Transforming Your Home into a Vacation Rental Property

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If you’re a property owner that frequently travels, or has a second home that isn't used often, it might be time to consider another use for your space while you’re away. Instead of letting it sit empty, capitalize on your own excursion by converting your home into a vacation rental property. At the very least you could cover the costs of your own vacation or mortgage if a second home and at little expense to yourself. Here are some steps to take to make your house the perfect vacation destination.

Keeping it Legal

Before you fluff a single pillow or set out a welcome basket, you must ascertain whether you’re legally able to rent out your property. In order to avoid hefty fines, find out if local regulations and codes allow for rentals and what regulations or limitations might be in place. Additionally, mortgage and rental agreements many times have stipulations on renting or subletting your home. And even if your city allows for rentals, and your mortgage has no restrictions, you still might be violating terms set out by your homeowners’ association and risking fines.

Is it Worth the Investment?   

While it can be profitable, renting out your home can just as easily cost you more in time and resources than any revenue generated. Check the local market for other similar properties that rent out roughly the same time of the year you’re looking to rent out your own home. Look through managed listings on Airbnb and other vacation property management sites to see other homes and what amenities they offer. How much are you going to have to invest to bring your property up to par and will you make it back in rental fees over time?

Permits and Protections

Now that you’ve established legality and profitability of renting your home out as a vacation property, there are a few administrative requirements before we get to the house itself. While performing your legal due diligence, you should have discovered your localities steps for applying for a rental permit. Give yourself the time and funding to schedule the appropriate inspections and acquire the proper permissions. With permit in hand, you must also make adjustments to your insurance to include landlord-specific additions or changes to your policy.

Functional and Inviting

Having jumped through all of the hoops, you can now get to fluffing pillows and putting out welcome baskets...and a few other crucial tasks to making your home a beacon of hospitality and for vacationers.

Appliance Check, Safety Check

Check your safety equipment - smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and have them serviced as need. Make sure all of the kitchen appliances are in working order and clean.

Secure Your Property

Remove any valuables, personal effects, and anything you don’t want strangers to be able to access from your property and store it safely off site. Acquire a combination key box or some other form of managing keyless entry so the hand off process can go smoothly without requiring you onsite.

Set the Stage

Your home is going to be someone else’s home for a significant period of time, so they should feel at home and have access to basics like clean linen, toiletries, kitchen utensils and a welcome basket to handle any immediate needs such as coffee, tea, games for the kids or a bottle of wine for the grownups. Include a welcome book that overviews specifics about the property and includes details about the community that might come in handy like dining and local attractions. Make them feel welcome.

Tidy Inside and Out

Make sure you hire a cleaning crew and landscaping crew to keep the place clean and well kept before and after the rental period.

The Most Important Step is to Outsource it All

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to unpack here, and we haven’t even talked about marketing and managing your property listing with sites like Airbnb and handling contractual agreements with renters. We have a solution for that. At Venture Yours, we offer full-service vacation rental property management. We’ll handle pre- and post-rental arrangements with clients, manage the vendors that service your property, and handle all of the marketing that goes into renting out your property, including online listings. Someone else’s vacation shouldn’t be your headache, so go ahead and take your time away, we’ll handle everything for you and see you when you get home.

How to Make Your Vacation Rental Stand Out From the Competition

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Renting out your vacation property can be lucrative, but it’s a market where there is significant competition. According to the National Association of Realtors, “30% of vacation property owners and 32% of investment property owners plan to rent their homes as short-term rentals in 2018.” And these numbers are rising rapidly; the 2018 figures are up more than 20% from previous year metrics. If you plan to rent out your vacation property, there are some simple but vital steps you can take to stand out from the crowd.

Be the Best Host: Make Your Rental Property Feel Like Home

You’ll be renting out your property to people on the road, away from the creature comforts of home. The best thing you can do is make them feel welcome and handle all of the details. A little pre-work goes a long way here.

Ensure the Space is Clean

Stocked your place with any necessities you’ve promised prior to your client’s arrival. There’s nothing worse than arriving to a rental property after a long day of travel, and finding a dirty bathroom with no toilet paper, or a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Don’t let a dirty space break your vacationers out of their blissful vacation immersion.

Create an Experience for your Clients as they Walk in the Door

Mount a framed letter near the entryway that gives them a feel for your space, and then share WiFi information, any necessary how-to’s for appliances, and make some local suggestions for easy dining and things they can do nearby - chances are they just got off the road or arrived from the airport from a day of travel, and such information will be more than welcomed.

Have A Small Welcome Basket

This can be great for the kitchen that includes a starter kit for coffee and tea and supplies for keeping the kitchen and dishes clean. If you know who the renters are ahead of time, leave them something that will enhance their desired experience - snacks and board games for families, or a bottle of wine for the couple vacationing alone.

