Tips for Vacation Rental Properties
Your vacation home is a place where you can spend time away from the office, relax, enjoy time with friends & family, and escape reality. Costs associated with vacation rentals can get expensive very quickly - mortgage payments, utility bills, maintenance and upkeep expenses, taxes, and neighborhood fees are just a few of the expenses you will incur as a homeowner. Fortunately, renting your vacation home can be a great way to subsidize the costs of home ownership, and possibly even generate a substantial income.
Here are a few tips to help you get top dollar for your vacation rental properties:
1. Preparing Your Home
Vacation homes should be “turn-key” furnished for guests. In addition to having all of the appropriate furniture for guests, this means having a full set of kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom supplies to accommodate traveling guests. Here are a few common household items that you should include for your guests:
- Full set of dishes
- Full set of silverware
- Full set of pots & pans
- Appropriate cookware
- Cleaning products (sponges, towels, soap, etc.)
- Appropriate appliances (toaster, blender, etc.)
- Clean towels
- Soap, shampoo, etc.
- Cleaning products
- Clean bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows)
- Extra pillows and blankets if possible
2. Advertising Your Vacation Rental
Popular online rental listing sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, Trulia, and Zillow are making it easier for individuals to find available rental properties and connect with landlords. These sites are great resources for advertising your rental to potential customers, and usually are inexpensive or free to use. With the increasing number of people using these DIY listing sites, giving your rental listing a competitive edge is a major key in securing the highest rental rates for your home.
One of the best ways to give your listing the competitive edge it needs is having high quality, professional photos of the home. Providing high quality photos of the home helps viewers better understand what your home is like, improves viewer’s perception of both the landlord and of the home, and provides a better sense of security to prospective customers who are viewing your listing online.
Providing as many details about the property as possible in the description will help attract prospective customers. People like to have a clear vision of where they will be staying, and providing as many details about your home and community will help bring them peace of mind and increase the odds of them choosing your rental.
Including a video walk through of your home on rental listings can be a great marketing tactic. Even a quick video shot on a mobile phone can help give prospective renters a better understanding of the layout of your home, increasing your odds of securing a tenant.
3. Improving Guest Experience
Guests who are staying at your home on vacation expect to have a great experience at your property, just as they would at a hotel or resort. Anticipating guest needs and providing a quality experience from check-in to check-out will surely increase your odds of repeat business and customer referrals. Here are a few ways you can really “wow” the guests at your home:
Cleanliness of a rental property is expected, but a truly spotless home will really impress renters. Hiring a professional cleaning service in between tenants will ensure a standard of cleanliness, and including “professional cleaning service” in rental listings will give renters peace of mind about selecting your home. Leave cleaning company contact info in the home in case renters would like to use the service during their stay.
Internet is almost essential today. Providing high speed internet and wifi for renters will definitely help keep everyone happy.
Including an information sheet or welcome package with details about the home and local neighborhood will help resolve many questions that renters may have about the home. Include details such as internet access codes, how to use any tricky appliances or home equipment, alarm info if applicable, what to do in case of emergency, and any special requests you may have. Including information about local restaurants and attractions will also help impress guests and ensure they have a wonderful vacation.
4. Consider a Management Company
Vacation rentals often have several short term leases with a high amount of tenant turnover, requiring a fair amount of hands-on attention from the landlord. For homeowners who live far from their vacation rental, hiring a property management company may be beneficial. Property management companies can handle everything from advertising and leasing the property, to collecting and distributing funds, to coordinating cleaning and maintenance at the home, and can respond to any property emergencies such as water leaks, power outages, lockouts, etc.
A good property management company will have substantial experience dealing with rentals in the local market. Local expertise is key in securing the highest rental rates and staying up to date with market trends. Property management companies often have established relationships with local vendors, translating to savings on maintenance for homeowners. These two factors combined mean more money and less stress for homeowners. In addition, homeowners have peace of mind knowing there is a local set of eyes and ears on their property. Long story short - property management companies can save you time, money, and leave you worry free about the integrity of your investment.