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The Pros and Cons of Renting to Snowbirds

The cold weather is not for everyone, especially snowbirds who crave sunlight during chilly days. Whether you’re looking to invest in a vacation rental or managing a property in a warm-weather destination, discover the pros and cons of renting to snowbirds and uncover strategies to appeal to their preferences.





What Are Snowbirds?

While the term might evoke images of actual birds, snowbirds are people who temporarily migrate from colder regions of Canada or the northern U.S. to warmer-weather areas. They skip the chilly season, enjoy the warm weather elsewhere and return home after the frosty season. These winter vacationers usually migrate between November and January, before winter sets in, while some leave after the new year starts to spend more time with their families during holidays.


Around 300,000-1.4 million Canadians aged 55 or older move to warmer regions annually. While some may settle for a few weeks, others extend their stay for around five to six months.


Top Destinations for Snowbirds 

Given their penchant for sunshine, snowbirds gravitate toward warmer-weather locales, with Venice, Florida, reigning as a top destination. Noteworthy for its abundance of vacant housing units for seasonal use and top-rated golf courses, the city also boasts exceptional healthcare support—with 36 doctors and four medical organizations for every 1,000 residents.


Vero Beach, Fort Pierce and Naples are popular choices, too. Non-Florida locations like Arizona and California are well-loved for their year-round sunshine and warm climate, making them ideal escapes from cold northern winters.


The Pros of Having Snowbird Rentals

Snowbird property investments yield numerous advantages. Here are some of the most appealing benefits you should know about.


Excellent Tenants

Many property managers and real estate agents prefer snowbirds as tenants because they are usually retirees or semi-retirees and have more disposable income than other clients. Managing a rental catering to winter vacationers also decreases the likelihood of issues such as delayed payments and interior damage.


Higher Investment Returns

During the snowbird season, a rental property can be billed on a nightly basis, compared to long-term rentals billed on a monthly basis. You can expect to witness cash flow into your bank account several times weekly. Since tourists tend to have more disposable income, they are willing to pay for quality lodging rather than cheap bargains. 


Less Maintenance

Snowbird rentals require minimal maintenance as furniture and appliances are used less frequently, reducing the need for repair and routine checks. Tourist tenants are less likely to undertake renovation or interior designing projects that can potentially damage your property.


More Rental Opportunities in Winter

For real estate agents and property managers in warm-weather states like Florida, the snowbird season is a blessing during winter. According to Zillow, $3,200 is the median rent for all property types in Miami Beach, which is 60% higher than the national median. That means you can generate more income because of higher demand in the area. The influx of Northern people looking for rental options provides an opportunity to boost sales during the busy holidays.


The Cons of Having Snowbird Rentals

Despite their appeal, operating vacation properties for sunny-seeking vacationers comes with possible disadvantages.


Effective and Possibly Expensive Marketing

Snowbirds are high-net-worth individuals. Aside from investing in advertising materials, strategizing how to make rental properties attractive can cost you a lot of time and money.


Long Vacancies

Following the snowbird season, you can face extended periods of vacancy. It becomes more challenging if your property is located where vacation rentals are popular because of higher competition. With guests frequenting your place, they may neglect to report potential issues like leaks that could lead to more significant problems.


Neighbor Complaints

Property rentals, including those listed on Vrbo or Airbnb, may lead to issues from nearby tenants, such as excessive noise or trash accumulation. A snowbird’s lack of familiarity with neighborhood norms can contribute to these issues.


How to Attract Snowbird Renters

Attracting winter vacationers requires understanding their desire for a vacation home. Here are some strategies to help you get more snowbird renters.


  1. Make It Homey

Snowbirds travel long distances to savor the warm weather, so make them feel as comfortable as possible. Ensure your space has quality linens, luxury bath products and a stocked kitchen. Invest in attractive amenities, including:


  • Fast Wi-Fi

  • Workout equipment

  • Smart TVs

  • Parking

  • Pet-friendly spots

  • Smart locks


Think of ways to make your property more appealing. For instance, if you have an outdoor pool, install poolside seating where they can bask in the sun comfortably. Invest in quality items that can withstand constant use and moisture to ensure your tenants have an enjoyable and memorable stay.


  1. Optimize Your Rental Listing

According to Statista, 76% of total revenue will come through online sales by 2028. This shows that investing in your digital presence is essential. Here are some tips to make your listing stand out from your competitors:


  • Keep it short and sweet: Write an eye-catching headline and provide a description explaining your vacation rental in the fewest words possible. Highlight positive reviews from your previous tenants.

  • Use photos: Upload high-quality images from a variety of angles to give potential tenants an idea of the guest experience. Highlight amenities and describe how they can contribute to an enjoyable stay.

  • Use Multiple Platforms: Promote your snowbird rentals on online travel agencies (OTAs) and upload your Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo and Expedia listings. You can also sign up at rental websites specific to Florida, such as FloridaSnowbird.com and FloridaRentals.com.


  1. Promote the Lifestyle 

Snowbirds are also looking for experience. Promote lifestyle benefits in your listings, such as nearby golf courses, beaches and hiking trails. Showcase the proximity to medical facilities, restaurants and other must-visit spots to ensure convenience.


For instance, you can promote the art and cultural destinations in Miami, such as the Art Deco District, shopping districts like the Brickell City Centre and nature sites like Everglades National Park and the Miami Beach Boardwalk.


  1. Start a Vacation Rental Blog

Showcase your expertise with a blog targeted at snowbirds. It’s a great way to boost your visibility on search engines, given that you use relevant keywords in your writing. Sun-seeking vacationers appreciate tips from locals and informative content can influence their decision-making process.


When promoting properties in East Coast Florida and Miami, highlight communities like Wellington’s social scene, Downtown Brickell’s dining experience and Miami Beach’s vibrant neighborhood. People will more likely rent in these areas when you excite them with genuine stories and helpful information.


  1. Invest in Paid Social Media Advertising

Paid ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google allow you to market your offerings to the right audience and tweak materials for better results. For instance, if you want to target snowbirds from Canada, you can tailor-fit your digital ads to appeal solely to them. Highlight Miami’s excellent weather, fantastic beaches and restaurants to appeal to their preferences. You can also continuously test your ads to see which types get the most engagement and conversions.


Rent to Snowbirds Today

While managing snowbird rentals can be challenging, they can be highly profitable with the right marketing approach. With these tips and a dedication to serving snowbird tenants, you’ll be well-positioned for success.


Evelyn Long is a writer that specializes in housing market trends. She is also the founder of Renovated Magazine, where she writes essential resources for renters and homeowners. She has contributed to several other sites like National Association of Realtors and Realty Executives.


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