Are you planning a long summer vacation this year? Or do you have an extra room, detached space or unused wing of your home? Consider making extra cash this summer by transforming your house into a short-term vacation rental. Today’s vacationers don’t just rely on traditional hotels and bed and breakfasts, they look for rentals that offer the same amenities they get at home. Whether you want to make yours a permanent rental or just an occasional one, here are some steps to get you started.
Find a Website for Advertising
Start by checking listings in your area on rental sites such as AirBnB and VRBO. See what other rentals offer in terms of amenities and for what price. Evaluate how location and square footage factor into the price; whether there is a private entrance, an included meal, hot tub or sauna, or play area for kids. Are the rentals near shopping and tourist destinations?
Make Sure Your Rental Is Legal
Many HOAs have restrictions on rentals, as do city and county ordinances. Double-check yours before advertising. Make sure to ask your mortgage lien holder if there are any restrictions in your mortgage against renters on the property.
Get Professional Photos
Don’t rely on your smartphone to take quality photos. Professional real estate photographers use advanced lighting and editing techniques to make the features of your space shine and rise above the competition.
Boost Your Homeowners Insurance
Check with your insurance agent to make sure your policy will cover you in case of disaster or injury. Consider landlord insurance before you start renting. While you’re at it, install a security system to ensure the personal safety of you and your renters.
Make the Home Beautiful
If you are renting a particular space, such as a detached studio or room, take the time and money to spruce it up. Depending on the room or building size, you will want to have a few key pieces of furniture and accessories, including a place to sleep, seating area and proper lighting.
Welcoming Sleep Space
Make sure the space can fit a queen-sized bed or larger. Better yet, provide options for more than two people to sleep, such as a rollaway, futon or a hide-a-bed. Buy a high-quality mattress and include a waterproof mattress cover. White bedding is inviting and easiest to clean.
Renters will enjoy having multiple seating options. A cozy sofa complemented with a variety of toss pillows make for an inviting space. And if you have room, include a small desk or seating area.
Don’t ignore your walls, eye-appealing art is a must. Hanging framed prints or paintings will give your space a polished look and will add to the renter’s overall experience.
Stock the Kitchen
Whether your rental space has its own kitchen or the renters are using yours, make sure it’s stocked with the basics and a few pleasant surprises. Coffee makers, pancake griddles, large and small frying pans and a fully stocked spice cabinet are the bare minimum. Extra touches include a bag of coffee, farm-fresh eggs, coffee creamer and butter.
Hire a Housekeeper
If you are not available to clean the unit after each stay, secure a housecleaning service ahead of time to perform one-time cleans after a renter departs. You can factor the cleaning fee into the rental to cover your expenses.
While rental income is taxable income, many of the expenses you incur might be tax deductible, so check IRS regulations or with your accountant ahead of time so you know what records to maintain.
Once you are ready to rent, consider how you want to give your renters access, especially if they are arriving after hours. Many use combination lock boxes where the access code can be reset after each renter. Or use more informal methods, like leaving a key in an envelope under a mat. You’ll also want to prepare a detailed list of instructions and provide information about local attractions, churches, kids activities and shopping. Your local chamber of commerce can provide you with visitor guides and maps to keep in the unit.
Remember, guests will likely leave a review on the website from where they rented. Implement these ideas into your rental to ensure their experience is a positive one.