July 2019 Blog

Track season in Saratoga Springs officially started last week and, with it, the usual influx of temporary residents who flock to the Racing City for the thoroughbred racing season. If you’ve thought about earning extra income by renting your home for part or all of the season, it’s probably already too late for this year.

Homeowners who are veterans of racing in Saratoga know that people typically begin searching soon after the end of the meet to find the next year’s rental or renew their rental arrangements of an existing property. Most people who rent their homes for the season already have signed contracts in hand by January or February before the season.

With services like Airbnb VRBO and Home Away, however, it is still possible to earn extra dollars by renting to spur of the moment visitors to Saratoga. If you are considering this route, there are certain things to keep in mind.

What will the neighbors think?

Renting to short term tenants can be an amazing experience and a great source of extra cash. It can also be a big nightmare. One neighborhood in nearby Geyser Crest made the news a few years ago because neighbors complained about the noise levels coming from a nearby house and the increase in the number of cars parked along the quiet residential street.

The other issue to consider is the tax ramifications of renting your home short term. According to the law, if you rent your home for up to 14 days per year, you do not need to report the income. Any time over that is subject to taxation – something you need to be prepared for. Online short-term rental companies submit tax info to the IRS and you could be in for a surprise if you get a letter from the IRS asking you to pay up.

What about city regulations?

Saratoga Springs is just one of many seasonal tourist meccas across the country experiencing the boom in short term rentals by private homeowners. While, for the most part, cities benefit from the influx of tourists, they are not always equipped to handle the increase in people and traffic in residential areas. There is, of course, also the profit motive. City governments want the ability to generate revenue through property rentals, while also maintaining safe and secure residential neighborhoods. And Saratoga Springs is no different. The city wants to regulate the number of private rentals through home inspections and code enforcements.  However, they are also sensitive to the fact that homeowners are not commercial hotels and should not be slapped with unfair fees for renting their homes. 

Long story short, for short-term or seasonal rentals.

Explore your options. If you’re thinking now about renting next year, investigate the many companies in the region that specialize in track rentals. Do your due diligence. Do these businesses only handle full seasonal rentals? Or, are they willing to work with you on weekly or weekend rentals.

You should also explore the online services – how much commission do they expect? What are their vetting policies? Check their track records and read the online reviews. Talk to people you know who’ve used both local rental agencies as well as online services and learn about their experiences.

Do your homework before deciding to rent your home. And if you need to talk to a seasoned real estate professional, give me a call. And, enjoy the horses! 

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