How to handle managing you vacation property? First you must determine which way is the best for you and a simple pros and cons list can do the trick and point you in the right direction. Just be mindful that overseeing a vacation rental is no easy task so making sure you are available is the key to success.
Now that you have done your research and went ahead with your purchase of a vacation property, the work doesn’t stop here. If you determined that you are going to use your vacation property as a rental, you now must figure out how you are going to oversee the property from hundreds or thousands of miles away. There are basically 2 options that you have to look over the property:
- Handle the property remotely
- Hire a property management company
Property Management Company
These companies are very easy to find and if your vacation property is in an area with a lot of rentals, these companies will be plentiful. In such cases, you need to do your research on each company to see what they offer in terms of services, insurance, and price. After you have narrowed down your list to a couple companies, it is wise to interview them directly because you want to feel 100% comfortable giving the keys to your home to someone else who you are going to trust to manage the property on a weekly basis. You might be wondering, what types of services do these companies offer?
In a general sense, think of these companies as people that would do exactly what you would do for the home. These companies will ensure that your appliances and utilities are operational after every renting tenant checks out and if any repairs are needed, they can schedule for this and get it completed ASAP so that you don’t have any down time. Depending on the location of the home these companies will hire people to take care of your lawn or shovel and plow your snow in the winter. Now, all these services do come with a price, however, this is something you need to weigh out and determine if this is the right situation for you. With a property management company you are paying for peace of mind and the convenience knowing that someone is looking after your home in your absence. Whatever you do, you need to make sure you have this fee in your financial calculations for the property. With fees of over $300 per month, this can add up very quickly!
Managing The Vacation Property Remotely
Now the first thing you are going to have to do, and hopefully you did this prior to purchasing your home, is ensure that the property can be rented out in the community or city your purchased in.
For example, there are a lot of communities that don’t allow week-to-week rentals and all rentals need to be for a month or more. You will find this more in locations that have a higher percentage of full-time residents who have bylaws that prevent weekly turnover. Even so, if you are in a community that allows weekly/daily rentals they may still want a separate rental application on file for every person that rents your home or condo. This could get pricey with fees ranging from $25-$100 per application. The second thing you are going to have to do is make sure your property is in the condition to be rented out. This would include all appliances, utilities, plumbing, and hvac working properly as if you were going to live there yourself. Make sure you create a list of repair companies and leave it in the home for your renters to find in case of an emergency. It might also be helpful to create a rental binder that includes all important information, community information, and any other information a renter may need. In today’s ever advancing wifi based electronics, it is helpful to utilize these items to protect yourself and your property: Remote thermostat (Nest or Ecobee), security system, and remote locks. Using these items you can always see the status of your property, make sure the temperature is stable, and all the doors are locked. Finally, you are going to want to employ a handyman who can always check in at a moment’s notice to fix small issues and see the overall condition of the property. Having all these items in place, you are ready to rent out your home.
What Now? Simple – Make Money!
After making a decision on a property management company or taking care of your vacation property remotely, you can now begin to rent your place out and start making money. This is a struggle that you need to prepare for as it isn’t as simple as putting up a few pictures on a website and watching the checks come in to your bank account. In most cases it is probably in your best interest to have professional pictures taken and also a professional description of the property written. You want to make sure you come across as very professional as renters will be turned off by most listings that aren’t professional grade.
With the abundance of vacation rental websites you need to make sure you have visibility across all of them. A problem that may arise when having your property listed on so many websites is that you need to be up-to-date with the calendar of availability for every site. You don’t want to have someone thinking they reserved a week only to find out that it was your mistake for not updating the calendar in a timely fashion. This is going to be very hands-on for you to ensure long-term success of your rental so that you can have sustained income. If you have done all your research and have checked off all the boxes on your preparation, you can now make your decision and hopefully experience success in running your vacation property.