Rohin Dhar Profile picture
Vacation rental investor and proprietor of fine Airbnbs. Founder and CEO of @priceonomics.
May 17 6 tweets 2 min read
March 2020 as our vacation rental business was imploding and revenue dropping to near zero, we decided to raise prices.

Our thinking:

Well if you can catch a deadly plague from a touching a doorknob, there’s no discounted price that’s going to impel people to book your home. Was kind of a lucky gambit that paid off.

By June 2020 people were raring to get out of their homes and renting a home they could drive too was a great option.

So the rest of the 2020 had pretty good pricing.
May 16 7 tweets 1 min read
Ever stay at a vacation rental that’s completely dated & filled with musty old furniture?

It’s bc the owners bought a long time ago & have a good thing going making $2K per month profit.

Are they going to take *5 years* profit & put it towards a $100K renovation? Probably not. Plus, you have to take the property offline for a few months during renovation.

So you swing from making $2K profit per month, to maybe losing like $5K per month, plus the $100K in renovation costs.

Hard to swallow the loss.
May 7 6 tweets 2 min read
Since the pandemic, the type of guest at our vacation rental in Sonoma is completely different than prior.

Used to be a group of adults flying in to enjoy wine country.

Now, 100% Bay Area families that come for the pool. Wine country is totally incidental.

But a problem... The problem we ran into last year was that the pool is unusable in the winter because the water is freezing 🥶

But no one was flying in to wine country to visit vineyards, which would be our normal guest in the winter.

So no real prospects for getting any guests in the winter.
May 6 7 tweets 2 min read
Your debt to income (DTI) ratio does not mix favorably with short term rentals, which makes getting conventional loans a slog.

(also acts as guard rails preventing you from going too fast)

The key issue is the absence of the written 12 month lease. When you get a loan, your Debt portion of the DTI calculation goes up, but your Income remains the same because there is no written lease.

So the process of acquiring properties dings your DTI so that you no longer qualify for conventional loans.

For a while at least...
Apr 23 4 tweets 1 min read
To me, focusing on direct bookings for vacation rentals are kind of a fools errand unless you have true scale in a location.

It’s kind of like building your own power plant just to provide electricity your house because you’re afraid the utility company is going to raise rates When people say "we get 100% direct bookings" so we're independent of Airbnb and Vrbo, to me that means they are dramatically underpricing by ignoring the largest sources of demand.

If 10x more people saw your listings, your price would be higher!
Apr 21 4 tweets 1 min read
The days of remote work giving rural short term rentals a massive bump are basically over. Image These rural spots are still incredible areas. But I think increasingly the guests will mostly be people on vacation, not remote workers.

Just like before times!
Apr 15 18 tweets 2 min read
Series of minor "miracles" you need to pull off in a row to successfully run a vacation rental 👇 Find a property where the numbers work and short term rentals are allowed
Apr 14 4 tweets 1 min read
Was reviewing an old blog post about how much it cost us to build a plunge pool & was reminded of the time I hired a contractor for $1500 paid upfront to do something and he disappeared with the money.

And he had been incredibly reliable doing many other jobs for us until then! Another time, had a tree trimming contractor come out for a quote. He called & said "Can do it now for $750 since my crew is already up here"

When I checked the work the next day (after paying) he had trimmed like almost nothing. Had to pay another contractor $2K to do the job.
Jan 26 15 tweets 3 min read
Our vacation rental investment progress has moved glacially over the last 7 years. There are more interesting accounts here that do more deals so will be more interesting to follow😀

Reasons for our glacial pace (that if you did the opposite of you’d grow much faster): We don’t use investor capital to buy properties, just our own savings when we can cobble enough together.
Jan 25 9 tweets 6 min read
For vacation rentals, I'm looking for places with some ineffable quality that will delight guests, but the price of the home doesn’t reflect how valuable that feature is in an Airbnb, so you’re getting that “delight” for free.

These are the (unpriced) features in our portfolio: To start with an obvious one, our Earthship cost us way less than a regular house in the market (maybe half), but uhhhh wouldn’t you rather stay here?
Jan 20 4 tweets 1 min read
For our vacation rentals, mortgage interest is 17% of our total costs.

Even if we used no leverage whatsoever, there are still a lot of other costs that add up! Properties taxes, insurance, cleaning fees, occupancy taxes, repairs, gardening, pest control, pool maintenance, household supplies, capex, platform fees etc
Jan 14 13 tweets 3 min read
Just finished the books for Dec 2021 for our little vacation rental business (6 properties, average purchase price $355K with 20% down, mostly funded from recycling the cashflow and equity).

Going to share the results again for the month. And also the complete 2021 results. As an aside, I share them because it’s motivating to improve the results if you plan to to share them later and writing helps me think more clearly. If the results become either embarrassingly good or embarrassingly bad down the line, I reserve the right to stop sharing them 😀
Dec 9, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
Anytime we’ve ever acquired a vacation rental property, it took so many successive miracles to pull off (finding a good deal, scraping together the downpayment, getting the loan, renovating and designing it, getting a cleaning crew, and then finally getting guests who love it). Might be totally irrational, but I can’t imagine ever selling them after going through that process! They're like my little babies.
Dec 8, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
Our first guest that ever stayed at this property gave it 4 stars, which was a rough way to start. But since then it’s rattled off 67 five star reviews in a row😀 To be a "Superhost" on Airbnb, the main criteria is if you average a 4.8 star rating across your properties. So having a property that folks really really love can help you hit that average with a bit less stress.
Oct 20, 2021 9 tweets 2 min read
Since a lot of people asked me how does one exactly afford the downpayments for all these homes, I’d thought I’d break down roughly how my wife and I turned 1 house into 6. (Note: this is somewhat simplified and not the exact timing of how things worked, but in retrospect, yes how things worked)
Oct 19, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
These are the purchase prices of the homes in the small portfolio of vacation rentals owned by my wife and me. All purchased with 20% down, mostly funded from the portfolio itself.
Apr 7, 2021 17 tweets 3 min read
There is a bit of a gold rush of people investing in Airbnbs and vacation rentals this year (related to pandemic remote work, interest rates, and perhaps the company’s IPO). I’m not sure if people realize quite how risky the asset class is. This point was hit home the other day when listening to a podcast where someone with less than a year’s investing experience mentioned they were closing on 5 new Airbnb properties this month. Then i heard a podcast featuring someone with 5 properties and only 30 days experience!
Feb 5, 2021 13 tweets 5 min read
The most interesting thing we did during the pandemic was … we bought an Earthship! Image An Earthship is an off-the-grid, self-sustaining home brilliantly designed by Michael Reynolds. It’s a house that half-buried in the earth, half greenhouse near Taos, New Mexico. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship….
Jan 4, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
New year, new project I wanted to share on Twitter! My wife and I have started investing in vacation rental real estate (ie Airbnbs). First accidentally, then occasionally, now more seriously.