15 Replies Latest reply: Jun 29, 2011 7:29 PM by debi RSS

    First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!

    New Member

      Have created and listed the home.  Now have a few inquiries which I need to act upon.  While I have talked to the potential renters....


      do I now send them an application, if so is there one on this site or do you just send a contract?


      when should I expect payment....deposit, weeks rent...the timing?


      Any steps or guidance would be greatly appreciated.


      Thank you in advance.

        • First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!
          HomeAway Employee

          Hi swrenter,

          Welcome to the community! While every homeowner does things a little  differently, we do have some sample contracts to help get you started. To answer your question about payments, you  should see this article about setting up a payment schedule.

          Hopefully you’ll hear from other vacation rental owners in the Community  with some new owner tips and advice as well. Best of luck with your new  venture!


          HomeAway Social and Multimedia Specialist

          • Re: First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!

            Welcome to the world of vacation rental


            We've been at it for 10 seasons now, and have only had two problem guests in the whole time, which, IMHO, is a pretty good track record, especially seeing some of the stories on this forum!


            I attribute much of our success to several things, but two really are the big ones:


            1.      We price the property competitively.  If you're hoping that your rental income will cover the cost of your property completely, well...it won't.  We cover a tad over 60% of our costs, and enjoy the benefit of using the place for a couple of peak wees each summer, as well as some long weekends in the fall and spring.  By pricing the property at a reasonable rate ($2250 vs $3000 in our case) and including cleaning in the fee, rather than doing the hotel trick of nickel and diming guests by tacking on the fee, we tend to get some pretty nice people to rent from us.  That's pretty important, as when you get those who pay close to top dollar for a place, they inevitably feel entitled.
            2. The sample contracts in this area are great.  Get a lawyer to look them over.

            One who has expertise in housing law,  which varies a lot from state to state and town to town.  There  invariably will be a clause or two that are either invalid or downright  illegal under local laws, and it's a good way to become familiar with  some of the legal issues.  For example, local law requires that we rent  for a 3-night minimum (we rent weekends in the off-peak season).  This  prevents competition with the hotels/motels/inns/B&Bs and the like.   Who'd want toi rent a single or even two nights anyways?  Anyways, I  digress -- get a lawyer to look the documents over.




            Hope this gives you a little insight...


            Jim Van

            Avondale Properties



            • First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!
              New Member

              Please remember that most of the inquiries come from people who don't know what the next step is. Most likely they have several inquiries out and you neeed to be as helpful as possible so they remember you. Take your time in responding. Offer to answer any questions.You will feel you are repeating  but the response can be customized to the particular inquirer.Be sure to read thier questions in the comments and answer. ...even if it is something they can look up thierselves.They appreciate that.

              My husband is really good at calling if they leave a phone # .That is rewarding and effective as they remember you if you get to them right away and thier desired dates are available.

              Check your site several times a day.

              There are available agreements from Homeaway for you to customize to your home.

              We have our own which needs some simplification if you would like to view it.I have made it quite redundant but I find it clear.

              Offer to send an agreement with thier costs and dates of reservation,cancellation policiy,etc. for them to review.Don't include anything that will allow them access to your home of course.

              We send a Welcome letter after full payment is final that includes lockbox , internet access codes and details about the condo such as where the trash can be disposed and appliances,blender,towels,beach towels,etc. to ease thier packing distress.

              • First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!

                I find that sending them instructions on how to make the reservation as well as a quote in the first e-mail is key.


                Wether it's sending them to your web-site or just  asking wether they would like to reserve the dates, works, just make it  so they don't have to do much work.


                It took me a while  to get a system, but now that I have, it's easy.  I actually have it all  automated and it saves me sooo much stress.  I don't have to do much at  all these days.


                So, if you are not using an automated system, I would send them everything in the first e-mail so that they have the option.

                By  this I mean attach the rental agreement and instructions on how to send  it back to you.  Send the breakdown of cost for the nights they request  and assure them that it is available. 

                Then tell them how they will get the keys, door code etc.

                And have a button on how to pay.  Credit Card, Paypal etc.


                All this takes the guess work out of renting and makes for a non frustrated guest!

                • First time Vacation Home Listing......Now what?  HELP Please!!!!!

                  We have three properties that I manage.  I fill out a contact form with each inquiry that I receive.  (I don't require that my guests fill out an application.)  My husband and I worked these contact sheets up years ago when we first started renting our first vacation property.  I love having backup paperwork that I can refer to in case my computer has crashed, doesn't boot up right away, or if I'm away from it.  The forms are color-coded to match a specific property and include client contact information, the specifics of the rental prices, discounts, deposits, final payments, cleaning fees, etc.  I track how they paid, and when.  The paperwork includes a check off list to help me make sure I've covered everything.  Deposit in, calendar dates blocked, contract sent and received, final payment in, directions and lock box code sent, hot tub maintenance scheduled and if there are any special gifts for these clients.  The back of my forms are printed with lists of various rental prices to make references to differing seasons easy to access and keeps me from quoting the wrong prices.


                  You asked only about the rental contract, which I send to each guest when he/she confirms that a deposit is forthcoming.  After I actually receive the deposit, I will block the dates.