03 January 2022

In this week’s episode, Robert Leonard (@therobertleonard) talks with Travis Zappia (@theyoungretireeby33) about what investing in short-term rentals is, the pros and cons of this strategy, how someone gets started, how to pick markets, how to analyze a deal, how to screen tenants, how to finance these properties, and much, much more! 

Travis Zappia is a FIRE advocate who has started to get into real estate investing in the last three years. He purchased his first house hack in 2016 and decided to rent out each bedroom individually while living in the master bedroom. He has since purchased three additional properties and started a short-term rental management business. In 2020, Travis’ short term rental business grossed over $110,000. He is on track to gross over $375,000 in 2021 with his net profit being roughly $110,000. With his Industrial Engineering background, he has developed a set of systems and processes which help him manage five short term rental units all while continuing to work a full-time job.



  • What short-term rentals are and how to invest in them.
  • Pros and cons of this strategy.
  • How to get started with short-term rental investing.
  • How to find the right markets to invest in.
  • How to analyze a short-term rental deal.
  • How to finance the acquisition of a short-term rental.
  • How to screen potential renters.
  • And much, much more!


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

Travis Zappia (00:00:04):

It’s so important that you have the right property in the right location with a county that is short-term rental friendly.

Robert Leonard (00:00:11):

In this week’s episode, I talk with Travis Zappia about what investing in short-term rentals is, the pros and cons of this strategy, how someone gets started, how to pick markets, how to analyze a deal, how to screen your potential renters, how to finance these properties, and much, much more. Travis Zappia is a fire advocate who has started to get into real estate investing over the last three years. He purchased his first house hack in 2016 and decided to rent out each bedroom while living in the master bedroom. He has since purchased three additional properties and started a short term rental management business.

Robert Leonard (00:00:48):

In 2020, during a pandemic mind you, Travis’s short term rental business grossed over $110,000. Now, while that is impressive, just one year later, in 2021, he’s on track to gross over $375,000 with his net profit being roughly 110,000. With his industrial engineering background, he has developed a set of systems and processes, which help him manage five short-term rental units all while continuing to work a full-time job. If you use social media in the way that most people do, it can be one of the worst and most time-consuming things you spend your time on.

Robert Leonard (00:01:27):

But if you set up your social media usage the right way and follow the right people, you actually learn a lot from it and even meet some really great people. As an example, Travis and I met on Instagram and we’ve built a relationship over the past few months, along with the countless others I’ve met on social media. If you want to set up your social media the right way so you’re learning instead of wasting time on it, one of the first and easiest things you can do is to follow Travis and I. You can find Travis at the young retiree by 33 and me at the Robert Leonard. Now, without for other delay, let’s get into this week’s awesome episode with Travis Zappia.

Intro (00:02:11):

You’re listening to Real Estate Investing by The Investor’s Podcast Network, where your host, Robert Leonard, interview successful investors from various real estate investing niches to help educate you on your real estate investing journey.

Robert Leonard (00:02:33):

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Real Estate 101 podcast. As always, I’m your host, Robert Leonard. And with me today, I have Travis Zappia. Travis, welcome to the show.

Travis Zappia (00:02:43):

Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

Robert Leonard (00:02:46):

We have connected a bit on social. We’ve gone back and forth a bit, but this is the first time we’ve been able to chat in-person. So tell me a bit about your story, tell me a bit about how you got to where you are today.

Travis Zappia (00:02:57):

Yeah, absolutely. So my name’s Travis Zappia. I live in Orlando, Florida. I’m 29 years old, started on my real estate journey in 2016. I had just gotten a promotion at my W2 job, and was going to be moving from Pennsylvania down to Orlando. At that point, I had started getting down the rabbit hole of real estate and investing and not working for somebody else for the rest of my life. So I knew I didn’t want to rent anymore at that point in my life. So when I made the move down to Orlando, I decided to purchase a home rather than renting, which is what I was doing up in Pennsylvania. About three months after I purchased a home, I ended up starting to house hack where I was running out by the bedroom in the house that I had purchased.

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Travis Zappia (00:03:44):

When I originally bought the house, I had no intention to do that. But once I started house hacking, then I continued to go down further rabbit holes of like, “Hey, if I continue to look at real estate investing as my vehicle for reaching financial independence and not have to work for somebody else for the rest of my life, how would I go about doing that?” And what I started to realize that when I started to do research on cashflow and what cashflow I’d need to be able to become financially free, what I was able to find was short term rental, real estate investing was a vehicle that can kind of supercharge your cashflow if you purchase the right properties in the right areas. And another thing at that time when I started to do research was the Orlando market around Disney World and universal was a really, really hot market for short-term rentals.

Travis Zappia (00:04:35):

Two of the top 10 cities in the country were in Davenport, Kissimmee, so essentially right around Disney World, if you’re not familiar with the Orlando market. And then I bought my first two short-term dedicated property in 2019, bought two more in 2020, and then bought two more in 2021. So at this point in my journey through short-term rental investing, I’ll net $110,000 this year from the five properties that I have. And then I also have started a management business that will end up netting around 60 to 70,000 dollars next year, if I don’t add any additional properties.

Robert Leonard (00:05:15):

I want to talk a bit about why specifically real estate. But before we do, you mentioned the numbers you’re going to net, and we can dive into that a little bit later too, but when you’re making so much money from your Airbnbs on a net basis, why even continue to work? I know you still have a W2 job, so why still work?

Travis Zappia (00:05:30):

Yeah, it’s the constant thing about with every single day. The reality right now is why I’m continuing to work is so I can still qualify for loan under my personal name. I’m fortunate in the W2 that I have, where my debt income can still qualify me to obtain additional loans under my personal name without having to do any creative financing or partnerships or anything like that. So for at least the time being, and probably for, I’m thinking, probably for another 12 months, maybe 18 months, I’m still going to continue to work the W2 so I can obtain additional loans under my own name because a lot of people don’t understand once you leave, your W2, qualifying for loans is going to be extremely, extremely difficult. So you have to be really, really careful and have a very solid plan before you officially leave and quit that W2.

Robert Leonard (00:06:23):

You mentioned that you got into real estate because you were looking for ways to build cash flow so you didn’t have to rely on somebody else for your whole life. So why real estate, though? I mean, there’s a lot of different ways you could do that. I think a lot of people have that same goal. Some people in the FIRE movement go to stock market investing, just trying to save as much as they can, then follow a 4% withdrawal rule or something like that. So why specifically real estate?

