How to Make Money by Renting Out Your Home

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Converting your home into a holiday rental may appear daunting at first… although it need not be that way. You can take your time and have fun with this procedure. I have set up dozens of homes as vacation rentals for both my properties and those of my clients. Whether ensuring the hotel abides by local ordinances or stocking the bathroom with toilet paper, I know what it takes to run a successful establishment. I often find myself playing the “vacation rental counselor” role as part of my dedication to ensuring my clients’ continued success with their vacation rental homes, particularly regarding governmental agency and code compliance, quality assurance, and ongoing property maintenance needed to meet the current industry standard.

Keeping this in mind, the first steps in preparing your home to be rented out as a vacation rental are among the most crucial. In this piece, I’ll provide the five essential guidelines to ensure your vacation rental business thrives. It is important to be aware of the local community sentiment and rules and regulations about short-term rentals, so keep that in mind as you read this. Also, remember that your home is in a unique town or city and that this article is general guidance. Always remember that your home is private property, not a hotel, and treat it as such when making it ready for guests and managing it as such.

1 – REGULATIONS, RULES, ORDINANCES, LAWS, ETC.

The first step in renting out your home as a vacation rental is to familiarize yourself with your area’s relevant municipal, county, and state regulations. Just because something is technically yours does not give you carte blanche to do anything you choose. Don’t go to a lot of trouble and expense to turn your home into a vacation rental unless you’ve checked to see if doing so is illegal where you live. When you open your home to tourists as a vacation rental, you are likely to run afoul of municipal, county, and state requirements requiring a business license. In addition, many jurisdictions mandate that you charge guests local and state lodging taxes if you plan on operating as a short-term landlord.

The rise in popularity of holiday rentals has prompted several municipalities to implement licensing requirements and strict regulations for hosting guests for shorter periods. If you have particular inquiries about licensing, you should contact the municipal officials in your area. Get the necessary permits and tax IDs before advertising your home for rent. If you want to ensure you comply with all the licensing and tax regulations in your area, it’s best to work with a reputable local rental agency.

2. YOUR COMMUNITY AND IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORS

Now that you know you may legally rent out your home as a holiday rental and have the necessary permits and tax numbers, you should consider the area where your property is situated. Although this obvious precaution is often overlooked, taking care of this issue in advance will save you a lot of stress and potential conflict with your neighbors. The complaints of locals in nearly every news report about communities fighting or trying to limit vacation rentals are the same: tourists throwing loud parties, taking up parking spots, and littering the neighborhood.

Throughout my career in the vacation rental industry, I’ve witnessed more than a few disputes between neighbors that led to the involvement of law authorities, monetary damages, and even code enforcement. Most of these problems might have been prevented with some more thought and decency. Get to know your neighbors and try to gauge their level of opposition to your renting out your home to vacationers.

You should be picky about which tourists you accept into your home once you begin renting it out. You should have a conversation with them to see if they will be a ‘good match’ for your community. Inquire about their specific plans for the time they will be staying in your rental. Consider the influence on your neighbors and whether or not they will be okay with renting your home for, say, a wedding or a birthday celebration. Some of the rental houses I oversee are located in areas where only tranquil couples are welcome, while others are designed to welcome bigger groups. The neighbors are aware of and used to the arrangement. Become familiar with the area and establish ‘House Rules’ that your vacation rental guests will be expected to follow.

The majority of people who live near vacation homes report noise issues. You need to know if your neighbor will contact the police every time a group of vacationers gathers by the pool and listens to music, as some people are more ‘noise sensitive’ than others. If there is a noise issue, provide your neighbors’ contact information so they can reach you directly. And if there is an issue, you should notify the guests and ask them to be quiet. You must ensure that the vacationers staying at your rental house are considerate to the local community.

3 – READYING YOUR HOME FOR RENTAL AS A VACATION SPOT

You may feel overwhelmed if this is your first time furnishing a home. You’ll need to supply the following extremely comprehensive furniture and house accessories list. Some examples are recommended bedding arrangements, kitchen necessities, upholstered furniture, and essential household goods. Your company will be searching for the same everyday conveniences that we all do when staying at a hotel.

Have fun preparing your home for visitors, and remember to balance luxury and cost-effectiveness. You don’t need to buy all new objects, but please don’t use rubbish, or your house will appear like an undesirable garage sale if you’re trying to attract a “higher end” customer by providing a “guest in your own house” experience. Put in some thought-provoking artwork, mirrors, fake plants, and lovely trinkets, but don’t go overboard, or the room will look congested. It’s excellent to display personal photos (maybe a group image with close friends or relatives). It’s a nice touch that makes visitors feel more at home than a commercial hotel.

Plan for Assorted Bed Dimensions

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, your vacation rental must be comfortable and easy to utilize for its guests. The following broad layout is what I’ve found to be most accommodating to guests. You should not send the idea that “the more, the merrier” by stuffing too many extra beds into a bedroom. However, a desk or office setup might be a welcome addition if your house already includes an office or den.

