Master the Art of Buying Incredible Bed and Breakfasts: 10 Essential Elements You Can’t Ignore

Master the Art of Buying Incredible Bed and Breakfasts: 10 Essential Elements You Can’t Ignore

Incredible bed and breakfasts, while each is unique, often share the same essential elements. We’ll look at the impact of the location and its accessibility, as well as zoning laws and recommendations. Property layout and size, the potential for expansion or development, and the condition of the property are other key factors. Local market conditions and inn amenities are also important. Additionally, the sustainability, ambiance, and unique selling position matter.This will help B&B buyers know what to look for. Moreover, B&B owners looking to make improvements will find some useful suggestions.

1) Location

Attractive Inns Scenic Location North Carolina Mountains

The location is probably the most crucial factor in finding incredible bed and breakfasts. Choose a place attractive to tourists, preferably near landmarks, natural beauty, or an area rich in local culture.

Asheville, North Carolina is a great bed and breakfast location for several reasons including:

  • First, as America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is a must-visit. The 8,000-acre property includes beautiful gardens, a winery, and the magnificent Vanderbilt Mansion.
  • Second, known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway offers stunning scenic vistas and numerous hiking trails.
  • Third, with attractions like the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Asheville’s history is ready for exploration. Cultural diversity is celebrated through events like the Goombay Festival and the Cherokee Heritage Trail.

2) Accessibility

Attractive Inns Accessibility Charleston South Carolina Historic District

A property easily accessible by various transportation means can appeal to more guests. For instance, a B&B near a popular train route or airport might attract tourists traveling by those modes. If your property is in a rural area, consider road conditions and proximity to the nearest town or city.

For example, a B&B located in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina is easily accessible for several reasons including the following:

  • First, the Charleston International Airport is about a 20-minute drive.
  • Second, the Amtrak station is about 10 minutes away.
  • Third, guests can walk the area on foot or by bicycle, including the nearby Battery & White Point Gardens.

3) Zoning Laws and Regulations

Attractive lnns Commercial Real Estate For Sale Property Zoning Laws

Before purchasing, understand the local zoning laws and other regulations that apply to running a B&B. For instance, certain neighborhoods might have restrictions on commercial activity. 

Zoning laws for bed and breakfast inns vary widely from city to city, and even within different districts of the same city. Here are some general examples of the zoning considerations for B&Bs in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah, though specifics can change, so it’s always important to check the current local laws and regulations.

Asheville, North Carolina: Asheville requires a permit for bed and breakfast inns, which are allowed in Residential and Commercial districts with some conditions. For instance, the inn must be located in a historic structure at least 50 years old, and must have a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. of heated floor area, and the owner or manager must live on-site. Off-street parking requirements also apply.Charleston, South Carolina: B&Bs are allowed in the Commercial District (Limited Business and Commercial Transitional), Old and Historic District, and the Old City District, with a special exception. The B&B must be in a historic building and have no more than nine guest rooms. The owner or full-time manager must reside on the premises. Off-street parking is also required, and the number of required spaces can vary.Savannah, Georgia: In Savannah, bed and breakfast inns are allowed in several districts, but are most commonly found in the Victorian District and the Downtown District. Special use permits are required for inns in residential areas. There are restrictions on the number of guest rooms based on the district and specific property size. There are also requirements for on-site management and off-street parking. B&Bs in Savannah must comply with Historic District guidelines for any changes to exterior features.It’s crucial to consult with a local zoning or land use attorney or the local planning department when considering purchasing or converting a property to a B&B to ensure you’re aware of all the requirements and restrictions.

4) Property Layout and Size

Attractive Inns Outdoor Lounging Space Property Layout and Size

The property should have a layout that supports both public and private spaces. Guest rooms should be separate from the innkeeper’s living quarters for privacy. Ideally, there should also be space for dining and lounging areas. Think of the historic homes turned B&Bs that offer ample space and charm.

