5 Surprising Costs to Prepare for When Buying a Vacation Rental in South Florida

Over the last few years, generating additional personal income through individual or a handful of rental properties has become very popular. Investors from all over the world are coming to South Florida to take advantage of the strong tourism industry. Given our climate and proximity to the ocean, this area is a tourist hot spot for most of the year. To help give you a better picture of what to expect, here are 5 surprising costs to prepare for when buying a vacation rental in South Florida.

Mortgage and Escrow

A little familiarity with the average real estate transaction creates the expectation that you will need to secure financing through a licensed and reputable mortgage lender. 

While you may be used to paying your own mortgage every month, and even have dug into the specifics of what and how your charges add up, there are a couple of things to watch for when buying a vacation rental. 

First, expect the interest rate on the loan to be higher than advertised because this is a property that you will not be living in yourself. Next, if you are unable to make a full twenty percent down payment, it’s likely that any Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, will be greater than usual as well. This, of course, is no longer an issue once you have paid off the first twenty percent of the loan. 

The last detail to remember is calculating property taxes being paid into an escrow account – often through your lender. Don’t let these sometimes overlooked expenses put a damper on your rental property endeavors.

HOA Fees

Depending on where your chosen rental property sits, it could be part of a Homeowners Association. For example, if you intend to buy a condo near the water, you’ll likely be dealing with an HOA.

Any property you look into buying should disclose this early in the process, and you should be provided materials going over anything and everything regarding the HOA. 

One of the most important things to pay attention to is any HOA dues and their payment schedule. Being under an HOA also means rules and regulations that must be abided along with the likelihood that your involvement with the HOA would benefit you at some point in the future. 

Some HOAs can be a bit hostile toward rental property owners as you would be seen as an intruding outsider, and other HOAs may outright prohibit the existence of a rental property.


While your more immediate goal is to acquire a property with the intent to rent, you’ll want to plan ahead for any bills that may come your way from needing to generate interest in the property itself. 

There are a number of popular online platforms that charge monthly fees to help advertise rentals, and a quick search will give you all of the details you need. 

Some of these platforms handle online payment processing themselves but be sure to check out all of the stipulations in payment processing so you don’t find yourself without the ability to secure those interested in renting your home. Taking time to determine which is most suitable for your property will save you a lot of time in the long run.


Just like covering all of the bases on your own home, buying a vacation rental means purchasing additional insurance coverage. 

However, being a rental property that isn’t inhabited by you regularly this once again means it’s likely to cost more than what you’re used to paying for your own homeowner’s insurance. 

Have a meeting with your agent, explain exactly what your plans are, and get all of the necessary information from them prior to making any decisions. An official meeting also provides you with the opportunity to ask any questions.


If you’re a hands-on person who lives close to your rental property, taking care of it yourself may be what you were already planning to do. 

However, if you’re unable to be there on short notice, employing the services of a property manager, cleaner, or maintenance person could be required. Not to mention, turning your vacation rental into a more passive investment can easily be a part of your goals. Factor in any wages and benefits that could be needed along with supplies.

Help When Buying a Vacation Rental in South Florida

When buying a vacation rental in South Florida, contact our team to assist you at (954) 526-4556!

Christopher Kennedy

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