Here’s why you should seriously consider utilizing a third-party rental site to make your beach home dreams come true.

By Caroline McKenzie
July 19, 2017

It's all about the Gulf breeze in this historic-meets-modern family beach house in the charming community of Seaside. Architect Robert A.M. Stern designed the getaway with special attention to spacious porches that made the most of the beachfront property. "The lot was like a New York City townhouse, long and narrow," says Stern's partner Gary Brewer. So Robert maximized sight lines to the water with porches on all three levels and an open plan that gives every room on the second and third levels—even those at the back of the house—a Gulf view. "You are always aware of the Gulf, even from the stairwell," say the homeowners.

Photo: Johnny Valiant; Styling: Liz Strong

Owning a beach house while happy renters help foot the bill—it’s a scenario that’s intrigued many a beach lover. But is it financially feasible or merely the stuff reality shows are made of?

Thanks to sites such as HomeAway and Airbnb, all signs seem to point to the former! According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, 89% of vacation buyers report that rental income at least moderately offsets the monthly costs of ownership. And the rental behemoth HomeAway, a website with more than two million vacation rentals in 193 countries, reports similar findings.

“Our data shows that just over half—about 54% of our owners—are covering three-fourths of their mortgage or more. And about 70% of the remaining users are covering half of their mortgage,” says Adam Annen, a public relations manager for the company.

Those are pretty whopping stats that support the idea that renting out a vacation home can indeed lessen the financial obligations of a mortgage and upkeep. What’s more, 7 out of 10 of HomeAway’s top markets are at beach destinations, suggesting those results may ring even truer for hot coastal spots.

Related: 5 Ways to Make a Vacation House Pay for Itself:

And while it would be tempting to sidestep the third-party fees associated with the likes of HomeAway or Airbnb, there’s added value not to be overlooked. surveyed DIY-rental site users from coast to coast and found they unanimously agree recouping their money wouldn’t be as viable on their own.

As Airbnb user Jayme S. of Harpswell, ME explains, “We could not run a vacation rental without Airbnb—there is no way we could replicate the reach. We have a Facebook page with 97 “Likes.” That is nothing compared to the impact we make on Airbnb.”

And after booking, these sites continue to hold their worth. “We use the built-in payment system so our guests feel secure in sending funds, and there's a messaging function with an app so keeping up with our guests' needs prior to and during their stay is as convenient as sending a text,” explains longtime HomeAway user Tom F. whose property is in Seagrove Beach, FL.

With the typical vacation property 200 miles from a buyers’ primary residence (NAR report, 2016) renting it out through a site that can secure tenants on days you’re not there (that distance equals plenty of time an owner won’t be using it) and help manage the property from afar makes these types of companies a veritable no-brainer. This may just be the year to say “Sold!” to a beach home.