Monthly Archives: August 2017

Marketing Your Vacation Rental Home Part Two – Online Marketing

This article, part two of a series, will help vacation rental home owners learn more about marketing a rental property online. It is important to understand that people who are looking for a vacation rental home are generally looking for more than they can get with a brand-name hotel. They typically want space, privacy, laundry facilities and – almost always – a cheaper rate than if they stayed in a hotel.The one major difference between booking a private vacation rental home and a branded hotel chain is that you know ahead of time what you will be getting when you book with a hotel chain. Plus, if things are not quite right, you always have the manager on hand to sort things out for you. On the other hand, vacation rental homes are almost always privately owned and operated, and in the past you never could be sure just what you would be getting.The Internet has changed everything about marketing a rental property. Now, prospective renters can visit a website to view pictures and read information about a vacation rental home before making a final decision – which means that online marketing of a rental property should be a major priority.The Benefits of Marketing a Rental Property OnlineBy marketing your rental property online, you have the perfect low-cost way of showing that vacation rental home to the world. Online marketing can put you on an even footing with the big hotel chains; in fact, it actually gives you an advantage. While their sites will be practical and informative, you can take time and TLC to make your site warm and welcoming while reassuring prospective renters that your vacation rental home will more than fill their requirements.Plus, establishing a website for your vacation rental home gives you a global presence. While the vacation rental market in the United States may still be in its infancy, it is the norm in many other countries for families to stay in vacation rental homes rather than hotels. Marketing a rental property on the Internet can help an owner in the U.S. reach families from abroad and draw them to the home.

Putting Your Vacation Rental Home OnlineThere are several ways in which you can use the Internet for marketing your rental property:
Create your own website

List your vacation rental home with a property rental agent or manager

List your vacation home on one of the many vacation rental sites
While all three options for marketing a rental property have their place, creating your own Internet site is essential. Having your own site gives you complete control of how your vacation rental home is displayed to potential renters. If someone contacts you wanting to rent your home, do you really want to send them to a site that contains other homes similar to your own? Remember, there are always other owners out there who are also involved in using the Internet for marketing their rental property and who will undercut you just to get the rental. Listing sites can help you reach more people, but in the end you want a renter to see your individual site.Creating Your Own Site for Your Vacation Rental HomeYour website should consist of the following standard pages, which are all important for optimally marketing your rental property:
Home Page

Property Description

Photo Gallery

Visitor Information

Rates

Contact Information
The Home PageThe Home page is probably the most important part of your strategy for marketing your rental property, as this is a visitor’s first point of contact with your home. Make sure the design of your home page is simple, clean and uncluttered. Consider adding two pictures instead of just one to make your site stand out from the competition. One picture can be the traditional front-of-the-home shot, while the other image can be of something that sets the rental property apart – a great view, a beautiful sunrise, a scene by the pool, and so on. You can also consider taking a picture of the house lit up at night, which will certainly make the image memorable.The TextYou will also need to write text that helps you with marketing your rental property. This step does not have to be difficult, but you should take time and give some thought as to what you want to say. You want to sell your home, not just state the facts. The text should help prospective renters imagine kicking back by your pool with a cool drink while watching the kids splash around. Set the scene first, rather than starting with a list of the best things about your vacation rental home. Be descriptive and use your imagination so that you are marketing your rental property in a way that will make the reader want to find out more.In order to get some ideas of what to focus on in the text, ask yourself the following questions:
What do you your family and friends love about the vacation rental home?

What do you enjoy doing when you are there?

Is there something you have found that you love but is not generally known about on or near your vacation rental home?

What special features does your home offer?

What would you want to know if you were going to rent this property?
General Picture IdeasThe use of good quality pictures of your home’s exterior and interior cannot be overstated for successful marketing of a rental property. In a highly competitive area such as Florida, pictures could make the difference between securing a booking or missing out. Sometimes a potential guest will be considering several properties with the same features and at the same cost. In this case, guests will undoubtedly choose the vacation rental home they like the look of. This means that quality pictures are critical for successful marketing of your rental property. Common faults are images that are badly lit, that are taken from strange angles, that feature pool decks and porches devoid of furniture, or that have inappropriate things in view (wet towels, piles of papers, and so on).

