What is STR in Real Estate? Short-Term Rental Investing Explained

what is str in real estate

Are you wondering what is STR in real estate but not quite sure what it means? You’re not alone. STR is also known as Short-term rentals and this kind of rentals have really shaken up the real estate scene lately. It’s a game-changer for rental investors looking to maximize their rental income.

STRs are properties rented out for less than 30 days, often listed on platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo. They cater to travelers seeking a home away from home experience. From cozy studios to luxurious villas, STRs come in all shapes and sizes.

In this blog let’s get through everything to getting started with investment properties for short stays. Get ready to learn how you can capitalize on this lucrative trend and take your real estate portfolio to the next level.

Dive Deeper into Your Real Estate Potential: As the founder and CEO of eFunder, I bring my extensive experience in real estate and commercial mortgages to enhance your investment strategy. Stay tuned for actionable insights, and don’t miss the exclusive offer at the end of this article, designed to revolutionize your lead generation approach.

Table Of Contents:

What is STR in Real Estate?

If you’re diving into the world of real estate investing, you’ve probably come across the term “STR” or short-term rental. But what exactly does it mean?

In a nutshell, STR refers to renting out a residential property for short periods, usually less than 30 days at a time. Think vacation rentals listed on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.

Definition of STR

STR stands for “Short-Term Rental.” This term refers to the rental of residential properties for short durations, typically less than 30 days, though the exact definition can vary by local laws and regulations.

STR properties are often used for vacation stays and are commonly listed on platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Owners of STR properties might offer a range of accommodations, from single rooms to entire homes, catering to travelers seeking alternatives to traditional hotel stays.

Characteristics of STRs

The characteristic of an STR in real estate is the duration of the stay. Typically, these rentals are designed for brief periods, offering a home away from home for travelers.

Properties can vary widely, from luxury condos to cozy cottages, reflecting the diverse needs of renters. Importantly, operating a vacation rental often requires adherence to local laws and regulations, including zoning rules and business licenses, ensuring everything is above board.

Rise of STRs in the Real Estate Market

Many property owners and real estate investors own short term rentals as a form of income. Indeed, Short-Term Rentals (STRs) constitute a segment of the vacation rental sector, with approximately 23,000 establishments in the United States alone, accounting for 20% of global vacation rental businesses[3].

Moreover, platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and TripAdvisor facilitate the seamless discovery of STRs for millions of travelers exploring their preferred destinations.

STR vs. LTR: Understanding the Differences

Now that you know what STR means in real estate, let’s compare it to its counterpart: long term rentals (LTR). While both involve renting out a property, there are some key differences to note.

Income Stream

STRs offer flexibility since no lease agreement exists, and owners can rent out their properties at higher rates per night. However, the income from STRs could be more predictable and consistent than LTRs.

Length of Stay

The primary difference between STRs and LTRs lies in the lease duration. STRs, offering flexibility and higher income potential, attract a different market segment than long term rental.

Target Guests

Most STR properties are second homes in tourist spots or seasonal destinations rented out to vacationers while the owners are elsewhere. However, they also appeal to renters who do not want a long term commitment, such as those who will move out after a few weeks or months anyway[2].

Governing Rules

Importantly, operating a vacation rental often requires adherence to local laws and regulations, including zoning rules and business licenses, ensuring everything is above board.

Benefits of Investing in STRs

So, why should you consider investing in short term rentals? Here are a few compelling reasons:

Higher Income Potential

STRs offer flexibility since no lease agreement exists, and owners can rent out their properties at higher rates per night.

Flexibility and Control

With short term rentals, you have more control over when and how often you rent out your property. This flexibility can be especially appealing if you plan to use the property yourself for part of the year.


For investors with larger portfolios, it’s possible to adopt a blended approach that leverages both STRs and real estate professional status.

Tax Benefits

If you operate your STRs according to best practices and materially participate in them, you can enjoy similar tax benefits to real estate professionals.

Challenges and Considerations of STR Investments

While short term rentals can be lucrative, they’re not without their challenges. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Regulations and Legal Requirements

Importantly, operating a vacation rental often requires adherence to local laws and regulations, including zoning rules and business licenses, ensuring everything is above board.

Increased Management and Maintenance

An STR owner has to deal with the added responsibility of constantly marketing their properties to guests and maintaining and cleaning them frequently. In contrast, LTRs require less marketing and maintenance since the tenants treat the properties as their homes.

Seasonality and Occupancy Fluctuations

Most STR properties are second homes in tourist spots or seasonal destinations rented out to vacationers while the owners are elsewhere.

Financing and Insurance

The rental income generated from LTRs is more stable and predictable, making it easier for landlords to obtain financing. Lenders prefer consistent rental income to offset property expenses and mortgage payments, making it easier to access financing for LTRs than STRs.

Key Takeaway: Dive into STR investing to tap into the lucrative world of short-term rentals, where flexibility meets higher income potential. But keep an eye on local laws and prepare for hands-on management. It’s a balancing act between earning more and staying compliant.

