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Im not trying to get new business just interested in those that do and those that dont
I manage all of the them myself as I live in the same city.
I do it all myself... help with the cleaning & send the quilt covers & sheets to the laundry but wash & iron everything else myself... I'm knackered but I know everything is clean and well maintained!!
I handle all inquiries, contracts, payments, etc. myself. I sub out my housekeeping and have a handyman for yard work and minor repairs when needed. Works well for me, since I'm 1200 miles from my rental. Certainly cheaper than the 20-30 % most prop. management, cos. charge, and I have total control of who I rent to and my expenses.
I have tried using agencies, both for management (booking, meeting, greeting) and for cleaning. I was not at all satisfied with the quality of the work, especially when considering the 35-40% of the rental fee that I was charged for the management services. Ditto the high rates for laundry (either in-house or commercial), which included the inevitable replacement costs due to loss or over-processing (I am convinced that somewhere, someone is sleeping comfortably on my many "lost" linens!).
So, even though it is a lot of work, even for just one rental, I handle everything myself. I do hire someone to help with periodic Deep Cleaning, but the rest is up to me. Just takes an optimistic attitude, organization and time-management. Like Tansy, I have learned Zen and the Art of Ironing! My profit margin is terrific, and I still manage to have a life. Obviously, this won't work for everyone...
I have felt your pain manouche! This is why we have nixed the PM and are managing our cabin ourselves. Tired of all the fees and maintenance charges for stuff they should have caught at checkout!!
Very pleased with our decison to manage the cabin! ZERO complaints on the condition and cleanliness of the cabin and ZERO maintenance calls!
Just curious, hunkerdown - since you have made the switch to hands-on management, have you found that your guests treat your property better than in the past?
I can honestly say that I believe they do! The guests are wonderful. I normally chat with them several times before their vacation to discuss their stay or provide them with area information on things they want to do. I think they appreciate the personal interaction with the owner, which makes them care about my baby when they stay there!
One guest even called apologizing that a bear stole the garbage can in the middle of the night. Kinda funny story because they saw him do it (from the inside of course!).
It is a lot of work but very rewarding with getting to know our guests, zero problems, etc.
I have enjoyed similar experiences - the personal interaction helps take
some of the curse off the extra work involved! I have never regretted going
the DIY route, though I realize that this would not work for most Owners.
I'm tired, but happy, and I know my guests enjoy the experience, as well.
I do both. Until recently I worked only through an agency which is five minutes from my house. I like the owner, who gives me very good service, and I have been able to select my preferred cleaning crew from among her team. However, I am the one producing most of the leads/renters, so I decided to start doing some hands on management myself. It's not economical for me to pay for all of the marketing that I do and then hand over the leads and a big percentage to someone else to finish the job! My husband and I are now handling contracts, cleaning and check in/out ourselves unless my agent has produced the lead and closed it.
I subscribe to all the big listing sites and handle ALL the paperwork (maintain listings, calendars, prices), answer the inquiries and send all the emails and collect all the money, etc. Lots of hours involved. I also come in twice a year to handle the Really big jobs (renovation and major improvement projects).
I have a great housekeeper who calls me when she enters the apartment to tell me all is well and opens the computer so I can update it remotely. She has lots of spares so a stain or torn article won't slow her down. I have a handyman/postman who fixes everything that breaks, solves local problems and answers calls about urgent problems. He picks up the mail and sorts it and faxes me important stuff. I am 6000 miles away so need a good team but do not have the margin to pay a mangement company.
I originally used a rental agency but had bad experiences with them and decided to manage on my own. I have learned a lot and have actually tripled my income. I've actually decided to try and help others in creating a website for their houses, setup rental contracts, pre arrival documents, software, paypal etc. I created a website so home owners could find me and pick my brain. http://www.vacationrentalhelper.com. My two houses are Ski & Glee (www.skiandglee.com) and Cloud 10 (www.deepcreekcloud10.com).
If anyone here needs a hand, feel free to let me know,
Myself. Computer/internet make it sooo much easier, although I will admit, it's at least a part-time job managing just our one vacation rental. My reasons were purely selfish. I simply wasn't going to give away 30-40% of any rentals! Simply put, NO ONE will manage my property better than I do!!!
I work for people that manage their own, in the Sarasota, St.Pete FL area, they handle the booking and payments, I just maintain the condo's. Meeting renter for check-in, check property on check-out...I also oversee the repairs, and remodeling, Some owners even have me accessiores and furnish their rentals, take the photos for them to up load, I have been in the interior design and construction field for over 20 years, but do not charge the Interior Designer fee...but their rentals look like a magazine....with all the finishing touches..I do take photos and note all damages or missing items. There is a price list of items, in the info book, if a renter take something with them. All my people own higher end rentals.c
It works out well for everybody---my cleaning lady charges $65 for a 2 BR 2 Bath to clean.
You can find me on Face Book--Rede4 Change Home Owner's Rep
I manage our rentals myself. I agree that the net has made it so easy to do so!
FYI, as I recently learned this fact, in Florida it is the DPBR LAW that only a licensed florida real estate agent/broker can advertise, take a commission and take payment for the condo in full, unless you are the owner of the property.
Lovely property, Marcia.
I use a hybird model. I get all the bookings myself, mainly through VRBO, but I have a rental management company that take cares of everything else (doing the actual booking, handling check-in/check-out, maint, cleaning, etc).
