If you’ve invested in a vacation property in an area with an impressive demand for tourism, it’s vital that you oversee it properly to attract travelers. Whether you’re a long-distance vacation property owner, or if you live next to your vacation rental, we’ve put together a few expert tips on managing a short-term rental:
#1 Update Listing Information
Make sure that the information about your rental property is up-to-date. The last thing you want is for your tenants to express their disappointment that the short-term rental property didn’t meet their expectations – what makes this worse is if they choose to write it in the form of a one-star review.
If you say goodbye to the hot tub, make sure to let your would-be tenants know about this downgrade. If you got rid of the fridge, don’t forget to state this in the listing, too. You don’t want to disappoint your short-term tenants. It would be awfully sad if they found out the unit “catfished” them.
This also applies to how tenants are supposed to check in – for instance, if you want your tenants to get the keys to your Airbnb from your property management agent, be sure to let them know so that they don’t waste time. You owe it to your tenants to inform them of exactly what to expect from the start.
#2 Communicate With Your Short-Term Tenants
Make sure to communicate with your short-term tenants from the moment that they confirm their stay to the time that they check out. They should be aware that it’s perfectly fine for them to contact you at any time, and that you’ll always be by their side. Tell them that you are their point of contact in case of emergencies – alternatively, they can count on your property management company.
Your short-term tenants should have your contact number saved on their mobile devices. It would also be wise to provide them with additional ways to contact you – for instance, in case there’s no cell service, they can call you on a corded phone.
#3 Automate Your Short-Term Rental Home
If you’re a long-distance landlord, it would be ideal to set up automated features for your short-term rental home. Automations like smart thermostats, smart cameras, and other “smart” add-ons make it possible to keep tabs on your property from afar. To save energy, you can even invest in lights that turn off the moment the unit is empty.
You can even monitor the noise levels in your rental home with apps such as NoiseAware and Minut. That way, you will be notified if your tenants throw a party late into the night – an act that your homeowner’s association (HOA) does not tolerate.
#4 Invest in Home Security Systems
If you’ve invested in a vacation home, it will likely be vacant for days (even months) at a time. For that reason, it’s vital to invest in smart home security systems such as cameras, motion-sensing lights, and more. These can deter would-be burglars, and safeguard your property, including its contents, throughout the year.
An alternative would be to enlist the services of a reputable property management agent. Keep in mind that would-be criminals target vacant homes, but if they know that you’ve got a manager checking it regularly, they’ll be more likely to forget about it.
Since you can’t count on your tenants to lock the door, you may want to install smart locks with built-in cameras like the Ring. Configure your security system to dial the police the moment movement is detected in the vacation home, at times when the unit is supposed to be vacant.
Pro Tip: Do not install security cameras in the unit. That would be a violation of your vacation rental’s tenants, an act that you would undoubtedly be in trouble for. Cameras or CCTVs should point outside of the rental property, but not into a neighbor’s house either.
#5 Price the Property Properly
Unlike single-family rental properties, where the rate depends on the rental market, the rate of vacation properties varies due to the season. Bear in mind that several factors impact the demand for short-term rentals, such as festivals, events, and the overall vacation industry. As an investor, you should keep tabs on the rental rates, and compare yours with other short-term rentals, Airbnbs, and the like.
If your short-term rental is in Florida, you can raise your vacation home’s rent over the summer. But for the rest of the year, you may want to lower that rate to be on par with other residential properties.
If you don’t know how to price your property, partner with a property management firm that can look into the market for you.
#6 Keep Up to Date on the Laws
The laws on vacation properties are not the same as the laws for residential rental properties. With that said, it is imperative to stay up to date on your state’s laws relevant to vacation homes. You may be obligated to obtain specific permits, pay fees, and so on. Some states also demand that the property owner (you) stay at the property for a certain number of days per calendar year.
Furthermore, be absolutely sure that your HOA allows short-term rentals. Some HOA-governed neighborhoods ban short-term rentals as it puts its members at risk, as short-term tenants are less likely to be screened meticulously.
#7 Prepare a Manual For Your Guests
You can’t guarantee that your guests know how to use the appliances in the short-term rental property. Save them the trouble of having to Google “How to Use a Microwave” by giving them a manual that covers all of the amenities, including the TV, HVAC, and Wi-Fi, among others. Not only will this limit the number of calls you get from disgruntled tenants, but also protects your property from damage due to misuse.
The Bottom Line
Vacation homes can be a challenge due to the number of tenants that move in and out at a rapid rate. However, with the tips above, you can ensure that your vacation property is overseen properly. And remember, if it’s ever too tedious, you can always count on the experts at Luxury Property Care.
As a full-service property management company, we provide property management, maintenance, preservation, and more to South Florida investment homes. Call us at (561) 944 – 2992 or complete our contact form for more information.