Have Your Contact Information Available

Make sure this is available to the clients from start to finish, as well as emergency numbers for vendors that can handle the unexpected. Broken pipes, clogged toilets, non-functional appliances - the better you anticipate and prepare for contingencies, the better the rental experience will be for yourself and your clients.

Rental Management Ensures a Total Immersive Experience

Best practices are only as effective as your ability to follow through, and chances are, your rental property isn’t easily or immediately accessible to you. The process of marketing, managing, maintaining, and renting your property has its costs measured in time and resources invested. The best thing you can do to streamline the process is outsource vacation property rental management to a service that specializes in rental and Airbnb management.

While these services cost a percentage of the rental fee in booking and services, it takes the onus of performing these tasks off of your shoulders and ensures a constant stream of renters who have positive experiences. WIth services ranging from optimizing the listing, booking, and post-stay follow up to full property management including turn-over, cleaning, and repair management, companies such as Venture Yours take the burdens of vacation property management off of the owner and ensure renters have a perfect experience. Have a property you want to list? Reach out to Venture Yours today to explore our property management services and how we can ensure travelers have the best experience possible at your rental property.

9 Questions to ask a Rental Property Manager

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Your wondering if you should turn your property into a Vacation Rental but unsure what it entails. Your asking questions like “Will it be a burden?” “Will it make me more money?” “Could I buy a vacation home and rent it when I’m not there?” All great questions, and be sure to ask your potential Rental Property Manager the following questions as well before committing:

What Services are Included in your management fee’s?

When looking for a property manager, you’ll begin to find that there are many types of manager. I’ve broken down the different types of managers you’ll most likely find

Just Marketing These vacation rental managers will handle your listing across multiple websites, and that’s it. The management fee is typically the lowest and this is a good option if you don’t want to worry about Marketing and communicating with guest before and after a guests stay :)

Marketing & 3rd party maintenance and cleaning Some property managers will handle the marketing and bookings, and refer maintenance companies they work with. Often, these managers will handle the communication with the maintenance companies, so you won’t have to. 

Full-Service - A full-service property manager will handle everything required to run a well-performing vacation rental. This includes:

  • Photography, optimized listings, and home marketing 

  • Managing guests from booking to check out, including inquiries, guest screening, and handling any complaints

  • Responding to and generating guest reviews

  • Scheduling preventative maintenance and home inspections, and responding to guest emergencies

  • Revenue management and dynamic pricing strategies

+++ Ask to see a monthly statement and look at ALL fee’s. In addition to commission, we’ve seen maintenance visit fees, guest supply fee’s, tax payment fees, marketing fees, credit card fee’s. The fees might make sense, but we encourage all owners to understand them and know what they are paying.

How do you Create a Listing?

One of the most important aspects of marketing your property is creating a professional-looking listing.  Ask your property manager if he or she hired a professional photographer to display your property in the best possible way - this can make or break your listing!

How Will you Price my Home?

Ask what pricing strategies they’ll use to achieve a balance between high revenue, low wear and tear, and personal use. What is their strategy for initial pricing and how this evolves into a longer-term, ongoing pricing strategy? How does the property manager price high and low season? Have they looked at the competition? Have the manager show you other properties in the area and how your property compares.

How Will you Clean and Inspect my Home?

It goes without saying that cleanliness and consistency are critical in your vacation home. To get more specific answers, try asking the following questions: 

How has your cleaning staff been trained?

Is the home inspected after it’s been cleaned, prior to a guest stay?

Do you deep- clean specific areas of the home?

What technology do you use to enhance the guest experience?

The average age of people booking vacation rentals are within 25-45 years of age. Ask what household technologies their properties have.

Are you available 24/7 and how quickly do you respond?

The websites that your home will be on will rate your home on different criteria. One of these is communication and response time. Based on how often you communicate when a message is sent, highly effects your position on the search pages, when guests are looking to book. Be sure to ask the vacation rental manager if they are available 24/7 and how quickly they respond to messages and who is answering the phone.

What is your average guest rating?

The ultimate goal in vacation rental management is happy guests.  Guests should be pleased with the booking process, ease of entry to the home, cleanliness of the home upon arrival, and their overall stay.  How does your property manager prove to you that your guests are satisfied?

What if I decide I want to work with a different Property Manager?

We believe property management companies should retain homeowners by providing great service and financial results, not by locking them into long-term agreements. Be sure to ask the property manager what their contract terms are.

Can I see some of your listings online?

Simple enough; one of the easiest ways to get a feel for a property manager is to find out which of their rental properties are listed on major rental sites, and look up the quality of the listings, how many bookings they’ve received, and what kind of reviews they get.