Cost of Snowbird Rentals: Beach, Desert, City/Metro

Leeward Key in the Destin area features stunning views of sugary white sandy beach of the Emerald Coast
Leeward Key in the Destin area features stunning views of sugary white sandy beach of the Emerald Coast

Cost of Snowbird Rentals: Beach, Desert, City/Metro

Comparison of rental rates for houses, casitas and condos in three different areas


Many snowbirds rent housing in a warm climate prior to or instead of buying because it is a practical way to check out a community or type of housing without a major long-term commitment. Everyone has different priorities regarding housing, whether it's location, a longer time away, a larger space and the view and type of amenities that are available.

So what are the rental costs of being a snowbird? A lot more than anyone who hasn't tried it may think. There are many options and variables, but the bottom line is to start with a weekly or monthly budget based on your finances. Look at short and long term rental prices, location, size/square feet, features, amenities, decor, distance from your primary home, view and the community. There are trade-offs. Generally, the warmer the climate, the higher the price. The closer to the beach or best mountain views will increase the price. The most desirable properties will command the highest rates and will be booked as much as a year or more in advance.

Most rentals include basics such as a stocked kitchen or kitchenette, patio or balcony, ironing board with iron, heat/air conditioning, parking and basic cable tv / wifi. Check your contract for availability, add-ons and upcharges such as additional parking, pets, upgraded cable, beach service, greens or tennis fees, housekeeping and so forth.

Maravilla is popular in Miramar Beach due to being pet friendly and a great location across the street from the ocean

Don't overlook the very important online reviews and, if possible, referrals. Check into whether the property is owner-operated or whether it is professionally managed and if so, by whom? Research so you know if it's a reputable owner or management company and that there is a solid history. Make sure you protect yourself from worst case scenarios. Looking at rental property from photos is a good start, but photos don't tell the whole story. Do your homework and carefully consider all aspects of renting a place if you haven't seen it in person.

Below, I've compiled a comparison of rentals in three different warm weather climates: beach, mountain/desert and metropolitan. The rental rates and descriptions are a snapshot of what is available 60 days ahead of check-in. I was surprised that good options are available at many price points on rather short notice. I enjoyed comparing the very different styles of the properties -- Sedona, Arizona is an artsy community, Orlando, Florida has amazing area attractions and Northwest Florida has gorgeous beaches, but all of the regions have one thing in common. They all feature an outdoor lifestyle, which is a huge reason snowbirds spend so much money and effort to move south for the season. 

The information provided below is strictly for general information and is not to be considered as anything more than that. 


 

OCEANFRONT RENTALS

Northwest Florida, Miramar Beach

Below, I've compiled data from an online property rental site to compare rental rates in Northwest Florida. Miramar Beach is a walkable beach community featuring the emerald blue and green waters of the ocean and sugary white sand. All of the properties are located in Miramar Beach, Florida, which is the greater Destin area of Northwest Florida. The dates for each property are from January 1, 2021 through February 28, 2021 for a total of 58 days. Each property allows a pet, although some have further restrictions such as size and number of pets. Rates, availability and other variables are subject to change without notice. Information provided here is for general use and is not to be considered for anything more than that.

Rental information source: vrbo.com as of 10-27-2020


 

SUMMERSPELL
1 BED/ 1 BATH

LOW RISE CONDO

750 SQ FT

$42/night

$3,220 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Side view of ocean from ground floor

FEATURES: Ground floor unit with patio, slider doors from living room

AMENITIES: Heated pool, across the street from beach, barbecue grills, coin laundry on premises, parking

Listing #1009013

SAND DOLLAR
1 BED/ 1 BATH

TOWNHOUSE

575 SQ FT

$76/night

$6,386 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Direct oceanfront, direct ocean view from living room, kitchen

FEATURES: Slider doors from living room, balcony, in-unit laundry

AMENITIES: Private direct access to beach from unit, 1 parking space

Listing #326100

MARAVILLA

3 BED/ 2 BATH

LOW RISE CONDO

1,140 SQ FT

$81/night

$6,012 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Side view of ocean from 3rd floor balcony

FEATURES: Slider doors from master bedroom and living room, in-unit laundry

AMENITIES: Two pools, across the street from beach, spa hot tub, elevator, fitness center, barbecue grills, tennis, basketball, volleyball, parking

