Is a short-term rental right for you? Often referred to as an Airbnb, a short-term rental (STR) is a property that is leased for 30 days or less and charges a nightly or weekly fee. There are upwards of 800 STRs listed on Airbnb in Calgary and include all types of properties from single-bedroom shared spaces to fully detached homes.
When looking to buy a condominium in Calgary we recommend including a condominium document review condition in the purchase contract. Typically, the rules around short-term rental will be provided in the condo’s bylaws. Some condos in Calgary do not allow short-term rentals. Most don’t have any specific rules for or against short-term rentals in their bylaws. As a buyer, it is important to understand your risk.
Condos in Alberta can change their bylaws if 75% of owners agree. The condo board could propose a motion to ban short-term rentals in the building at any time. If you continue to operate your short-term rental you could be subject to fines and legal action. Very few buildings in Calgary explicitly allow short-term rentals but the ones that do are very popular with investors.
There are rules you must follow provided by whichever listing platform you choose (Airbnb or Vrbo) including obtaining a Short Term Rental Business License. You are also legally obliged to follow the condominium rules and regulations.
We spoke with Duncan from YourKey Rental Management to give us a breakdown of a couple of units they manage as well as the average cost to fully furnish a unit. We also broke down the estimated cost to purchase a similar unit and calculated the monthly expenses.
Case Study One:
1-Bedroom, Sunnyside, Calgary – https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/48169611
- Address: 325 9A Street NW (Annex)
- The average startup cost for a 1 bedroom – (furniture, kitchen supplies etc.): Total all-in setup cost = ~$12,000
- Estimated annual revenue: 2022 Gross Revenue = ~$42,000
- Average occupancy rate: 2022 Occupancy Rate = 87%
- Average daily rate: 2022 ADR = $124.50
Cost to own:
- Estimated purchase price: $345,000
- 20% down payment: $70,000
- Estimated mortgage: $1700/month (based on a 5-year fixed rate at 5.5%)
- Condo fees, property tax, utilities (estimated): $500/month
- Estimated all-in: $2200/month or $26,400 per year
To rent this unit to a long-term tenant in today’s market you might be able to get between $2000-$2300/month ($24,000-$27,600 gross revenue). Your all-in monthly costs to own the unit would stay the same at roughly $26,400 per year.
The benefit to this option is that you don’t have the additional start-up costs to furnish the unit, you don’t have as much work managing the rentals and you have guaranteed income for one year (or however long the tenant signs the lease for).
With an Airbnb rental, you would have cleaning expenses of roughly $100-$150 per clean. Estimating an average of 100 three-day rentals per year, this comes out to $10,000-$15,000 in expenses. You would also have some small expenses to stock coffee, toilet paper, etc.
If operating a short-term rental seems like too much to handle or you just want some passive income on a vacation property that you also get to benefit from, you can hire a professional management company like YourKey to look after all the bookings, cleanings and marketing of your property. These companies usually charge between 20-25% of the total revenue.
Keep in mind that you will also owe income tax on your revenue after expenses (regardless of whether it’s a short-term or long-term rental), so the more profit you make, the more tax you pay 🙁
Case Study Two:
2-Bedroom, Beltline, Calgary – https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/52533905
- Address: 135 13th Avenue SW (Colours)
- The average startup cost for a 2 bedroom – (furniture, kitchen supplies etc.): Total all-in setup cost = ~$17,000
- Estimated annual revenue: 2022 Gross Revenue = ~$64,000
- Average occupancy rate: 2022 Occupancy Rate = 81%
- Average daily rate: 2022 ADR = $199.70
Cost to own:
- Estimated purchase price: $380,000
- 20% down payment: $76,000
- Mortgage: $1840/month (based on a 5-year fixed rate at 5.5%)
- Condo fee, property tax, utilities (estimated): $900/month
- Estimated all-in: $2740/month or $32,880 per year
To rent this unit to a long-term tenant in today’s market you might be able to get between $2500-$2800/month ($30,000-$33,500 gross revenue). Your all-in monthly costs to own the unit would stay the same at roughly $32,880 per year.
Cash-flowing condos in Calgary can be difficult when renting to a long-term tenant unless you put more than 20% down due to the high condo fees we see in most buildings. This is where a short-term rental could be a good option for someone looking for more positive cash flow and who is willing to take on more work to increase their return on investment.
Another option would be to purchase a 3-bedroom townhome or even a duplex or detached home. You can get much more for income and you don’t have to deal with all the rules and regulations of a condominium.
Townhomes are part of a condominium corporation but might have fewer rules around rentals especially if they are self-managed. A self-managed condo means that instead of hiring a property management company to deal with the day-to-day operations of the building, the owners of the complex take on those roles and make decisions on their own.
*Note all numbers are estimated based on the current rates and market conditions at the time of writing*
If you are interested in rental properties and want to learn more about what this could look like for you, send me an email!