4 Things to Know About Owning a Vacation Rental in Gulf Shores

The Alabama Gulf Coast is an ideal location for a vacation rental home, especially in places like Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

Before you start making appointments with Gulf Coast realtors and start researching vacation rental property managers, you’ll want to understand the ins and outs of owning a vacation rental on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Take note of these 4 things.

Make sure your vacation rental property manager has the correct license

If you decide to hire a property manager, they need to be a licensed real estate agent. If the manager you hire is not a real estate agent, they must be paid a set salary, not commission, to avoid conducting real estate business without a license. You can always check with the Alabama Real Estate Commission about your manager’s license. If it turns out your property manager isn’t legitimate, it can cost you in the long-run.

Understand permitting and taxes

Each part of the Alabama Gulf Coast has its own rules regarding permitting and taxes for short-term rentals. Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Perdido Key all require you have a business license while Fort Morgan does not. All locations, however, require you to pay lodging tax on a monthly basis – whether you had bookings that month or not.

Read the fine print of a fixed rent contract

Some managers promise owners they will be paid a set amount of rent. That’s fine – if the manager pays you money they collect over the guaranteed amount too. The problem – some managers reach the guaranteed amount and then drop the nightly rate and pocket the remaining profit. If they just keep the rent above the amount guaranteed, it is considered a net listing, which is illegal in the state of Alabama.

Prepare for tropical weather

Expect hurricanes and other tropical weather that could slow or stop vacation rental business, and have a plan in place in case a hurricane makes landfall near your rental. It’s important to know how you’ll protect your home before the storm (including purchasing the correct insurance for your home) and how you’ll begin to repair it afterwards. Property managers can help you navigate this. It’s always good to ask your property manager before you hire them about how they can help during a crisis.


You can earn a healthy profit from a Gulf Shores property if you know the right questions to ask and areas to consider. Work with a well-versed, full-service property manager like TurnKey Vacation Rentals, and your vacation rental will be in great hands!


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