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Staying Competitive in a Competitive Rental Market

By Chris Burch

Construction of new rental properties has increased the overall supply of vacation rentals, and combining a second home purchase with an investment component has become increasingly attractive to Buyers of beach property. Buyers looking to defray costs moved their second homes to rental programs.

A significant number of visitors are shifting the timing of beach vacations to the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October, thereby avoiding peak rental rates, heat, and summer crowds. The good news is that the rental season has lengthened, with demand throughout all seasons.

What are some options for positioning for maximum returns?

Brian Moffatt, Managing Partner of Royal Destinations in Seagrove Beach, states, “In the current market, rental homeowners win not by maximizing their revenue in the peak summer season but by positioning their homes for increased occupancy during the highly competitive shoulder seasons.”

Ashley Horsley CEO of 360 Blue Properties, affirms, “Pricing is critical. You have to be flexible and understand that rates and demand change all the time. One of the key pieces to remaining competitive is pricing that allows you to maximize the occupancy and the revenue without sacrificing one or the other. Additionally, never lose sight of the marketing aspect. This includes staying up-to-date with property descriptions, photography and interior design.”

Royal Destinations encourages property owners to be flexible and to make adjustments. Renters are looking for a “wow” factor.

A Gulf-front home with spectacular views is an obvious competitive advantage, but the supply is limited.Owners can add other creative features that distinguish their properties from others.

Florida Registered Landscape Architect Chad Horton of Horton Landworks states, “Pool design has come a long way with sun shelves with umbrella holders, in-pool benches that promote conversation, swim-up bars, fountains, LED lighting, and a variety of plaster colors to set overall tones. We see homeowners maximizing their outdoor spaces to extend homes’ livable spaces.

Efficient and proportionate pool and spa designs are often property centerpieces that create edges or reinforce centerlines. Freestanding and attached fireplaces and concrete fire bowls with tropical hardwood tops are also popular. When space allows, outdoor grilling stations, kitchens, and covered dining/seating pavilions are well-liked. Thanks to advancements in synthetic turf, putting greens and chipping areas add value.”

We see new trends in how owners maximize investment and rental values. This includes changes like converting covered porches into bedroom and bathroom space to make a home larger, more desirable, and more livable without increasing the building footprint. Property management companies show that with higher rental rates comes demand for private pools.

If Aiming to Strengthen Your Rental Revenue, Consider:

  • Being Flexible on Your Rental Rates Based on Demand and Season
  • Upgrading Your Home’s Interior or Repurposing Porch Space
  • Investing in Your Outdoor Living Space
  • Positioning for Shoulder Season Occupancy
  • Increasing Sleeping Capability
  • Adding a Private Pool and Improving Outdoor Spaces

Chris Burch, MBA, owns Grand Bay Construction, LLC, and has been building on the Emerald Coast since 2005. Grand Bay Construction seeks to not only set the standard in the Gulf Coast’s construction industry, but also to surpass customers’ expectations.


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