For example, The Chanticleer Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lookout Mountain, Georgia, offers 17 guest rooms, all separate from the innkeeper’s living area. The property includes a dining room where guests can enjoy a full breakfast, and public spaces such as a patio, garden, and a large outdoor fireplace for guests to gather.

5) Potential for Expansion or Development

Attractive Inns Expansion Room for Swimming Pool

Look for properties that offer room for future expansion or improvements, such as adding more guest rooms or amenities like a pool or a spa. For instance, if you purchase a property with a large backyard, it could potentially be converted into a beautiful garden or outdoor dining area.

The Inn at Patrick Square in Clemson, South Carolina started as a small bed and breakfast. It has expanded its guest rooms over the years. Besides adding rooms, they also included a well-equipped fitness center, a lounge area, and a restaurant to provide a more comprehensive experience to their guests.

6) Condition of the Property

Attractive Inns Excellent Condition

A thorough inspection is crucial to uncover potential issues, like structural damage or outdated plumbing and electrical systems. For example, if you’re considering a 19th-century farmhouse, ensure its charming rustic aspects won’t turn into costly repair projects.

The Farmhouse Inn of Madison, Georgia is a bed and breakfast nestled on 100 acres of a family-owned farm. While the exact construction date is unclear, the inn’s main house is a classic example of 19th-century Southern architecture, complete with a wide, welcoming front porch. The property has been carefully updated to offer modern conveniences while retaining its historic charm.

7) Local Market Conditions

Attractive Inns Real Estate Market

Understand the local B&B market, including the average occupancy rates, room rates, and competition. Start by identifying your competition by listing other B&Bs, inns, hotels, and even vacation rental properties in the area.

Look at their room rates, the amenities they offer, and their marketing strategies. Online travel agencies (OTAs) and review sites can provide insights into customer feedback and popularity.

Buyers of incredible bed and breakfasts, Licensed Realtor and Bed and Breakfast Consultant Rob Sales can provide the expertise you need. In addition to decades of experience in real estate, he and his wife Jane owned and operated successful bed and breakfast inns.

8) Amenities

Attractive Inns Luxury Private Bathroom

Guests increasingly expect amenities such as free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, and luxurious bed linens. If these are not already present, consider the cost to upgrade. Luxury amenities can significantly enhance the guest experience, helping incredible bed and breakfasts stand out in a competitive market.

In-Room Amenities

  • Private Balconies or Patios: Having a private outdoor space, like those offered at the Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina, gives guests a chance to enjoy the outdoors in privacy. It can make a guest’s stay feel more special and personalized.
  • Luxury Linens and Bath Products: High-quality bed linens, robes, and bath products, such as those at The Inn on West Liberty in Savannah, Georgia, can make guests feel pampered and cared for, enhancing the comfort of their stay.
  • Heated Bathroom Floors and Towel Warmers: These thoughtful touches, found at places like The Swag in Waynesville, North Carolina, take comfort to the next level and can make a stay feel extra luxurious.

Special Services

  • Concierge Services: Personalized concierge services, like those offered at The Willcox in Aiken, South Carolina, can help guests make the most of their stay, assisting with everything from dining reservations to tour bookings.
  • Spa Services: Inns like The Orchard Inn in Saluda, North Carolina provide on-site spa services. This can attract guests seeking relaxation and wellness, offering a way to de-stress without leaving the property. Other inns, while they do not have an on-site spa, can send a personal masseuse to your room. 

Convenient On-Site Areas

  • Gourmet Dining: Many upscale B&Bs, such as The Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, North Carolina, offer on-site gourmet dining experiences, often with farm-to-table menus. This adds to the convenience and luxury of the guest experience, making dining as easy as walking downstairs.
  • Fitness Centers or Outdoor Recreation: Amenities like fitness centers or outdoor activities, such as those at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, North Carolina, serve guests who want to maintain their wellness routines while traveling.

Each of these amenities can make a guest’s stay more comfortable, convenient, or memorable. Thus enhancing their satisfaction and increasing the chances that they will return or recommend the B&B to others.

