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I Own a Home on Chautauqua Lake - Should I Rent It?

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By : Craig Gleason    99 or more times read
To rent or not to rent. This is a very personal decision with pros and cons on both sides of the argument. The first step is already done – you own your lakefront or lake related home on Chautauqua Lake. But maybe you are finding that you are not able to come out to the lake as much as you would like these days. Maybe you just want to know what kind of rental income your property will garner. Whatever your question or circumstance, I will provide you insight and hopefully assist you in coming to an educated conclusion.

First and foremost, what type of lake property do you own? On Chautauqua Lake there are a few types of properties that successfully rent. The most successful is the private, lakefront, single family home. This home should have a dock and boat accommodations available to the renters for their entire stay. If you have to dock your personal vessel at the home during a rental period, you will want to make sure the renters’ boating needs are accommodated accordingly.

This property will demand the most rental income depending on how many people the home sleeps including the different bed sizes you are offering, how many bathrooms you have, what types of amenities (televisions/cable, kitchenware, air conditioning, internet, grill/barbeque facilities, washer and dryer, outdoor furniture, etc.) you offer your renters, and location of the home. Typically, renters do not want to rent a home that has all single beds or bunk beds. Most renters prefer double beds or larger. Taking all these facts into consideration, you should expect to receive approximately $1,200 per week for the barely outfitted rental and upwards of over $2,000 per week for the decked out rental.

The next property type is the single family home that has access to the lake, but does not have private lake frontage. These homes do rent quite frequently. Because they will demand less rent, they are nice for the family on a budget or for the family that needs two or even three homes to rent. One example of this is the Chautauqua Lake Estates, which has lake access through Camp Chautauqua. The homes are typically very nice and fairly new, close together within walking distance to each other and the Camp, and very affordable to rent. Taking into consideration the same factors as listed above in the previous paragraph (less the boating and docking issues), you should expect to receive anywhere from $600 to $1,200 per week on average.

Other properties on Chautauqua Lake such as canal front and condos rent less frequently. Canal front properties typically have much smaller lots, which can turn off a renter. These properties rent for approximately $600 to $1,000 per week depending on amenities. Condos are nice because renters get the amenities of the project (tennis courts, swimming pool, etc.), but again they are not the most desirable rentals. Condos rent nightly instead of weekly in most cases, and the rate is based on the number of nights you stay.

There are tax advantages for owning a vacation rental in New York State. Per the New York State Society of CPA’s, if you rent your vacation home for less than 15 days you do not even have to show that income on your tax return. If you rent your vacation home more than 14 days per year, and your personal usage exceeds 14 days per year (or 10% of the rental days, whichever is greater) all rental payments are included in income and minimal expenses may be deducted. Your rental write-offs can only be as great as the income you took in. If you happen to let a rental agency manage your property for you, and they charge you a commission, that commission may be fully deductible along with any advertising expenses you incur. Owning a vacation home requires attention to many details. We highly recommend that you consult your own tax professional for clarification on any of these matters.

Taking advantage of using a qualified vacation rental agency could definitely save you time, money, and frustration. Even though these firms require commission for their management, typically 20% of the weekly rent, they offer many services you may not have thought of when renting your home on your own. They typically have lots of properties to offer their renters, including accommodating families that may need more than one home to rent. They also take care of advertising, reservations, collecting rental funds and security deposits, unlocking the property and preparing it for the renter, taking care of any problems that arise throughout the week by giving each renter a direct number accessible 24/7, cleaning rental for next renter or owner’s arrival, and locking up and securing the property. They also issue the owner income checks throughout the season and the appropriate year-end tax forms.

Hopefully this article has provided you with answers to your rental questions.
I am Craig Gleason, full-time Broker/Partner at Real Estate Advantage in Jamestown, New York. I specialize in lakefront and lake related property on and around Chautauqua Lake, New York, including the areas of Bemus Point, Chautauqua, Chautauqua Institution, and Mayville to name a few.
Please feel free to email me with any other questions or concerns you may have regarding renting property on and around Chautauqua Lake.

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