Make the “nicest” bedroom the one you sleep in every night. The best bedroom in a house is typically the one with the best view and the most luxurious amenities (such as a private shower, a deck, or French doors that open onto the backyard, pool, or porch). Still, it could also be the enormous bedroom if the house has nothing else particularly noteworthy to offer. If you’re fortunate enough to own a home with more than one master bedroom or suite, each room likely has its own private bathroom and stunning view. That’s an excellent quality indeed. So, couples won’t have to ‘flip for’ the finest bedroom when they vacation together.

After over twenty years in the hospitality industry and gathering guest feedback, we have developed the following arrangement for bedroom configurations. Many modern households have king-size beds, and when renting a vacation home, many couples request—and receive—a king-size bed. A lack of king beds is a ‘deal breaker’ for some couples who are sure they cannot get comfortable sharing a smaller bed. So, with that said, here are some general recommendations…

Home with Two Bedrooms
Master bedroom (Bedroom 1), please provide a king-size bed. Use a Queen size bed if the space permits it.

The second bedroom can be set up as a queen or two twins. (Two identicals are preferable because they can be joined to form a king.)

Home with Three Bedrooms
Master bedroom (Bedroom 1), please provide a king-size bed. Do not utilize a King size bed in a Queen sized room.

The second bedroom can accommodate a queen, king, or two twin beds.

The third bedroom has either two twin beds or a trundle bed.

House With Four Bedrooms
Master bedroom (Bedroom 1): King bed preferred; Queen OK if space is limited.

King or Queen in the second bedroom

The third bedroom can accommodate a queen, king, or two twin beds.

Room 4: Two twin beds or a trundle in the fourth bedroom

Instructions for Kitchen Utensils and Equipment

Stock the kitchen with the essentials before you arrive at your holiday rental. Invest in a set of high-quality cookware if you can afford it. Since the cheapest option won’t endure, it’s not a good investment “in the long run,” but you don’t have to spring for the best to obtain value for money. A good stainless steel set can be found in a box on occasion. Do not settle for aluminum-based knockoffs.

The bare minimum for a stove top is a set of 2, 4, 8, and 10-quart saucepans.

7- and 10-inch skillets

Glass 9×13 and 8×8-inch baking dishes, a roasting pan with lid (for holiday feasts), a cookie sheet, a muffin tin, a pie plate, two cake plates, a pizza stone, and a pizza stone.

Two large (8- to 10-quart), two medium (2- to 4-quart), and two small (1- to 2-quart) mixing bowls are included. Metal or glass can be used. One further usage for these is as bowls for food.

Sharpener, utility, paring, giant vegetable, butcher, and bread knives.

Equipment for Cooking: Colander, Two Spatulas (One Medium and One Large), Two Spoons (One Large and One Medium), Wire Whisk, Can Opener (a Good Manual One Is Best), Two Plastic Cutting Boards (One Large and One Small), Measuring Spoons, Rolling Pin, Ladle, Funnel, and Tongs.

Small kitchen appliances include a toaster, coffee maker (electric drip, Mr. Coffee style), and high-quality blender (can pulverize frozen liquids).

A teapot (for steeping tea; not necessary but pleasant), a bread basket, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap are some examples of “other kitchen items” you might want to have.

Gas grills are the finest option for a low-cost barbecue pit. Think of it as something that needs to be done every few years.

Dinner plates, soup/cereal bowls, and small plates (Service for 8–10 works best for a property that sleeps up to 8), glasses (Service for 8–10 pieces best), flatware (Service for ten plus meat fork), 6–8 serving spoons, two slotted spoons, coffee mugs or coffee cups and sauces (Service for 10), 2–3 serving bowls and platters for appetizers, possibly a turkey, and roast, and so on. Serving bowls with a splash of color is a lovely accent for any kitchen.

Guest-accessible cleaning supplies should include dish soap, dishwasher detergent, degreaser, window cleaner, microfiber cleaning cloths, a mop, two brooms (indoors and one outside), and a dustpan and broom.
Instructions for Intangible Items

Be sure to stock your vacation rental with high-quality linens, towels, and curtains. You shouldn’t skimp on softer items. They won’t hold up, and customers will have problems. Guests will leave negative evaluations if provided with subpar towels and linens. Discount warehouses and furniture outlets are great places to find deals.

Twelve bath towels, twelve hand towels, and eight washcloths are provided in a two-bedroom apartment; fourteen bath towels, fourteen hand towels, and fourteen washcloths are supplied in a three-bedroom apartment; and sixteen bath towels, sixteen hand towels, and sixteen washcloths are provided in a four-bedroom apartment.

Two sets of sheets and pillowcases for every bed. Pick up some sheets with a thread count of at least 400.

