2011

Hi Everyone,

hurricane.jpg

Let me start by saying my heart goes out to everyone who has been in the path of Hurricane Irene. Irene has impacted many communities, especially in the Caribbean Islands and New England.

 

Having been through hurricanes with my properties in the past, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this week’s blog post to some quick pointers for dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane:

 

  • First and foremost, safety should be your number one concern. Don’t put yourself or your renters into a situation that is not safe. Pay close attention to warnings and ordnances in your area.

 

  • If you haven’t already, call (or email) all guests who are scheduled to come in the next few weeks and give them a status update (even if you have no effect).

 

  • If you must cancel guests due to arrive, figure out your plan of action. If your home is uninhabitable (extreme damages, no public services such as power, phone, water, etc.), in my opinion, it is right to refund guests or allow them to re-book.  While your rental contract might have a clause that says you do not refund due to hurricanes, it is my opinion that clause would only pertain to guests due to arrive (or already renting) while the hurricane is in process. I do not believe it would cover you for damages due to the hurricane after the storm.  (Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney; you may want to consult with your attorney if you do not plan on refunding or re-booking guests due to arrive.)

 

  • Check your insurance policy to see if you have coverage for loss of rent due to damages. Many insurance policies for rental properties have loss of rent coverage.

 

  • Don’t be too reactionary. While your situation might look grim right now, you would be surprised how quickly clean-up and restoration of services (water, power, phone, etc.) can happen. Don’t hastily cancel guests scheduled to come 3 months from now.

 

  • Contact your insurance company. File a claim ASAP. You don’t have to wait for repair estimates, as soon as you know you have damage open a file.

 

  • When assessing damages, be sure to take photos and/or video of all damages prior to cleaning up or repairing. It will make your insurance claims much easier if you documented all damages.

 

  • Be compassionate to your service providers. While your housekeepers and maintenance staff might be your lifelines during normal circumstances, have patience with them now—their first priority will be themselves (remember this is only your second home; their primary residence may have also been impacted by the storm).

 

  • Keep detailed records of all cleaning and repair costs.

 

Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the storm.

 

Christine Karpinski

www.howtorentbyowner.com

Hi Everyone,

 

With the end of summer season right around the corner, now is the time of the year that I look my 2011 revenue to see how things compare to the goals I set. wifi.JPG

 

For most of my properties, I am on target to reach my goals (and happy to report, a couple properties are ahead of my goals.) But, there are a couple of properties that I had to “step it up” in order to keep myself on target. So what does “step it up” mean to me? Well that means that I have to be more diligent about calling and emailing renters as soon as they inquire (you know—the early bird gets the worm).

 

Everyone hates last-minute openings and I am no exception. As the dates grow nearer, your chances of getting a booking decrease significantly. I still had some openings for the end of this month so I’d better get a move on it because once those dates have passed the opportunity is gone. To entice renters, I decided to run a special. For the last 2 weeks of August and first couple weeks of September, I ran “Rent 3 nights, get the 4th night ½ price” or “Rent 3 nights, get the 4th night free” (of course, Labor Day weekend is excluded).

As soon as I ran that special, the bookings started to roll in which put me back on track to meet my goals for 2011. Sometimes it just takes a tweak her and a tweak there to get those bookings!

 

I’m going to close today’s blogpost with a funny thing that happened to me this week.

 

I was on the road and I received an inquiry from a prospective renter. In the comment’s field, they asked if there was free wifi in my cabin. I responded with my Blackberry, "Yes the cabin comes with free wifi".  The renter responded, “Thanks but already have one wife; I cannot handle two.”

 

A bid confused by their response I scrolled down to the original conversation. Apparently the spell-checker on my Blackberry changed the word "wifi" to "wife". So my response to them actually read, "Yes the cabin comes with free wife."

 

They ended up booking

 

Happy Renting by Owner! 

Christine Karpinski

www.howtorentbyowner.com

Hi Everyone!

 

cancelled.JPGHope you’re having a great summer rental season.

 

Last week was another “first” for me. This time it was not with my vacation rentals but with my seminars.

In 15 years of doing vacation rental seminar and traveling all over the US, Caribbean, and Europe—I have never had to cancel a seminar (well, I did have to cancel one when my appendix burst—but at least the people had a week’s notice).  I’m often on very tight travel schedules but the travel gods have always been with me. That is, until last week… I had a seminar in Boston on Tuesday and then I was onto Dallas for another seminar the next day. I made it to Boston with no problems. We had a full house and it was a great group. Then the next day I went to the airport to head to Dallas. We boarded our flight on time but within a short time of being seated they de-planned us and told us we were being significantly delayed.

 

The airport was mobbed and apparently there was bad weather all over the place that had grounded many planes (the weather in Boston was fine, but the receiving airports would not all us to take off). In the end, I never made it to Dallas. I’d like to express my apologies to all who were scheduled to attend that seminar. I’m sorry I missed it too.

 

On the vacation rental front, fall bookings seem to be coming in at a steady pace. For a couple of my properties I am on the road to have the best rental year ever! Perhaps this is because I don’t work full time for HomeAway anymore (I am just consulting now), so I am home to answer the phone and emails quickly.

 

Last week I got an inquiry from someone who wanted to rent one of my properties in the Gulf Coast for 3 months—January, February and March and they wanted a monthly rate for all 3 months. Even though I have these dates open, I turned them down. Why, you ask? Because I looked at my rental history and each year I have rented the entire month of March on a weekly basis. The four weeks in March alone can yield more than the monthly rate for 3 months. When booking vacation rentals, it is very important to know your past booking patterns otherwise you can make some big mistakes that end up costing big $$$ in the end. So while a booking may look promising, be sure to evaluate whether or not it would be worth it in the end.

 

Happy Renting!

 

Christine Karpinski

www.howtorentbyowner.com

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