Flagstaff is a small college town up in the northern Arizona mountains. It has about 50,000 year round residents and unlike most of Arizona, it actually has all 4 seasons.
But why is Flagstaff such a good vacation rental market?
The reasons are many!
First off, just a 2 hour drive south is the 5th largest city in the USA, Phoenix. What is Phoenix known for besides cactus? Heat, and lots of it. No matter what happens, you will automatically have 5 million people looking to ditch the sweltering summer sun. Hop in the car, and boom – you are in Flagstaff which is usually a full 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix. It should be as it’s at 7,000 feet in the Ponderosa Pine forest. In the winter, those same residents flock to Flagstaff to see some snow, some for the first time in their lives.
Reasonable real estate prices are another draw. Just like Phoenix, Flagstaff has affordable cabins and houses to buy, starting in the $200,000 range and getting into the million dollar + range for the larger golf course community homes.
It’s the “Gateway to Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon.” Flagstaff is the hub where almost all international travelers flow through to get to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, two of the most famous locations world-wide. This brings in a steady stream of visitors which you should be tapping into to increase your bookings.
Challenges with Flagstaff
One of the biggest challenges for any vacation rental owner is finding a good cleaning crew and maintenance team. Flagstaff is no different. As a small mountain town, it’s a little slower paced for most vendors, and can be a challenge to get as speedy of service as you can in a bigger city.
Recommendations when Buying a Flagstaff Vacation Rental Property
- If you live in Phoenix, buy a property on the south end of Flagstaff instead of north if all else is equal. This will shorten your commute and ease of access.
- Always beware of the neighborhood layout. Pick the house with the least amount of neighbors in close proximity. This is always better for your guests who will appreciate a more private feel, and the less neighbors that your guests can disturb the easier your ownership experience will be.
- Make sure the house or cabin is comfortable for renters. Meaning if it’s a 3 or 4 bedroom, that it has more than one bathroom. That the rooms are large enough for queen or king mattresses. Make sure there is nothing quirky like a steep staircase that could be a safety and liability issue.
- Always look for that one certain quality that will “Wow” your guests. Is it a great deck with an amazing view? A super cozy living room and fireplace? If the property is rather plain as-is, what could you do to make it stand out? What can you capture in a photograph that will instantly make people want to book your cabin?