January 23, 2017

How to Successfully Manage a Vacation Rental Property

January 23, 2017

How to Successfully Manage a Vacation Rental Property

Managing a vacation home that you rent out isn’t like running a business, it IS a business. Like any business, at the end of the month, your expenses must be less than income, or you are losing money. Therefore, you may be wondering how you can cut costs and increase your profit. Managing your property is one of the best ways to do so, so here is some advice on successful management of a rental property. 

Housekeepers are Important

Hiring an excellent housekeeper is crucial to your success. You should hire an experienced and detail oriented housekeeper. Your housekeeper will be your eyes on the property when you are not around, so you need someone who is willing to report back to you after each guest and inform you of the condition of the house. Someone that can spot potential future problems can help avoid small issues from growing into larger, more expensive ones. Of course, the housekeeper will also keep guests comfortable and happy with your service, so they are also vital to your reputation. 

Find an Honest Handyman

You need to have a handyman who will be able to respond to service calls promptly. For this reason, they should live close by and have a reputation for being honest and trustworthy, since you may be sending them out to your property based on information that is secondhand to you. Having a good handyman is even more important if your property has a pool or spa. Most charge around $85 a month to keep the chemicals in a pool or spa at the proper level, and paying for this service is a must to ensure the health and safety of your guests. 

Market Your Property

Your property, no matter how beautiful or well-kept it is, will never make you any money if people don’t know about it. Airbnb, VRBO.com and Homeaway.com are some of the more popular websites used to market vacation rentals. You should take advantage of these, as well as other sites geared toward your particular local community. Make sure that you have your property listed in as many places as possible. 

Have a Website

You should have a website dedicated to your property. The cost of setting up a website is minimal for the amount of time it will save you. Two reasons for doing so are:

1. Frequently Asked Questions Sheet
Providing a FAQ sheet is a time-saver. Most potential customers will want to call and ask several questions about the property, but no one enjoys answering the same questions over and over. To avoid this, you should prepare a frequently asked questions sheet that you can email to customer on request. Emailing the FAQ sheet instead of posting it to your website allows you to gather your customer's email addresses so you can keep in touch later on. 

2. Online Payments
Setting your website up for online payments is a great way to simplify managing your property. Most homeowners charge an initial non-refundable deposit and then charge the remaining balance 30 to 45 days before the arrival. Manually billing each customer can be time-consuming, but this is easy to automate if you have a website. 

Price for Profit

Increasing your profit isn’t just about cutting costs. You also need to maximize incoming revenue, so you should be doing everything you can to maximize nightly revenue. You need to determine when people are going to be in your area and adjust your prices accordingly. The number of potential customers in your particular area fluctuates based on time of the year and whether there are major events in the area. You should be charging more when demand for rentals in your area is high, and less when there are fewer potential customers in the area and demand is lower. You should never lower your rate to the point that you are losing money by having a guest. The goal is to maximize profit, not simply to rent the property every night. 

Although managing a rental property can be time-consuming, it does not have to be difficult if you manage it correctly. Taking calls from potential guests regarding details on the property, or from current guests that are having an issue will always be a part of managing a rental home. You will have to make yourself available to take care of your guests if you want to be successful. 

If managing your own vacation rental interests you, hiring a professional property manager to look after the property and the guest while they stay in the home can be helpful. Avoiding the repetitive and time-consuming tasks involved in managing the property will free up much needed time for you to focus on marketing your home and finding guests. After you get comfortable with this side of the business, then you could consider taking over the day to day responsibilities if you desire. Taking on all aspects of managing the property at once makes if difficult to succeed, as you learn the intricacies of this business.

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If you are experienced in managing a vacation rental home and have advice for someone just starting out, please share in the comment section below!

Tagged: vacation rental tips, property management