Investing in Vacation Rentals in Ashe County: Tips for Success

Summer is here, which means it’s high time to nail down those summer vacation plans, if you haven’t already. And as you may have already learned, renting that picturesque summer cottage or cabin somewhere can cost you a decent chunk of change. What if, instead of paying those high rental fees year after year, you were able to MAKE money by investing in your own rental property that you could use whenever you liked, 365 days a year, and rent out the rest of the time?

I know of several people who’ve done this over the years; their rental fees earn them more than enough to cover their mortgage payments, and they end up with what’s essentially a rent-free vacation home whenever they want. And if you’re interested in such an arrangement, why not consider Ashe County, North Carolina?

Ashe County’s picturesque landscapes and inviting small-town charm are making it a hotspot for vacation rentals. Real estate investors are increasingly drawn to the rolling hills and tranquil rivers that offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re new to investing in the vacation rental market or looking to expand your portfolio, understanding how things work is essential before diving in. So if you’d like to give this a try, read on to learn what you need to know before considering an investment in Ashe County’s vacation rental scene.

This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.

Understanding the Vacation Rental Market in Ashe County

First: Consider market trends

Before diving into the vacation rental business, you need to understand local market trends in Ashe County. There are seasonal ebbs and flows to the tourist industry. High tourism season in Ashe County includes summer, for its festivals, and winter, which features the beauty of its snow-capped mountains. If you’re going to invest successfully, you need to be on top of these seasonal cycles so you can accurately predict demand for your rental property, and set appropriate rental prices.

Second: Consider amenities

Also do your homework on what tourists are looking for, whether access to hiking and other outdoor adventures, or a quiet retreat with solitude and stunning views. As with any marketing opportunity, the more you can pitch your property to what people are looking for, the more successful you’ll be in attracting customers.

Also keep in mind that capitalizing on emerging trends, such as eco-friendly and sustainable options, can help set your property apart. You might even consider whether it’s worth investing in – for example – solar power, both as a sound investment in your property overall, and to attract a certain niche of clients who’d appreciate your approach to sustainability.

Third: Location, location, location!

Property location within Ashe County also affects marketability. Before you purchase your dream investment, keep in mind that properties offering unique experiences or stunning views may command higher rental rates and more customers. Study your competition by reading up on similar properties in order to figure out what guests are willing to pay.

One of the easiest ways to get a handle on all of this is by consulting with local real estate professionals who specialize in Ashe County real estate. They can really help you better understand how to make the most of a potential rental property investment. They can offer current data on property values, visitor demographics, and advice on areas poised for growth. Networking with these experts in Ashe County, as well as with other property owners, can help you make sure your investment decisions are tuned in to the realities of the local market.

Evaluating the Potential of Your Vacation Rental Investment


To assess the potential success of a vacation rental, you need to look at both the property and its financial outlook.

Step one:

The first step is  evaluating the property’s condition, including what improvements you might need to make in order to make your property more attractive to potential renters. As with any property purchase, make sure you also hire a good home inspector, who can help you determine any issues that might affect guest satisfaction or lead to unexpected repair costs down the line.

Step two:

Next, do a thorough cost-benefit analysis, being sure to include both your initial investment (purchase cost/down payment plus upfront renovations) plus ongoing expenses (maintenance, utilities, and property management fees). Also be realistic about local average daily rates and occupancy levels as you try to guesstimate potential revenue from renting out your vacation home. The goal is to create a clear financial picture that can inform your investment decision. Whether you use a spreadsheet, or do an old-fashioned paper accounting, the point is to make sure you find a property that is both realistic for what you hope to gain/can afford to invest, and where the overall pros otherwise outweigh the overall cons.

Step three:

Part of this cost-benefit analysis should include a realistic estimate of your return on investment (ROI). To estimate this, you’ll need to weigh your anticipated net rental income against your initial investment costs. Different properties will offer varying ROIs based on their location, size, and unique features, so breaking down these numbers ahead of time is a must-do to help ensure that your final investment property choice is financially viable.

Strategies for Marketing Your Ashe County Vacation Rental

So you’ve settled on the right investment property for you; congratulations! Now comes the real work of turning a profit on your vacation rental property. You can’t just assume that owning your new investment means renters will come flocking to you. In order to maximize your investment, you’ll need an effective marketing strategy to get the word out about YOUR property and attract would-be renters to your cabin, cottage, or mountain retreat.

What do I need for an effective marketing strategy?

Among other things, this includes a strong online presence with high-quality images and detailed descriptions of the property. Listing on popular vacation rental platforms will expand your reach, but remember to also create a dedicated website or social media page to showcase your property’s unique features.

I cannot stress highly enough the importance of engaging with your audience through quality content. Try to imagine that you were looking to rent this property for your family, and think about what questions YOU’D have as a would-be renter. The more you can tell your potential customers about your property’s unique features, as well as local attractions, insider tips, and seasonal highlights, the more appealing your home-away-from-home will be to them.

Other ways to make YOUR property stand out:

It’s also important to solicit and highlight positive reviews from previous renters. And responding promptly to questions from would-be clients shows potential guests that you’re attentive and committed to providing a great experience.

To really make your property rise to the top in the competitive online world of rental properties, it also can’t hurt to stay on top of trends in digital marketing. Taking advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) can help increase visibility; you might also consider  paid advertising campaigns during peak booking seasons. Check with your Realtor and/or your property management company for their suggestions; they should be able to either help you with these items, or point you in the direction of other local resources who can.

Managing Your Vacation Rental Property for Guest Satisfaction

Finally, it’s critical to remember that you need to provide exceptional experiences to keep your guests satisfied, because happy guests leads to the positive experiences and reviews that will help your property stand out over time. Think about your past vacation experiences; what stands out to you as extraordinarily positive? And what vacation horror stories were enough to ruin your trip?

You need to avoid the latter at all costs, and focus on how you can guarantee your guests have nothing but happy memories at the end of their week. At the bare minimum, this starts with guaranteeing your property is clean, well-maintained, and adequately stocked with amenities that meet your guests’ needs. This is why you’ll almost certainly want to hire a professional property management team or local caretakers to oversee these tasks, especially if you’re managing the property from afar.

Also remember that your guests are on vacation, and DON’T want any hassles. Ensuring a seamless check-in and check-out process is essential. Remote access systems or lockbox solutions can offer flexibility for guests arriving at odd hours. As one of the grownups in a family who’ve been locked out of our rental property in the pouring rain at 11:30 at night, when we were already grouchy after a nightmarishly long drive full of accidents and construction delays, trust me: you DON’T want to be the rental location giving your guests such an unpleasant start to their vacation!

The bottom line:

If you do your research ahead of time and strategize carefully, a careful investment in Ashe County rental properties can help you not just break even, but turn a profit on that investment. If you do your homework ahead of time, market your property effectively, and make sure that you hire top-notch property managers to handle the day-to-day details, you’re much more likely to make enough to pay the mortgage AND give your family another side stream of income. And Ashe County’s rising prominence in the world of vacation rentals makes it an exciting and worthwhile destination to consider when looking to invest.

Have you ever invested in a vacation rental property? What tips did I miss? Let us know in the comments!

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