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Checklist for Turning Your Second Home into a Vacation Rental

VERSION 10  Click to view article history
Created on: Aug 26, 2009 3:52 PM by community-editor - Last Modified:  Dec 10, 2013 3:43 PM by beth
prepare your second home for vacation rental guestsOur checklist for turning your second home into a vacation rental is a comprehensive look at everything you need to take care of before your first renters even set foot in your home.Click the links to read more information.

Legal Prep
□ Check the short-term rental laws for your state, county, city and HOA.
□ Read up on HOA regulations.
□ Review requirements for business licenses and paperwork.
□ Review safety requirements and health code regulations for your area.
□ Research and purchase an insurance policy for vacation rentals.
□ Create a rental agreement. Include clauses for the following:

Tax Prep
□ Review information on applicable tax deductions, capital gains, and LLC tax requirements.
□ Research occupancy tax rate or sales tax for short term rentals in your county.

Payments Prep
□ Determine your vacation rental goals and break-even point.
□ Set your The specified article was not found. (nightly, weekly, monthly) and rates.
□ Devise a method for tracking and recording payments and expenses.
□ Determine your methods for accepting payment (checks, ReservationManager online payments, PayPal).

□ Create a deposit refund letter.

Maintenance Prep
□ Find a reliable housekeeper or cleaning service.
□ Create a cleaning/housekeeping checklist.
□ Review cleaning checklist and process for check-in, checkout and keys with hired
□ Find a reliable handyman or maintenance person.
□ Create a maintenance checklist.
□ Complete maintenance projects and renovations.

Household Prep
□ Furnish your home based on target renters.
□ Create a list of items to purchase.
Purchase necessary items and save receipts! Also, try to keep all instruction booklets or
    manuals together in a place where renters can easily find them.
□ Create a property inventory list of items in your home.

□ Purchase a local attractions book.

□ Gather coupons, local attraction/activity brochures and menus from local restaurants and
    put them in a binder to create a local attractions book.

Advertising Prep
□ Review vacation rental listing websites (like, and and specialty websites to determine options for advertising your
□ Set up accounts with 3 to 5 listing sites.
□ Create a headline, property description, and location description for your listing.
Stage your home for photos.
□ Take multiple pictures with a digital camera at different times of day or hire a
Create captions for each photo.
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□ Link to listing site(s) from personal website.
□ Have 3 people proofread your personal site and listings.
□ Send an email to everyone in your address book linking to your personal site and new

Renter Prep
□ Set up an auto-responder for inquiries.
□ Create standard responses and a sample confirmation email.
□ Build a thorough set of directions.
□ Build a list of instructions for using appliances, electronics and equipment at your property.
□ Determine method for getting keys to renters.
□ Create a check-in procedure.
□ Create a checkout procedure.
□ Set up an emergency contact sheet.
□ Put together local vacation tips for your guests.

That wasn't so bad, was it? Now that you've checked off all the items for turning your second home into a vacation rental, go ahead and start renting!

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