Some additional things you may want to consider when marketing your rental property with photos are:
Consider using flowers. A fresh vase of flowers can be welcoming, but don’t go overboard, and don’t be tempted to move one vase of flowers around as you take pictures – it will look silly if the same vase keeps turning up in different rooms.

Set the tables. In the formal dining area, open a bottle of wine, fill wine glasses, light candles and use napkins. In the kitchen dining area, set it for dinner with the family, with more casual place settings, a pitcher of lemonade, and so on.

Make sure the kitchen of your vacation rental home sparkles. It should be spotless, with a bowl of fruit on the counter. Basically, you will want to make the home looked lived in and like you are just waiting for guests to arrive.

Make the bedrooms welcoming by turning down the sheets, fluffing up the pillows, and placing magazines and books on night tables.

Photograph the bathroom in the evening. Fill the tub, add lots of bubbles, light candles, have fluffy towels and perhaps a glass of red wine on hand to create an atmosphere.

Use a digital camera so that you can take hundreds of pictures of your vacation rental home. Even if you are not a photographer, you are sure to get some good ones that you can use for marketing your rental property.
Marketing a rental property with your own website can be a part of a strategy that uses many other techniques, from print ads to online listings on real estate marketing sites, allowing you to attract more renters to your property. Future articles in this series will explore additional avenues for marketing your vacation rental home and their benefits to you.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? That’s what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next “home away from home” vacation rental is right around the corner.Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation RentalsWhat are the advantages of a vacation rental?Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation might just be the thing you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.You’ll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren’t just rental homes, but also function as the owner’s own residence for part of the year.A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges. However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?Of course, there’s always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you’ll only know what you’re getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things aren’t the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn’t usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it’s rare.Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.What amenities are included in a vacation rental?Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.What types of rentals are available?Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.Are vacation rentals only available in the US?Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.How do I find a property?There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the “go-between” or the “classified” section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.If you’re not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you’ll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.Are there any hidden fees?Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access… etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental. Ask about any “extra” fees, or if the house is “all-inclusive”. Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!Vacation RentalsIn summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

