“Did you notice how many people came to Utah when we host the Iron Man, or maybe how big the Parade of Homes is. We have large turnouts! This has got us thinking about the process of buying vacation properties and then renting them out. The next-door house is for sale. Could that be a good option for a vacation rental?

We hear this from almost all of our customers but unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

In this post, we are going to discuss how to go about purchasing a vacation rental in St. George, Utah. Owning a vacation rental involves buying, managing, and renting out a house for vacations. If you’re thinking about buying a rental, it’s going to be a little bit more complicated than you might think in the St. George region.

At Sunny Vacation Rentals, we are not only property managers but licensed real estate agents here to help you learn everything there is to know about buying vacation rentals in St. George Utah.



Why Buy In St. George

St. George is a wonderful place, and there are several reasons that people, including us, are drawn here. Utah is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and to five national parks, also known as “the might five”. Zion National Park, our most famous park, lies in Southern Utah at just over an hour East of St. George.

Then there is the all-too-forgotten, Snow Canyon State Park. This national park is just as stunningly beautiful as the others, but just a short twenty minutes north of St. George. However, when you think of South Utah, or even just Utah, you think of Zion. Another attraction is Brian’s Head, a quaint mountain village with a resort located a little less than an hour and a half from here.

Along with beautiful scenery and mountain villages, St. George has hosted popular events, such as the Iron Man, the Half Ironman, the St. George Marathon, and the Senior Games. You will see mountain biking or an ATV event; there is always something to do. When visiting Ancestor Square on the weekends, restaurants that are in high demand will have longer lines and wait times.

Tourism has grown exponentially. Visitors will come from out of town for fun events, fine dining, outdoor adventures, and new facilities. Golfing is a major attraction and with the opening of Black Desert Resort, a luxury getaway that is projected to attract a million people a year, Utah’s tourism is flourishing.

Is It Legal?

Given this growth in tourism, more people are contemplating buying a vacation property or even purchasing a cool little condo downtown and then renting it out as a vacation rental. Sometimes you can scope out the area on VRBO or Airbnb and you will see some great properties available. Even though Utah is a Republican state, there are limitations when it comes to where you can buy a rental and what can be altered on the property.

Only properties that have been zoned for nightly rentals should do this otherwise it will be considered illegal. Although there are people who will rent out properties with regulations against it, it is not advised to run the risk of having your operation get shut down. For example, if a few guests booked your “rental,” and had a party, the neighbors could complain leading to having your operation get shut down later.

That’s the risk you run. If you do want to purchase a vacation property here and you want to do it legally, there are only certain areas that have been zoned for it, certain communities mainly. For a better understanding of navigating zoned properties, you can reach out to us and let us know what your real estate needs are. We can ensure that we find that nightly rental zoned area, for the kind of property you’re looking for.

Zoning & Property Restrictions

There is a new construction lot in Sand Hollow State Park where these beautiful homes with enchanting architecture are being built. The European charm rests on a zoned lot and will surely attract those looking to purchase a second home. Alternatively, anytime the homeowners leave, they could rent it out for a nightly rental, just to bring in additional income. These properties with a few vacation rentals often have only one property management company to work with. It’s important to be aware that you don’t have to self-manage or have another property manager, however, a part of that association may require you to use their property manager.

Understandably, some people will find it unfair to not have the freedom to do whatever they would like and choose who manages their property. The community has passionately expressed their grievances on Facebook groups and among other platforms. We understand both sides of the argument, and many local politicians have even expressed how fundamentally wrong having property rights restrictions is.

There have been instances where restrictions became necessary like in the case of a homeowner in Hurricane. He had an unfortunate experience where several party buses would show up in his neighborhood, and there would be about 30 cars lining the streets. There would be these giant parties, and this group would go out to Zion the next day, not considering the effects their behavior would have on the neighborhood. Due to a few bad seeds,  restrictions were placed which has caused a lot of tension and controversy, especially for the majority of considerate visitors.

Illegal Rentals

If you’re thinking about coming to St. George, and you go on Airbnb to rent a property you may be able to tell if they are doing it illegally when there are many strict rules. They may have rules about parking on the street or the number of cars allowed in the carport; all to ensure the owners don’t get caught. Even though some people are clearly renting out their homes illegally, the policies in place do seem to have an effect on locals, since they work hard to not get caught.

They must make sure whoever is going to their property is also a good renter and refrains from making bad choices that will reflect poorly on the owner and bring attention to the illegal agreement. So, these regulations have lessened these negative experiences by either ensuring owners don’t rent out their properties at all or owners illegally rent out their properties but with serious caution.

Now having said all that, these properties that are zoned for nightly rentals are in very high demand because there are not that many of them. So, you must be aware that those properties, for a comparable property that’s not in those zones, it’s certainly going to be more expensive.

Is It Worth It?

When randomly looking at Aribnbs for a fun impromptu trip to Pine Valley, it was difficult to find any Airbnbs available. Most of the people that are up there are actually following the rules and requiring visitors to rent the home for 30 days.

If it is zoned for a nightly rental, it will be more expensive since they are far and few. It depends on how much you are looking to make out of this property, as to whether you think it’s a good investment.

The good news is that long-term rentals, like the six-month and one-year rentals have gone up in price. As property prices have gone up during the pandemic, the rents have gone up tremendously as well. It’s not like this cliff of value that you’re going to fall off of if you’re not going to do nightly rentals; the rents are very strong in the Washington County area.

We are also looking for a rental property right now, and Airbnb is not even on our minds. It’s just a personal choice, but if you are interested in nightly rentals, reach out to us, because the rules are changing all the time. There are always changes, new rules, a new place that is zoned, and a new place that isn’t zoned.

Reach Out

If you’re interested in a vacation rental, reach out to us, especially if you’re looking to actually follow the law- might not be a bad idea. As licensed realtors in the state of Utah, we take pride in our work and have a deep love for the beautiful area we serve. Sunny Vacation Rentals would love to help you with your real estate needs, whether you’re looking to buy or sell a house. We strive to provide a memorable and unique experience for all our travelers. You can reach us by phone, text, or email. 435-414-8597

Happy Home Buying,

Sunny Vacations Utah – Best Utah Real Estate