Are you thinking about purchasing a property you can put on the short-term rental market? Here are some answers to the questions that we are often asked:
Where are the short-term rental areas on Hilton Head?
You may assume that all the properties you see on our site can go on the short-term rental market. However, over half of the communities on Hilton Head do not allow short-term rentals. Here are the areas where most of the short-term rentals are on the island:
While most of the listings you see in these five areas do allow short-term rentals, there are some complexes and subareas (ex. Leamington residential area) that do not. It's best to check with your agent to make sure that the property you have your eye on is a safe bet.
Out of those five communities, where should I focus my search?
If you want to be in a resort community with trails, a beach club, a security gate, golf access and a generally quieter area, consider the following:
If you want to be closer to the center of the action with lots of people around and close to bars/restaurants, start with:
How close to the beach do you need to be?
For the most part, the closer you are to the beach, the better your rental income will be. However, there are a few exceptions: Homes/condos in Harbour Town with a pool do very well on the rental market. Renters like getting coffee or a bite to eat in Harbour Town and then taking the Sea Pines Trolley to the beach. Also, in Palmetto Dunes/Shelter Cove there are complexes that are almost a mile from the beach that do well on the rental market because the Dunes Buggy offers an easy shuttle to the beach.
Are you ok with your renters bringing their pets?
Charging renters a fee for their pets is sometimes a good way to increase your rental income but the damage pets can do to a property can more than offset that benefit. If you are buying a condo, many complexes do not let owners have pets and even fewer allow renters to have them. If this is an important point for you, make sure you are provided with rules for the complex to verify this.
How are short-term rentals typically managed?
You can either hire a short-term rental manager or rent it yourself using VRBO/Airbnb. While you will pay less to rent it yourself, it can be very time-consuming and your success will often depend on how fast you respond to inquiries. If you are not able to devote your time and attention to it, or prefer not to, it's best to work with a rental manager. Competition between rental management companies on Hilton Head has only increased over the years. Your agent can recommend a few companies to evaluate. It's best to start with companies that have a strong presence in the area/complex you are considering.
How many weeks out of the year are properties typically rented?
The short answer is usually around 26 weeks/year (between March-September). However, many properties have winter renters (called snowbirds) that can rent the property for weeks at a time. Some owners that have been renting for a long time have repeat renters that continue to enjoy their property every year and they will have bookings that exceed 35 weeks/year.
What is the Town of Hilton Head's Short-Term Rental Initiative?
Over the past few years, short-term rentals have been popping up in areas of Hilton Head where they were not commonly found. There were also a number of property owners renting through VRBO/Airbnb that were unresponsive if an emergency happened or their renters threw a noisy party. To address concerns like these, the town is launching an initiative to regulate short-term rentals. If the proposed initiative passes, the following changes would go into effect in 2023:
1) Short-term rental owners would need to apply to the town for a permit ($250).
2) Short-term rental managers (owners or agents) would need to be physically present to respond within an hour of notification to a complaint or some other responsive action needed.
Click here for more information on this initiative.