How to Turn Your House Into a Vacation Rental

Turning your house into a vacation rental can seem overwhelming at first… but it really doesn’t have to be. This is a process that you can really enjoy and have fun with! I have set up houses as vacation rentals dozens and dozens of times, for my client’s properties, as well as my own houses. I understand what is involved and required from every aspect, from assuring the property is in compliance with governmental agency rules and regulations, to making sure it has all the essentials that most guests require. In my commitment to assuring that my clients are continually successful with their vacation rental houses, I often find myself in the role of ‘vacation rental counselor,’ mostly pertaining to governmental agency and code compliance, quality assurance, and ongoing property maintenance required to meet the current industry standard.So, with that in mind, it’s important to begin with the basics when you decide to offer your house as a vacation accommodation to travelers. In this article I will provide you with the 5 most important steps to follow to assure your vacation rental success. As you read through this, I advise you to consider the fact that your house is in a unique town or city, that this article is a general guide, and that it is critical for you to become aware of your local community sentiment, and rules and regulations about short-term rentals. Always remember, your house is a private property, it is are not a hotel, and preparing your house and managing it as a vacation rental accommodation for tourists must be carefully and thoughtfully done.1 – LAWS, ORDINANCES, RULES, AND REGULATIONSThe very first thing you need to do is to educate yourself about your local city, county, and state laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations pertaining to offering your house as a vacation rental in your unique community neighborhood. Please don’t just assume that because it’s your property, you can do whatever you want with it. And, please don’t put a lot of effort and expense in setting up your house as a rental for tourists until you rule out the possibility that there are laws preventing you from doing so. Many local and state government agencies have clear regulations stating that setting up your house to rent as a vacation rental turns it into a business, and it will probably be subject to some level of city, county, and / or state licensing. Many governing agencies also require that to legally rent your house as a short-term rental, you must collect local and state tax from tourists who rent your property.A quick search in the vacation rental news reveals, that as short-term rentals become more and more popular, many communities have licensing restrictions and very specific rules and regulations regarding renting houses short term to tourists. Call your local town or city governmental offices and get to the appropriate licensing department that can answer your specific questions. Find out what specific licenses and / tax numbers you need to legally rent your house, and get them. I highly recommend that you seek the assistance of an established licensed local rental agency that can properly assist you understanding and complying with licensing and tax requirements required in your community.2 – YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND YOUR NEIGHBORSNow that you’ve determined that it is legal for you to rent your house as a vacation rental, and you’ve obtained the proper licenses and tax numbers, it’s time to think about the neighborhood where your rental house is located. This might seem silly, and many people gloss over this important step, but believe me you can save massive headaches and fights with neighbors by dealing with this issue pro-actively. Nearly every news article you read on communities that are resisting or trying to restrict vacation rentals point to the same neighbor issues: noisy tourists staging loud parties, tourists taking parking spaces from local residents, and tourists being careless with their garbage.In all the years I’ve been in the vacation rental business I’ve seen several neighbor-to- neighbor squabbles that have involved code enforcement, the police, and even expensive law suits. Most of these issues could have been avoided with plain common sense and consideration. Find out who your neighbors are, and do your best to communicate with them and determine if they will resist you renting your house to tourists.Once you begin renting your house to vacationers, you need to commit to being selective about who you rent your house to. It is important to talk with them and determine if they will be a ‘good fit’ for your neighborhood. Ask them directly what they plan to do while they are renting your house for their vacation. For example, if you discover a potential guest is planning to rent your house to accommodate a wedding party or a birthday party, think about the impact on your neighbors and if they will be okay with this. Some properties I manage are in neighborhoods that will only tolerate very quiet couples, others are set up to accept larger groups and the neighbors are clear on this and understand the rules. Know your neighborhood, and set up your own ‘House Rules’ that your tourist tenants must agree to comply with.

