For many people, owning a vacation rental property sounds like a dream come true. A beach cottage, city skyscraper, or mountain cabin located far away from the hustle and grind of everyday life is a luxury most entrepreneurs strive to achieve.
The good news is, this dream does not have to be far removed from reality. If buying a vacation home is high on your list of goals, it is possible to do so without breaking the bank or mastering all investing in rental property tips available. All you have to do is rent our your property when you – or your friends and family – are not using it. You get the vacation home you’ve always wanted and in turn, others are helping pay down the mortgage. Eventually, you’ll have an additional stream of passive income to add to your investment portfolio along with a place to spend summers and holidays.
Once you’ve figured out where to purchase and how to finance your new vacation rental investment property, only one question remains: how to manage your vacation rental property.
Fortunately, you can manage your vacation rental even while you’re on vacation yourself, so long as you are aware of these tips and tools:
How To Manage Your Vacation Rental Property Remotely: DIY Or Hire A Pro
If anyone has ever told you it is impossible to manage your vacation rental while working a nine to five job, they are wrong. When it comes to running a vacation rental property while on the run (or on vacation, or just living your regular life) you have two options:
- Hire a property management company
- Run the property yourself (with the help of technology, and perhaps a cleaning crew)
There are pros and cons to either option and the choice will ultimately depend on your budget and how much time you’re willing to spend dealing with day to day property
If you choose to hire a property management company…
The first three steps to take before hiring a property management company are as follows: research, research research. There will be a handful of property managers in every market and each company will offer their own unique set of services. Some companies will only work for large apartment complexes while others specialize in single family homes (the latter being ideal for those looking to manage their vacation rental).
If you want your vacation rental property to be the definition of a passive income property, you’re going to want to hire a property manager that does everything from finding tenants to completing household repairs.
A few questions to ask when “interviewing” your potential property management company include, but are not limited to:
- How many other units do you manage?
- Are you currently an active real estate investor in this market?
- What steps do you take to market the property?
- Do you charge fees when the property is not being rented out?
- Do you have connections and/or are you able to score deals with handymen/cleaning services in the area?
- How long have you been serving this community?
- How do you screen tenants?
- How often will I get updates on my portfolio?
Keep in mind, a property management company will charge for all of their services. Whether they charge in an à la carte style or take a percentage of your profits will depend on the company. So mind your due diligence and find a manager that will meet your needs and keep to your budget.
If you choose to manage the property yourself…
Any property can be managed remotely so long as you have efficient systems in place. Firstly, it is important to be up to date with your market’s rules and regulations regarding renting out a private property. While it is becoming more and more popular to rent out vacation homes, certain areas are taking action to make it difficult for people to do so.
Once you’ve made yourself abreast to the laws and zoning codes of your market, you must prepare your property to be rented. This means making sure all appliances, including the HVAC system, are in working condition. If repairs need to be made, find a local handyman that will be willing to make repairs in the future. The more relationships you can building with people in your market, the easier it will be to manage your property remotely.
If your vacation rental property is “move-in ready”, the next step is to list your property online. There are plenty of online platforms that are easy to use, readily available, and popular amongst vacationers. Air BnB, VRBO, and Homeaway are just three of many options for listing your property; however, Craigslist and other social media platforms are great options as well. Marketing will be a key aspect to running a successful vacation rental property, so be sure to set aside a budget solely for marketing.
Other key tips to keep in mind if you decide to manage your vacation rental property on your own include:
- Take Advantage Of Technology: From security cameras to programmable lights to a digital keypad door lock, there are plenty of online tools and mobile apps that will make running your vacation rental remotely easier.
- Build Relationships: If you are miles away from your vacation rental property, the fact of the matter is you won’t be able to do everything yourself. This means making friends with local contractors and cleaning service companies. Get to know your neighbors who can play the role of watchdog while you’re away and who can keep you up to date on the local happenings.
- Maintain A Guestbook: A well kempt guestbook is a great way to welcome guests while also providing them with essential information about their trip. Encourage people to leave reviews and give recommendations in the guest book for future guests.
- Find A Locksmith: In order to keep your personal belongings safe while guests reside in your vacation rental, hire a locksmith to place locks on interior closets and cabinets. This way, you can store items you’d prefer not be touched by guest in a safe environment without having to put them in alternative storage.
If you want to manage your vacation rental property the right way, you can take these tips and tricks to the bank.