It’s the holiday season, which means visitors from all over will be looking for vacation rentals as they visit family members or go on vacations. Maybe you already have a vacation rental, or maybe you want to turn your home into one while you travel this holiday season. Either way, there are a few things you’ll need to do to be prepared before the holidays hit.
The most important thing to consider when turning your home into a vacation rental is whether or not it’s in a desirable location. It should be near popular attractions or famous vacation destinations. There should also be plenty of amenities in the area that would make it a coveted place to stay.
A good way to check on this is to consider other vacation rentals in your neighborhood. Research online listings to get a good idea of how these properties are doing. If there are plenty of homes with consistent bookings, your home can add to the competition.
It’s also important to use the location to your advantage when listing your property. Play up some of the nearby attractions and make it seem like an excellent place to vacation. Even if your property is an hour’s drive from the nearest attraction, you can point out the benefits of being an hour away, such as a quieter atmosphere and more privacy.
There may be legal limits that will make it impossible to rent your home. Check up on this before listing the property in order to avoid legal implications. Some of the things you should consider include:
• City and county codes that might restrict renting your home
• Restrictions in your mortgage agreement that prohibits renting
• If you’re a renter, look at the restrictions in your contract about subletting and discuss the matter with your landlord
• Homeowners associations can also prevent vacation rentals, and the punishment will be a heavy fine.
It’s not worth the risk to skip this step just for a little extra income during the holidays. Be thorough in your research before considering renting.
Get down to the nitty gritty, and lay out all the details of a future vacation rental. You’ll need to consider:
• The duration your home will be available to rent
• The contract and legalities associated with vacation renting
• How much of your home you’ll be renting, i.e. the whole home, a single bedroom, or a basement apartment
• Financial implications, including what it will cost to get the home ready for renting and any tax implications
• Landlord insurance
It’s a good idea to talk to someone with experience in this situation, whether a friend who’s been through the process before or a property management service. They can help you cover all your bases so you don’t forget any important details or get yourself into legal trouble.
4. Utilize Marketing Tactics
One of the biggest mistakes people make when renting their homes as vacation rentals is assuming that if they list it on a few sites, people will come in droves. Though this tactic is an important part of marketing your property, and it will likely attract a few seasonal tenants, the best way to get the most out of your vacation rental is to market it properly.
You’ll want to begin, of course, by listing it on popular websites and in local newspapers. Be sure to invest in professional listing photos and videos to enhance the property’s appeal. Then, use social media and mass emails in order to share the property’s availability with friends and family. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in filling a vacation rental.
5. Draft a Contract
You’d be a fool not to have something in writing that legally protects you and your property before renting it out. When renters book the home online, provide a “terms and conditions” section that they must read and comply to before signing. This contract should include information about deposit fees, cleaning services, maintenance requests, liability, tenant expectations, and more. This will help to eliminate the risk of legal issues and damaged property.
6. Hire a Cleaning and Maintenance Service
Your online reputation will go downhill very quickly if your rental property isn’t spotless. Things should be dusted, swept/vacuumed, and odor-free before tenants arrive. To this end, you’ll need to hire a reputable cleaning service to straighten things up when tenants leave and before they arrive.
Likewise, have a maintenance service on call in case of emergencies. It would be a nightmare for your mountain cabin to have a malfunction with the heating system while your tenants are there for a family skiing trip. Having someone on call to handle these issues is essential to keeping your tenants and attracting new ones.
7. Ready the Property
Once you’ve outlined the details, get your property ready for tenants. Begin by making it feel like a home away from home. The homey feel is one of the biggest reasons your renters will choose a vacation rental rather than a hotel, so it shouldn’t disappoint. Hang artwork and other décor on the wall, include extra throw pillows on the sofa, display a collection of magazines on the table, and use area rugs to soften the space.
It’s also a good idea to keep amentias on hand. Board games and movies are a highlight for keeping tenants entertained. It’s also important to have a fully stocked kitchen with all the right utensils and tools. Aside from cooking supplies, bowls, and silverware, don’t forget the details like potato peelers and wire whisks to make your tenants feel more at home.
8. Enlist Help from the Professionals at Green Residential
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when turning your property into a vacation rental is to seek help from the professionals. We at Green Residential know what it takes to prepare and manage a vacation rental. Our all-encompassing property management company is willing and ready to take care of the smallest details for you, from marketing the property to processing payments. For more information about the services we can provide, contact us today!