There should be the mattress and zip-up pillow protectors for each pillow in the bed (these should be used in place of the pillowcase).

We have taken our cues for bed covers and comforters from the finest hotel rooms. As of this writing (2011), the most popular travel bedding items are duvet covers (used in place of comforters) and mattress coverlets. Washable sheets are a need.

Accessories and Soft Furnishings: Cushions, Two or Three Blanket Throws, Rugs, and Door Mats

Towels for the beach or pool, two per room

Curtains, shades, and other adornments for the windows
Amusement and High-Speed Web Access:

People today have come to anticipate flat-screen televisions in every room of the house, not just the main living area. A large TV (at least 36 inches) in the living room is ideal, while smaller TVs (15 to 24 inches) are suitable in the bedrooms. Flat-screen televisions of any size should be mounted to a wall or a bureau for safety.

Do not include ‘pay-per-view’ options in your cable or satellite package. Those fees are too cumbersome to keep track of.

WiFi router included with DSL internet service. Most vacationers nowadays bring laptops on their trips… and they become agitated if they can’t access the web. Tenants often ask for Internet access.

Although many visitors today bring portable music players like iPods, a stereo and CD player are still expected. This shouldn’t be a very pricey device. You can use a big ‘boom box’ style with removable speakers, but make sure it’s cumbersome enough that nobody tries to carry it outside.

Four: Upkeep and Repairs

Your vacation rental needs to be spotless and well-kept at all times. Remember that although your home is not a hotel, you are still providing lodging for vacationers, and that means they will demand the same level of upkeep and cleanliness as they would at a great hotel. This is not the area to skimp, as you can expect to see a flood of negative reviews for your home on sites like Trip Advisor, Flip Key, and rental review blogs if you don’t. Negative comments regarding the cleanliness and upkeep of your home, even if they are exaggerated by dishonest renters, can swiftly ruin your reputation and drive away potential future tenants. It would be best if you were prepared to pay whatever costs are associated with keeping your residence in good condition.

Most vacation rentals require guests to pay a cleaning charge before they can check out. A spotless establishment should always welcome guests. You should charge enough for cleaning to cover the time and money spent cleaning after each guest leaves. Set up sufficient time in your schedule, or engage a reliable cleaning service. Maintain the cleanliness of the carpets and the furniture. Be careful to give your house a thorough cleaning whenever it is vacant. You should always use fresh towels and linens when making up a bed or a bathroom, and you should never use old or discolored towels or linens.

Every time you have guests over, ensure the porches, decks, and outdoor furniture are spotless and mildew-free. Complaints will also arise if the degree of care for the windows, yard, landscaping, pool, or Jacuzzi is subpar.

This also applies to problems with appliances and other home fixtures. You’ll need to contact your inner handyman as you check that everything from the light bulbs to the air conditioner filters to the television remote controls to the toilets and the pool and Jacuzzi heaters is in good operating order. Aside from that, you’ll have to be ‘on call’ if minor repairs at the house are required. If you don’t happen to reside near your rental property and can’t be bothered to take care of it yourself, it’s best to have experts handle it. If you don’t have the time or resources to do this, or if you can’t respond quickly enough to maintenance issues, you should contact a professional rental agency. It will save you a lot of trouble and may even save your rental’s good name.

5 – Taking Care of Business: Marketing, Scheduling, Tenant Agreements, Financial Reporting

The fundamental process of renting out your home concludes with putting up signs and accepting reservations. Several large advertising websites for vacation rentals now exist, each with access to a sizable inventory of properties. Most of them allow you to upload your ad wording and pictures of your property. You should budget over $500. help improve search engine rankings so potential tenants can quickly locate your rental property. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can also be used to spread the word about your rental property.

If you want to handle the administrative tasks associated with property management independently, you must be fully dedicated. The homeowner is responsible for the following: promptly responding to guest inquiries via email and phone, keeping an availability calendar updated, screening potential renters to determine whether or not they are a good fit for the home, drafting and sending rental agreements to guests, collecting rental fees, collecting and paying required bed and sales tax, collecting and refunding security deposits (or determining costs where there is damage), paying housekeepers and maintenance people, paying utilities, k. You can use one of the many home-based reservation management software packages to keep everything straight, but only if you’re consistent about updating it.

A professional management and advertising team might be contracted from a well-established rental agency in your area. Over the years, I’ve seen many folks try to market and manage their vacation rental, only to give up because it was too much work. They will spend their “free time” (and more) managing the property if they live in the same city as the rental home. It’s too much for them to handle from afar, especially if they’re not nearby. It is highly recommended that you work with a reputable vacation rental service based in your home is area. http://vacationhomesofkeywest.com

Rhoades, Cindy

rights reserved @ 2011

Dr. Cindy Rhoades has worked in the lodging business for over 20 years.

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