The dream of vacation home ownership may not be as far out of reach as you think, thanks to a spate of online rental management services that make it easier to rent out homes on a temporary basis. Here’s how to make your listing standout and maximize your rental income.
1. Promote It.
It may sound obvious, but many would-be beach landlords fail to properly promote their property. Whether you list your house or condo through a national website such as VRBO.com or Airbnb.com or a local property manager, it's important to get the word out that your place is available for rent, explains Judy Fairchild of Dunes Property in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. What's more, Fairchild encourages owners to add plenty of coastal touches to their decor. "People are looking for a vacation," she says. "You want your listing photos to evoke the relaxing waterfront escape they’re seeking."
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2. Offer Single Night Rentals.
In general, the shorter a stay, the more you can charge per day, explains Santa Barbara-based agent Nick Svensson of Compass. Landlords often shy away from rental periods shorter than seven days to avoid frequent cleanings; however, in most instances, the per diem income will more than offset additional housekeeping fees. Plus, one-night stays can help fill in holes in your booking schedule.
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3. Make It Available During Peak Season.
It may come as a bit of a personal sacrifice, but you can up your income by allowing vacationers to rent your property during coveted times. "There are peak seasons for all vacation markets," says Jill Olivarez of Home Pocket in Destin, FL. "Plan to use the property for yourself during fringe seasons and rent it during those peak times to maximize rental income."
4. Stay Up to Date on Maintenance.
You may have to spend more cash up-front, but keeping up on maintenance will save you in the long run. "Owners of properties that aren't well-maintained ultimately end up reimbursing renters for inconveniences they encounter," says Olivarez. Furthermore, properties that lack modern amenities (think flat screen televisions or new appliances) can't command as high a rental rate as similar properties that offer those.
5. Invest in a Few Strategic Splurges.
To make your rental standout, Svensson suggests outfitting your rental with one or two unexpected beach perks such as paddleboards or beach cruisers. Like amenities at a hotel, these special touches can increase your booking frequency.