Vacasa Property Management Review: Is Vacasa Worth It?

April 23, 2024

Learn about the costs, terms, and reviews of Vacasa property management.

Many Airbnb owners in search of professional services are considering Vacasa as the largest and most popular vacation rental management company in North America. However, is Vacasa property management really worth it? The short answer is, rarely.

Summer, the top ranked vacation rental management company, is doing something different in the vacation rental management industry. The company is selective about the properties it signs based on its ability to operate a specific home. This results in a smaller portfolio of very valuable homes that consistently outperform both host and guest expectations. 

Vacasa Company Overview

Vacasa is a full-service vacation rental management company. Through the recently launched Extended Stay Program (ESP), Vacasa has also entered the long term rental market, but short term rental management remains at the heart of their work and operations.

Vacasa was founded by Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson in 2009, soon after the launch of the AIrbnb platform, and has its headquarters in Portland, OR. The company mission is to create the best home experience for everyone, including hosts and guests, everywhere.

At the moment, Vacasa manages more than 44,000 homes in 400 destinations, welcoming over 3 million guests per year. This is done by pairing up local teams with vacation rental management technology.

What Vacasa Property Management Offers Hosts

While Vacasa is widely known for its full-service property management, the Airbnb manager offers two different packages that can suit the needs of various hosts: 1) Vacasa full-service vacation rental management and 2) Vacasa Guestworks, a half-service plan focusing on marketing and automation.

Vacasa Full-Service Vacation Rental Management

As a full-service Airbnb management company, Vacasa provides the majority of services that are needed to start an Airbnb business and make money from it. This means that owners are able to benefit from passive income from their investment properties, no matter where they are located and how many bookings they get.

Vacasa services start at listing and marketing a vacation home and go all the way to performing housekeeping tasks and conducting maintenance works. Meanwhile, owners have access to an online account where they can track the performance of their property in real time.

As a result of the property management services, Vacasa homes are able to attract 24% more bookings than competitor properties, according to the company website. Moreover, earnings increase by an average of 20%, which is in line with the optimization achieved by the best Airbnb property management companies.

The full-service property management could be a good fit for those who invest away from home, have a full-time job, do not have experience in the hospitality industry, and look for passive real estate income.

Vacasa Guestworks

Vasaca Guestworks is a half-service property management package that helps actively involved Airbnb hosts streamline and automate the tasks required for owning a vacation rental business.

The Vacasa Guestworks services include:

Vacasa does not offer much information regarding Guestworks in terms of locations, costs, and contracts, so interested owners need to contact the company to further explore this option.

In general, this package could be the right fit for hosts who would want control over their business, invest in proximity to home, and have the necessary skills.

Vacasa Property Management Locations

Vacasa property management services are available in over 400 markets. These include multiple locations in 30+ US states in addition to Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica.

The US states where Vacasa operates are:

This market coverage is achieved via office locations across the US and North America.

Vacasa Property Types

Vacasa works with diverse property types, covering both small and large vacation rentals. This includes single family homes, townhouses, duplexes, studios, apartments, condos, beach houses, lake houses, oceanfront homes, waterfront short term rentals, bungalows, cabins, chalets, cottages, and multifamily properties.

They also manage properties with special amenities, such as vacation rentals with golf courses, swimming pools, and hot tubs as well as pet-friendly properties.

Vacasa Property Management Services

This section focuses on the full-service property management offered by Vacasa and does not include Vacasa Guestworks.

The property manager delivers most of what is needed for the smooth and successful operation of a short term rental business. Some services are included in the core package, while others are provided additionally, when needed. Meanwhile, there are some important tasks that Vacasa does not do for property owners.

Core Vacasa Property Management Services

The services offered by Vacasa full-service short term rental management include:

All these services are must-haves for hosts who cannot or do not want to manage their properties on their own.