I have a full-time job and my property is 14 hours away, so this model works well for me. I pay a reduced commission and can control who rents my property. Through the use of technology I'm able to minimize the time I take responding to inquiries and I typically book more days than what I've seen rental mangement companies do in my same complex.
Creator of Vacation Props, an innovative iPhone/iPad app to manage vacation properties and quickly respond to inquiries:
Since you don't collect payments (management company does this for you) what do you think of HomeAway using On-line Payments to determine sort order for your listing? I am in the same situation where I have a management company that collects all payments. Therefore, I do not use HomeAway on-line payments and get penalized for not using it! I understand that it is a money maker for HomeAway but those of us that do not have a need for it should not be penalized with our position in our listing. Another example of HomeAway taking over is the new requirement for guests to set up a travel account before they can enter a guest review. This has been another negative impact to me since they have implemented it. A lot of guests do not want to set up a travel account and therefore less guest reviews are being posted. I don't think they have implemented this on VRBO yet but you can be sure that it is coming soon.
I actually didn't realize that ranking took the use of HA online-payment into account.. I only use VRBO, so it doesn't impact me currently, but it would make me very unhappy if that were the case on VRBO. I'm currently ranked 3rd for Seychelles condos in PCB and I think that helps me quite a bit.
Creator of Vacation Props, an innovative iPhone/iPad app to manage vacation properties and quickly respond to inquiries:
I manage all of my properties myself. nce you get the hang of one or two, the footprint is the same for others. I pride myself on having good orgaizational skills and have prepared a check list prior to guests arrival (all documentation required), check list on following up on the cleaning service and check list at departure. Using a simple eraseable calendar on the wall, one for each home, I am able to keep track of all our rentals. This might be antiquated, but works very well as you can see at a glance what is or is not open.
If you live in same city then it's not a big problem, and can be managed by yourself, if you live outside the city or travelling all around always then you can hire a property management company. It also depends whether or not your budget allows doing so, because hiring a property management company is a bit expensive.
I only take care of properties , around the fingerlakes always on call.
handyman, cleaning, mowing, snowplowing.etc...
I have 4 vacation properties and do all the inquiries, contracts, payments, etc. I hire a housekeeper for the cleaning. I go to the houses at least monthly to bring supplies, decorate, do repairs and check that the housekeepers are doing a great job. I have tried having the properties managed by companies but they never got them rented much and charged 30-40 percent. I also think the quality of my renters is better. The management company never noticed when things were missing or small damages. It is a lot of work but I make a lot more money and I have repeat guests that I never had before. It took me awhile to decide to just do it but I'm so much happier now.
I manage my properly from 2,500 miles away and it is really not hard to do. I know I give MUCH better service than any other management company could do. I fly in once over the winter to check in on things and then we do a 3 week family trip in the summer since it is a lake home. I have an awesome housekeeper and could not do it without all her help. I also have a great plumber, electrician and handyman which also helps. It also helps that I have been in real estate for 25 years and understand all parts of the business.
Yikes, 2500 miles. We live in central Virginia and could get to your cottage in about 2.5 hrs. We've rented houses there about 3 times, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We actually made an offer on one house but ended up buying on the Outer Banks. The lake is just beautiful. BTW, I grew up in Roanoke so used to ski on the lake regularly when there were't many houses there.
Hi Linda.....We used to live in Charlottesville and this was our second home and we never rented it. We were relocated to AZ and decided to try and rent it. So far it has been great and not as hard as I thought it would be.
We manage our ourselves and we live 11 hours from our home. We have a staff of very good people to take care of issues as they arise. I do all the bookings and guest relations issues and my husband takes care of all building maintenance issues. We also run another business together so we work well as a team. We do go to the house at least quarterly and work on upkeep/maintenance. Right now we are doing a complete inventory and deep cleaning. I don't know how people can keep their homes nice if they never set foot in them. Our staff is great, but they don't see things the way we, as owners, do.
I definitely agree. One cleaners sense of clean may not be the same as another.
We have been very lucky with our trades people. We have used the same people for almost 11 years. However, every once in a while I do find a window sill that has not be cleaned or a cobweb. When trades people know you are there and watching, they tend to be a bit more careful.
This is our investment and we need to watch it on a regular basis as you would the stock market or other investments.
I have hired some nanys,maids,servants and other serving staff so i could feel free from my house matters.Now i am quite fine and entirely concentrating on my business.
Our VR is a condominium on St Thomas.
As a VR guest, in the states, we have always had a reservation/property manager involved, and they ran from fair to very good.
Because on St Thomas, however, they seem to run from fair to downright abysmal and abusive in order to maintain a reasonable standard we have little choice but to DIY with help from the condominium management and a local person. In addition, we go down at least twice a year and work hard for ten days to two weeks.If we could (and we soon will be able to) we would do it twice as often.
I was once told that there is a store someplace in the orient that has a sign: "for courteous and efficient service, please serve yourself".
We kind of have a hybrid approach. I manage myself but have hired a friend who lives nearby to be my house manager. She is wonderful, very detail-oriented and concientious. Since my business is very new, and therefore so is my relationship with my housekeepers, I did not feel comfortable entrusting them with too much. I handle all the bookings, advertising, and customer communication up until when they check in. Then Eva is near by to handle any in-person assistance that might be needed. She also checks the property before guests arrived to make sure it is up to my standards.
This approach probably costs me more, but it is worth it to me.