The biggest complaint that most neighbors have who live next to vacation houses is noise. Some neighbors are more ‘noise sensitive’ than others, and you need to know if your neighbor is going to call the police every time a group of vacationers sit around the swimming pool and listen to music. Give neighbors who live next to your rental your phone number, and ask them to call you directly if there is a noise problem. And when there is a problem, call the guests and ask them to quiet down. Since you are renting your house to tourists, it is your responsibility to make sure the guests you bring into your rental house are respectful of the local neighborhood.3 – FURNISHING YOUR HOUSE AS A VACATION RENTALFurnishing your house can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Below is a very detailed list of basic home furnishing items you will need to provide. This includes suggestions for bed configurations, kitchen essentials, soft goods, and household items. Your guests will be looking for the basic comforts most of us look for in our daily living.Enjoy setting up your house for tourists – and strive to strike a balance between nice and economy. If you are striving to attract a ‘higher end’ clientele add some nice touches and things that you would appreciate if you were ‘a guest in your own house.’ You don’t need to purchase all new items, but please doesn’t use junk or your house will start to look like an unappealing garage sale. Add some interesting art work, wall mirrors, artificial plants, and some nice nick-nacks – just take care not to overdo it or it can start to look cluttered. Some personal pictures (a shot with your friends or family members) are nice to place on shelves… it reminds guests that they are in some one’s house, and not a hotel.Suggested Bed Size Lay OutYour vacation rental property needs to be practical and ‘user friendly’ as well as beautiful to look at. I have found the following general layout to meet the demands of most guests. As a general rule, avoid putting too many extra beds in a bedroom, you do not want to give the message of ‘the more the merrier.’ If your property has an office or den, it is a nice feature to add a desk or set up an office.Try to make the ‘nicest’ bedroom the master bedroom. The nicest bedroom is usually determined by the view and features – such as en-suite bathroom, private deck, French doors that lead to the swimming pool or porch, or it can just be the largest bedroom if the property offers no other unique features. If your property has more than one bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and/or view than you are lucky to have a property that can be marketed with more than one master bedroom or suite… and that is a fantastic feature. That way, couples traveling together don’t have to ‘flip for’ the best bedroom!About bed sizes: The layout below is suggested after nearly 2 decades of being in this business and listening to what guests require. Today, it seems like most people sleep in king size beds at home, and many couples who stay in vacation rentals insist on a king bed. For some couples, not having a king bed option can be a ‘deal breaker’ since they are convinced they won’t be able to sleep in a smaller bed with their partner. So that being said, here are the basic suggested guidelines…
Two Bedroom House
Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed. If room is too small use a Queen.Bedroom 2:- 2nd bedroom – Queen or 2 twins. (I find that 2 twins are a better option as they can be pushed together to make a King.)
Three Bedroom House
Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed. If the room is too small use a Queen.Bedroom 2: 2nd bedroom – Queen or King or 2 twins.Bedroom 3: 3rd bedroom – 2 Twins or Trundle bed
Four Bedroom House
Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed, but if the room is too small use a Queen.Bedroom 2: 2nd bedroom – Queen or KingBedroom 3: 3rd bedroom – Queen or King or 2 twins.Bedroom 4: 4th bedroom – 2 Twins or Trundle bedGuideline for Cookware and Kitchen ItemsEquip your vacation rental kitchen with basic cookware and kitchen items. Buy a good set of good cookware, as much quality as you can afford. It does not pay in the ‘long run’ to get the cheapest as it will not last, but not necessary to buy the very best either. Sometimes you can find a nice stainless steel set in a box. Do not get the cheap aluminum stuff.
Stove Top Pans: Provide a basic set of 2, 4, 8, and 10 quarts.
Skillets: 7 and 10 inch
Oven Pans: Glass baking dishes: 9X13 and 8X8, roasting pan with lid (holiday dinners),cookie sheet, muffin tin, 1 pie pan, 2 cake pans, 1 pizza pan.
Mixing Bowls: 2 large: 8 – 10 quarts; 2 medium: 2 – 4 quarts; and 2 small: 1 – 2 quarts. These can be stainless or glass. These can also be used as serving bowls.
Knives: Paring, large vegetable, butcher, bread, and a sharpener.
Cook Prep Items: Colander, spatulas (1 medium size, l large size), mixing spoons (1 large, 1 medium), wire whisk, can opener (a good manual one is best), plastic cutting boards (1 large and 1 small), measuring spoons, rolling pin, ladle, funnel, and tongs.
Small Kitchen Appliances: Toaster, coffee pot (electric drip – Mr. Coffee Style), blender (good quality that will spin frozen drinks)
Other Kitchen Items: 2 to 4 pot holders and trivets, placements for complete table setting, 6 dish towels, teapot (for steeping tea; not essential but nice), bread basket, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.
BBQ Grill: Inexpensive gas grills are best. Plan on replacing them about every couple of years.
Flatware and Serving Ware: Dinner plates, soup / cereal bowls, small plates (Service for 8 – 10 works best for property that sleeps up to 8), glasses (service for 8-10), flatware (service for 10 plus meat fork), 6 to 8 Serving spoons, 2 slotted spoons, coffee mugs or coffee cups and sauces (service for 10), 2 to 3 serving bowls and platters for hors d’oeuvres, or maybe a turkey or roast. Bright colorful serving bowls are nice and also help to add a ‘pop of color’ to the kitchen.
Cleaning Supplies (keep in property for guests): Hand dish soap, dishwasher soap, degreaser, window cleaner, cleaning cloths, large 2 to 3 gallon plastic bucket, mop, 2 brooms (1 for inside and 1 or outside),1 dust pan
Guideline for Soft Goods Equip your vacation rental house with nice quality bedding, towels, and window coverings. Do not buy the cheapest soft goods. They won’t last and you will likely receive complaints. Guests expect good quality towels and linens and will write bad reviews for poor quality items. You can save money by purchasing from discount warehouse and home furnishing stores.
Towels: For a 2 bedroom rental – 12 bath towels, 12 hand towels, and 8 wash clothes; for a 3 bedroom rental – 14 bath towels, 14 hand towels, 14 wash clothes; for a 4 bedroom rental – 16 bath towels, 16 hand towels, 16 wash clothes
Sheets and Pillow cases: 2 sets for each bed. Get at least 400 count sheets
Bedding Protectors: Mattress covers for each mattress zip pillow protectors for each bed pillow (these go on the pillow before the pillow case).
Bed spreads or comforters: We take our cue from high end hotel rooms. At this writing (2011) travelers like duvet covers (over comforters) and / or mattalesse coverlets in the contemporary market. Bed covers MUST be washable.
Decorative and Comfort Items: Throw pillows, 2 or 3 blanket throws, throw rugs, door mats
Beach / Pool Towels – 2 per bedroom
Window coverings – Nice curtains and / or blinds
Entertainment and Internet Service:Flat Screen TV’s: People expect TV’s in the bedrooms as well as the main living room / great room. I recommend a large TV (minimum 36 inch) in the living room, and smaller ones in the bedrooms (15 – 24 inch are fine). Small flat screen TV’s need to be mounted on the wall or bureaus for security reasons.Cable TV or Satellite: Don’t offer ‘pay per view’ features. It’s too hard to keep track of those charges.Internet (DSL): WiFi router is an expected feature. Almost all tourists travel with laptops… and they get upset if they don’t have internet access. Most renters do request WiFi.Stereo and C/D player: Most guests travel with iPods in today’s market, but most still expect some kind of music player. This should not be an expensive unit. It can be a large ‘boom box’ type with detachable speakers and should be large enough that people do not try to take it outside.4 – Maintenance and HousekeepingYour vacation rental must be well maintained and kept immaculately clean. Keep in mind, that while your house is not a hotel, you are offering it as a vacation accommodation to travelers, and guests will expect maintenance and cleanliness standards set by nice hotels. This is not a place to cut corners, and if you do, your house will soon appear on a travel log such as Trip Advisor, Flip Key, or rental review sites with negative comments. Bad reviews about poor cleaning and maintenance, even if they are exaggerated by unscrupulous guests, can quickly stigmatize your house and discourage future guests from renting it. You simply must commit to bearing the cost to keeping your house to quality standard.

