Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Off season, time to update your Vacation Rental

Many of us are going into what we may consider to be the slow season. Some markets are now just heating up. Either way, updating your property and doing normal maintenance is part of this business.

If you are running your business successfully you may be booked during the "slow" time when other units are empty! This is a great problem to have. What I will normally do is take as many bookings as possible up to about Nov. 1. I know in my market of DESTIN FLORIDA, any bookings we can get in Nov. outside of Thanksgiving is really a bonus. So if I am going to take time off the calendar it is usually around the beginning of Nov.

I have found it is worth missing one or two weeks of low rent and keep my units updated as much as possible, so my high season guests are happy when they return and see an improved unit. And since we run usually over 90% booked, I have very few weeks a year to get this work completed.

Here are some items you need to consider.

1) Have your HVAC cleaned and inspected. Much of this will be preventative. There is not one of your guests that want to arrive and not have heat or air. This is a great way to stop a problem before it happens.

2) Paint and decor. It is always good to keep your vacation rental fresh with the latest colors and decor. How long has it been since you painted the entire place? Do you have enough touch up paint to keep the place looking good. Guest bringing in and out large travel bags and suite cases can leave your walls "dinged" up. Touch them up and keep enough of the original paint on hand so this is easy and fast.

3) Pressure washing. I love my pressure washer. You can make anything look new again. Decks, sidewalks, driveways, siding on your home. If you do not have time to do it your self, hire someone. There are always plenty of handy man around to do this. This will make everything look new again. I have one of my homes pressured washed once a year, they do the drive way, patios, front porch, sidewalks and side of the home for about $200. It is money well spent.

4) New Furniture. You will know when it is time. If I see a worn couch or chair, we will make plans to replace it in the fall. This is one thing that everyone needs to consider. The furniture does take a beating. Try to budget for it. Make it part of your yearly expenses. If you buy one or two pieces a year, every year, you will always have furniture that is in great shape.

5) Carpet cleaning/Replacement. If you have carpet, clean it! The guest can tell when you have worn out dirty carpets. I like to put as much ceramic tile down as possible. But where I have carpet we have it cleaned at least twice a year. You should also have your tile cleaned once a year as the dirty tile can transfer the dirt right back to the carpet once it is clean. After 5-6 years it may be time to consider replacing the carpet. I always try to pick colors or patterns they go good with dirt! Brown carpet is much better in vacation rentals then white!

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. What do yo uhave at your place that needs work. Now is the time to schedule the improvements.

I hope these items gave you enough ideas to get motivated to improve your unit. I assure you the better you take care of your place,the better your guest will like it and want to come back. Building up repeat business is GOLDEN in this business. They feel safe booking with you as they have a track record with you and they know you keep a clean updated place.

The more you put into this business, the more you will get out. Keep up the good work and keep your units updated! Happy Renting!

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