Owning a vacation rental property is a great investment. However, owning a rental property of any kind comes with a lot of responsibilities. Providers of a rental can expect to do many different jobs when it comes to their property, including:
• Managing all the business aspects of the rental, such as taxes, rental fees and insurance policies.
• Aggressively marketing your property so that you can attract enough customers to make the rental profitable.
• Manage all of the reservations, payment processing, and other related administrative tasks.
• Property maintenance inside and out and cleaning the unit each time a guest leaves.
• Greeting all renters upon their arrival to assist with any of their needs and perform a walk through on the unit before they depart to ensure everything is not damaged.
• Answer emergency calls for anything that could happen at the property.
When you purchase a rental, you will need to ask yourself if you are going to handle all of these tasks or if you hire a property management company.
A Look At Property Management
When it comes to deciding on property management, you have four real alternatives. Each of these options offers different services. The sort of service you use will depend on your preferences and what you hope to achieve with your rental.
Full Service Vacation Rental Service
A full service rental service will manage every aspect of your rental property for you for a monthly fee. Their services include marketing, reservations, cleaning and prepping the unit for each guest, and emergency contact services.
Some are also including additional services as a way to lure customers such as concierge services, package deals or local attractions, and discounts for dining and other local experiences. These additional benefits encourage many visitors to choose their rental units above other available units in the same area.
Property Management Company
A property management company performs a very basic service. They will make certain that the property stays maintained both inside and out and will provide an emergency contact number for guests who may experience problems. However, they will not manage any sort of marketing, reservations, or answer questions for guests.
A booking company offers reservation and guest inquiry services. They will answer questions when someone asks about your unit and will book their stay, but they usually do not offer any additional services.
Marketing may be an add-on feature that these services offer, but this is not very common. Booking companies do not handle any sort of maintenance and do not interact with clients other than to make their reservation.
DIY Property Management
If you are a DIY person, than you may just rely on family and friends to assist you with your vacation property. Anyone that decides to do this, however, should take a very close look at what successfully managing a property entails, the hours and effort involved, and decide frankly if they can accomplish these goals.
Self-Managing A Rental Property
The first step to a successful rental business is being able to get people into the rental unit. On average, a DIY manager will have to devote at least nine hours a week to get a minimal response to their marketing efforts.
You’ll have to be available around the clock to accept calls for inquiries and reservations. You have to consider, especially if your property is in a high-demand area, that you will be contacted from visitors who are traveling from all areas of the world. They will contact you in their time zone, not yours.
If you do not live within a short distance of your property, you will have to think about how the property will be maintained. Can you come every couple of days to maintain the property and make sure the interior is clean?
Can you make necessary repairs that are within safety and building code guidelines? How hard is it for you to reach the property in the event of an emergency? These are all serious questions that must be asked and answered honestly.
Can you dedicate sufficient time each week to performing all of the administrative tasks necessary to manage the vacation rental business? Do you understand the tax structure and local fee structures for rental properties? Can you process credit card payments from your home office? All of these things have to be considered.
Options For DIY Managers
If you are still determined to manage as much of the rental business as possible, there are choices that can make it easier. Look honestly at your strengths, such as your ability to market or make repairs, and then find support services to aid with the other tasks.
A handful of property management companies devise a service package for you based on how much, or how small, of the services they offer you will need to make your rental property a success.