Everyone loves to vacation. When work weeks seem to bleed to the weekends, and emails ping from morning until night, these rare instances of free time are moments to unwind, recharge and have fun.
But in the last several years, millions of people are increasingly embracing vacation time as a business opportunity.
As Airbnb has grown from a small San Francisco startup into a global hospitality brand, sparking other short-term rental companies to emerge, the chance for one group to take time off has become a way for another group to make money.
There are tales of rental owners making millions each year, and other instances of rural areas getting travel destinations. Vacation homes that may have previously sat empty for months are now being seen as a way to increase retirement savings, pay off debt or save for college. The average Airbnb host makes about $920 a month, according to one study by Priceonomics.
This shift in the way we view vacation stems from the Great Recession and is enabled by new technology. According to a study by vacation rental website HomeAway and real estate firm Savills, it is also fueled by people prioritizing monetary returns on their investment properties.
So if you’ve been contemplating buying and operating your own vacation rental property, there are some important things to learn in order to become successful.
QUALITIES OF A HIGHLY-PROFITABLE VACATION RENTAL
As with your primary residence, the classic real estate trope of”location, location, location” is mostly true about vacation rentals, too.
According to the HomeAway and Savills report, California and Florida dominate the vacation rental market because of attractions such as beaches and theme parks.
Choosing a property within a desirable town — that are the hubs of the majority of vacation rentals — is easy enough to remember, but it’s also important to pick on one in a safe neighborhood.
If you’re thinking about building a property to be a vacation rental, expensive new construction is more time consuming than renovation and can delay profit. Instead, consider purchasing fixer-uppers on large lots.
When you think you’ve found a desirable location for your property, check the city’s ordinances about vacation rentals. Some prohibit short-term rentals, where others have a required minimum stay or additional taxes, so familiarize yourself with the logistics of owning a rental in that area before making a down payment.
MAKING THE PROPERTY MARKETABLE WITH DESIGN
Once you’ve selected a vacation rental property, you may need to do some renovations or design upgrades. The first step is to research and procure a trusted vendor to do the construction, and also to work with the town to secure the necessary licenses.
Clean, modern aesthetics are usually popular across renters. And photos will often be the determining factor in whether or not your rental gets booked.
Find the positive attributes in the home and enhance those with a timeless, fun design. Bring a clear vision to your vendor before construction starts, and be prepared to roll with the punches as designs and timelines often change.
If you’ve decided to run this vacation property yourself, consider hiring a professional to write your online ad and a photographer to shoot at exterior and interior images.
FINISHING TOUCHES THAT CREATE 5-STAR REVIEWS
When your home is ready for guests, do you thing before putting it online: Be a guest yourself.
It’s easy to forget the details when you’re worried about the larger picture — such as a towel rack in the bathroom when you are focused on water pressure but you spot these deficiencies if you treat yourself to an overnight stay.
Keep an eye out for missing locks or drafts, windows that stick to the frame and missing lightbulbs. Stock kitchen cabinetry with clean cookware and easy-to-find utensils. Evaluation for reliable WiFi and high-definition entertainment options, and place an array of books and board games nearby. Lastly, pay attention to how comfortable the beds are.
A comfortable bed is one of the most important factors, In addition, also bear in mind that’comfort’ can mean something different to everybody, so make certain to offer a variety of mattresses and cushions.
Don’t forget about seeking out a dependable cleaning service and maintenance crew, securing a short-term rental insurance policy, and inquiring about taxes you may need to collect.
A vacation property makes you a business owner, so you will have to play the part. Being smart about even the small details will go a long way toward earning your vacation rental 5-star reviews, which helps you increase your occupancy and nightly rates.