Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Managing a Vacation Property from a distance

Well, you have a vacation house on the beach, or at the mountains or maybe in the middle of the city! The point is that even though you took the plunge to purchase it (or maybe you had an unexpected inheritance), you are not quite ready or willing to move in permanently. Still, there are costs for the upkeep and a great way to afford them is to actually rent it as a vacation home.
Now, if the property is so far away from you that it won’t allow you to go there on a weekly or even semi-weekly basis, there are some things you should consider.

In order for you to actually rent the place, people need to hear about it! You can advertise it on many websites and even your own social media, word to mouth has always been a great way of connecting. You efforts will depend on how much you want/need to rent the place. Maybe you need to make just enough to cover expenses, maybe you want it as a second yet regular income. If it’s a once-in-a-while type of thing, word to mouth will do. If it’s more of a steady thing, you need to further advertise.

You need someone to keep the place spotless between guests. You might even offer a service of cleaning during the stay, but that’s not usually the case. When people rent vacation homes, it’s just that, another home, so guests do their own cleaning.
A cleaning person or crew can be helpful to keep an eye on the house. They can be the ones to tell you how the place was when the guest left and if everything was in order.

Check in-out
Even if you’re not within driving distance, you can manage the reservations, the rules and the check in and out through e-mail or phone. If your property is within a condominium, there’s probably an office where the key exchange can be made.
A lockbox can be used and the guests get the combination before arrival. When they leave the place, they leave the key as well. The cleaning person or crew can also be in charge checking this.

Even though e-mail is good for the previous steps, once the guests have arrived, there needs to be a contingency plan. Vital things can break (heating, gas, power) and need to be fixed right away. Make sure to keep a list of available and reliable professionals that the guests can contact in case of an emergency. The better the relationship you keep with these professionals, the faster they will respond.

And if all of this seems like too much trouble to handle yourself, you can always hire a managing company. Generally you can find them locally where the house is. Yes, it will come to a relatively high rate (up to 30% of the rental price) but you will get peace of mind. Having someone to take care of the property and everything that the renting entails, will guarantee that your house and your guests are both satisfied and safe.

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