Rent in Bay Area + buy vacation rental elsewhere?

Advice sought! My husband and I cannot afford to buy a home in the Bay Area. Well, we may be able to stretch and get a small condo or a fixer, but it doesn't make financial or practical sense to us at this time (we have a good, stable rental in a nice neighborhood, and anything we'd be able to buy would likely be significantly more expensive AND in a less desirable area). We have managed to save a small chunk of money and one of the things we have considered is buying a vacation rental that we can use as a family and also rent out as an AirBnB. Our goal would be to own a (hopefully) appreciating asset that we can also enjoy, and at the very least break even or come close in terms of the rental income. We'd even consider relocating there permanently down the road. We'd be looking in the Sierra foothills most likely, where we'd have an easy drive to the snow. Has anyone done this? If so, any advice for what we should be thinking about? I don't really know where to start thinking through the financial, tax, and other implications of a decision like this. Curious if anyone else has considered something like this, or done it, and how the experience has gone for you. Thanks!

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Not exactly your situation but we own our house in Oakland and also decided to buy a second home as a vacation/rental. Lots to consider here, but first is that if you want to rent it on Airbnb/VRBO, you should check the local ordinances (and HOA rules if applicable) to make sure short term rentals are allowed. Many municipalities are starting to restrict any rental that’s for under 30 days. You’ll also need a local cleaner and handy person. Our rental did great this year and covered our entire mortgage. Happy to talk more!

I think it's a brilliant idea! My partner and I own a home in (what I find to be) a very undesirable area. A number of years ago, after decades of me begging to have us move back to the country (where I thrive), we made a compromise: we bought a weekend place in the country - just outside of Sonora. I'm happy to share our experience with you - the good, bad & ugly parts. Mostly, we're very pleased. Reach out if you want to discuss it more.

~Mailisha 

mailisha.chesney [at] gmail.com