Travis Zappia (00:06:46):

Yeah, great question. So it was actually because when I started to read the book or what led me down the path originally was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. And after I read that book, I was of like, “Okay, how do I try to figure out how to do this in the most optimized way?” I started doing a bunch of just Google research of financial independence, how to do it, what to do. And what I started to find was the industry that created the most millionaires was real estate. And that’s what led me down to rabbit hole of finding bigger pockets, listening for the podcast that they have, starting to read and educate myself on books. There’s nothing wrong with stock market investing. I do that in super basic, things like CAPEX, [inaudible 00:07:30], index funds that track S&P whatever.

Travis Zappia (00:07:32):

But the challenge with that is the amount of money that you have to have invested to be able to hit a finance independence number or a cashflow number from dividends and things like that, or the 4% withdrawal rate is what I was saying before, you have to have so much money invested in order to hit whatever that number is. And with five properties, I think my total down payments on my short term rental portfolio right now is, I think it starts around $260,000 to generate 110,000 of cashflow. Now, that didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of four years, I was able to get there and save all that money for down payment. But that same $260,000 invested in the market, would it even produce… I don’t know the exact number. I would assume it wouldn’t even produce $3,000 a month in dividends payouts.

Travis Zappia (00:08:25):

So you would have to have 1.5, 2 million dollars invested in some sort of dividend paying or understanding that you’re going to withdraw that down to be able to pay for your expenses. So the return on investment from a time standpoint of how long it would take to save and invest $1.5 million, $2 million? Could be a lifetime. But the amount of time that it would take to save and invest $250,000 like what I’m doing is a couple years. So that was the big reason why I decided to go down the real estate route versus the stock market route. But I’m also investing in stocks and those types of things as well on the side.

Robert Leonard (00:09:07):

Yeah. I have a very similar approach. When I got into real estate, I was solely a stock market investor. I believe so heavily in it. And I still do. But then I had this realization when I got into real estate that let’s just say you buy a rental property for $20,000, and it’s a $100,000 rental property. So now, let’s just say you do that 10 times, which is not unrealistic, but for simplicity, let’s just say in 20 years, when those houses are all paid off, you have a million dollars in equity, and you only put 20,000 times five. So you put a $100,000 in, and you got a million dollars back at the end. And now 20 years, 30 years, when you want to retire, if you’re thinking about it that way, like a normal stock investor would, now you have a million dollars in equity, essentially 900,000 in equity that you didn’t even pay for, that somebody else did.

Robert Leonard (00:09:54):

And it’s very unlikely that you’re going to turn $100,000 into a million in that same time period in the stock market. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely, especially if you’re going through index funds, which is a good route to go. But when I had that mind shift that I could do that, it was just like real estate is the answer. And of course, there’s a lot more work to it. It’s not as passive, etc., and there’s a lot of variables to consider. But when you think about that dynamic of you put maybe $100,000 in, and you’re pretty much set for retirement, that’s powerful.

Travis Zappia (00:10:25):

Yeah. I think a lot of people look at leverage and debt the wrong way. And I know we agree on this, and it really plays into the point that you’re making is the whole point of real estate investing is you’re able to leverage other people’s money with a small amount of money to put in, to be able to buy something that is significantly or significantly more than what you put into it without leveraging and doing some really, really risky things in the stock market from leveraging your portfolio and increasing the risk significantly. You’re not able to even come close to the amount of money that you would be able to make. And like you’re saying, you’re paying off the principle over time. Yes, you’re paying interest over the course of the loans, but that interest is actually making you money, even though it’s costing you money, but it’s making you more money than it’s costing you, hopefully if you’re doing it the right way. So there’s just so many benefit plus the tax benefits and depreciation, appreciation, all that fun stuff.

Robert Leonard (00:11:24):

And I didn’t even mention the cashflow that you get every month, right? So you have that million dollars in equity in 20, 30 years when everything’s paid off, but you’re a couple thousand dollars a month probably in cashflow all along the way.

Travis Zappia (00:11:32):


Robert Leonard (00:11:33):

That’s another benefit too. What are some of the misconceptions around Airbnb? It seems to me… Maybe it’s just because I’m getting more into the space, it’s kind of that dynamic where you get a new car, and you’ve never seen that car on the road before, but you get that car and now you see it everywhere. I don’t know if it’s the same thing happening for me with Airbnb, because I’m kind of getting into the space, now I’m seeing how popular it is, or maybe it really is just getting super popular, but with it getting so popular, at least seeming that way to me, what are some of the misconceptions about Airbnb that people have?

Travis Zappia (00:12:04):

So one of the biggest ones is thinking that any property is a good short-term rental property. That is a very much not true statement. It’s so important that you have the right property in the right location with a county that is short-term rental friendly, because if you don’t do the research that you need to do up front, you could very well be operating property illegally and end up having some bad things happen with a county and things like that. So I think one of the biggest ones is, a lot of people say, “Hey, I want to buy in this market,” and they’ll reach out to me and say, “Hey, I want to buy in this market. Do you think it’d be a short term rental property?” I’m like, “I looked at that market, there’s no Airbnbs there. That’s probably a major red flag that it’s not a good market, and it’s probably not short term rental friendly.”

Travis Zappia (00:12:54):

So every property isn’t going to be a cash flowing property. Every property isn’t going to be a legal property. And every location isn’t necessarily going to be a good location for Airbnb. There’s certain areas in certain markets where they’re so seasonal that they’re honestly not good investments because you maybe have two or three months during summer where everything’s really, really good and gross income, it’s massive. But then you have to weather a eight month, nine month down season where you’re maybe getting 20% occupancy, 10% occupancy, these one or two night bookings that aren’t really going to drive revenues. So you’re not able to sustain throughout the course of the year and be able to cashflow. So that’s one of the big misconceptions.

Travis Zappia (00:13:41):

Another misconception that a lot of people have is that it’s a passive investment. You can set up a lot of systems and processes to streamline and do a lot of the guest communication, do the dynamic pricing, message your cleaners when new bookings are made so they know when they need to go clean. A lot of that can be automated and set up in the back end from a process standpoint. And then if you have the right smart devices from a smart lock, thermostat, those types of things. But short-term rentals are not passive. It does take some time. Once you have the right systems and processes in place, I truly believe in what I see with my portfolio right now, I’m managing fixed properties. I’m normally taking between 15 to 30 minutes a week per property. And that’s commonly going to be answering one off questions from guests.

Travis Zappia (00:14:30):

If I need to coordinate anything with a maintenance guy or my cleaners for replacing any item, buying those things and sending it to their addresses and things of that nature. But anybody that tells you at the passive investment is lying because it is a lot more active than long term rentals. But you’re in the hospitality industry. Once you go into short term rental investing, you have to understand that you are entering the hospitality industry. And if you don’t want to do that, then short-term rental investing just frankly, isn’t for you. So I would say those are probably two of the biggest misconceptions with short-term rentals.

