You work, why shouldn’t your vacation home? It makes solid financial sense to rent your vacation home to tourists and other travelers when you’re not there. That property could be turning a profit instead of sucking up your extra cash. Following are some tips to help you make the most of your new commercial venture.
- Check zoning laws and ordinances that govern your property’s location. Some communities frown on temporary rentals while others welcome them. If you are thinking of buying a home for short term rentals, this is especially important.
- Advertise your home for rent and plan to take reservations up to one year in advance. People like to plan ahead. Sometimes they need that much time to put in vacation requests at work, save money and explore their options.
- Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your vacation home during the height of each season. For example, if you are renting out a ski property, add snowy ski photos to your marketing six months in advance. When the season arrives, swap them and market for the next upcoming season. Summers on the slopes are awesome too. Show bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen facilities in their best possible light. Include pictures of the most popular surrounding attractions.
- Remove your personal belongings. It isn’t safe or smart to leave personal belongings at your vacation rental property unless you plan to include the use of them in your rental agreement. If you do leave dishes, towels and linens, etc., take an inventory before each guest arrives.
- Hire a property manager. The money you spend to hire a local property manager will be worth every cent. There are plenty of people who would relish the opportunity to assist you with your rental business. Check the managers credentials and coordinate guest check-in/check-out, cleaning and maintenance as well as repairs through the manager. Many homeowners associations and resorts offer property management services.
- Collect a significant deposit when the reservation is made. Plans change. If you commit your luxury vacation home to someone and he or she changes plans at the last minute, you could be left with an empty house during a peak season. Business is business. Even if your renters are good friends, ask for a non-refundable deposit to ensure they follow through.
- Check the going rental rates. Set the rent you charge at the local going rate for each season.
- Keep it legal. Hire an attorney to draw up your rental agreement. Check it and re-check it. This is no time to count on boiler-plate Internet verbiage. Make an investment in some legal assistance.
- Never allow a guest to enter your property without a signed contract. With email, scanners, fax machines and fancy phones these days there is no reason you can’t have a contract finalized before your guests ever arrive.
- Encourage repeat renters. It’s a nice feeling to know your renters. Once you have a satisfactory experience, it’s smart to encourage good renters to come back again and again. Offer a small discount for the second year. Throw in some lift tickets. Leave dinner coupons on the counter to welcome them “home.” Niceties are important and people love to feel spoiled when they’re on vacation.
Now is a great time to invest in a vacation/short-term rental home. My name is Joel Carson, President/Principal Broker of Utah Real Estate. I would love to help you find the perfect home away from home. Call or text 801-673-3333.