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To Market, To Market: Prepping Your Vacation Home to Rent

Prepping your vacation home to rent

With the increased popularity of private accommodations, a market that grew 11% in 2016 and is expected to total $36.6 billion by 2018, you might be considering listing your family's vacation home to realize some added income from this trend. Before you start welcoming short-stay renters, here are some tips that can help make the process go more smoothly.

Creature Comforts

One of the main reasons people choose to rent a property rather than staying in a hotel is having access to all the amenities of home while on vacation. So, be sure to supply what they’ll need to make their stay as comfortable as possible. Generally, that means having enough dishes, glasses, and silverware for the number of people your property accommodates. Also, you may want to provide extra bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels (both bathroom and beach, if necessary).

It’s also a good idea to have cleaning products, soap (laundry, dish, hand and bar), toilet paper, paper towels, and light bulbs on hand for guests’ use. Be sure to stock your kitchen with cooking basics like olive or vegetable oil, spices, coffee, and tea, along with pots, pans, and a coffee pot or teakettle.

Many rental properties also offer an outdoor grill for guests to use. Make sure it’s clean, the tools are in good condition, and there is enough fuel helps ensure it will be used safely.

Lastly, guests tend to assume they will have access to an entertainment system—television, DVD player, and/or stereo—when they have down time, as well as cable and internet. You may want to consider an upgrade to your equipment or service before booking your first guest. Board games, playing cards, and puzzles are also nice things to offer, especially for families who encounter stormy weather.

Furniture That Lasts

You may want to think about furnishing your vacation rental property a little differently than you do when you are in residence. The furniture in your rental will see a lot more use. So, it should be comfortable and stylish but durable, easy to clean, and replaceable. Consider choosing furniture that doesn’t have sharp edges or large glass surfaces, if your rental allows children, and storing some of your finer pieces.

Safety First

To ensure a successful rental experience, address any "fixes" both inside your home and on the grounds surrounding it. Look for any loose boards or steps, tighten railings, and replace frayed carpeting. Check to make sure tree branches are cut back and walkways are clear.

Flashlights should be easy to find, and you'll want to maintain a large supply of batteries of differing sizes. Test to ensure smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors—as well as all keys—are in good working order. Next, make sure fire extinguishers are up to date and a well-stocked first-aid kit is available. Finally, make sure any important phone numbers are posted and can be easily found.

Other Services

Depending on the location of your property, you may want to engage service professionals to help you both maintain your property. Many absent owners use cleaning and landscaping services to ensure their property is always rental-ready. Even where booking apps are used to list and arrange rentals, having someone local to deliver the keys or keep an eye on things can be beneficial.  

Once you decide to turn your vacation property into a second stream of income, you become part of the hospitality industry. So whether it's just for a few weeks each summer or a year-round business, start channeling your inner innkeeper and make it as welcoming as any B&B you might choose to stay in. After all, the reviews your property receives are going to be your biggest marketing tool.

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