Robert Leonard (00:15:07):

What are some of maybe not misconceptions, but pieces of Airbnb?

Travis Zappia (00:15:13):

Good question. I think probably the biggest negative thing is two things. I would say first, one of the big things is you’re going to deal with guests that are problematic. It’s going to happen if you do this long enough and you rent out your place long enough. You’re going to deal with guests that are problematic. And that’s just going to be the nature of the beast. One of the biggest things that’s kind of a negative is dealing with the guests that are going to be difficult to deal with. If you do this and you’re in this business long enough, that’s going to happen no matter what. You’re going to have guests that are going to cause problems, you’re going to have guests that are going to complain and nitpick about small things.

Travis Zappia (00:15:56):

If you take that stuff personally, then you’re going to have a really, really bad experience with short-term rentals and managing your own short-term rental. So I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing is, you’re going to have that, I guess, that’s part of the business. I always try to learn from the experience of like, “Okay, could I have seen this and caught this when I was doing my screening process on the front end to try to make sure that I’m not accepting these guests in the future?” And if not, then the question really becomes, “Okay, are they giving legitimate feedback that I need to get fixed?” Because your guests are going to give you the most honest and really straightforward feedback of anybody.

Travis Zappia (00:16:37):

So if there’s things that they’re calling out that are legitimate problems, you need to address those issues so that your other guests and your future guests aren’t going to have those same problems. So I think that’s probably the biggest downside is just, it’s a pain to deal with some of these guests. But what I would say is the from a percentage standpoint of the guests that I host, I would say that this is 1 to 2 percent of the guests that I host over the course of a year that I have problems with. Sometimes the issue or whatever that you deal with, it makes it feel like it’s a lot more than that just because a pain of the butt to talk to them and communicate with them. But the reality of the situation is, it’s going to happen. You’re going to have guests that nitpick, or just complain about things, be respectful, communicate with them just like you would communicate with anybody else. Don’t say anything harsh or rash. And if you do so, and you go into it, knowing that… say this is going to happen, then that’s just part of the business.

Robert Leonard (00:17:35):

I want to spend some time talking about how to pick markets. You mentioned that not every property, not every market’s going to be goo, so. And I know a lot of people on the podcast reach out to me about how I pick markets for long distance investing. So I’d love to talk a bit about how you pick markets for short-term rentals.

Travis Zappia (00:17:52):

Yeah, that’s a really good question because it’s one of the ones that, especially even with COVID in 2020, a lot of markets that were “hotshot short-term rental markets” ended up getting hit really, really hard because a lot of people weren’t going into these big cities and staying in areas like that. So there’s a couple things that I look at for markets that I’m in specifically. So first of all, I’ll say what markets I’m in. I’m in Kissimmee, which is by Disney World. I’m in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville area. And then, I’m also in Panama City Beach. I don’t own the property in Panama City Beach, but I manage for a friend’s family. And each of those markets is a little bit unique, but what I look for in a short-term rental market is a market that’s tried and true.

Travis Zappia (00:18:45):

So it’s been around for a significant amount of time with short-term rentals. The Smokey Mountains have been around for like 35, 40 years. One Night cabins started to be a really, really big thing. Airbnb hasn’t been around to how we know short rentals now hasn’t necessarily been around for that long, but that experience and people going into the Smokies has been there for a significant amount of time. It’s a drive-to destination, which is another big thing when COVID hits. A lot of the drive-to destinations floated tenfold, because people weren’t wanting to get on airplanes. So I think having a destination that the drive-to destination is something that is great. The Smokies is great because it’s very centrally located on the east coast. So people from the Northeast can drive. People from the Southeast can drive.

Travis Zappia (00:19:29):

And if you look at the population in the US, I think it’s 50% of the US population lives on the East coast. So up and down the East coast. So the amount of people that could potentially go to your property are very, very vast. So a drive-to destination, something that is tried and true from a short-term rental market standpoint, and it’s been around for a long time. And then the other thing is, has to be short-term rental friendly. And when I say that, I mean, there has to be rules, laws, regulations by the county and/or city that regulate short-term rentals. If you’re going into a market that doesn’t have any county restrictions or like, “Hey, you have to have these licenses, or you have to remit taxes back to the county every single month,” if that doesn’t exist in the county, that’s an immediate red flag to me because if they don’t have short-term rental laws already in place, then there’s a significant chance that at any point, they can enact laws that could shut your short terminal down and entirely.

Travis Zappia (00:20:32):

And that’s the last thing that you want to do is buy a property thinking that you’re going to do something, you do it for a year, it’s successful. And then all of a sudden, you have neighbors or whatever that start complaining about the transient occupancy of your unit. And then they go reach out to the city council or whatever, and start complaining. And then all of a sudden, there’s laws and rules and restrictions that come down banning short term rental properties for your specific area. So I think those are really the three things that I’m looking for.

Robert Leonard (00:21:04):

I was just doing some reading the other day that a big short-term rental area that people like to vacation a lot is Hilton Head. And I just heard that they were having some issues there. And then I’ve also heard there were some issues in Virginia Beach with regulation.

Travis Zappia (00:21:17):

So in every area is… If they don’t have laws in place, every area is constantly changing. So Hilton Head I hadn’t heard of. You said Virginia Beach was another one? The only one I’ve heard of recently is Yucca Valley in Joshua Trees, where they put a moratorium where they stopped short-term rentals. And you couldn’t apply for a license. And that it’s like five month moratorium. So you have all these people that essentially bought properties or were in Escrow. And all of a sudden, they find out from Yucca Valley, and they start having all these city council meetings. There’s like hundreds of people on these city council meetings freaking out that are all short-term investors. And it’s crazy.

Robert Leonard (00:21:59):

Even more specifically, one of the things…it has to do with regulation, but it’s not even necessarily at the county level, but how do you deal with HOAs? So I’ve looked at purchasing and Florida, and I’ve thought about buying condos in vacation areas in Florida. And my concern is that the HOA is going to have the same problem that you mentioned with the counties, right? They’re going to either change their mind. They’re not going to allow short-term rentals, whatever they decide. How do you deal with things like that? Do you just avoid it all together? Or how do you approach it?

