What Is VRBO, and How Much Can You Make With VRBO?

By: , Contributor

Published on: Dec 27, 2019

Learn how you can use VRBO to earn income with a short-term vacation property.

If you own a property in a popular vacation destination, it may be beneficial to rent it on VRBO. Learn what VRBO is and how much money you can make by renting out your property as a short-term vacation rental.

What does VRBO stand for?

VRBO, part of the HomeAway company, is now the largest online vacation rental site with over one million rentals worldwide. Incepted in 1995, VRBO stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner and was one of the first companies to promote individual owners renting out their homes or properties as vacation rental listings.

What is the difference between Airbnb and VRBO?

Unlike the popular home-sharing app Airbnb, VRBO does not allow shared-space rentals and requires the entire home to be rented. This means there are fewer listings on VRBO, but guests have peace of mind knowing their rental will be an entire private home, rather than a shared space like on Airbnb.

Is VRBO safe?

Safety is a common concern for vacation rental owners who are new to renting a property on VRBO. VRBO offers many services that provide safety, trust, and protection to both travelers and property owners, including:

  • Secure online payment processing to help collect and distribute rental income.
  • Fraud protection and traveler verification.
  • Liability insurance granting up to $1,000,000 in coverage.
  • Authentic reviews for both owners and guests.
  • Accidental damage coverage of up to $5,000 for damage to your property.

Additionally, property owners are able to establish their own house rules and report misconduct or damage to their property. Occasionally, fake or fraudulent listings are placed on VRBO, so travelers are being urged to verify listing information. For this reason, it's becoming common practice for the owner or property manager to be contacted directly to verify and confirm the validity of the listing before booking.

How much can I make by renting a property on VRBO?

Your earning potential when renting a property on VRBO depends on where your property is located, the size of the property, and the amenities or features of your property.

The 2018 Denver VRBO rental marketplace report surveying 750 property owners found that property owners made an average of $1,500 per month from their vacation rentals, with around half stating the rental income covered at least 75% of their mortgage.

Properties that bring in more income tend to share certain attributes:

  • They are in top locations for vacation rentals.
  • They are unique or in above-average condition.
  • They have additional features or amenities.

VRBO has an online calculator that can help you determine how much you could earn based on your property's features and location, although it's important to note that not every city or municipality allows short-term vacation rentals. Check with your local authorities to determine whether renting your property on VRBO is an option.

How much does it cost to use VRBO?

VRBO promises travelers booking accommodations a hassle-free booking process, payment processing, and messaging between parties online for a small fee paid by both the host and guests. Property owners can list their properties on VRBO paying a fee in one of two ways:

  1. Annual fee of $499, which allows for unlimited bookings and inquiries.
  2. Pay per booking, where VRBO receives an 8% commission per booking (which includes a 3% credit card fee).

Guests are also charged a fee on a sliding scale, which ranges from 6% to 12% depending on the listing.

Renting out a property on VRBO isn't always an option. But if your local zoning rules allow for short-term vacation rentals and your property is in an ideal location, renting it out on VRBO can be a profitable venture.

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