Buying a short term rental in the Savannah area is complicated. However, buyers who have a full understanding of the licensure requirements and know how to plan their rental strategy (short-term, medium-term, long-term) will be very successful as this little known market appreciates on the back of the fast growing Port of Savannah.
- There is a licensing requirement for Savannah’s Historic District and also Tybee Island. You have to purchase a property with a certificate in place (STVR) to be able to legally run a short term rental in these locations.
- The MLS doesn’t have a way to select STVR Certificate (Short Term Vacation Rental), so buyers have to read every listing description when searching in Savannah’s Historic District and also on Tybee Island.
- Buyers can get a new STVR Certificate in the Historic District and Tybee Island if the property is zoned Commercial.
- Buyers who plan to live in the Historic District of Savannah and will be making the home their primary residence on their tax returns can also get a new STVR Certificate IF the home is multifamily and IF the owner occupies the main unit.
- Areas of Chatham County that are NOT in the city limits CAN get a Chatham County STVR certificate fairly easily by applying with the county.
- Some web sites say that some areas of the Historic District haven’t met their STVR quota yet. This is categorically untrue. There is a 3 year waiting list for a new STVR certificate.
- For investors who are patient and really want a short term rental in Savannah’s Historic District, investors can buy a property in the 31401 zip code and rent it long term. Once the property has been acquired, they can put the property on the waiting list for a STVR certificate. If the investor is lucky enough to make it to the top of the list, the property will become 20-30% more valuable with the STVR certificate in place.
- Both Savannah and Tybee Island take these certificates as very serious sources of tax revenue. Be aware that if you purchase a property with the certificate in place and you do not rent the property enough to provide the city with the expected tax revenue, the property will be on probation for a year and the STVR certificate will be removed and handed to someone on the waiting list if the tax revenue isn’t levied.
- Savannah has an 11 month market for short term and medium term rentals. The slowest time of year is typically between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Tybee has an 8-9 month market for short term rentals. When the temperatures drop below 70 degrees, the beaches tend to sit fairly empty
For a quick way to see if a property is outside city limits, please watch this video: