26 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2019 3:04 PM by ohst8er RSS

    What do you do to harden your rental?

    keepsmilin New Member

      We have replaced all of the mechanical equipment including furnace and water heater. Upgraded the plumbing; including faucets, water valves, braided water lines, and the toilet valves. Working on replacing outdated appliances with new ones that are robust and have the most simple controls. Removed anything that generate frequent guest calls - like the Wii system and the complicated coffee machine. Looking for other ideas from this great community.

        • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
          bigdaddy New Member

          Great idea for a thread. I am always thinking about how and what to do to make my rental more user friendly and durable.

           

          One simple thing is, I replaced my glass carafe Mr. Coffee with an insulated aluminum carafe version. Now, I don't have to worry about keeping a supply of replacement carafes, as there is no way this can be broken. Also, it doesn't have a heating element, so renters can't screw up and inadvertently leave it on, potentially causing a fire.

          • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
            susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

            Off topic-sorry. When did you remove your WiFi? Has it made a difference in number of bookings if more than a few months ago? Please keep us updated as to how it affects rentals. We would have very few rentals without WiFi nor would I rent a VR without it.

             

            Only thing I would add to your list is a thermostat with governor and lock box for you to set min/max hi/low or WiFi thermostat.

            • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
              linky17 Active Contributor

              How very wise you are to resolve to replace "outdated appliances with new ones that are robust and have the most simple controls."  On this note, I'll add that simplicity re: 'features' (versus "controls") are also important, IMO.  Example: so energetic (apparently) were a recent Flock of Children to dispense crushed ice from my refrigerator, that the outward facing mechanism that allowed them to do so was both cracked + dislodged.  Upon initial purchase, it hadn't occurred to me to consider that the only course to rectify such a mishap would be -- yep -- total appliance replacement.  The now cracked + dislodged 'plasticized' thing-y? No longer available.  Moral?  Consider purchasing a unit with an auto ice-maker, but without the outer door feature.

               

              Re: your removal of "Wii?"  I've never offered a gaming console, precisely for the reason that you mentioned.  However, I have added to my 'exit instructions' that Guests are required to restore television cabling to original settings.  Because?  (Ta-Da!) ~ They bring their own.  Which I welcome, but with the aforementioned directive.

                • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                  wildiris Active Contributor

                  I've also had problems with the ice dispenser in the door of the freezer at our vacation rental.  The ice in the chute melts slightly, re-freezes and creates a blockage.  The next refrigerator-freezer will have an automatic ice maker, but you'll have to open the freezer door to get ice!

                    • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                      scottr Active Contributor

                      We had this problem also.   Ice Makers that are in the door are problematic (they also tend to have smaller ice bins).  Our smaller cabin has the ice maker inside the freezer compartment, has a large ice bin, and has never been an issue.  For the cabin with the in-door ice maker, we have had to keep bags of ice in the freezer drawer, to avoid guest complaints.

                      • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                        ohst8er Premier Contributor

                        yep, when we replaced our refrigerator I made sure we bought something that was one step up from the old fashioned filling of ice cube trays.  The freezer makes ice, but you will have to reach in to get it.  104 5 star reviews tells me no one minds.  You want water, there's the tap, though I suspect most buy bottled water or bring a Brita water filter (the water tastes horrific in our locale.)   One less thing to break.

                         

                        As far as a Wii system, we offer one because one was given to us.  When that one broke we bought one online for 20$, since we already had all the games and remotes. 

                         

                        A owner friend had her xBox stolen.  When she told me, I said, "that's why we have a Wii.  No one will steal a Wii system." 

                         

                        As far as the rest, we replace as needed, AC, Dishwasher and fridge are all less than 5 years old.  Thermostat was replaced with the AC, upgraded to one we can control remotely.  Same with the door lock.  Shower heads are 2 weeks old.  I am waiting for an excuse to replace the stove/oven I HATE, but it seems it doesn't get enough use to actually die.  It's just ok,  I can barely cook on it, either I can't get the burners hot enough, or I burn everything, but alas, no gas on our part of the island. 

                         

                        Coffee maker, we offer a drip coffee maker.  The Maxwell House crowd is fine, the coffee shop people have 3 coffee shops within walking/biking distance. 

                         

                        On my future list, replace the carpet (only exists in two bedrooms.)  Replace the last 3 mattresses (the master was already replaced, along with the pull out).  On my short list, see if my housekeeper will rent a carpet cleaner to hit the traffic pattern until we get a lull in our bookings to do a full on carpet replacement (though we may go with wood floors instead.  Which will require an even greater lull. 

                    • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                      scowol Active Contributor

                      Great topic!  VRs take a brutal beating.  So I've found that this is always on my mind anytime we renovate, replace furnishings, appliances, etc. 

                       

                      • In areas where I have carpeting (bedrooms) we installed commercial grade carpet (it's just as attractive but durable, wear resistant and stain proof)
                      • We have a resort style in-ground jetted spa.  We replaced the wireless remote with an in-wall "on/off" button only.   Too many buttons gives too many options and just messed up the system, and batteries were always needing replacing.
                      • Replaced all old 9-volt smoke detectors with modern detectors that have factory sealed 10-year lithium ion batteries.  No more worries of the dreaded low battery chirp at 2 a.m., and no more climbing ladders and replacing batteries every year. 
                      • Commercial grade combination AC/Furnace system (yes, there truly is commercial grade systems)
                      • K-cup coffee maker.  I first had a glass carafe, and ditched that after breaking twice, and got a stainless steel carafe.  But every time I was at the house I noticed it was horribly stained and dirty inside so and so I just gave up on it.  The K-cup is easy, no messy filters, no stained carafe, and messy coffee grounds to clean inside the filter basket, etc.  Done with that.
                      • I have a cupboard filled with plastic cups, plates and bowls for outdoor use.  I put a nice label on the inside that says "outdoor/poolside service ware."  The guests love it, and especially for their kids.
                      • Hospitality (hotel) grade sheets that are actually designed to be bleached.  You can't order hospitality sheets at a retail store.  (If you doubt the benefits or think your hospitality sheets are not comfy for your guests, I assure you that Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton are not buying consumer sheets at Macy's)
                      • Reading Consumer Reports ratings before buying any new/replacement appliance.
                      • Calibrated the displayed temperature on the thermostats to offset by 3 degrees (yes, this is done at just about every hotel room).  Saves energy and prevents the AC from breaking down.  I've never had a guest complain when they set the temp at 68 and it's actually 71.  It's purely psychological.  
                      • Used password feature on TVs and DirecTV systems to prevent re-programming settings and subscribing to premium channels.  
                      • Finally, most importantly, is preventative maintenance on everything to avoid issues and breakdowns (batteries in clocks, remotes), AC, replace filters in furnace, etc.
                        • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                          scottr Active Contributor

                          Calibrated the displayed temperature on the thermostats to offset by 3 degrees (yes, this is done at just about every hotel room)

                          I've always wondered about that!  I'll be measuring the temps myself on my next trip.

                          • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                            bonesxxx Active Contributor
                            • "Calibrated the displayed temperature on the thermostats to offset by 3 degrees (yes, this is done at just about every hotel room).  Saves energy and prevents the AC from breaking down.  I've never had a guest complain when they set the temp at 68 and it's actually 71.  It's purely psychological."

                             

                             

                            That gets a +1 from me!  Never thought about that.  Outstanding idea.

                            • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                              feibus Senior Contributor

                              Calibrated the displayed temperature on the thermostats to offset by 3 degrees (yes, this is done at just about every hotel room).  Saves energy and prevents the AC from breaking down.  I've never had a guest complain when they set the temp at 68 and it's actually 71.  It's purely psychological. 

                               

                              That's soooo going to mess with my menopausal mom guests....

                                • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                  scowol Active Contributor

                                  LOL. I learned it through some secrets of the hotel/hospitality industry (a friend is a hotel manager at Hilton).  Tricks of the trade.   Guests won't allow themselves to acclimate to the area they are visiting.  The first thing guests do is run to the thermostat to turn it down to 65 because it is hot out.  And they think that somehow turning the thermostat down to 65 makes the cold air blow out faster and quicker. 

                                   

                                  I have a smart thermostat that I can set/monitor from my phone, and it also has a history event log. The first day they set it to 65 (actually 68). Day two they turn it up to 68 (actually 71). Day three they turn it up again to 70 (actually 73).

                                    • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                      ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                      I once stayed in a hotel that had installed motion sensors on their thermostats.  I'm sure it seemed like a great idea!  Um, no.  I would set the temp the way I like it for sleeping, then guess what I did after that?  If you guessed, "lay motionless on the bed and fell asleep," you guessed right.  No motion means no one is in the room, therefore we go back to the preset setting of warm, stuffy room.  Ask me how much I enjoyed waking up every few hours and having to sit up in bed and flail my arms to get the unit to kick back on!!!  

                                    • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                      linky17 Active Contributor

                                      Moreso ~ My pot-bellied, Baby Men Guests.

                                       

                                      You know > the ones with elasticized waists?

                                       

                                      Tread carefully with gender-biased commentary, Gents.

                                  • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                    feibus Senior Contributor

                                    Have an on-site manager and enough money in the bank to cover repairs.  Because there will always be repairs, no matter how you try to prevent them.  Might as well embrace the chaos.

                                    • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                      u0999 Premier Contributor
                                      • Nail/ screw all artwork to the walls (not just hanging by the hook).
                                      • Where possible use L brackets to attach furniture pieces to the wall (like headboards, arcade, dressers etc).
                                      • Hang TVs on the wall with lockable mount
                                      • Zip tie TV cords and wires together and use U wire staple to attach to the wall so it does not get pulled out (we have wood walls).
                                      • All floors are hard surface (vinyl plank, wood, tile). No carpets, just area rugs.
                                      • All furniture has felt pads on the feet
                                      • Appliances with simple controls and P touch labels to add additional instructions (like CLEAN LINT BEFORE USE) on the dryer. So far I have not had any icemaker trouble (fingers crossed) with 4 fridges.
                                      • Regular scheduled HVAC maintenance, fireplace maintenance etc
                                      • thermostats with partial lock (We use Honeywell 9000 series that allows us to lock out heat in summer and allow renter to only change AC temp between min and max that we set).
                                      • Hot tub cover tie down steel plastic coated cable with carabiner.
                                      • No little knick knacks, chachkis etc - they dissapear and get broken in a rental anyhow.
                                      • Fireplaces with mesh metal screens that are screwed down
                                      • Signage on fireplace saying that metal parts can be hot
                                      • Replaced some fancy prewired smoke/CO alarms that used to scream "fire fire" for no reason with 10 year sealed battery alarms.
                                      • Door closers for outside doors so that renters do not leave them ajar with AC or heat running
                                      • Door stoppers so that doors do not bang the walls
                                      • Driveway reflective markers anywhere renters can drive into ( porch post, fence posts, grass, well head etc)
                                      • Nonskid strips on the deck stairs ( they feel like sandpaper)
                                      • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                        scottr Active Contributor

                                        Replaced cloth pot holders and oven mitts with silcone versions.  Housekeeping wouldn't wash the cloth versions, but they will wipe the silicone. 

                                        • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                          koko Contributor

                                          One thing comes to mind and that is looooong hair in the drain of the shower and tub. The small meshed strainer covers do wonders  especially when on septic systems.

                                           

                                          Patio/outdoor: I have fairly expensive outdoor tile on one of the patios - so an outdoor rug in front of the BBQ saved staining the tile and grout.

                                           

                                          Automated outdoor lighting without the option to change it. It is motion detector and has a three hour dusk time for low light, then it shuts off after no motion is detected for 5 minutes.

                                           

                                          Detachable pool ladders when kids are in the rental party.

                                           

                                          Irrigation changed from drip irrigation to hard plumbed in brass - even the plastic heads suffered. Watering time 2 AM.

                                           

                                          After three visits from Mary Poppins we took the umbrellas out of the stand and stored them inside. If people have to get them out they will take them in. If they are there then they leave them open..........

                                           

                                          Providing Recycle containers and Compost containers helps the garbage be just that - non stinky wrapping and packaging which is less likely to invite the mice into the garbage can even if the lid is on crooked.

                                           

                                          I use coffee makers with automatic shut off.  Water kettles with automatic shut off, etc.

                                           

                                          I am still not on hospitality grade sheets because the pattern choices are very limited..........but the bottom sheets are and so are the wash cloths.

                                           

                                          Bath mats are non rubberized so they can go into the sanitary cycle of the washer.

                                           

                                          I love hand soaps which are milled and always had trouble keeping them from sitting in water after the guest left. Now they have a bowl filled with river pebbles and stay dry all the time. (Each guest receives a new one of course!)

                                           

                                          On the plumbing end only fixtures with brass bodies. Chrome is the easiest to shine and sturdiest finish.

                                          Kohler and many others provide mixing valves with hot temperature settings - they save children from being scalded and also on water heating costs.

                                           

                                          Having lots of tile I make sure all grout lines are re sealed at least once a year. That keeps the counters and floors looking new and help with the clean up as well.

                                           

                                          Invest in a super duper vacuum cleaner if your cleaning service does not provide that. I use Miele with hepa filtration and keep the vacuum cleaner at the rental so I am sure that no pet hair will be in the vacuum should one have been brought in.

                                          I also use brooms and mops exclusively for the rental - same reasons as above.

                                           

                                          I laid a walkway to the rental front porch in slate and provide ample opportunity for people to brush their feet, many guests love the fact that I provide house slippers which are washable on the sanitary cycle. This in turn saves the oriental rugs from being soiled with wet sand.

                                           

                                          At the pool we have shower, dressing cabana and toilet - eliminating the need to run with a wet bathing suit and dirty feet into the house. The toilet was my best idea so far while the shower keeps the chlorination at a minimum rinsing away sweat and sun lotion before going into the pool.

                                           

                                          I'm not sure that any of this hardens the rental but it helps and it has held up 20 years without major overhauls or re decorating. I started off with good quality and now it pays off.

                                          • Re: What do you do to harden your rental?
                                            scowol Active Contributor

                                            These towels have saved me hundreds of dollars by preventing stains on my regular white towels.  The white writing "Makeup" is embroidered and is stain resistant itself.   I bought six of these 3 years ago and still have the same ones in use and they wash out like new every time.

                                             

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