Some renters think their only option to differentiate their listing is to drop their price, especially in neighborhoods where all the homes look similar, but there are more creative ways to distinguish your property.

Outside the house, it can be as simple as putting on a new coat of bright paint, preferably a shade of a coastal color. You could also consider a fun tree, fountain or water feature as a centerpiece for out-of-the-box landscaping.

Indoors, make a point to update and coordinate furniture to avoid a chaotic, garage sale ambiance. Play up your accent pieces by tying them into the rest of the room. If you have a bold-colored couch or love seat, choose a wall color that compliments its hue. In the kitchen, choose one or two harmonizing statement colors for vases and counter decorations.  Advertise your rental now.

When it comes to technology, vacationers want the comforts of home. People have come to expect Wi-Fi and cable TV, but access to bikes, beach chairs, towels, and more make your home more appealing. Investing in making life easy for your vacationers will come back ten-fold. If all else fails, use your best judgment and make your house feel like a place you’d want to spend your vacation.

Price Your Rental Appropriately – Then Stick To It!

Most vacationers are savvy to the abundance of on-line tools at their fingertips, and they’re using them to compare more than airline tickets! With so many vacation rental sites, it’s important that your prices are competitive for your area and amenities.

A few of the most important factors that affect rental prices are:

1.    Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
2.    Square footage.
3.    Location to beach.
4.    Ocean or bay views.
5.    Tech upgrades, like Wi-Fi, Cable TV, etc.
6.    Recreational amenities, like boat slips, bikes, etc.
7.    Updated furniture, bedding, appliances, etc.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we offer a Vacation Rental Market Rate Analysis service to ensure that your home is in line with the market rate. This objective assessment can help you identify wither you’ve over-valued or under-valued your listing.

Once you’re confident that your rental rates are truly fair and competitive for your area, DO NOT allow renters to haggle your rates. People that look for bargains tend to treat your property with less respect that people who are willing to pay full price. To prove your home’s value, make sure your listing description includes all of your amenities in addition to a sentence that communicates your pricing is non-negotiable.  Advertise your rental now.

Do Your Due Diligence

Speak to all potential renters on the telephone or via video chat before approving their application. This is the time to get to know more about them, so ask what they’re most looking forward to and what they plan to do during their vacation.

You should also elaborate on your rules, e.g. (family rentals only, no prom or group rental permitted, etc.) and policies, e.g. (renters in found in violation will be evicted from the home with no refund.)  Let the applicant know that you’ll need copies of ID cards for each adult staying at your place – this shouldn’t come as a surprise because some municipalities require home owners to do this.

This is also a good time to review your housekeeping expectations. Remind potential renters about using the outdoor shower to wash beach sand off so they don’t track it into your house. Clearly communicate how you expect your home to be cleaned prior to the renters’ departure, as well as trash and recycling policies. If your town issues a fine when trash and recycling are intermingled, make sure your renters are aware that they may be held responsible for payment. If at any point you decide you’re not comfortable renting your home to this potential renter, that’s okay.

It’s considered standard for property owners to hold either a $300 or $500 security deposit that will be refunded to the renters within 14 days of their departure only if the home is left in good condition. As with your other rules and policies, your lease should clearly state the renter is to contact the owner immediately upon first arrival if anything appears to be broken, missing, dirty or stained. If they do not do this, and something is found after their departure, the cost will be taken from their security deposit. It’s a good idea to put a visually appealing brochure of your rules and regulations on your home’s refrigerator just as a reminder.

Finally, be aware that the damage insurance most realtors require the renter to pay does not hold the renter accountable for how they leave your home because none of their money is to be returned.  Advertise your rental now.

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