Additional Vacasa Property Management Services

Some extra services that are not covered by the standard monthly Vacasa property management fee include:

All these additional services are crucially important for running an Airbnb business without unnecessary headaches. So, hosts should consider the extra costs associated with them when calculating how much hiring Vacaca would add up to.

Missing Vacasa Property Management Services

Although Vacasa offers fairly comprehensive services, there are a couple of things that are missing from their portfolio.

The most important service not covered by Vasaca is:

Thus, owners whose properties are not already furnished might need to look for an alternative property manager to benefit from classic interior design trends and furnishing works that will not look obsolete in a few short years.

How to Get Started with Vacasa

As a first step, vacation rental property owners can use the simple Airbnb calculator available on the Vacasa website to estimate what income they can expect. To get in touch with the Vacasa team, investors can call directly or fill in an online form.

During the onboarding process, the Vacasa staff walks hosts through the provided services, discusses the property to confirm it’s a good fit, and offers a personalized management fee.

The next step is signing a management agreement, after which Vacasa asks for access to the property to do an initial inspection, check the availability of necessary permits, clean, and get the details necessary for the listing. Then, Vacasa creates and publishes a property listing.

Vacasa Costs and Fees

Vacasa does not charge a universal property management fee. Instead, fees are tailored to the market and the property. The company claims that they have a single fee, but this covers only the core services. The property management cost is calculated as a percentage of the monthly revenue, but there is no specified range or even the starting amount. In their Vacasa reviews, hosts report fees that generally exceed the industry averages and can easily go beyond 35% of income.

Moreover, the additional services listed above are not included in the Vacasa management fee. The pricing of the smart home program and the hot tub maintenance is not discussed, while access to the linen program incurs a one-time setup fee. The cost of the Accommodation Damage Program is split between the host and the guest. Owners pay $7 per booked night for properties with 0-2 bedrooms and $8.54 per booked night for properties with 3+ bedrooms. Guests pay a damage waiver that ranges between $15 and $35 per night, depending on the home size.

It’s a major drawback that Vacasa does not publicize information about the property management fees. Investors need to be able to know how much they will have to pay to their property manager and how this will compare to the expected boost in income. After all, one of the purposes of hiring a professional company is to improve the performance of your vacation rental and your overall profitability.

Vacasa Property Management Terms and Conditions

In order to work with Vacasa, property owners need to sign a written property management agreement, which is the standard practice in the short term rental management industry. Investors can cancel the contract at any time with a 90-day notice. Afterwards, they will need to honor all reservations that have already been made within this 90-day window.

However, hosts that have worked with Vacasa report that contract cancellations might be more difficult and require more time than presented on the company website. Thus, interested hosts need to carefully review a copy of the agreement before making a final decision and signing anything.

It’s important to note that Vacasa doesn’t agree to manage all properties whose hosts express interest. During the initial phase, the company establishes whether a property is a good fit for their services, but it does not specify what a good fit should look like. Having said that, the company takes over both investment properties that need to be turned into vacation rentals and properties that are already operating as short term rentals but require professional services.

The Airbnb manager allows owners to reserve their property for their own needs as often as and for as long as they want. This can be done by blocking the desired days on the booking calendar via the online owner account. Most companies require owners to pay a cleaning fee after personal stays to ensure the professional cleanliness of the home for guests.

Vacasa Reviews by Hosts and Guests

Checking out Vacasa reviews is an important part of the process of deciding whether the company is worth hiring.

Vacasa customer reviews are available on:

Online reviews of Vacasa have generally good ratings. Nevertheless, both hosts and guests report some issues that interested owners need to pay attention to before making a decision to work with Vacasa.

Happy property owners and guests write about the amazing properties, the comfortable locations, the top appliances, the good amenities, the well-stocked rentals, the clean spaces, the nice welcoming experiences, the smooth processes, the provision of useful information, the supportive local teams, and the easy communication.