Travis Zappia (00:22:25):

Really good question. So I’ve never actually heard HOA until I moved to Florida, because Texas, where I lived, they didn’t really exist. But the HOA is Home Owner’s Association, and it’s essentially, you have people within the community that come together, you have a board and they make rules, regulation, and guidelines that you have to abide by. So in Florida, especially in Kissimmee, Davenport area, where I’m buying that I have the two properties down there, those properties both have HOAs. But the unique thing about that area is that the communities that I’m buying in were designed for short-term rentals. So all of the units in those communities are all short-term rentals. So I’m not really concerned or worried about the laws, rules, or regulations of that community, because it’s literally designed for short-term rentals. And that’s very, very common for a lot of the neighborhoods in Kissimmee Davenport area.

Travis Zappia (00:23:24):

So that’s super common and something that shouldn’t be a red flag. Now, once you start getting out of the areas in the pockets where the communities are designed for short-term rentals, and all of a sudden, the percentage of people who live there full time versus the percentage of investors who are renting their place out goes from 90/10 people investors to homeowners, to the opposite where 10% of the properties are being short term rent, 90% are homeowners. That’s when you start to have a lot of issues and potential problems. So you want to be very, very careful and make sure that you’re able you want to… You want to be very careful and make sure that you understand, is this community designed for short-term rentals, or is this community something that has the HOA, but the majority of people are living there full-time?

Travis Zappia (00:24:16):

If the majority of people are living there full-time, I would say stay clear of it because there’s a significant chance over some period of time, there’s significantly higher chance that somebody’s going to complain. And then they all of a sudden, the HOA might go to vote on putting in minimum lease restrictions that are three, six months, whatever. I’ve had properties where the minimum lease requirement was three to six months. So you couldn’t short-term. You couldn’t legally short term rent. Again, shouldn’t ever do anything illegal, but you couldn’t legally short-term rent. And it’s common that HOAs have a clause in their bylaws that essentially state, your minimum lease requirement for this property is whatever it is. So understanding those restrictions, understanding how friendly it is that a HOA, how friendly it’s and how many people that own in that community live there full-time, versus our investors and have short-term rentals. There are really, really important.

Robert Leonard (00:25:21):

Are you not worried about all of the competition that comes with investing in a community that has so many short-term rentals?

Travis Zappia (00:25:27):

I actually love competition because I know I’m going to be able to outperform them from the systems processes and the experience that I create for my guests. And each of my properties has a uniqueness to it that the other properties don’t. Now, whether that’s the core and inside of the property, what it looks like, the smart TVs and things that I have inside the amenities that I have inside my property, specifically, whether it’s a pool with a alumni and nice outdoor seating area or things of that nature. So I actually love competition. And I think competition is a really, really positive thing, because my thought is, I feel confident that I can outperform anybody else in there, or that your traditional, like mom and pop investors or whatever that maybe this is just a true vacation home where they come to once or twice a year. So I actually really, really enjoy having competition in this specific area that I’m in.

Robert Leonard (00:26:26):

So we’ve talked about what to look for, but how do we actually do this? Tactically, how do we begin our search, right? The US is a huge area. How do we narrow that down? Are there any specific tools, resources, anything that you look for to find a specific market? And then once you find that market, what tools and resources are you using to find the laws and regulations for the county? And then if there’s an HOA, how do you find out that stuff?

Travis Zappia (00:26:49):

Yeah. So the first thing that I always do for anybody that is interested in short-term rental investing is, I ask them, “Hey, have you ever vacationed to a spot that you really enjoy going to every year, every other year, multiple full times year, whatever that might be?” Because one of the benefits of owning short-term rental is you can go use the property, and you can pick whatever dates you want, and you would be able to go live in the property, stay in the property for a week or weekend. That’s the first thing I ask anybody, like, “Okay, do you have a location or a couple locations that you enjoy vacationing?” And then the second thing is, okay, now start looking at county restrictions for that area to understand, can you short-term rent or can you not? If it’s the market that you go where you’re already renting on Airbnb, it’s [inaudible 00:27:37] it is short term rental friendly. But you still want to make sure that you do the research for county restriction specifically on what their laws are for short term rental investors. Most counties are going to require some sort of license.

Travis Zappia (00:27:50):

So all of my properties require a license. Some counties require a license and remitting taxes back to the county every single month. So I have three, yeah, three of my properties that require me remitting. Actually, the first thing that I would do and really, really look at the second thing. That’s very, very confusing and hard for people to understand when looking at a short-term rental specifically, is how do I determine how much it’s going to cashflow, or how much my growth income potential is going to be for the particular property. Long term rentals are very straightforward to analyze. You can go to websites like [inaudible 00:28:29], and whatnot. And you can say, “Okay, a two bedroom in this area, what’s it going to rent for?” And you can stay with fair confidence that it’s going to rent for $1,100 a month, whatever it might be.

Travis Zappia (00:28:40):

The cool thing about short-term rentals and the scary thing for a lot of people is not knowing. Every month is different. You never know what your income’s potentially going to be for that particular month. And that’s scary for a lot of people because if you don’t know, and you’re taking a big risk. At the end of the day, you’re taking a risk and hoping that you analyze the property correctly. So to analyze properties, I use something called the market dashboards for price files. So the two most commonly used platforms before market dashboards were AirDNA and Mashvisor. Those were the two most commonly known that short-term investors of people that wanted to get into short term rental investing use. The problem with those sites is they’re very inaccurate from what seen when I start to really drill into the data and look at what numbers they’re pulling back from different properties. PriceLabs created this market dashboard four or five months ago, and essentially, the PriceLabs was originally designed to do dynamic pricing for units.

Travis Zappia (00:29:43):

So you can essentially put in inputs for your listing, connect your listing to Airbnb, say, [inaudible 00:29:48] medium max price for different seasons is this. And then price hub takes that data and dynamically prices every single night on your calendar based off of demand, based off of how many people are searching for that area on each individual day. So it understands it understands holidays, seasonality, all that weekends, weekdays, all that kind of stuff. What Price House was able to do is because they were dynamically pricing all of that, and because they also understood when units got booked at what prices, they were able to aggregate all of that data and create this market dashboard that would be able to essentially tell you, “Hey, if you have a two bedroom property in this, it can show you the last 15 months, the occupancy rate every single day for all two bedroom properties in that market.

Travis Zappia (00:30:39):

And it can also show you the 25th to 50th, and 75th percentile for booked nights on what that would be for daily nightly rates. And you’re able to use those two things to be able to figure out every single month, what is your potential gross income for the property. That doesn’t include your mortgage, utilities, internet, HOA, taxes, insurance, all that kind of stuff. You still have to plug that in to figure out what your cashflow would end up being and what cash on cash returns would it look like. But using that information, which is extremely accurate based off of what PriceLabs was originally designed to do, you’re able to do that and have a very, very good understanding of what gross income potential would look like.