Listing #475503

LEEWARD KEY
2 BED/ 2 BATH

HIGH RISE CONDO

1,100 SQ FT

$99/night

$7,153 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Direct view of ocean from 5th floor, direct ocean views from master, living room and kitchen

FEATURES: Slider doors from living room, balcony, in-unit laundry

AMENITIES: Two pools, across the street from beach, hot tub, barbecue grills, elevator, parking

Listing #464760

DESERT/MOUNTAIN RENTALS

Central Arizona, Sedona


The following data is from an online property rental site to compare rental rates in central Arizona. All of the properties are located in Sedona, Arizona, a desert area that is known for the natural beauty of the red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls, pine forests and local arts community. The dates for each property are from January 1, 2021 through February 28, 2021 for a total of 58 days. Each property allows a pet, although some have further restrictions. Rates, availability and other variables are subject to change without notice. Information provided here is for general use and is not to be considered for anything more than that.

Rental information source: vrbo.com as of 10-27-2020

SEDONA SUNRISE
1 BED/ 1 BATH

LOW RISE CONDO

550 SQ FT

$86/night

$5,619 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Red-rock buttes

FEATURES: Ground floor unit

AMENITIES: Pool, common area fenced dog area, picnic tables, basketball, four-square, parking

Listing #221497ha

Spanish Casita
1 BED/ 1 BATH

CASITA

SQ FT: Not listed

$96/night

$6,053 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Mountain view

FEATURES: Ground floor unit with covered patio, wood-burning stove, in-unit washer/dryer

AMENITIES: Tennis, golf, barbecue grill, parking

Listing #331082ha

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK

2 BED/ 2 BATH

HOUSE

SQ FT: Not listed

$118/night

$7,548 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Mountainous area

FEATURES:  Ranch style house with cathedral ceiling, sliders from master bedroom and living room, in-unit washer/dryer, fenced patio area

AMENITIES: Carport available, parking

Listing #2095054

COPPER SPRINGS
3 BED/ 2 BATH

TOWNHOUSE/CONDO

2,200 SQ FT

$154/night

$9,626 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Red-rock buttes

FEATURES: balcony/deck, fireplace, in-unit washer/dryer

AMENITIES: Gated country club setting with golf, tennis, heated pool, hot tub, barbecue grill, clubhouse, 2 car garage

Listing #175082

CITY/METRO RENTALS

Central Florida, Orlando


The following data is from an online property rental site to compare rental rates in central Florida. All of the properties are located in Orlando, Florida, a metropolitan area that is known for amazing area attractions and world renowned theme parks. Orlando is popular because it is easily accessible by air, which is essential for many snowbirds. The dates for each property are from January 1, 2021 through February 28, 2021 for a total of 58 days. Each property allows a pet, although some have further restrictions. Rates, availability and other variables are subject to change without notice. Information provided here is for general use and is not to be considered for anything more than that.

Rental information source: vrbo.com as of 10-27-2020

Crescent Park
2 BED/ 1 BATH

HOUSE

SQ FT: Not listed

$72/night

$5,126 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Lawn/yard

FEATURES: Ranch style house with private yard, in-unit washer/dryer

AMENITIES: Quiet neighborhood located near airport, theme parks, parking

Listing #2086575

Westgate Lakes Resort
STUDIO/1 BATH

LOW RISE CONDO

493 SQ FT

$79/night

$5,562 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Lake

FEATURES: Covered screened balcony, Jacuzzi bath tub, housekeeping

AMENITIES: Seven pools, hot tubs, fitness center, tennis, golf, sauna, barbecue grill, game room, bikes, canoes, paddle boats, elevator, coin laundry, parking, free shuttle service to major parks

Listing #977684

Lake Silver
STUDIO/ 1 BATH

CASITA

430 SQ FT

$98/night

$6,257 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Lake

FEATURES: Ground floor, covered patio, butterfly garden

AMENITIES: Lake access, lagoon-style private pool, barbecue grill, parking, coin laundry

Listing #331082ha

VISTA CAY RESORT
2 BED/ 2 BATH

LOW RISE CONDO

1,100 SQ FT

$150/night

$9,556 total including fees, taxes

VIEW: Lake

FEATURES: Covered balcony, fireplace, in-unit washer/dryer

AMENITIES: Common area pool, hot tub, game room, pool table, barbecue grill, parking, located near theme parks

Listing #121204

"Price is what you pay, value is what you get."

-- Warren Buffett, Investor, Business Tycoon, Philanthropist

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