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  • Hilary Lane

5 Steps to Owning Your Own Vacation Getaway for Under $50,000

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

If you’re into the idea of owning a vacation home, but feel like you’re ages away from being able to save enough to afford it… it may be a lot more attainable than you think! For $50,000 you probably won’t be in your dream lakefront chalet, but if you’re open to being on a smaller pond, or off in the woods, or in-town… here’s how you can get yourself into a vacation property for $50,000 total.

Yes, that includes a small down-payment and fees to buy the property, and hiring out deep cleaning, top-to-bottom interior painting, and spruce-ups to light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, etc… AND the complete cost of furnishing, outfitting, and decorating the property to your liking.

This sample scenario is for a $175,000 property. It has good bones and just needs a little love to get it cleaned up and modernized.

1. The home needs to be considered someone’s primary residence -- that's the main catch. This allows you to be able to put less than 20% down, and get a reasonable mortgage rate. Let’s say you put down $20,000, plus all the fun fees of buying real estate... round up and say you’re out of pocket around $30,000.

2. WildeWoods Design offers a package exactly designed for new vacation homes that need sprucing up. Our “Vacation Home Makeover” package (which includes professional cleaning, painting, cosmetic upgrades, furnishing, outfitting, decorating, staging, and professional photography) starts at just $15,500 for a 1BR/1BA house, or $20,500 for a 2BR/2BA house. We literally come through and do everything top-to-bottom for you!

3. Use your new professional photos to set up your Airbnb and VRBO listings (or we can do that for you too).

4. Decide if you’re going to manage your vacation rental yourself, or hire a property manager to do it for you. Either way, find yourself a good cleaner.

5. Block off the dates on your listing calendar that you want to use the house yourself, and then start getting bookings for the rest!

And that’s how your all-in investment in a vacation getaway can be as little as $50,000. Once you start getting it rented out, your rental income will quickly start paying for the mortgage and house bills, and at minimum should allow for a small maintenance fund. At first you should price very competitively and offer a “new listing promotion”, which Airbnb and VRBO will both prompt you to do… so that you can get a few renters in and get some 5-star reviews. Then once you really start rolling, you can increase the price to a good place. If done properly, you can make significant passive income.

The key to this whole business model is making your vacation getaway modern, cozy, and appealing to both you and guests!


If you're thinking about getting started in the short-term rental business, reach out to us to chat. We can provide guidance, insights, and recommendations -- no charge.

WildeWoods Design & Home Services is a New Hampshire-based consulting & design studio specializing in the vacation rental industry. We provide a variety of strategic, creative services to help "real estate entrepreneurs" get their vacation rental properties set-up to stand out in the sea of other online listings, get more bookings, deliver 5-star guest experiences, and maximize year-round passive income.


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