AirBnB, Homeaway and Renting Your Vacation Home

Internet websites such as Airbnb and Homeaway have opened  door and simplified renting your vacation home. With the click of mouse, renters using these sites,  can search within their budgeted range, geographic area and get a full view of your rental property minus the hassle of real estate agents,   advertsing costs and incessant phone calls.  The webiste fees associated with these sites are miniscule compared to the ease and peace of mind provided throughout the process.

What these sites do not provide is assistance or advice on how to manage your property once you start renting.  

A Property manager and Cleaning Service are the two biggest factors you need to consider before renting your property.  A good property manager and cleaning service is someone you can depend on and will treat your property as if it’s their own. Without this, the only other option is to be hands on or do it yourself.  

A Property Manager will take care of or supervise your property.  From weekly trash and recycling removal to rebooting the wifi, the property manager is your only solution if this is not going to be DIY.  Whatever they can’t do, they’ll have someone who they recommend do it for them.  Finding someone local, with references is your best bet.  Word of mouth and the local Pennysaver will put you in the right direction.  

Finding a good Cleaning Service will be your biggest hurdle.  A cleaning service has basically 4 hours to clean your property.  It is unusual to find someone who is a weekly house cleaner to come in on a Saturday to clean a rental property.  Cleaning houses and rentals is totally different.  A cleaning service takes that into consideration and cleans your property from top to bottom the same way each week all season long. They are tasked with alot of things such as keeping inventory on all house hold items such as utensils, cutlery etc, reporting damages and providing clean linens.  

The main issue with a cleaning service is expense and dependability.   Cleaners are paid hourly and travel time to your property will be included in the price.  Most services have a referral fee and are eager to take on new business.  Do a search and contact other rental properties in your area and ask them for a recommendation.  In my experience, a cleaning service will provide reasonable pricing if they can make the trip to your “neck of the woods” worthwhile.

Outside of the top two mentioned above some of these other things to consider; 

Garbage and recycling, inside and outside maintenance, security cameras, pets, personal heirlooms, a house rules list, firepit safety, association rental rules, parking, noise levels and existing neighbor conflicts to name a few.  I could go on and on with examples and experiences but think this is enough to start with. 

Today, the costs of owning a second property and the limited time a family has to use it almost makes owning the second home not worthwhile.  On the otherhand, vacationers are becoming accustomed to creating their own experiences.  Done right, renting your vacation property provides financial relief and reason to hang onto the property for as long as possible.