Owning a vacation rental home is a dream come true for many, but it’s not always the easiest job. As you become more experienced as a rental host, you’ll learn how to make your job more efficient, more productive, and more successful. As a rental host, you’ll make mistakes. These are going to happen a lot as you begin your quest into the rental industry, and there’s no reason to fret. Mistakes happen, and they are an excellent teacher. Rather than allowing yourself to become frustrated with your mistakes, you can learn from them and use those lessons to make you a better vacation rental host in the future.
You can also take a few moments to learn some of the biggest mistakes other vacation rental hosts make as they get started in the business and learn from them. Here are some common mistakes you don’t want to make.
1. Not Listening to Your Instincts
Your gut instinct is your biggest help, and you should listen to it. When you don’t listen to what your gut tells you, you usually end up mistaken. Your subconscious picks up on things you might not notice in a typical conversation. If your gut tells you that a potential renter seems off or you shouldn’t rent to someone, go with it. You might not realize it, but they might have said or written something that struck a chord, that didn’t come off as sincere, or just didn’t seem right. Chances are good your gut is spot on. Listen to it.
2. Not Minimizing Your Listings
When you list your vacation rental everywhere, on every site, in every publication, and by using as many rental locations as possible, you assume you’re doing good business. In reality, you’re adding stress to your life. You cannot do this for various reasons. For one, there are listing fees associated with many sites, and they’re not cheap. The other reason is you’ll end up with so many emails, so many inquiries, and so many questions you cannot handle all of them. Do yourself a favor and list with just a few sites to minimize your stress level.
3. Using Craigslist
Just don’t. Craigslist is great for some people, but it’s well-known for not having the best reputation for people who are quality renters. You’re going to find those who want the cheapest place to stay, who are more likely to destroy your home or property, and who don’t want to go through the proper channels to rent your home. Don’t bother with Craigslist, as this is a site that isn’t known for the most high-quality renters.
4. Not Pricing Correctly
It’s the same concept as selling your home. You need to have the best price, and you must have it immediately. If you price too high, people will avoid your home. If you price too low, you’ll end up with renters who might not be as trustworthy or quality, or you’ll price people out with worry that there’s something wrong with your home. Do your homework and compare your vacation rental to others in the area. See what you have versus what they have, and then price your home accordingly with the other homes similar to your own.
5. Not Screening Applicants
Never, ever rent a home to someone you’ve not screened. You can ask for a background check, you can check their social media, you can ask to check their credit; you can require anything you want to rent your vacation home to someone else. Don’t skip this step, because these people are coming into your home. You need to know if they’re trustworthy people who are less likely to steal your appliances, destroy your home, or do anything else illegal while they’re staying in the home you own.
6. Not Providing Adequate Supplies
Renting to strangers means being accommodating. You’re going to find it’s a mistake to provide them with very little in terms of supplies. Renters want to make their trip as stress-free as possible, and this often means looking for a home that has a little extra. Towels, sheets, blankets, games, movies, Wi-Fi, pots and pans and other kitchen items, and other supplies such as cleaning supplies are always appreciated by guests. Don’t lose out on renters because you don’t provide the most basic essentials to ease their stress and their own packing needs.
7. Not Being Gracious
Being a gracious host means checking in with guests before their trip, during, and after. It means leaving a little gift for them upon their arrival, and it means being accommodating. When you are a gracious host who sends a quick thank you note to renters who left your home in lovely condition following their stay, you leave a good feeling. Those renters will want to rent from you again, because they now feel appreciated by you. Being gracious means being kind and being honest, and you won’t find that being kind to renters before, during, and after their stay ever backfires.
Getting into the rental game is a good idea for most everyone. Vacation rentals bring ample income and a diverse portfolio to homeowners. The longer you rent vacation homes the better you’ll become. You’ll make fewer mistakes, and you’ll get better.
It’s a great time to hire a rental company who is willing to work for and with you when you can’t handle it all, and that’s where we come in handy for you and your business. Our company works to help homeowners who can’t be there all the time. We take the everyday stress out of your life, and we help ensure your rental host experience is the best possible.