11 Jun Stay Here Netflix Review: The Austin Pool Pad
For the ‘Stay Here‘ Netflix review of Episode 3 from the first season, we visited a Victorian cottage in the hip artist community of South Congress, Austin TX. Because of its contemporary music scene, growing tech community and rich foodie landscape, Austin is considered one of the hippest destinations in the United States.
Annual events include the Austin City Limits and SXSW (South By Southwest) festivals. These festivals bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Austin every year. Realtor.com found Austin, the capital of Texas, to be among the most profitable markets for temporary lodging.
That all sounds great. However, if Austin is so desirable, why was the property owner of this episode experiencing a loss on a property in one of Austin’s hippest neighborhoods?
We’ll find out what the Stay Here Netflix team discovered when they went to fix up The Austin Pool Pad.
WARNING: There will be spoilers for Stay Here Netflix Exclusive Season One: Episode Three
All About Austin
This week’s episode focuses on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Victorian villa called “The Austin Pool Pad”. The property is in South Congress, a desirable neighborhood known for its eclectic art scene and street art murals.
Realtor.com ranked Austin the ninth best city in the nation to capitalize on hosting Airbnb guests in one’s home. Some visitors come to experience the local music, media, and film festival South by Southwest. Other visitors come to attend a Texas Longhorns football game or go paddle boarding down the Colorado River.
The popularity of Airbnb rentals in Austin has led the city to exert some control over the rental industry in recent months. For example, most condos can’t be rented out to temporary guests — only single-family homes. As a result, the villa in this episode is even more desirable with the correct optimization.
Austin Rental Market Facts:
- 6,210 short-term rental properties
- The median list price in Austin for an Airbnb-modified home is $545,100
- Average daily rate: $245
- The occupancy rate for Austin Airbnb sites is 71%
- 10,825 active Airbnb rentals
- The city of Austin charges a $500 fee for a 12-month license for homeowners opening their buildings as Airbnb lodging.
(Source: realtor.com 2019 study).
Behind the Stay Here Netflix Austin Pool Pad
Austin local, Brett, bought the Austin Pool Pad in his favorite neighborhood. But before he had a chance to renovate, Brett relocated to Colorado for his dream job. He was unwilling to give up his dream house but wanted to take a hands-off approach to manage a rental. So, Brett handed the house over to a property management company called Turnkey Rentals, and then effectively abandoned it.
Brett loved this property and the neighborhood it was based in. The house was filled with niche collectibles designed to suit his needs. But Stay Here isn’t about creating the owner’s dream home. This show is all about helping people renovate their existing secondary properties into hot ticket rentals. And, despite many excellent features, the Austin Pool Pad was NOT a hot ticket rental.
The Austin Pool House Property Facts
- Where: South Congress, Austin TX
- Who: Private Owner
- Property Management Company: Turnkey
- 2 Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms
- 2 Living Areas + 1 Unused Office
- Front & Backyard With Pool
- Unused Pool House
- $250 Average Nightly Rate
- Nightly Rate Goal of $420
- 50% Current Occupancy
- Occupancy goal of 80%
- Outgoing Costs: $4500 For Mortgage & Taxes
- Average Monthly Revenue: $4500 – 18% for the property management company
The Problem List
With a property run by a property manager, it’s easy to assume that any shortcomings are the result of poor management. However, that was not the case in this episode. Our owner, Brett, had moved out of the house but left many of his personal belongings there.
Bret wanted the house kept just as he liked it. He closed off an office he barely used and left a formal dining room to collect dust. The property management company made many recommendations.
However, at the end of the day, property management companies are not decorators. Not to mention, they would need Brett to pay for any changes. That’s when the Stay Here dream team, designer Genevieve Gorden and real estate expert Pete Lorimer, had to step in.
Issues Genevieve and Pete Found
- The property listing was unappealing
- The outdoor space was dirty and unkempt
- The office was unused, a wasted space
- The house was too personalized
- The living areas were unsocial
Stay Here Netflix Design Fixes
Gen saw the vast potential of the house and set out to transform it. She convinced Brett to turn the office into a third bedroom and move his office and storage to the pool house. She turned the unused formal dining room into a fun game room – complete with a vintage Ms. PacMan game. This was a savvy move from Gen, who understands the hip, fun customer the Austin market appeals to.
Outside, Gen completely transformed the garden and pool area. She created an authentic Texas grill experience, complete with a luxury smoker. The cabana area was transformed into a luxury chill out space. For an ‘instagramable moment,’ Gen created a massive mural on the outside of the pool house. This created a perfect photo opportunity for guests and a great marketing opportunity.
The cost of these renovations is my only criticism of the ‘Stay Here’ show. It’s great for owners to get ideas on how they can improve their listings – but at the end of the day, we need to work within a budget. It’s unclear in this episode, and others, who paid for the landscaping, furniture and décor.
If you’re looking to undertake an extensive renovation or re-style your property, you should first create a budget. Be sure to plan out how much you think your improvements are worth to your overall revenue, and how long it would take to recoup the costs.
Business & Marketing Fixes
Pete played mediator in this episode, helping open the doors of communication between Brett and his property manager. He also reviewed the property listing – and found it lacking. The Listing didn’t show off the house to its full potential.
The pool should have been the ‘Money Shot’ – or lead photograph. In the summer the newly renovated pool area was an obvious draw card. The pool also set the property apart from the competition, as there were only three other rentals in the neighborhood with pools.
Stay Here Netflix Episode 3: The Final Verdict
This was a great episode that transformed a common property into a luxury party pad.
Pete failed to mention the seasonal opportunities available with this property. In Austin, there are a few weeks on the calendar where accommodation is almost completely booked. There were opportunities for Brett to charge significantly more for this property during festivals such as SXSW.
Do you think you have what it takes to have an Austin rental of your own? What did you think of this episode?
Check out our reviews and top tips from Stay Here Episode One: The Seattle Houseboat, and Episode Two: The Malibu Beach House.
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