Robert Leonard (00:31:30):

And you’re this front before you purchase the property?

Travis Zappia (00:31:34):

100%. Yeah, so essentially, what I do is I’m looking at… So I narrow down a market that’s short-term rentals only, and I’m like, “Okay, I want to buy in this market.” Then I run the numbers for a two bedroom, a three bedroom and a bedroom. If I want to go five, I’ll run the numbers for a five, but I’ll purchase the data for that market. And then I’ll run two, three, four, five bedroom and see what cashflow numbers or see what gross income potential numbers look like. And then start looking at what the cost for properties in that area are for two, three, and four bedroom, start putting some assumptions for PIPI utilities, HOA, all that kind of stuff. And then start to understand like, is this market something that I would want invest in or is something that just isn’t going cashflow.

Travis Zappia (00:32:19):

That’s kind of my step-by-step process of figuring out and choosing a market saying, “Okay, this is the market I want to analyze.” Analyzing the gross income potential of the market. And then looking at price points for properties in that market to then plug in the numbers to see what my gross income and all my expenses are going to be, and what my cashflow and cash-on-cash returns are going to look like.

Robert Leonard (00:32:43):

Which benchmarks are you looking at for your returns? And what do you require for those returns to be satisfactory?

Travis Zappia (00:32:50):

Yeah, so I’m looking to hit 36% cash-on-cash returns. That’s the minimum target that I’m looking to hit with running my numbers conservatively for all of my properties. So I put a little bit extra for CapEx. I put a little bit extra for miscellaneous expenses every single month to see things that are going to pop up, and 36% minimum cash-on-cash return is essentially what I’m looking for. And that’s cash to close the money up front to get the property ready. So usually, depending on if it was a short-term rental before or not, most of the markets I’m buying in are fully furnished. So the upfront cost, I’m only doing things like replacing things that need to get replaced. And then I’m doing the core and paint updates and those types of things inside.

Travis Zappia (00:33:37):

So generally speaking, additional cash on top to get the property ready is going to be anywhere between seven to $10,000. And then that’s essentially the number I’m using for total cash invested into the deal and then take cashflow for projected cashflow divide by total cash invested in the deal. And I’m looking for that number to be over 36%.

Robert Leonard (00:34:01):

Since your properties are mostly furnished already, are you buying from previously owned short-term rental owners?

Travis Zappia (00:34:07):

Yeah, it’s actually another way… okay , I talked to somebody about this a while ago. It’s another way to identify short-term rental friendly markets. If people are selling properties fully furnished, usually it’s somebody that was using it as a short-term rental or a vacation home. And all the markets that I’m buying in, I’m buying these properties fully furnished. Generally, why that happens is you guys investors don’t want to move all that crap out? Usually, they’re maybe not in the market, or they’re long distance or things like that. So it’s one of those things where I’m buying all my properties fully furnished, and then just replacing the stuff that is just old, ugly, and not not going to be good for guest experience.

Robert Leonard (00:34:51):

I’m in a couple Facebook groups for short-term rentals. And I saw a post the other day that a couple people were saying they spent upwards of $50,000 to furnish some of their short term rentals. And I absolutely shocked by that because I mean, I house hack pretty much all of my properties. And I buy all my furniture secondhand. I don’t have a very nice furniture or anything. So here people are spending almost $50,000 to furnish a short term rental on top of down payments and everything else that goes into cash required to close. I was amazed. And you kind of avoid that by buying fully furnished or?

Travis Zappia (00:35:24):

Yeah, I’ve only bought fully furnished. I’ve only bought fully furnished that doesn’t need a significant update for the furniture specifically. There’s a couple reasons why, but one of the biggest reasons why right now is because of all the supply chain issues from COVID, if you’re going to go furnish a property right now, you have to hope that it’s in stock and you can get it delivered today, because I’ve heard horror stories of people saying, “Oh, I wanted this couch, this couch isn’t delivered for three months.” Well, I’m not waiting to get my property ready. I want to get the property ready to go. And usually, my properties take about seven days to get set up from the time I get there to me leaving and having that first guest check in. So furnishing is very, very difficult in today’s market.

Travis Zappia (00:36:14):

Hopefully, it gets easier here in the next six, 12 months. So I haven’t taken on any massive project like that. I will in the future at some point. I know I will, but I’m just not willing to take that, not necessarily risk. I’m not willing to take on that additional work in today’s market, just with all the supply chains of everything being out of stock.

Robert Leonard (00:36:37):

I hear from a lot of investors that come on the podcast that they’re buying properties from other investors. And I’m always intrigued by that because I’m like, “Well, that investor’s selling that property for a reason. They weren’t successful with it, so what makes you think that you could be?” And obviously, there’s many, many reasons why somebody’s selling a property. Maybe it was super successful and they just want to sell it anyway. And that could be great, but maybe they weren’t successful and that’s why they’re selling it. So how are you confident that you’re buying a short term rental from somebody who is just doing it and you could be successful if they weren’t?

Travis Zappia (00:37:09):

Yeah. So it’s been interesting. So the properties in Kissimmee that I’ve purchased were definitely short-term rental properties that over the course of when the particular individual had purchased the property to sell the property, they had a significant amount of equity that was built up. So I think they were just trying to get out of the equity and kind of cash in on the equity that they had. Another thing, though, why people are like, “Why investors are selling these properties?” It’s because they don’t know how to operate the property the correct way. They don’t have the right systems. It, all of a sudden, is like what we talked about earlier, where it’s like people think it’s a semi passive, it’s a passive investment. It’s not. If you don’t have the right systems and processes in place, even from one short-term rental property, you could be spending two, three, four hours a week.

Travis Zappia (00:37:59):

And if your goal is to create financial independence through short-term rental investing, your goal is not to create another job for yourself. So if you’re doing that, and you’re doing it the wrong way, you’re essentially just creating another job for yourself that you may not enjoy. So I think it’s one of the things where a lot of people, I think, get into short rental investing, and then it wasn’t what they thought, or they didn’t do their research or they didn’t find somebody like me that helped teach, “Hey, this is how you do it in the most efficient way so you’re not spending a bunch of time in your business, communicating with guests, all those types of things.” And I think that’s why they get out of it. They’re like, “Hey, it’s not doing the numbers. My times worth too much to not cashflow, or cashflow 100 bucks, 200 bucks a month,” whatever it might be.

