Vacations are meant be fun! Time for family and friends to get together for parties or relaxation, time for sports and adventure, time for personal reflection and meditation. There are many reasons for vacation. One reason, however, is NOT to work and worry. Managing vacation property, however, can be a big worry! What a stressful job it is at times with careless vacationers, rental upkeep, legal matters, and everyday problems. Why fret over vacation rentals! Have some down time with the tourist on our beaches. Leave vacation rental management to the professionals.
Did you know that there is an association for vacation rental managers? Founded in 1985, the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) states on their official website that they are “an international, professional trade association of the vacation rental property management and hospitality industries. Membership includes hundreds of professional vacation rental manager and supplier members around the globe.” VRMA “advances the vacation rental industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the vacation rental experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth in the industry.” This is a solid, respected association and shows how important a professional property manager can be.
When people know how to maximize your management property, why try to do it yourself? Leave vacation rental management to the professionals! So what exactly does a property manager in general do? According to Micah Berg a property manager for Destinresorts.net, property manager knows more than you might think, for example:
- They are responsible for maintenance/management of a physical property, residential or commercial.
- They may have completed post-secondary classes in architecture, business, or property management.
- They are sometimes trained to make decisions about long-term care of a property.
- They have solid communication skills, often augmented through courses or seminars.
- They have on-call hours in order to respond to emergencies.
Vacation property managers, in addition to these characteristic, also deal with specific vacation-related issues:
- They supervise on-site staff for vacation activities.
- The arrange service contracts with outside vendors for such activities.
- They conduct property inspections necessary for vacation rentals.
- They respond to resident complaints about seasonal problems.
- They hire on-site staff & maintenance workers for rental upkeep.
- They ensure turnover resident compliance with rules and regulations.
- They facilitate the efficient turnover of vacation rental units.
- They coordinate advertising for available units.
- They review rental applications, ongoing during high season.
- They monitor performance to budget, always a hassle.
- And they handle property emergencies, frequent during tourist seasons.
And the list goes on! Doesn’t that sound like a lot of work? Why would you want to do it yourself? Property management is difficult enough; vacation property rental is TWICE as complicated. Do yourself a favor and make money off your property; don’t be a slave to it. Don’t manage your own vacation rental property. Leave vacation rental management to the professionals!
Things to do before an Open House
Time to show off your home! The Open House event is for anyone interested in buying a house or apartment, so welcome all possible buyers inside to look around. While having an Open House can be exciting and interesting, meeting people and bragging about the features of your real estate, it can also be stressful. Don’t give yourself reason to worry; make sure to do these three things to make sure your Open House goes smooth as silk. Take care of the cosmetic issues and the safety issues, and get your sales materials ready.
ONE — First are the cosmetic issues. Make sure your home is as clean as it’s ever been! People notice small spots of dirt and grime that you may overlook. You see the place every day, so small “off kilter” problems might not be immediately noticeable to you. After all, they are considering buying your home–soon to be their home!–so give guests a good reason to look CLOSELY:
Put up all your junk; get rid of personal photos and children’s art.
Make sure all counters are clutter-free.
Scrub all the surfaces; clean the floors and consider carpet cleaning.
Use scented candles or oils to make the air appealing.
Mow the yard; prune the hedges.
Get a new doormat.
TWO — Next are the safety issues. Make sure your personal items are put up. After all, you don’t know what sort of person you’re inviting into your home; they could be thieves looking for your valuables. Make a list of all the safety factors that make your home secure: Make sure loose mail is secure; also lock the mailbox if possible. Lock up all personal items such as small electronics. Make sure computers and phones are locked. Check for any loose cash or jewelry. Lock up valuable decorative items. Check windows to make sure they are locked.
Make sure all doors are closed and locked. Check automatic garage openers. Make sure any alarm system is off–but ready to be turned on.
Also make sure to account for your personal safety. Call the local police department and request they have a squad car drive by during open-house hours. Check the strength and signal of your cell phone’s before opening the doors. Are emergency numbers programmed on speed dial? Look for multiple “escape routes” in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolt locks work properly to help with a fast escape. Turn on the lights and open the curtains. These are both good safety measures and great marketing tips. Can you escape through the back door. Often backyard fences have swimming pools or hot tubs. Write down car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions of buyers when they enter. But don’t let them see you do it. Always walk behind the prospect when showing the house. Don’t leave your back to anyone. Let them enter doors before you do. Tell a good friend or a relative that you will them every hour on the hour and to notify the police if you don’t call. Tell a neighbor that you are showing the house; ask them to look and listen for anything odd.
THREE — Finally, get your sales materials ready. It’s easy to think that you are ready for customers, but have forgotten the important things at the last minute: sales materials! Your Open House guests must have information about their possible new home. Here are some information items to check off your “done” list: Detailed information on the home. It should be organized and attractive with good graphic design. The listing sheet is a must. Leave your business card. Make sure there are enough for all who need one. A sign-in sheet so you can account for who looked at the house, even if they don’t take a card or call you.
Goodies are always the way to a buyer’s heart. Leave some freshly baked cookies or brownies, coffee or hot chocolate. Always have water at hand. Don’t forget paper cups and napkins.
Turn on ALL of the lights! A dark house is anything but inviting.
Put fresh logs in the fireplace. Make sure all plants are healthy and happy. Dead plants and a dirty fireplace are a sign of bad energy in a home.
In most communities, Sunday afternoon is best time to have an Open House.
Two hours is usually the minimum time for one, but many agents hold it up to four house; 1:00 to 5:00 PM is common.
Often agents trade off shifts and hold homes from early in the morning to late in the evening.
Schedule the Open House so that it doesn’t conflict with holidays, local celebrations or special events like the Super Bowl.
Check the weather forecast! Very cold or rainy days often make people stay at their homes rather than visiting yours.
Time to sell that beautiful home! Be friendly and work hard!
I have seen a lot of interest in Destin vacation rentals from a real estate agents perspective. It appears that there is a lot of opporunity for Destin Florida agents to leverage vacation rentals for buyers and for listings. They strategy goes something like this.
Agent lists vacation rentals on their website and when they get rental leads they send the lead directly to the property owner, and cc’s the person making the inquiry. What this does is gets in front of the vacation home owner every time they get an inquiry as a courtesy rental inquiry (Owners open rental inquiry emails). And since a good portion of new second home or vacation home buyers decide to buy after vacationing, the agent has also already been in touch when them via the CC’d inquiry just in case they decide to look for properties when visiting.
So what do you think? Is this a good method of getting listings and buyers?