Our Sedona Vacation Rental Income (During a Pandemic)

Our Sedona Vacation Rental Income (During a Pandemic)

Yep, we launched our first vacation rental in Sedona, Arizona this past spring – right before the travel industry collapsed on itself in response to the coronovirus pandemic.

By summer, like most tourist destinations, Sedona realized that no tourists = no tourist money. And then we collectively decided that tourism was maybe safe as long as you had a mask or some hand sanitizer or whatever, and especially road trips were going to be fine as long as you got an RV or AirBnB because hotels were probably still gross. . . and then vacation rentals took off again with a vengeance.

Somewhere in the middle of that hot mess, we sold our primary home and moved into said vacation rental for a couple months, which was awesome but of course didn’t produce any income. You can read our financial deets from that tumultuous couple of months here.

Below is how our little Sedona vacation rental experiment has performed for us in 2020.

Important tidbit: These income numbers are AFTER the professional cleanings/turnover, weekly landscaping, 20% management fees to the local office that handles our bookings, and any other incidentals on the property. Our mortgage payment is not subtracted here, but all costs specific to it being a well-kept-up vacation rental are.

January and February: $0. January was when we finally finished the vacation rental build and got the certificate of occupancy. In February we furnished the vacation rental and sort of finished landscaping. We listed the property for rent for March.

March: $2,157. Covid closures started in our area in mid-March, and two bookings were cancelled that month (we refunded them in full). Normally spring is a very popular time of year to visit Sedona, so this was a huge bummer for us.

April and May: $0. We gave up on having any vacation renters in late spring/early summer, so we moved in and lived full-time in the property.

June: $1,360. We lived in the property until mid-June, then went on a long (very responsible, heavily masked) family vacation.

July: $1,797. We came back to the property mid-July.

August: $1,079. We lived in the property for the first part of August.

September: $3,559. This was the first non-covid-closure month the property was truly operating as vacation rental. Fall is also very popular time of year to visit the southwest.

October: $4,769. We weathered our first less-than-stellar review, and spent a lot of time and money trying to javalina-proof our trash cans.

Bonus tip for desert vacation properties: javalinas are smarter than you. They WILL get into your trash no matter what tricks you try to keep them away, and you will eventually have to drop over $300 on giant, heavy, critter-proof trash bins like those ones they have in bear country that are impossible to open.

Updated in January 2021 to include November and December:

November: $1,991. All non-Thanksgiving weekends and one mid-week stay were booked. We reserved the 10 days around Thanksgiving for our own family.

December: $5,365.

Total, Sedona House made us $14,721 in its first six months of being a vacation rental. ($22,077 total during the 8 months it was available for rent in 2020.)

And we used it ourselves quite a lot during those months. And there was a pandemic going on. (And, again: professional cleaning, weekly landscaping, concierge trash service, management/booking platform fees, etc. are already subtracted from that total).

So we feel like it’s fine. In fact, we’re really grateful for this little distraction in the midst of the dumpster fire that is 2020.

We’re learning a lot about being good hosts (and good neighbors and semi-locals) in this beautiful and highly sought-after tourist destination. We’re having fun, we’re making it profitable-ish, and we’ve got a great place to escape with the fam when we want to.

Interested in booking our place? Book directly through Foothills Management for the best rate. We’d love to host you!

5 Replies to “Our Sedona Vacation Rental Income (During a Pandemic)”

  1. For all these photos – it would also be good to check with the artist beforehand in case it is subject to copyright. Do you do that? Best wishes. Aaren

    1. Hi Aaren! Yes, the vast majority of these photos are mine. There are also quite a few that were taken by friends/family and used with permission. The very few stock images on Doctor in Denim (I think there are maybe 3 total) are from sites like Unsplash. Thanks for reading! 😀

  2. Thanks for this post. It’s hard to find numbers on vacation rental income in specific areas, especially now during covid.

    1. Thanks Reina – glad you found the post helpful! Hope you’re able to enjoy some (very safe) travel adventures during this time! 🙂

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