of the individual development. They receive a percentage of any revenue their unit generates when they’re not there and the unit is rented out to hotel guests.
Timeshares traditionally diminish in value over time, rather than appreciate. While the history of condo hotel resales is rather limited, they are seen as an appreciating asset.
Condo Hotels Offer Facilities
How do condo hotels differ from owning a traditional single family house or condominium? Consumers who purchase a traditional condominium pay property taxes, insurance and maintenance fees, but typically don’t have access to hotel-type amenities.
Condo hotels, on the other hand, are not your standard second home. They are suites in a hotel designed condominium.
The properties often feature four- or five-star amenities, ranging from full-service spas and fitness centers to fully-equipped business centers and fine-dining restaurants. They also come with exceptional hotel services like concierge, valet and room service.
With condo hotels, owners reap the rewards of condo ownership while enjoying the privileges of a full-service hotel.
Condo hotel units range from studios and full-size apartments to luxurious penthouses and villas. Prices for these homes range from $250,000 to over one million for top properties.
Condo Hotels Generate Revenue to Cover Their Costs
What makes the condo hotel concept so appealing? When owners are not using their condo hotel unit, they have the option of placing it into the hotel’s rental program. They receive 60% of the revenue their unit generates with the balance going to the hotel operator. The revenue generated helps offset the costs of owning a holiday home.
While many hotel operators don’t guarantee the rental of the condo, by capitalizing on the hotel’s brand name, strong sales and marketing capabilities, centralized reservation system and management expertise, owners typically receive a higher level of rental income than they would from a traditional vacation home.
More importantly, ownership is 100 percent hassle-free, as the hotel operator takes care of finding hotel guests and maintaining the unit as well as managing the property’s many facilities.
Condo Hotel Expenses Are Shared
How are the ownership expenses split? As part of the rental agreement, the hotel pays for most operating expenses such as housekeeping, administration, sales and marketing. The condo hotel owner typically pays for real estate taxes, insurance and capital improvements. The rental revenue that owners receive helps defray these expenses and, in some cases, provides additional income.
Condo Hotels as Investment Tools
While developers primarily sell their condo hotel units as a lifestyle and vacation home alternative, many buyers see merit in the condo hotel concept as an investment tool. They say it gives them the best of both worlds. They can enjoy all of the benefits of vacationing in a first-class hotel while they own a property that has potential to appreciate.
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