The Best Properties for AirBNB or VRBO

Are you thinking of investing in a vacation rental property in the Gold Country? Or listing your current home on Airbnb or VRBO? Here are some ideas to help you find the best properties for vacation rental.

What are the best properties for vacation rental?

The type of homes that make better Airbnb and VRBO rentals create an experience for their guests. Here are some things to consider to maximize your earnings:

  • Can it sleep lots of people?
  • How many families can enjoy the property?
  • Does it have a game room or bonus room for kids or adults?
  • If it has none of these things, what makes it special? Highlight unique features — like if it has a pool or hot tub.
  • Is it cozy to lounge by the fire? Then make sure it’s full of comfortable furniture.
  • Sprawling backyard or deck? Add a few patio chairs and tables for outdoor seating!
  • Is the kitchen big enough to be enjoyed by families wanting to cook “at home” rather than eat out? Then make sure you have ample cooking supplies and pots and pans, etc. 

Also, people go to an Airbnb or VRBO to escape. They want an experience away from home. So, if you have a cabin, try to give it that mountain cabin getaway decor and feel. Or, look for homes that have this character already. Give your home a theme and match the decor and marketing to the experience you are providing and the location and amenities. 

Note: Proximity is key! Is it convenient to get to? Close enough to amenities but not congested? Does it have convenient parking?

What areas are the most desirable in the Gold Country?

Overall, the best homes for Airbnb and VRBO rentals in the Gold Country are located in areas with a sizable tourist population like Murphys, Arnold, Twain Harte, and Sonora. Or areas that have a shortage of affordable hotels and resorts. Murphys, for example, cannot meet anywhere near the demand for people looking for hotel rooms during an event or concert weekend.

Sonora has become a charming downtown destination as well, yet has very few lodging options available. The lodging that does exist in the area is more appropriate for the budget-conscious consumer. Plus, it’s just a one-hour drive away from Yosemite! For those looking for something with a little more luxury or style, Airbnb or VRBO is sometimes a better choice.

While there’s a couple of up-and-coming areas in the Gold Country, like Mokelumne Hill or Jamestown, some areas are more desirable than others. Those are your best bet for finding investment vacation rental properties.

Arnold is one of the topmost desirable towns due to its proximity to mountain recreation, Bear Valley ski resort, lakes, and reservoirs. Some rentals offer their guests private amenities that they just wouldn’t get from a hotel room.

For example, in Lakemont Pine, rentals include private lake access to lounge at the beach. Or hang with the kids at the pool at Blue Lake Springs that includes a clubhouse, tennis courts, ping pong, and basketball. You name it. They have it! Twain Harte and parts of Mi Wuk Village are also an excellent option for those looking for a private mountain retreat amongst the pines and some of the homes feed into their own private lake communities for wholesome summer fun.

Here are a few more tips on owning a vacation rental property.

Bad reviews are very bad for Airbnb or VRBO. You get bad reviews when you are not responsive — that means taking calls in the middle of the night. Or you did not manage the expectations. So, do not over-sell or embellish your description. Take professional photos to give potential guests a clear vision of what the home looks like. It will also boost your home’s appeal and ranking on Airbnb. Be honest with people about what to expect with the property, and they will be less likely to write a poor review.

Airbnb and VRBO will rank you on the search based on your reviews. So always respond to them and always ask for more. Getting good reviews on your vacation rental property is vital to its success.


Due to the increased popularity in our Gold Country region and the popularity of short term rentals, our region has experienced a significant reduction in long term rentals. Our local families have been priced out of the market. And many of our hospitality workers and tradespeople who are the lifeblood of our tourism industry have faced the almost impossible challenge of finding rental housing. As a response we are seeing many communities throughout Gold Country who are in the process of eliminating short term rentals as part of their ordinances or CC&R’s.

Downtown Sonora has recently approved a moratorium on all new short term rental permits and applications in an effort to open up long term rental housing to the community and the residents of Forest Meadows, a gated community in Murphys recently voted to eliminate short-term rentals as well.

If you are looking for a 2nd home or property to rent out, please consider renting it to a long term tenant to help promote a healthy balanced community. Even renting your home for 3-6 months if not a full year can be significantly beneficial to someone relocating to Gold Country or for someone who has been pushed out of their rental due to their landlord selling their investment property in order to take advantage of the increased demand and housing prices. 

If you are looking to purchase an investment property or vacation rental you will want to be guided by a LOCAL real estate professional. Team French has a few listings that could be the right fit for you. Give us a call at (209) 303-7637 or email us at

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