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Short Term Rentals vs Long Term Rentals – What’s Better?

The best strategy for your real estate portfolio

In this article, Short Term Rentals vs Long Term Rentals, we will compare the pros and cons of both rental strategies. We will delve into the financial implications, management requirements, and market conditions of each, highlighting their distinct advantages and challenges.

Introduction to both Rental Types

Short term rentals as you might have guessed refer to properties that are rented out for short periods. Typically they are booked for less than six months, often on platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, or These types of rentals are popular in tourist-heavy locations and cities with significant seasonal events that drive temporary high demand.

Long term rentals, on the other hand, involve leasing properties for longer durations. Generally they are booked for six months or more, commonly resulting in yearly leases. This model is preferred by individuals or families looking for stability and long-term accommodation.

Financial Considerations

Short Term Rentals

The financial appeal of short-term rentals lies in their potential for higher profitability per day compared to long-term rentals. Short-term rentals can charge higher nightly rates, especially during peak tourist seasons or special events in the area. However, with variable occupancy rates, income can fluctuate more than with long-term rentals due to seasonal demand changes, economic shifts, or changes in traveler preferences. These rentals also incur more frequent maintenance and cleaning costs, property management company fees and higher utility bills due to constant guest turnover.

Long Term Rentals

Long-term rentals provide a more predictable and steady income stream, which makes financial planning and budgeting easier, but they come with lower nightly rates. On the other hand, these properties typically have lower maintenance and management costs and also reduce the frequency of tenant turnover tasks, such as advertising, tenant screening, and lease processing.

Management and Maintenance

Short Term Rentals

Managing a short-term rental can be a hands-on endeavor. You need to be actively involved in the daily operations unless you hire an Airbnb management company, which adds to the operational costs. 

Long Term Rentals

The management of long term rentals is generally less intense, once a tenant is secured, day-to-day involvement is minimal, with responsibilities often limited to occasional maintenance and annual inspections.

Market Suitability

Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals thrive in areas with high tourist attractions, locations near tourist attractions, business hubs, or major hospitals are ideal. Some cities have regulations favoring short-term rentals, while others might restrict them, so it’s crucial to understand local laws.

Long Term Rentals

Long term rentals are very advantageous in markets with stable demand. Family-friendly areas with universities, hospitals, or steady job growth can ensure consistent demand for long-term housing and attract long-term residents.

Pros and Cons Summary

Short Term Rentals:

  • Pros: Higher revenue potential, flexibility in use, and property pricing.
  • Cons: Higher operational demands, greater financial variability, and regulatory challenges.

Long Term Rentals:

  • Pros: Steady income, lower day-to-day management, and typically fewer legal complications.
  • Cons: Less flexibility in pricing, potential for long-term tenant issues, and slower response to market rent increases.

Short Term Rentals vs Long Term Rentals  

The decision between short term rentals and long term rentals should be based on your individual financial goals, the amount of time you can dedicate to managing the property, and market conditions. If your goal is quick returns, you might opt for short term rentals, while if you’re looking for a steady, less hands-on investment, you may opt for long term rentals. Ultimately, understanding the local market, regulatory environment, and your personal investment goals are key to determining the best strategy for your real estate portfolio.

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