Whether relocating for family or job, downsizing, or creating an income opportunity, turning your current home into a vacation rental is an investment worth considering. One booking host reports that more than half of its homeowners cover 75% or more of their mortgage payments with rental income. If you’re interested in converting your home into a vacation rental, check out these tips.
1. Prepare the Inside
Your home is your castle, but now you need to make it someone else’s temporary paradise. Make sure all repairs are taken care of and do necessary flooring upgrades. Consider durability and function when choosing new flooring, and keep it neutral in color.
Fresh paint can create a clean and updated look. Customizable wallpaper for your walls will do wonders in creating truly unique spaces in your home. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy to apply and removable, and you can even create your own customized designs.
With a two-bedroom house, you can sleep at least 6 with a queen bed, two twin beds, and a pull-out sofa in the main room. Declutter extra furnishings and empty out all dressers and closets as well as your personal belongings and photos. The house needs to be comfortable, but not overly decorated.
The less your guests have to pack or purchase upon arrival the more your vacation destination will be appreciated. Stock the kitchen with cooking and serving wares, linens, and cleaners. Provide appropriate bedding for every sleeping arrangement and extra pillows and blankets.
Adding toiletries is a nice touch. Providing a hairdryer, extra rolls of toilet paper, toothbrushes and travel-sized bath wash, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste make your guests happy if they have forgotten something or they can use it until they get to the store. If you are near the water or have a swimming pool, provide plenty of beach towels.
2. Prepare the Outside
Landscaping will need to be trimmed and maintained and the house power washed and painted, if needed. Repair any damaged fencing or decking and supply comfortable furniture. Think about what you look for when renting vacation properties. An outdoor grill or hot tub are popular amenities. Consider adding a fire pit with seating and throw blankets for cooler evenings.
Hot tubs make great outdoor amenities, but be sure to protect the deck yours sits on. The water and chemicals that splash out onto your deck can damage the wood and cause structural damage over the long-term. To protect your investment, seal the wood on your deck to keep it safe and usable for years to come.
3. Treat It as a Business
Your home is now a business. Look into establishing a limited liability company (LLC) to protect yourself and your assets from litigation. It’s a straightforward process to form a cheap LLC online with the help of a formation service (read reviews before selecting a service). They can walk you through a five-step process that, once completed, will set you up with a legally established business. Legally filing also protects your assets from litigation, which is great to have when you’re loaning out your home and possessions.
The next step involves marketing and booking. Research the various sites to list your property or create your own website with videos of the property to link to social media platforms. Be strict in setting aside a percentage of rental income for expenses like taxes, repairs, and insurance. When something breaks it is important that it is fixed immediately, and you will want to have the funds available.
Cleanliness is one of the most important criteria your guests will consider when they rate their stay. It is crucial that the home be properly sanitized between visitors. If you intend to do it yourself, be organized and create a checklist so nothing is missed. If you decide to hire a cleaning company, consider adding a cleaning fee to the rental charges to cover costs.
As you prepare your home for others, go the extra mile. Leave instructions for the television and remotes, WiFi password, and a vacuum, broom and laundry detergent for their own personal cleaning. It’s also nice to throw in some niceties like a gift basket of s’mores ingredients for the bonfire, and even bikes they can use to explore the surrounding areas. Be attentive, follow up and let your guests know they are appreciated and welcomed back. Being the perfect host will build your bookings and ensure a consistent monthly income for your vacation rental business.
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