Beau Durbin's Uptown bungalows in Hot Springs are popular with mountain bikers because of their easy access to the Northwoods Trails System.

Real estate attorney and owner of the ESQ. Realty Group Michael Durbin (who goes by “Beau”) has an edge when it comes to finding properties with potential, and there is no place with as much potential as downtown Hot Springs.

Durbin owns and operates eight nightly rental properties in Hot Springs, where he has been a resident since 1991. He has owned real estate in the area since 2006, but he did not come to own one of his more special properties until 2019.

The Park Place Cottage at 123 Ramble Street was only valued at $20,000 when Durbin bought it and “gutted it to studs.”

“I kept the original shiplap, wood floors and other historic features of the home, yet I made it contemporary and cool,” Durbin says. “I was able to save it from being demolished.”

After completely renovating the house, Durbin purchased the houses on either side of that property and did the same thing. “The houses in the Uptown area off Park Avenue have great character,” Durbin says. “My goal is to save as many houses as I can in that area.”

A "before and after" look at The Park Place Cottage at 123 Ramble Street in Hot Springs

He is currently on his eighth renovation here and also runs a condo on Lake Hamilton. Durbin is able to rent the houses year-round, which is unusual because lake properties tend to be more seasonal.

“Guests are attracted to my listings because I target prime locations within easy walking distance to fun attractions,” Durbin says. “I also do not skimp on amenities or décor. I buy nice, new furniture and décor for every house.”

Durbin’s Uptown rentals are mere blocks to the Pullman Avenue Trailhead, affording guests easy access to the world-class Northwoods Trails System. In November, mountain bikers from across the country converge on this area for Northwoods’ popular Güdrun MTB Festival—and Durbin's bungalows book up fast.

Hot Springs is the hottest nightly rental market in the state and the high volume of tourists who continue to visit is the reason for Durbin investing so much into Hot Springs. “I love the fact that I’m participating in the rejuvenation of a neighborhood that was almost forgotten,” he says. “Now, it’s almost impossible to find a house to buy in the Uptown area.”

Durbin says business only dipped in early 2020, but once COVID-19 quarantine restrictions were lifted in Arkansas, the rental market exploded in Hot Springs, and it hasn’t let up since.