Your property doesn’t need to be brand new for you to successfully rent it to vacationers – it just needs to look and feel like it is.
Once you’ve made the decision to enter the vacation home rental business – and it is a business – it’s necessary for you to go through every nook and corner of your property to ensure that your guests will have a pleasant and problem free stay.
The following are great tips on how to manage your vacation home, but if you can’t do it yourself, you can always hire a property management company like this one in Orlando.
First impressions are important and obviously, this would include the exterior. The grounds of the home should be well-manicured. Choose low-maintenance grass if at all possible, or make sure that a gardener comes on a regular basis to keep all flower beds pristine and free of weeds.
Sidewalks and driveways can be of either neatly groomed gravel, or concrete. If they are of concrete, any cracks should be filled in so that they do not detract from the look of the place. Consider installing solar-powered walkway lights running the length of sidewalks and even driveways, to ensure your guests can find their way in the dark.
If there’s a wooden fence, make sure that all boards are in good condition. If the color of the wood is “distressed,” make sure it’s consistent all the way around. Make sure that there are no gaps underneath the fence that lead into the property of others.
It is not necessary to paint exterior walls if the paint is faded as long as all the walls are the same. It’s essential, however, that there be no mildew or staining beneath the eaves. Such stains should be removed with a good power washing.
Walk through every single room of your home, viewing everything with a critical eye.
Any cracks in the walls or ceiling? Spackle and then paint over them. Wooden paneling on the lower halves of walls looks nice and helps cut down on staining. If the walls are painted, consider investing in high-quality washable paint.
What should the color of the walls be? Darker colors don’t show dirt or stains as much as light colored paints do, but light colors make a room look larger and are more pleasant. Washable paint solves this dilemma.
The color of the carpeting – if there is any carpet – is essential. It should complement the color of the walls, and be of such quality that it is also easy to clean. In addition, the carpet should be in good shape and, if your budget will allow, consider a one of commercial grade. A threadbare carpet without a thick pad just won’t do the job.
Appliances in the kitchen include a refrigerator, oven and microwave, and dishwasher. Do all these appliances work in conjunction, or does a fuse occasionally blow when too many appliances are running?
Rather than leaving your guests a warning not to run too many appliances at one time, call an electrician to have the kitchen rewired so that the problem is not masked, but rather solved.
Of all the rooms in the house, the bathrooms really need to look exceptionally clean. The material of the toilet, bathtub and sink should be sparkling. If any are stained, and can’t be cleaned, then the unit should be replaced.
The toilet needs to flush first time every time. This can be difficult, depending on where you live, if you have to install “low-flow” toilets. If you have a choice, install a toilet with good water pressure.
The living room and bedrooms are rather easier to keep clean, and typically there aren’t any problems with fuses in these locations.
If your home is an older one without walk-in closets, provide not only a chest of drawers but also a bureau so that your guests can hang up their clothes.
If your home comes equipped with a garage, it needs to be properly cared for as well.
Many people use their garages as an excess storage area. It’s piled high with junk and if there’s room for a car it has to be very carefully squeezed in.
This isn’t acceptable in a rental property.
Make sure that there are bright overhead lights so anyone parking in the garage can see properly.
Place a tennis ball or some other device at the appropriate spot so that anyone driving into the garage will know where to stop so as not to run into the rear wall.
Your garage should come equipped with shelves for storage. Peg boards with hooks are ideal for hanging and organizing tools.
However – you don’t necessarily want your renters to have access to your tools. Consider storing all your tools away so that there is no way to access them. Your renters should not need to have access these – since you’re going to ensure that everything is in working order.
Your washer, dryer and hot water heater may be free-standing in the garage or basement, or it may in a utility room. Regardless, this area must also be kept scrupulously clean.
Provide a garbage can so your guests can empty the lint trap of the dryer when necessary. Keep paper towels handy so they can wipe up the dust caused by cleaning out the lint trap, too.
This section doesn’t come under “home improvement” or “home maintenance” so much as just common sense. Not all appliance brands work the same, so make sure your guests have easy access to manuals for your clothes washer and dryer, your dishwasher, and your microwave. If the oven is a new-fangled one with glass controls, make sure you have a manual for that as well.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Technology improves our lives every day – and technology can be anything, not just new computers!
For example, storage systems for garages and closets are being refined and improved every day. If you’ve never paid much attention to the new fashions in housewares, you’ll probably be unaware of the items you can purchase to not only make your life easier, but also those of your guests.
Do a search online for “storage systems” or “kitchen improvements” and see what you find, or visit your local home improvement stores and see what they have on offer.
It’s always a good idea to have a professional go through your home, just as you would if you were going to sell it. The appraiser will investigate every inch of your home, not only for its appearance but to make sure everything works right. He will then give you a report detailing what needs to be fixed.
Make any necessary repairs necessary before you list your home on the various vacation rental sites. Finally, take your photos and get ready to receive guests!