The best thing about having your home listed as a vacation rental is also the worst thing – there's an actual stranger coming to stay in your home. Does it really matter if they are paying you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for that privilege when it comes to the well being of your most treasured asset? Yes and no. We've already talked about verifying your vacation rental guests (and shared with guests how to avoid a potential vacation rental scam), so now it's time to talk about how you can protect your property and the valuable assets inside when renting out your home for vacation rentals.
- Put away the china, leave the Denby: Rule #1 for vacation rentals is to not leave out anything you absolutely do not want to lose. Having quality flatware and stemware available for your guests is a great way to ensure a pleasant stay and encourage great reviews, but that doesn't mean you should leave your wedding crystal out. We've seen far too many homes leave their fine china out for guests thinking they can charge more per night and the guest's appreciation for such high-end touches will result in even better reviews. Accidents happen, silverware goes missing, and dishes get broken. Buy casual, durable dinnerware to leave out for your guests. Places like HomeGoods and Target have a large selection and it will be easy to replace individual items when one or two go missing.
- Less is more: Limit the number of items you make available for your vacation rental guests and you'll have fewer items to keep track of and potentially replace. Provide for your guests' needs and have some backups (especially towels and other essentials), but don't go overkill with supplies; one set per person should be enough. This also applies to kitchen utensils and cookware: you don't need to have multiples of the same type of spatula or sauce pot.
- Take inventory: Before every rental, we do a thorough walkthrough and count of each household item for our clients. This helps them and us determine if items are missing or damaged after each guest departs. Of course, these things happen and guests and owners alike know that comes with the territory. But in order to protect the value of those lost or damaged items, sufficient documentation must be taken in order to get reimbursed by insurance or by withholding a security deposit. We also make a note of the condition of each item so subsequent guests aren't charged for damage they didn't do and the owners aren't surprised when they return to their home.
Do you take additional measure to protect your vacation rental and your belongings? We're interested to hear what you do! Please share your ideas with us.