April 19, 2016

Vacation Rental Management: DIY or Hire A Property Manager?

April 19, 2016

Vacation Rental Management: DIY or Hire A Property Manager?


Owning a vacation rental property is a great investment. However, owning a rental property of any type comes with a lot of responsibilities. Owners of a rental can expect to do many different jobs when it comes to their property, including:

• Managing all the business aspects of the rental, such as taxes, rental fees and insurance policies.
• Aggressively marketing your property so that you can attract enough clients to make the rental profitable.
• Manage all of the reservations, payment processing, and other related administrative tasks.
• Property maintenance inside and out and cleaning the unit each time a guest leaves.
• Greeting all renters upon their arrival to assist with any of their needs and perform a walk through on the unit before they depart to ensure everything is not damaged.
• Answer emergency calls for anything that could occur at the property.

When you purchase a rental, you will need to ask yourself if you are going to handle all of these tasks or should you hire a property management company.

A Look At Property Management

When it comes to deciding on property management, you have four real options. Each of these options offers different services. The type of service you use will depend on your preferences and what you hope to achieve with your rental.

Full Service Vacation Rental Service

A full service rental service will manage every aspect of your rental property for you for a monthly fee. Their services include marketing, reservations, cleaning and prepping the unit for each guest, and emergency contact services. Some are also including additional services as a way to entice clients such as concierge services, package deals or local attractions, and discounts for dining and other local experiences. These additional benefits encourage many visitors to select their rental units above other available units in the same area.

Property Management Company

A property management company performs a very basic service. They will make sure that the property stays maintained both inside and outside and will provide an emergency contact number for guests who may experience problems. However, they will not manage any type of marketing, reservations, or answer questions for guests.

Booking Company

A booking company offers reservation and guest inquiry services. They will answer questions when someone asks about your unit and will book their stay, but they usually do not offer any additional services. Marketing may be an add-on feature that these services offer, but this is not very common. Booking companies do not handle any type of maintenance and do not interact with clients other than to make their reservation.

DIY Property Management

If you are a DIY person, than you may just rely on family and friends to help you with your vacation property. Anyone that decides to do this, however, should take a very close look at what successfully managing a property entails, the hours and effort involved, and decide honestly if they can accomplish these goals.

Self-Managing A Rental Property

The first step to a successful rental business is being able to get people into the rental unit. On average, a DIY manager will have to devote at least nine hours a week to get a minimal response to their marketing efforts. 

You will need to be available around the clock to accept calls for inquiries and reservations. You must consider, especially if your property is in a high-demand area, that you will be contacted from visitors who are traveling from all areas of the world. They will contact you on their time zone, not yours.

If you do not live within a short distance of your property, you will have to consider how the property will be maintained. Can you come every couple of days to maintain the property and make sure the interior is clean? Can you make necessary repairs that are within safety and building code guidelines? How hard will it be for you to reach the property in the event of an emergency? These are all serious questions that must be asked and answered honestly.

Can you dedicate sufficient time each week to performing all of the administrative tasks necessary to manage the vacation rental business? Do you understand the tax structure and local fee structures for rental properties? Can you process credit card payments from your home office? All of these things must be considered.

Options For DIY Managers

If you are still determined to manage as much of the rental business as possible, there are options that can make it easier. Look honestly at your strengths, such as your ability to market or make repairs, and then find support services to help with the other tasks. Many property management companies will devise a service package for you based on how much, or how little, of the services they offer you need to make your rental property a success.


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Tagged: vacation rental tips, property management, vacation rental