9) Sustainability Potential

Attractive Inns Sustainable Vegetable Gardening

As more travelers seek eco-friendly options, properties with the potential for sustainable practices can be attractive. This could mean a property with ample sunlight for solar panels or a large garden for farm-to-table meals.

Sustainability is increasingly important to many travelers. Below are some examples of incredible bed and breakfasts implementing various eco-friendly practices.

Incredible Bed and Breakfasts That Have Sustainability

  • North Carolina: Highland Lake Inn & Resort, Flat Rock: This inn is committed to sustainability by focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction. They utilize energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets, and recycling programs. Their organic garden provides fresh produce for their restaurant.
  • South CarolinaThe Cuthbert House Inn, Beaufort: This B&B practices sustainability through energy efficiency, including LED lights and Energy Star appliances. They also encourage guests to participate by reusing towels and linens.
  • GeorgiaThe Beechwood Inn, Clayton: This inn is dedicated to sustainable practices, such as recycling, composting, and the use of local and organic produce in their meals. They even have their own small vineyard for making house wines.

Reasons Why Guests Are Attracted to Eco-Friendly Inns

  • Environmental Impact: More travelers are environmentally conscious and prefer businesses that align with their values. They want to enjoy their vacations without feeling guilty about their carbon footprint.
  • Healthier Experience: Eco-friendly inns often use organic or locally sourced food and avoid harmful chemicals in cleaning supplies, leading to a healthier stay.
  • Education and Connection with Nature: These properties often educate guests about their sustainability practices, creating a deeper connection with their environment.
  • Quality of Stay: Sustainable practices often enhance the quality of a guest’s stay. For example, organic food is often fresher and tastier, while energy-efficient design can make rooms more comfortable.
  • Supporting Local Economy: Eco-friendly inns often buy from local suppliers, so guests know their stay supports the local economy.

10) The Ambiance and Unique Selling Proposition

Attractive Inns Tybee Island Georgia Lighthouse

What sets incredible bed and breakfasts is often its charm or unique features. This could be a beautiful view, historical relevance, or unique architecture. Pictured (to the left) is the lighthouse at Tybee Island in the state of Georgia.

  • North Carolina The Black Walnut Bed and Breakfast Inn, Asheville: This B&B is housed in an 1899 home built by Richard Sharp Smith, the supervising architect of the Biltmore Estate. It features distinctive pebbledash stucco, and half-timbering, making it an architectural treasure. Each room is individually decorated, maintaining the charm of the era. The inn is located in Montford, Asheville’s Historic District, offering easy access to the city while surrounded by tranquil gardens.
  • South Carolina John Rutledge House Inn, Charleston: This is one of only fifteen homes belonging to the signers of the Constitution of the United States. Built in 1763, the inn has been beautifully restored, maintaining the rich history of the building while offering modern amenities. It features Italian marble fireplaces, ornate plasterwork ceilings, and inlaid floors, giving guests a chance to step back in time.
  • GeorgiaTybee Island Inn, Tybee Island: Just 20 minutes from historic Savannah, this inn offers a unique coastal retreat. It’s located in a 1902 cedar house beautifully maintained. With a gorgeous view of the nearby lighthouse (one of the nation’s oldest), landscaped gardens, and an outdoor hot tub, the inn offers a unique blend of history and coastal charm.

Thus, all of these properties offer a unique selling point – be it architectural significance, historical relevance, or a unique location. These features can be a powerful tool in marketing and differentiating a B&B in a crowded market, appealing to guests looking for more than just a place to sleep, but an experience that is unique and memorable.

B&B Consulting

Remember, every B&B is unique and what works for one might not work for another. Always keep your target guest in mind when considering these factors. Whether you are looking to buy or sell incredible bed and breakfasts, Licensed Realtor Rob Sales is available to offer you a complimentary, no-obligation phone consultation. Contact Rob today!