How to Get Started with STR Investing

Ready to dive into the world of short term rental (STR) investing? It’s a smart move, considering the lucrative returns and growing demand for vacation rentals across the US.

But before you start scouring the market for that perfect vacation rental property, there are a few crucial steps you need to take. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back with this step-by-step guide.

Researching STR Markets

First things first, you need to find the ideal location for your STR investment. This is where thorough market research comes into play.

Look for areas with high tourist appeal, consistent demand from business travelers, and favorable STR regulations. Popular vacation destinations and cities with major events or attractions are often a safe bet.

Choosing the Right Property

Once you’ve zeroed in on a promising location, it’s time to find that perfect property. Consider factors like property type, unique features (think hot tubs or stunning views), and target market preferences.

A vacation home with standout amenities in a prime location is sure to attract guests and maximize your returns.

Setting Up and Managing Your STR

Now that you’ve found your ideal STR property, it’s time to get it ready for guests. This involves everything from furnishing and decorating to establishing cleaning and maintenance routines.

You’ll also need to decide whether to manage the property yourself or hire a professional property management company. While self-management offers more control, partnering with a reputable company can save you time and hassle.

Marketing and Promoting Your STR

To ensure a steady stream of bookings, you’ll need to market and promote your STR effectively. Listing on popular platforms like Airbnb and VRBO is a must, but don’t stop there.

Leverage social media, create a compelling listing with high-quality photos, and encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews. The more visible and appealing your STR is, the more bookings you’ll secure.

Top Cities for STR Investments in 2024

Alright, you’re ready to invest in an STR property, but where should you focus your search? According to AIRDNA, these are the top 10 cities for STR investments in 2024:

  1. Columbus, Georgia
  2. Ellsworth, Maine
  3. Logan, Ohio
  4. Spring Hill, Florida
  5. Sneads Ferry, North Carolina
  6. Winter Haven, Florida
  7. Stanton, Kentucky
  8. Port Angeles, Washington
  9. Akron, Ohio
  10. Fairbanks, Alaska

These cities boast strong tourism industries, high occupancy rates, and impressive cash returns for STR investors. If you’re looking for the best places to invest in 2024, start your search in these top-performing markets.

Maximizing Your STR Investment Returns

Now, it’s time to focus on maximizing your returns. Here are some key strategies to help you get the most out of your investment:

Optimizing Your Pricing Strategy

Setting the right nightly rate is crucial for maximizing your cash flow and achieving a healthy cap rate. Use dynamic pricing tools to adjust your rates based on demand, seasonality, and local events.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different pricing strategies to find the sweet spot that attracts guests and boosts your bottom line.

Enhancing Guest Experience

Happy guests lead to positive reviews, repeat bookings, and referrals. Go above and beyond to create a memorable experience for your guests.

Provide high-quality amenities, thoughtful touches, and prompt, friendly communication. A little extra effort can go a long way in securing those 5-star reviews and loyal guests.

Leveraging Technology and Automation

Technology is your friend when it comes to managing an STR efficiently. Invest in tools that automate tasks like booking management, guest communication, and cleaning scheduling.

This not only saves you time and effort but also ensures a seamless experience for your guests.

Implementing Effective Property Management

Whether you choose to self-manage or work with a property management company, effective management is key to STR success.

Stay on top of maintenance, respond promptly to guest inquiries, and maintain a spotless property. A well-managed STR will attract more bookings and command higher rates.

Key Takeaway: Dive into STR investing with a solid plan: Research hot markets, pick the right property, set up for success, and market smartly. Focus on cities like Pigeon Forge or Maui for high returns. Remember, happy guests and smart pricing are your tickets to maximizing profits.

FAQs in Relation to What is Str in Real Estate

Is a STR a good investment?

Yes, if you’re up for high rental demand and can navigate local laws. It often beats LTR in earnings.

What does STR in real estate mean?

STR stands for short-term rental. Think Airbnb or VRBO—places folks rent for days or weeks instead of months.

What is the 1% rule for STR?

This rule says your monthly rental income should be at least 1% of the property’s purchase price. Helps gauge profitability.

What does STR mean property?

An STR property is where guests stay short term, like vacation homes. They’re furnished and ready to go for travelers.


Imagine beefing up that portfolio of yours with some choice STR investments—watch as it brings a fresh wave of rental revenue rolling in. With the rise of vacation rental platforms, the demand for short-term rentals is skyrocketing.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Short-term rentals aren’t all smooth sailing; they come with a heavier load of management tasks and more rules to follow. It’s crucial to do your homework and understand the local regulations before diving in.

Wondering what makes STR investing work? Finding the right property in the right market. Make your prices work smarter, not harder, boost how happy your guests are and use tech to make running things smoother. With the right strategy, STR investing can be a game-changer for your real estate business.

So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring the exciting world of STR investing today and take your portfolio to new heights!

Take the first step towards transforming your real estate dreams into reality with eFunder. Click here to schedule a personalized consultation and discover how we can help you secure the optimal financing for your next investment venture. Let’s build your success story together!

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Picture of Terence Young
Terence Young

Founder of eFunder

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