How to Use Roofstock to Find and Analyze Short-Term Rental Properties

Roofstock is a free service with a dedicated short-term marketplace. That makes it a very good place to start to research your next short-term rental property.

Roofstock divides rental listings by traditional rentals and short-term rentals. Each market is segmented into their own sections.

The short-term marketplace gives you a couple more tools. First, Roofstock provides an estimated daily rent and occupancy rate.

Second, Roofstock also provides a section for rental comps. They pull this data from existing short-term rentals in the area with similar characteristics. Roofstock also allows you to customize the filters, such as average daily rent, annual revenue and occupancy rate, to better reflect your own research.

Roofstock has limited filters for property searches in its short-term marketplace. It’s restricted to price, market, bedrooms and bathrooms. Also, it seems Roofstock uses an internal algorithm to pull potential short-term listings from public sources. In essence, they filter properties for you using their own formula. That could be restricting you to a smaller group of properties, ones that Roofstock thinks has investment potential. In other words, you may not get the whole picture of the area.

Search results show gross yield, cap rates, Roofstock’s neighborhood rating and basic property data. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way to sort results. That means you can’t sort by the highest yielding properties, or by price. That’s a big drawback.

Clicking through on the property brings up the property profile page. Roofstock’s property page offers a lot for a free service. Standard investment data such as annualized return, appreciation, cap rate, cash flow and gross yield over 5 to 30 years, is shown. You can adjust the data, such as daily rents and average occupancies, to reflect your own research. Roofstock will then automatically recalculate the results accordingly.

Roofstock also provides neighborhood demographic ratings and rent trends. These may not be as helpful. The rent trends may be outdated. For instance, as of this date in 2022, Orlando rent trends only go up to 2019.

Roofstock also rates the location on a 5 star scale. Roofstock writes that the ratings are based on algorithms derived from “a dozen key attributes including school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria. Additionally, the Roofstock proprietary crime score offers a weighted aggregation of different crime type incidence levels, communicating the local crime level relevant to the real estate investment context.“

Location ratings may help when comparing different neighborhoods on the Roofstock site. However, since these attributes and algorithms aren’t fully explained, you won’t know how reliable the rating is.

Another useful selling point for Roofstock are the rent comparables they provide on the property profile page. It shows a list of competing rentals and their characteristics, including bed, bath, occupancy, days available, average daily rent, annual revenue, room type (entire home or private room) and reviews.

While Roofstock presents a lot of comparables, it doesn’t give you any option to click through to the actual listing for more detailed research. In order to get more details on each rent comparable, right click the headline and search for the property’s listing in Google.

Also, Roofstock doesn’t give how they organize their stats for average daily rent and occupancy rates. That leaves you guessing as to how accurate their numbers are.

Another drawback is that Roofstock doesn’t offer any option to export your search results. You can save favorites to your list and view them in your short-term rentals profile. However, there’s no option to export to a spreadsheet. You’ll need to copy and paste them into your own spreadsheet, which takes more time.

One major plus to Roofstock is the calculations available on the property profile page. All the key factors in your investment decision, such as average daily rent, occupancy rate, yearly appreciation, expenses, etc., can be customized. Important financial calculations such as net cash flow and net operating income can be projected up to 10 years out. This gives you a clearer picture of your short-term rental. The only drawback is the inability to export investment data results to a spreadsheet.

Once you have your properties selected, you can click property inquiry to find out more about the listings.

Another factor to consider is that you’ll only see listings that are part of Roofstock’s inventory. Sellers list on Roofstock for free and Roofstock gets a commission when these properties sell. Therefore, it’s within Roofstock’s interests to only show properties that make them money. What that means is when you search for short-term rentals on Roofstock, you may see a smaller portion of available properties out there. Also, Roofstock’s average daily rent, occupancy rates and other key metrics will need confirmation from your own research. However, that goes for any service such as Roofstock, AirDNA or Mashvisor.

One additional possible disadvantage to Roofstock is their lower inventory of listings. Many states in their short-term rental marketplace don’t have any inventory. Even for traditionally busy short-term markets such as Florida, the listings are sparse. As of this post, there’s less than 100 short-term rentals listed in Florida.

For a free service, Roofstock can still help provide useful short-term rental analytics. While there are downsides, its free service is a good starting point for your investment search.

Pro: free, rent comp data, financial analysis calculators

Con: limited filters, listings restricted to Roofstock’s inventory, few sorting options, no export to spreadsheet option