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10 Vacation Rental Tips For New Owners

By Kristin Dorsett

Whether you intend to use a property manager or if you plan to rent by owner, with the right road map, you can easily and successfully rent your vacation home. The key is to educate yourself before diving in.

Here are a few quick bits of advice:

Business plan
1) Create a business plan outlining your goals and objectives. When entering into any new endeavor it’s vital to have clear idea of where you stand and where you’re headed. Before you start renting your home, establish objectives and create a plan for achieving those objectives.

Don't undrvalue
2) Don’t underrate your vacation home. Look at the other rentals in your area for a gauge on how much you can charge for a stay in your home. Make sure that your property is competitively priced. You don’t want to overcharge and miss out on potential renters, but you don’t want to undercharge and lose income either.

Goood photo's sell more weeks

3) Showcase your vacation rental’s best side with great photos. When a guest stumbles upon your listing, you have 30 seconds or less to grab their attention. Will they rent your vacation home or move onto the next ad? It’s a simple: The better photos you have, the more interested a renter becomes, and the more likely they will inquire about your home.

keep good records
4) Get organized. It’ll make your life much easier in the long run. Keep detailed records of all communications and bookings on a spreadsheet and maintain a good filing system on your computer.

Spend time writing and uploading
5) Get the most from your paid listings. Put up 12 quality photos, write descriptions that really sell your vacation home, and use the rental rates, review systems, amenities tables. You’re not going to get as many inquiries and bookings if your listing is incomplete or hastily thrown together.

6) Be proactive. Create and stick to a preventative maintenance schedule. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll only call in maintenance people when something is broken. You’ve heard this phrase countless times before, but it bears repeating here: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

7) Get to know other vacation rental owners in your area. When owning one from a distance, it’s important to get to know your neighbors to share referrals, accommodate large groups, pool resources, and check on each other’s properties.

8) Respond immediately to inquiries. Rapid response to inquiries is essential for success. Potential guests who inquire are likely to go with the property owner who gets back to them the most quickly and may book another property if they do not hear back from you.

9) Keep in touch with past renters. With just a little bit of extra effort, you have the chance to turn a one-time renter into an annual guest. Stay in touch to keep your property fresh on your past renters’ minds.

10) Take time to enjoy your vacation home yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in a tornado of inquiries and bookings; however, don’t forget why you bought your home in the first place!

Kristin Dorsett is the Assistant Editor of the HomeAway.com Owner Community a great resource for vacation rental home owners featuring educational articles, webinars (online video tutorials), vacation rental news, owner polls, monthly newsletters, and a weekly internet radio show by bestselling author Christine Karpinski. Or if you’re looking for a vacation home to rent, browse Vacation Rentals on HomeAway.com.
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