10 Vacation Home Features to Disclose to Your Guests

    Every home has its quirks, its pluses and minuses. While your  advertisements should sell your home to its fullest potential, we also encourage open communication with your guests about any unusual features  of your home – even the less-than-favorable ones.

    We’re not saying that your headline should read, “My Home is Noisy and  Has NO View – Inquire Today!” But your guests should be given fair warning about any aspects of your home that could be considered out of the norm. It’s better to be honest and have a  potential renter change his mind rather than have disappointed guests  requesting refunds.

    Here are some examples of features  you won’t want to neglect telling your prospective renters about:

    1. Under-equipped kitchen. If your definition of a  fully-equipped kitchen consists of a dorm-sized refrigerator and a hot  plate, you should probably disclose this to your guests.  Because the kitchen can be a major draw for  vacation home renters, remember to let your guests know if you don’t  provide standard appliances like a stove, oven, microwave or dishwasher.

    2. Inclines or steep stairways. If you own a beach  house on stilts along the ocean, you probably have travelers clamoring  to rent your home. However, this type of home may also have loads of  stairs that could leave guests feeling like they’re climbing Mt.  Everest. You might think that your stairs are an obvious feature given  the architecture, but it’s important to spell this out for renters who are not familiar with this construction, especially for senior citizens  or guests with mobility impairment.

    3. Obstructed view. If your condo complex has a beach view, but your specific unit has a view of the closest cell phone tower, you should be honest with your renters. Many guests will  be satisfied knowing they are within walking distance of the beach and saving some money compared to beach-view units. However, you don’t want a  renter to show up to your home expecting to see waves crashing, and the only waves they’ll get are of the radio variety.

    4. Noise or disturbances. If you advertise your home  as “close to mass transportation” but it really means that your guests can feel the house rumbling every time a train goes by, they could wind up feeling a bit misled.

    5. Pet-friendly (or not?). If you don’t advertise your  home as pet-friendly, but you bring your own pets with you when you  visit, you should be sure to warn your renters who may have allergies.  This may be a non-issue for most guests, but a runny nose and watery  eyes do not make for a happy renter, especially if that renter chose your home because it was pet-free.

    6. Unusual plumbing. If your plumbing is not what your guests are used to at home – or if  your bathroom looks like this - your guests should probably be given a  heads-up. Although composting toilets are common in many regions, guests  who are unfamiliar will need the necessary operating instructions. A  little information can go a long way in making your guests feel  comfortable with the differences in your home. And hey, maybe the  outdoor bathroom is right up some guests’ alleys, but for others, you’ll  probably want to make it clear that you also have an indoor option.

    7. Alternative sleeping arrangements. If your home sleeps 12, but 10 of the people will have to sleep on air mattresses and  sleeper sofas, your guests should be informed. Sleeping arrangements  are important for large groups, especially when multiple couples are  traveling together. Some renters may be fine with sacrificing privacy  and a bit of comfort for the weekend, but others could end up with a  backache and a penchant for writing bad reviews.

    8. Unexpected surcharges.
    If you advertise Internet access on  your listing but you charge renters a daily fee for usage, you should  spell this out on your invoice and rental agreements. This remains the same for any amenity for which there is an extra fee.

    9. Zoomed photos.
    If you use a high-power zoom to show  pictures of the snow-capped mountains near your cabin, you should  reconsider the camera equipment you use for your listing photos. Renters who glance quickly at your photos might think this is an actual view  from your home, but in reality, the snow is just a blur in the distance.  Although you weren’t trying to mislead renters with these photos, we’d  recommend keeping them for your own personal collection so as not to confuse or disappoint your guests.

    10. Privacy concerns.
    If you advertise your vacation rental’s private hot tub, but the neighbors have a clear view into your backyard,  you might want to elaborate to your renters. Sure, private might mean  that they have exclusive use of the hot tub, but private doesn’t  necessary guarantee privacy. Simply give your renters a brief  warning and encourage them to pack more than their birthday suits.

    While it may not be necessary to write out the less pleasant features of your home in big, bold letters at the start of your property description, open communication is of utmost importance with your  guests. When a guest is interested enough in your home to send an  inquiry, it’s okay to sell them on its great features - as long as you  disclose the not-so-great features before they sign on the dotted line.

    © Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2018 - Last Updated August 21, 2018