Unhappy customers discuss dirty properties, worn out furniture, poor maintenance practices, safety negligence, insufficient services, inflexible policies, delayed check-ins, and unavailable staff. Dissatisfied hosts specifically highlight lower-than-promised revenue, unexpected charges with no supporting information, bad property management services, quick deterioration of properties, and less-than-advertised services including the need to find their own cleaning and maintenance staff. Moreover, communication is inefficient or altogether missing.

Over the past 10 years, there have been hundreds of complaints against Vacasa filed by hosts and guests via the BBB website. These Vacasa complaints cover a wide range of issues, with some of the most important ones being lack of maintenance that leads to long-term property damage, not taking care of damage caused by guests, utilities not working properly, excessively dirty rentals, and various troubles with reservations and cancellations.

Vacasa Alternatives and Competitors

While some owners might be able to benefit from the services of this company, others might decide to look elsewhere due to missing services, unclear pricing, and negative Vacasa reviews.

The best Vacasa competitors include:

Vacasa vs Summer

Summer is the top short term rental management company in the US market. The team provides real full-service management for different types of properties that make at least $50,000 in annual revenue, nationwide. The company delivers best-in-classes services through the optimal combination of the latest technology with expert local teams.

Importantly, unlike Vacasa, Summer provides premium in-house vacation rental interior design and furnishing services for optimized listings and 5-star reviews by guests. Moreover, properties are supplied with smart home devices to ensure safety and smooth operations.

Ongoing services include everything from listing and marketing, all the way to robust dwelling and reservation coverage and regular maintenance. All guest communication is handled within 5 minutes, 24/7, to ensure guest satisfaction. Meanwhile, hosts are able to reach out to the membership support team at all times.

The Summer property management fee starts at 20% of monthly income, compared to an industry average of 25%. Note that the fee is calculated based on revenue minus cleaning fees, while other companies calculate it based on revenue plus cleaning fees. Smart home device installation and home design and furnishing are paid for separately.

Vacasa vs AvantStay

An AvantStay review positions it as another best alternative to Vacasa for hosts looking for full-service vacation rental management. This property manager focuses on 40+ major destinations in the US market, which is less than Vacasa. They work with various properties including luxury estates with private golf courses and tennis courts. Generally, AvantStay specializes in group travel, so they manage rentals with 4+ bedrooms.

AvantStay covers the standard property management services. One thing worth highlighting is that professional photography is offered at an additional cost, which is unusual in the industry.

Owners can choose between a Master Lease, where they are guaranteed a certain monthly income, and a Vacation Rental Management package, where they pay monthly fees calculated as percentage of revenue. AvantStay does not say how much fees are.

Vacasa vs Evolve

Unlike the other top Vacasa alternatives, Evolve is a half-service property manager that focuses on the automation of repetitive tasks. It is one of the biggest names in the industry, working with more than 30,000 vacation rental owners at the moment. Services are available in 750 US markets.

DIY hosts can use Evolve to streamline listing optimization, distribution, marketing, dynamic pricing, guest communication, and property damage and liability protection. As the company does not provide cleaning, restocking, and maintenance, they can help owners find and connect with local vendors in available markets.

An Evolve review shows that they charge only 10% of monthly revenue, but this is in return for very limited services compared to other short term rental management companies. Hosts still need to pay for additional services, like design and installation, cleaning, supply stocking, linen changing and laundering, inspections, and repairs.

Bottom Line

Based on our Vacasa review, some hosts might be able to take advantage of the full-service management provided by the company. However, customer reviews show that the quality of services to both owners and guests varies widely from one market to another, and this lack of consistency is a major red flag. Moreover, fees and costs are reported to be rather high, and some services like interior design and furnishing are entirely missing.

Meanwhile, owners who are looking for truly full-service management at competitive pricing can check out Summer. The company will do everything for you: from getting your property ready for listing, through marketing and cleaning, to protecting and maintaining. Monthly fees start at only 20% of revenue and cover all services.

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