Travis Zappia (00:38:46):

And they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to check out and sell the property. My personal thing is, if it’s the right property with the right amenities of these in the right location, then I’m able to cash. I feel very confident going in and being able to cashflow that property based off the numbers that I ran for that particular market. So I have a lot of confidence in myself as a operator, setting up the property, and creating a great guest experience. And for that, I believe, regardless of who owned it previously and why they’re selling, if it has the right things and it kind of checks all the boxes on my side, I know I can get the property operating to the level that I want it to operate to for the long term.

Robert Leonard (00:39:28):

I’ve mentioned, I’m not fully immersed in the short term rental space yet. I’ve been doing it a little bit with my own place, but I haven’t bought a dedicated, short term rental yet. But as part of my long distance investing for traditional rentals, people always ask me, “Do you go to your properties?” And so I’m curious, do you go to your properties?

Travis Zappia (00:39:47):

Great question. I get this question a lot. So I used. And I used to go to my properties probably two or three times a month. And a lot of the times, what I was doing, and I was trying to understand, and take a step back and like, “Okay, if I don’t want to work in the business and I don’t want to go to my properties as often, what do I have to do?” So I started to really understand why am I going to my properties when I do go? And what I found was The majority of times that I was going to my properties, I was replenishing supplies. So supplies being things like toilet paper, trash bags, detergent, paper towels, those types of things. So all the basic types of things that my cleaners are, they going to go into my closet, grab it and then bring it out.

Travis Zappia (00:40:35):

And what I started to realized, and it was, “Hey, what if I asked my cleaner to supply this? I will pay them extra every single turn to supply it, buy it, all that kind of stuff?” And once I started doing that, and I had my cleaners manage all of that, but I paid them an additional $5, $10 for clean, depending on the cleaner in the market. All of a sudden I was able to remove myself from going to the properties. And that was big for me because I was wasting time. I was just driving 30, 40 minutes to go to a property. And I was there for 10 minutes and I was out. So it was a complete waste of time for me. I was doing it, and I wanted to do it because I wanted more the experience and those types of things, which are really important, especially early on.

Travis Zappia (00:41:21):

But if you set your… And now I’ve set my systems and processes in place where I don’t go to my properties anymore, at least like on a monthly basis. I’ll maybe go once every six months or once a year to check out the property, walk the property, make sure from a cleaning standpoint, everything looks good. Make sure for a kitchen stock that has everything that it needs to pot the pans look good and things of that nature. But now, I would say for my property now that my portfolio’s continuing to grow, I’m probably going there once or twice a year.

Robert Leonard (00:41:54):

If you’re only going there once or twice a year, that could be on your own vacations, right. If you want to spend a couple days there, go there on vacation, check things out, etc?

Travis Zappia (00:42:01):

Yep. Exactly.

Robert Leonard (00:42:02):

Do you go to these properties before you buy them? Do you go check them out in person before you buy them? That’s another question that I get frequently.

Travis Zappia (00:42:12):

Yeah. So the two properties that I went to to me, the one property I didn’t go to prior to purchasing, but my real estate agent went and did a video walkthrough of the property. So I understood the location well enough, and seeing a video of the property, I was able to understand, okay, what does it look like inside? How much work is it going to take to get to the level that I needed to be in order to have it be a good short term rental? The first property I ever bought, I definitely went because I wanted to see it. I wanted to go into the neighborhood. I wanted to see the amenities that the particular HOA provided. So it was really important to go there. And then the two properties I bought in the Smokies, I drove up to the area and I tried to understand the area first.

Travis Zappia (00:42:56):

I actually went to both the properties that I ended up getting under contract, but it was interesting because the first property I got under contract a week after I went and saw it. The second property I got under contract a month after I saw it because the seller didn’t like my offer and those types of things. I think when you buy your first short term rental, it’s important to go the area and understand the area because it needs to be a nice area. It needs to feel safe for guests, if they’re coming in from out of town and they want to have a safe environment. It needs to feel safe. So I think it’s really, really to go to the area.

Travis Zappia (00:43:37):

I don’t think it’s necessarily as important to go in the property, as long as you have a video walkthrough, or you really understand from the pictures and the pictures do a really good job of showing the inside of the property. And you can understand the layout of the property, what it looks like inside. There’s no weird, quirky things about it. That’s really, really important. But I don’t necessarily think it’s necessary to go to every single property before purchasing it.

Robert Leonard (00:44:02):

Talk to us a bit about the financing options for buying short term rentals. I’m not super familiar with them, but I know that there are some differences in some benefits to buying short term rentals over long term rentals for financing options. So talk to us a bit about that.

Travis Zappia (00:44:17):

Yeah. It’s one of the cool uniqueness factors and exciting things about shorts of rental investing versus your traditional long term. So there’s something called a 10% down second home loan that you can get. And there’s a couple really cool things about that loan in particular. The first is just 10% down, which you’re not going to get for traditional investment property. You can do 15% down, conventional loans, paying PMI, but you can’t do a 10% down loan. That’s a normal conventional loan. If it’s a secondary vacation home, then you can do 10%. So the cash out of pocket could be significantly less. The limitations, there are a couple limitations of that. One is you can only have one vacation home per market. That’s because if the lenders and from their standpoint, they’re like, “Hey, you can’t have two vacation homes within a small area of each other, why would you need two vacation homes in the Smokies, whatever?”

Travis Zappia (00:45:16):

So that’s like the first limitation. The second limitation is, it has to be… And this is general guidelines. There’s no hard and strict rules on this, but it has to be more than 60 minutes away from your primary resident. If it’s within 60 minutes of your primary residents, why would you need a vacation home loan? And that’s how the lenders and underwriters look at it. So it has to be greater than 60 minutes, generally speaking, from your primary residents. And another cool thing about the vacation home loan, 10% down is the interest rate that you on that loan versus a traditional long term rental investment property. So you have different tiers of interest rates for loans. The lowest tier you’re going to get is a primary residence because it’s seen as the least risky investment.

Travis Zappia (00:46:06):

So your primary residence is going to be the lowest tier as a percentage interest percent that you’re going to get loan. The second lowest tier is the second home vacation home loan. So that’s going to be usually a quarter point tier than a primary residence. And then the next tier up is a traditional investment property. So that’s another cool, unique thing about short-term rentals and doing a 10% down vacation home loan is the interest rate that you’re going to get on that loan is actually going to be less than your typical long term investment property. The only downside of putting less than 20% down is you are going to pay PMI. So that’s part of… that’s one of the downsides, but how I look at it, how I view it is, okay, what’s cash on cash return going to look like? Because if I’m able to pay $150 a month, whatever the PMI may be, but I’m able to come to the table with 20, 30, 40,000 dollars less cash out of pocket up front, then that $150 a month when I know it’s going to cashflow and I’m that to my PIPI, when I run my numbers.

Travis Zappia (00:47:17):

I’m going to pay that $150, whatever it might be all day long, because that just saved me 40, 50,000 dollars up front, that I no longer have to come at the closing table too, and wire the money for it. So there’s pros and cons to the 10% down vacation home loan. But it’s a super unique, very niche thing that not a ton of people know about.

Robert Leonard (00:47:40):

I philosophy with the PMI and even wholesaler fees is that if other people can get their money at their own cut while I can still make money, then that’s fine. Maybe I could make a little extra per month. Or if you’re buying from a wholesaler, sure, maybe somebody’s going to make 5, 10 thousand dollars off it. But if the numbers still work really well for you as an investor, why does it matter that somebody else is making some money off it too? I guess it’s just this abundance mindset, but that’s how all I’ve always thought about PMI. And also think of it from a payback period perspective of, if you can come to the deal with $40,000 less, because you’re getting 10% down instead of 20%, how long does it take for that 40,000 to get repaid from $200 a month of PMI? Kind of do that calculation. But for me, it’s really just that abundance mindset. I know it’s not a person getting a PMI money every month. It’s an entity, but still, everybody can get their own cut as long as you’re still doing well. I mean, that’s my philosophy.

Travis Zappia (00:48:38):

You’re spot on. I think a lot of people look at that and interest as like… It’s very much how real estate investors kind of look at rent where it’s like, “Oh, you’re throwing money away.” And people that are renting that don’t want to buy are like, “Oh, well that’s just money you’re never going to get back, so why would you be okay with paying $150 a month for whatever? But you’re 100% right. It’s like, okay, yes, but also understand, if this property’s going to cashflow after paying that money, then I’m winning. I’m winning this deal. So people just look at it completely wrong, but it’s that shift in mindset and frame of mind that people have to do and kind of just be taught it. And they’ll realize that like, “Oh, it’s actually not that bad a deal.”

Robert Leonard (00:49:24):

What do the lenders have for definition of a market? You mentioned you can only have one property in each market for the loans. And you mentioned that it has to be 60 minutes away, but what is the definition of a market?

Travis Zappia (00:49:37):

Yeah, I would say those definitions are very loose. So you just have to talk to your lender and they’ll ask you all the questions for, okay, what properties do you own? What your mortgages, what are the locations? I don’t know what specific criteria that they use to be able to pay, “Yep, we can underwrite that as a 10% down vacation home loan.” And what I was saying earlier is that, even that 60 minutes from your primary residence, that’s a very loose definition right now. So in the tax code or whatever, it doesn’t really have to be from point a to… address one to address two. It has to be over this distance or the driving distance has to be over this distance. So the guidelines are kind of loose, but I would say talk to whatever lender that you want to get the one with, and they’ll be able to help you understand whether or not you would qualify for that loan vehicle.

Robert Leonard (00:50:31):

How are they underwriting these loans? Are they underwriting it like you’re purchasing a primary residence basically only on income and DTI, and they’re not considering the income from the property at all?

Travis Zappia (00:50:42):

That’s correct. Well, that’s correct in my experience. So I’m super fortunate in the sense of my DTI is still allowing me to qualify for these loans, even if they didn’t produce any income at all. So the lenders I’m using are looking at that and saying, “Okay, you’re still able to qualify. So everything looks good, no issues on our side.” There are some lenders that will qualify the income of the property, potentially. You do need to talk through that with them, just to make sure that they’re on board with qualifying that Inc for the property specifically, if you show the numbers that you ran, how you ran the numbers and why you feel that those numbers are conservative. But I fortunately haven’t had to qualify any income from a property to be able to qualify for the one itself.

Robert Leonard (00:51:31):

How are you screening your renters for your short-term rentals?

Travis Zappia (00:51:37):

Great question. So I have a couple different… I kind of have like a decision tree of what I go through when I screen guests. The first one is if you have five star ratings from other hosts, and you’re recommended, you can automatically book. There’s no reason for me to screen you. Again, I’m not trying to create another job. If you have a five star review from another host, and you’re recommended, I’m going to take their word for it, and hope that you’re a good guest and treat my property well. So that’s kind of like if you have five star reviews, you’re going to get accepted. You’re automatically able to books. You don’t have to inquire. If you don’t have any reviews, there’s a couple things that I do in a process that I make sure that I have. If you have reviews, but you’re not five stars, I’ll read the reviews and understand why did you not get five stars?

Travis Zappia (00:52:24):

It’s not always going to be super clear, but if you don’t have five stars, it’s definitely a red flag. I’ve accepted people that had a 4.5 star rating. Because as a host, I know it takes one 4-star review where all of a sudden, you’re a 4.5 rating or whatever, if you don’t have a lot of reviews. So I’m not necessarily saying I won’t accept you as a guest at one of my properties, but I look at the reviews and understand, is there any red flags that they’re calling out specifically for cleanliness, communication, following house rules. If they break any of those rules, then I can tell that from their review that the host left, I accept the guests. And I have no issues letting them know, “Okay. I don’t feel comfortable with this reservation. I hope you’re able to find another property in that area and have a great day,” more or less like that. That’s my communication to them.

Travis Zappia (00:53:08):

The next thing is if they don’t have any reviews, and there’s essentially two different ways I look at it. If they don’t have any reviews, and they just created the account this month or within the last two months, it’s the first red flag. I accept plenty of guests that have a brand new account with no reviews. But I go through a different screening process, where essentially I ask them, “Hey, it looks like you’re new to Airbnb. I see you don’t have any reviews. Have you stayed in a Airbnb before?” I try to ask a very probing question and leave it open-ended to them to answer however you want to answer. I’m trying to gain an understanding of have they stayed in the Airbnb before? So if they have, and they don’t have any reviews, that’s kind of a red flag because hosts generally will give a review to a guest.

Travis Zappia (00:53:54):

If they left their property in good shape, then there was good communication and all those types of things. So that’s generally a red flag. I’ll ask additional probing questions of what brings you to the area. Also, haven’t stayed in Airbnb, I make sure to ask them, “Do you understand what the Airbnb experience is like and what to expect?” Because that’s really, really important is like setting expectations with your guests, especially for people that haven’t stayed at a short rental before, because it’s not a hotel. The experience is entirely different than that of a hotel. You’re typically going to have a full kitchen, private bedrooms, bathrooms. The kitchen’s going to be fully stocked, those types of things. So you want to make sure you level set expectation for your guests, especially if they’ve never stayed at Airbnb before. That’s one path I go down for new guests who just create an account that don’t have any reviews.

