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First time to post here. We are considering offering our cabin for vacation rental. Oue cabin is situated a few thousand miles from where we spend most of our time. I would so appreciate hearing from anyone else in this situation and hear any advice and tips they have on how they handle this. Do you use a property manager ? or just a housekeeping company ? these are just a couple of questions I have. Look forward to your replies.
Welcome, sterly! We live in Ohio and our rental is in South Carolina. We do not use a property management company. We have a fabulous housekeeper who stays in close contact with us. We also have a "guest manager". We pay her a monthly fee to do an inspection of the house after each exit cleaning (it is an Excel spreadsheet and is very thorough so that even all lights, remotes, electronics are turned on and check) and work with an guest issues that might arise. We also have a maintenance company that works on a fee for service basis and will help us with any type of repair we need. We use a keyless entry system called e-rental locks so that we don't need to arrange key pick up/drop off. We are very well booked and have excellent reviews. I work part-time for our family business here in Ohio and manage all the bookings and payments/finances. My husband runs our company here and takes care of the physical aspect of the house and insurance. You can do it as long as you develop a good team of people. We also make it a point to use the house ourselve quarterly so we can do basic upkeep and replacements as needed. Best of luck to you!
Hi Kathy, I tried to pm you, as not to jump the thread here, but "system error". Any chance your place is in Hilton Head? If so, I would love to ask you some further questions. We are currently using a rental mgmt company along with VRBO and will probably be dropping them.
I live in Ft. Worth and our home is in Pagosa Springs, 800 miles away. I do not use a management company. I do all the booking myself. I take payment only by check or PayPal. This is how I work it and it has worked wonderfully for the last two years. I found the best house cleaner that I could in the town. I pay a flat fee of $100 to clean the house regardless of the number of guest. I have had between 2 and 14 stay. Where I am different than most is that I then have my housecleaner also be the “manager,” of the property. I give her 15% of the rent to meet the guest with the key. Show them around the house and how everything works. AND to be on call for any problem that may come up. In two years she has had to go over to the property three times to solve problems and all the guest have been made happy. Now, of course she does not meet the guest if they arrive after 10 at night. She hides a key for them and then tells them she will be there at 8:00am to show them everything. Don’t worry, 8am is late since all my guests are up getting dressed so that they can hit the slopes. Also, she knows that when my family or friends are staying there she does not get paid any money to manager the property, but I still pay her $100 to clean. I asked her the other day if she wanted to continue our agreement for another year and she said, ”Yes, this is by far the best deal I have going.” That is what I wanted to hear from her, that this is an important job and she takes care not to lose it. Some others may tell you that you need two people….a cleaner and a manager, so that they can check up on each other. I can’t argue with those thoughts, but this has worked very well for me. There are three management companies in my town and they all charge exactly the same thing. 32% of the amount you get for rental plus $100 for cleaning, plus $100 per 90 days for advertising, plus they can use your home for free for 5 days a year. They tell me that they use the 5 days per year in case they have guest in another home and say the pipes break. Then they would move the guests from that house to yours. So, you see, I come out better money wise the way I pay my cleaning/manager.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
My setup is similar to iopbeachhouse. I live 900 miles from my rental on the Jersey shore 9 months of the year, but down the street for the summer season. I handle all the bookings and contacts with guests myself. I have a great cleaning crew, and like ttaylor0, I pay them very well so that my house is their favorite house. I've hired my neighbor, who is a retired former shop teacher and unofficial "mayor" of our street to let people in while I'm gone and to deal with any issues that arise. He's also been my on-site eyes while I had major remodeling done each off-season, keeping my contractors in line.
I do feel that I add a little extra when I am on site -- no one is quite as fussy as I am about making sure that things are perfect, and I do help out with the super-tight 4 hour turnover time during peak season. But my off-season prices are significantly lower, and none of my guests has ever complained if the silverware drawer isn't sorted properly or the pots and pans aren't in the right place or the towels are the wrong color for each bathroom. I give my cleaning crew an extra $25 for the turnovers when I'm not there to help, which makes them happy, and I try to have a longer turnover time since I can't help them out.
So, get a good support network and treat them well and you can do this!
Hi, Just bought home in N.W. Florida that I am preparing to vacation rent. Found all these answers very helpful and comforting as we live in Texas and will be doing the same sort of thing. Would like to know how long it took to get the first booking once the site ad went up on the vacation rental by owners site? If I have the listing up by mid-February and begin the rental calendar starting mid-May will that work?
Welcome to the community shorecrazy! There are many factors that go into how quick your property rents. Of those factors there are numerous ones that you can not control. Keep reading as many "New To Renting" posts as you can and you will learn a lot.
Give it time, shorecrazy. As a new listing with no bookings and no reviews, people will not jump quickly on your listing. We started getting inquiries fairly quickly, but we put our advertising up right in the middle of "beach season" with bookings to start in the fall. Many people turned out to be bargain hunters or asked for immediate times and we were having work done on the house and couldn't start accepting them until fall. Once we had some dates booked and a few reviews, we got more inquires and they were of a better quality.