The thought of purchasing a vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks can be intriguing. If your family has been coming to the Lake for years, always renting a place to stay, maybe now is the time to think about purchasing a place of your own. Unfortunately, a lot of people do this without thinking everything through. Keep reading to learn about some common mistakes new property owners make. We want you to have a positive experience with your investment property, and that’s why we want to educate new owners about what it’s like owning a vacation rental at the Lake of the Ozarks.


Local Regulations

One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen new property owners at the Lake of the Ozarks make is not checking to see if short term rentals are allowed by their association before purchasing. True story, we had a lady call us about management and unfortunately had to explain to her that rentals were not allowed at her property. She was in tears, as that was the main purpose for purchasing the property. Before making a home or condo purchase, be sure to check local rules and regulations regarding short-term rentals.


Short Rental Season

Common mistakes new property owners make also include not understanding the short rental season at the Lake of the Ozarks and thinking that investing in rental property here is going to make a huge profit. Our season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and 90% of our rentals occur during that time. There are only so many days, so many weekends during that time period, which really limits the potential income of a property in this area.

In some instances, if you have the right property and are paying cash for it, you might be able to turn a profit. However, for most people, after financing, insurance, taxes, HOA fees, etc. The revenue coming from rentals is just enough to help offset some of those expenses so you’re not paying everything out of pocket. Our best owners are those that understand the seasonality of the area, purchased with the intent of having a place for their family to come to year after year and just want rental income as a supplement.


Crunching the Numbers

Even those owners who do understand the seasonality of the lake area, can still make the mistake of not running the numbers. As mentioned above, the cost of owning a second home at the Lake is more than just a mortgage payment. You need to consider other expenses including insurance, taxes, HOA fees, utilities, property maintenance and upkeep, etc. If you’re expecting your Lake property to pay for itself through rentals, it’s just highly unlikely in our market. We have years of statistics to back up our numbers, and we would be happy to share with you estimated annual rental income based off similar properties that we have managed in the past. Compare those numbers with your estimated expenses and see if owning a second home at the Lake of the Ozarks makes sense for you.


Underestimating Vacationers’ Wants

Finally, underestimating what vacationers are looking for is another common mistake. The closer you are to activities, restaurants, etc. the better your rental property is going to do. While your family might be fine relaxing at the 41 mile marker, people coming to the Lake for vacation want to be in an area where there is plenty to do. Therefore, the closer you are to Osage Beach, the heart of the Lake area, the more rentals you’re likely to get. You also want to consider things like bed sizes and amenities. While you can put two children in a queen size bed, most adults don’t want twin beds, especially bunk beds. You don’t want to limit who could potentially stay in your property.

Before purchasing a property, it’s in your best interest to run all the numbers, do your research on the property and location, and talk to a Lake of the Ozarks property manager for insight on what guests are looking for, how many potential rental nights you could get and an estimate of yearly income.


Nightly Vacation Rentals at the Lake of the Ozarks: 

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4571 Osage Beach Pkwy, Suite A
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Phone: 573-365-3367