You’ve just purchased your beach vacation home or condo. Congratulations! What now?
It’s an exciting time – your dream has come true. Now, it’s time to set up your rental property and start generating income. Where to begin? It’s a fun process to turn your home into a vacation rental property that welcomes visitors, and even better when those visitors turn in to repeat guests.
Here’s my top ten list of the things I’ve learned from many years of renting my own vacation properties and managing others as well.
1 - Make it personal.
Don’t hesitate to leave family pictures out for guests to enjoy. This reminds them that a family owns the home that they are “borrowing” (renting) and helps ensure they take good care of your property.
2 - Have a guest book.
It might be considered “old school” but renters love reading what others have to say about your home and their vacation memories. And you’ll love reading the comments too!
3 - Communicate with your guests.
Send welcome letters with all the instructions / helpful hints on the area and the house. Check in a day or two before check out to remind guests of the checkout procedures and to thank them for staying with you!
4 - Get a good, reliable cleaning service.
The first people on site after each guest leaves are the cleaning crews. Establish a great relationship with your cleaning company and do whatever you need to do to keep them happy! Ideally, having the same cleaner each week means they really get to know your property well. Encourage them to send pictures of anything they see out of place or amiss.
5 - Invest in good cookware and cutlery and keep a well-stocked kitchen.
Guests who cook will definitely appreciate it and typically treat the kitchen more like their own.
6 - Upgrade your televisions.
Get at least one 55” (or bigger) for the rainy day movie watching.
7 - Invest in good linens and towels.
Trust me… the men may not care, but the women will notice! However, budget for two sets of everything as you will need extra sets for cleaning “turn” days.
8 - People like King size beds and bunk beds too!
When you’re setting up bedrooms, keep in mind that guests love King Beds and for the kids, cozy bunk rooms are always popular. However don’t overdo it, keeping in mind the maximum number of people you’re comfortable with staying in your beach house.
9 - Forge a good partnership with your husband or partner to handle handyman chores!
Locks will need fixing, light bulbs replacing, electronics (including the all-important Wi-Fi) set up, and toilets will need repairing. If your partner is all thumbs and not very handy, create a list of service providers you can rely on to help you when your property needs TLC.
Remember, guests pay a lot of money for their vacation and expect everything in their beach rental to be in good order.
10 - Consider installing electronic locks.
They take some technical expertise to set up, but are life savers in the end. We program each guest’s code to begin at check-in and end at check-out. We can also unlock the door with our cell phones if the guest forgets their code. Very handy!
Lastly, as you prepare to have a beach vacation rental home remember to keep a good sense of humor, communicate with your guest and prepare your property so it conveys an inviting sense of warmth, comfort and welcome for your guests. And, never forget that it's likely that the family staying in your homes saved up all year so they can vacation in a place where you are fortunate enough to own and share a home!
What are your curiosities about owning a 30A beach vacation property? No question is too big or small. We’d love to hear from you and we stand ready to help every step of the way!
Nancy Abraham is a long time property owner in Seagrove Beach. For over fourteen years, Nancy has successfully managed her own personal vacation rentals as well as those of other rental owners. She's also a full-time Realtor® and member of the Davis Properties Sales Team. We encourage you to contact our qualified 30A real estate specialists online, or call 850-231-2025 today!