Travis Zappia (00:54:44):

If they’ve created an account, don’t have any reviews, and they accounts created four, five years ago, that’s when I start to ask a lot more questions because that’s an immediate red flag of like, if they have an account that has… they have an Airbnb account or Vrbo, whatever that has been there for four or five years, but they don’t have in your reviews, and they tell me that they stayed in the Airbnb before, I’ll still ask them to begin, “Hey, have you stayed an Airbnb before?” If they say, yes, that’s a big red flag because as a host, I’m not going to leave a review for a guest if they were a bad guest because when I leave a review on a guest, it prompts them to leave a review for me. So if I don’t think they’re going to leave me a 5-star review, I won’t leave a review you for them because I don’t want Airbnb pinging them and notifying them, “Hey, your host left your review, go and leave a review of your experience.”

Travis Zappia (00:55:35):

So I don’t want a 4, 3, 2, 1 star review from the guest. So if they stayed at properties and don’t have any reviews and that particular guest has had an account for four or five years, that’s a big red flag. If you’re not comfortable with the reservation, you can always decline it. You’re the individual who has the ability… You have the ability to let people in or not. So if you don’t feel comfortable at any point, you can decline the guest. But that’s kind of the high level. That’s kind of the screening process and how I go through determining what questions to ask.

Robert Leonard (00:56:09):

One of the most used words as part of your screening process was reviews. And as somebody who’s partially involved with Airbnb, I know how important reviews are. How do you get more of them from past renters? I’ve had, say, roughly, maybe 10 people stay in my property. And I think four or five left reviews. I don’t know if that’s above average or about average, but I feel like the other five or six, they all had great experience, they were all great guests. I even left them a review, but they didn’t leave a review for me. So I’m curious, how do you go about getting your renters to actually leave a review?

Travis Zappia (00:56:40):

That’s a question I get a lot because I think the industry standard is around 40 or 50 percent of guests who leave reviews. There’s something very specific that I do in the process of my messaging sequence to guests that I believe is a big reason why. I’m around 80, 90 percent of guests leave reviews on my properties. And the percentage that don’t leave reviews are the ones where I don’t leave a review of them because they didn’t give any communication during their stay. So I don’t know if they had a good say or not. And I’m always nervous about leaving them a review before they… If they leave me a review, then I’ll go ahead and leave them one as well. But I think a big reason is the messaging sequence that I have for from the time they book, to the day before, the night before checkout or the night of checkout, and then the message that I send to them after they leave.

Travis Zappia (00:57:34):

And that’s probably the biggest kind of secret sauce of getting good reviews is I have a very specific message that I send to guests an hour after the scheduled check out time for that guest. And what that message does high level, I don’t know, specifically, what it says high level is like, “Thank you for so much for staying at my Airbnb. You should have a 5-star review from us on your account that was left. We would love if you left a 5-star review of our place and explain the experience and all the great things about what you experienced for your stay. If there’s anything that you think can the property can improve on just in general, please privately message me any of the feedback because we want to continue to create better experience for future guests. And we know the only way to do that is to continuously ask for feedback for how we can improve the property over time.”

Travis Zappia (00:58:29):

So I think that’s like first part of that message an hour after they leave of like, “Hey, we just left you a 5-star review on your account. We would love if you… the best way to recognize us and allow us to be able to host more great guests like you is through leaving us a 5-star review of your stay,” and then letting them know we also want feedback. Give us feedback privately, if there’s anything that you saw that we can improve on the property or anything that just like, “Hey, you probably didn’t know this because your cleaners didn’t recognize it or whatever, we want that feedback. And we want to continuously get this property better. Doesn’t always work. I would say 80% of the time. It’ll work in getting a guest to review, not necessarily a 5-star review, but getting a guest to review. And that’s kind of the process that I go through to try to get reviews.

Robert Leonard (00:59:19):

Since reviews are so important with short term rentals, I’ve heard of some short term rental property owners trying to kind of manufacture reviews in that they’ll rent their properties to people they know for a very discounted rate for a dollar or $5 a night or something very, very cheap, and just ask them to leave great reviews for them. And I mean, I can definitely see how that would be a strategy that would work. I mean, you’ll have a lot more reviews, which would be very helpful for future renters. Is that something that’s kind of like against Airbnb’s rules? Is that a process that you wouldn’t go through? Walk us through your thought process on that?

Travis Zappia (00:59:55):

Yeah. So in Airbnb’s terms and conditions, that’s directly in violation with their rules of allowing for somebody to book at a significantly discounted price. That is somebody that you know to leave you a 5-star review or whatever it might be. I don’t know what Airbnb does if they catch it. I don’t advocate doing it by any means. All your reviews should be from legitimate people that you don’t know and are staying at your property. Now, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to ask for somebody that you know, a family members, friends to go stay at your place, but not book it through Airbnb, but go stay at the property and give you feedback on, “Hey, here’s what we saw. Here’s what we experienced. Here’s what you need to do from our standpoint to make the property better.”

Travis Zappia (01:00:44):

But you can charge them on the side, but not go through Airbnb or Vrbo to get a review of the property. But what you potentially said of offering a dollar, $2 or whatever, for somebody that you know to book on Airbnb, “and leave you a 5-star review,” that is directly against Airbnb’s policies and guidelines. So I definitely don’t advocate doing that. But I do advocate having friends, family, whoever go to your property and stay there, not booking through Airbnb, but go and stay there and give you feedback or before you have guests, your first guest or whatever it might be so that you can understand and get feedback from somebody on like, “Hey, here’s what I would do on the property, specifically.”

Robert Leonard (01:01:27):

There are a bunch more talking points that I want to talk through. I want to talk about some of the common rules you have. I want to talk about the different platforms, insurance cleaners, automating, photos, I mean, recessions. There’s so many more things I want to talk about. So we’re going to have to have you back on the show, Travis, soon to finish second half of this conversation. For those that have enjoyed this episode, tell everybody where the best places is to find you.

Travis Zappia (01:01:50):

Yeah. The best way to find me is on Instagram @theyoungretiree533, and that’s where I’m most response and the best places to reach out to me.

Robert Leonard (01:02:01):

I’ll be sure to put a link to Travis’ profile in the show notes below for anybody that’s interested. You can also check out people that I follow. Travis is one of the few people that I do follow as well. So you can find him there if that’s an easier way for you. Travis, thanks so much for joining me.

Travis Zappia (01:02:15):

Robert, thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.

Robert Leonard (01:02:17):

All right guys. That’s all I had for this week’s episode of real estate investing. I’ll see you again next week.

Outro (01:02:23):

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