Most vacation rental agencies collect a departure cleaning fee in advance from the guests to clean it when they leave. Guests expect and deserve to arrive to a clean and tidy property. Set a cleaning rate that will cover your costs to clean the house thoroughly each and every time guests depart. Make sure you plan enough time to clean the house, and better yet hire a good professional housekeeper. Make sure carpets and furniture are cleaned as needed. During periods when your house is not rented, be sure you give it a deep clean. Replace towels and linens with new ones as necessary, and never make a bed or make up a bathroom with tired or stained linens or towels.If your house has porches or decks and outdoor furniture, they must be kept scrubbed and free from mildew and look fresh for every guest who checks in. Same with windows, yards, landscaping, swimming pools, and Jacuzzi tubs – they must be maintained to quality standard or you will get complaints.This goes for household maintenance issues as well. You will need to hone your handy-man skills and make sure all the light bulbs work, a/c filters are changed, the internet is working, TV remotes work, the toilets are flushing properly, and the pool and Jacuzzi heaters are working right. You will also need to be ‘on call’ to go over to the property and provide minor repairs. Unless you live in the same town as your rental, and you are absolutely committed to maintaining it, hire professionals to do this for you. If you are not willing or able to do this, or cannot quickly respond to any maintenance needs, I strongly recommend that you hire a professional rental agency that is staffed up to provide these kind of services. It will save you a lot of head ache and could save the reputation of your rental house.5 – Managing Your Property – Advertising, Reservations, Rental Contracts, BookkeepingThe final basic step to turning your house into a successful vacation home is to start advertising it and taking reservations. Today, there are several mega-vacation rental advertising websites to choose from that have huge data bases of available rental properties. Most of these are set up so you can you can post your own ad copy and download your own property photos. Expect to pay over $500. to get positioned on-line so that prospective renters can find your property. You can also use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the availability of your property.If you decide to manage your property yourself, you must be completely committed to every aspect of the administrative process. This means answering email and phone inquiries in a timely manner, maintaining an availability calendar, talking with potential guests to determine if they are appropriate renters for your house, writing and sending rental contracts to guests, collecting rental fees, collecting and paying required bed and / or sales tax, collecting and refunding security deposits (or determining costs where there is damage), paying housekeepers and maintenance people, paying utilities, keeping licenses current, and generally staying on top of the bookkeeping. There are several home-based reservation management software packages available to help you stay organized, but they will only work if you are diligent about keeping the information updated.You can also hire a locally established rental agency to provide professional management and advertising services for you. Over the years, I have seen many people try to advertise and manage their own vacation property, and end up finding the process too time consuming and daunting. If they live in the same town as the rental house, they end up spending all their “free time” (and then some) operating their property. And if they live in a different location, they find it too overwhelming to effectively manage from a distance. I strongly urge that you hire an established locally operated vacation rental agency that understands the entire scope of the business and the community where you’re your house is located. http://vacationhomesofkeywest.comCindy Rhoadescopyright @ 2011

