I have a home in Fiji…that pays for itself.
You can insert any international locale here: Tulum, Dominican Republic, Spain, and it will have the same effect among your friends, instant celebrity status…and the same potential to make you money.
But that’s not why I bought the land in Fiji and built a house. It was an irrational, passionate decision, based solely on the fact that with 35 countries stamped in my passport, this tiny spot of land was the only place on the planet I felt totally at peace.
No art galleries to see, no museums to check off the list. Utter peace. As if I had stepped into a painting. Not that I have anything against those things. Travel stimulates me. And I love art and art history.
But I knew, when I crested the mountain ridge in Fiji in 1999 and looked down on the resort owner’s dream of an expat community, that I had to have a place there. Now I do, and I’ve named it Starfish Blue.
I didn’t mean to get into the vacation rental business. The community was supposed to manage it for me. But, in 2005, when I took possession, the resort had been sold, and the new owners were keen to expand the resort, not manage my home.
While it was a daunting proposition, it has turned out to be the right decision.
I’ve been around the real estate block—I’ve been a landlord for 12 years, developed land, and designed and built an apartment building.
Without a doubt, owning a vacation rental has been the most rewarding, the most fun, and, most importantly, the most lucrative of my real estate ventures.
Why, you might ask?
Vacationers are willing to pay top dollar for an experience. With only one or two weeks a year, they want something that will get them through the next 50 weeks of drudgery. Likely, you know some people like that, even if you’re like me, and more frugal with your money. But people pay up to US$450 per night to experience my home on Fiji’s Sun Coast. My profit margin is very healthy.
The fun part comes with helping people plan their vacation. They are so excited, so eager, so full of anticipation, that I can’t help but get swept along with them. Does it get old answering the same questions? Not really. I have a lot of information on my website, and usually, once I send my welcome packet, I don’t hear from them until the end of the trip. But, I’m always happy to allay someone’s worries—how will they get money, how do they get there from the airport…it’s all eagerness.
Then, well, this is where the rewarding part comes in…
The gushing gratitude. While there have been issues along the way, by vast majority, the overall sentiment at the end of the holiday is, “We’ll be back.” I’ve also heard, “We felt like rock stars, having our own place with our own pool and our own maids.” And, “The family hasn’t all been together in five years. This was magical.”
My property is rented out—and earning income—44 weeks a year. It’s had an 85% occupancy rate for the last six years in a row…and you can have that, too.
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