Find Florida Vacation Rentals

Florida Vacation Home RentalFlorida vacation rentals make visiting Florida more fun, from the top of the state to the southernmost of the Keys. You can enjoy all the comforts of home while visiting Florida, by staying in fully furnished vacation rentals. Choose a luxury villa, beach house, vacation condo, or home rental near pristine sunny beaches or in the action of areas like Miami, or South Beach. There are exciting destinations for the whole family to enjoy everywhere you go in Florida, from the top down.St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Northern Atlantic Coast Beach summer Vacation rentalsBegin your visit on the Atlantic Coast North. Stretching south from the Georgia border to Cape Canaveral, this area has prime tourist attractions. You can watch a launch of one of the space shuttles or review NASA history at Kennedy Space Center, on Merritt Island. Take photos of natural fauna such as alligators, the reclusive manatee, or bald eagles when you tour the neighboring National Wildlife Refuge or Canaveral National Seashore Park.White sands, safe swimming, and fishing are close when you pick summer rentals or a home rental vacation in the New Smyrna Beach area. Enjoy intracoastal waterfront rentals at family oriented Ormond Beach, north of Daytona. Palm Coast is another fast growing canal community. Vacation homes, condo rentals, and cottage rentals here put you right in the swing of things with some of the top golf courses to be found in Florida.For a leisurely look at history, choose Florida vacations and Florida rentals in historic St. Augustine. There are over 144 blocks of historic sites and buildings to see, and by choosing a local vacation rental you will be able to truly enjoy living history.

Orlando, Disney World and Central Florida Vacation Resort RentalsAnother very popular area for vacation rental homes, condos, and owner rentals is the exciting Disney/Orlando/Central Florida region. Orlando and Walt Disney World top the list for fun and family vacation adventure in everyone’s book. The largest city in Florida, Orlando, is nearby to the world’s best known family theme park and resort, Walt Disney World, and the educational adventures at Sea World, and Universal Studios. This is one place for family fun, and when you have house rentals, villas, and other rental property galore to choose from, it makes your vacation most affordable and easier to handle because of the home-like atmosphere and conveniences of home that you have at your disposal.Panama City, Fort Walton Beach Florida Panhandle Vacation RentalsThe Panhandle Region of Florida offers much to see and do in this northwestern stretch of land along the top of the Gulf of Mexico. Tour the state capital of Tallahassee, and drive on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway that is part of I-10 east-west from Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, CA. There are several major military bases in the Panhandle Region, including the Naval Air Station at Pensacola. Other popular and famous vacation and winter destinations in this area are Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City. These towns have quartz sand beaches that are extremely white, and not found elsewhere. This is an ideal place to find vacation home rentals, beach rentals, home rentals, or short term condo or luxury rentals during your Florida vacation stay.Tampa, Tampa Bay and Florida Gulf Coast Central Beach Vacation rentalsHead for the Tampa/Gulf Coast Central region to enjoy the subtropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida shoreline. Major cities to visit include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Cape Coral and Cape Myers. Relax and enjoy your Florida vacation in a Florida beach rental along the Gulf Coast. Or, choose Siesta Key island vacation rentals, beach houses, FL condo and vacation villas near to tourists destinations like Busch Gardens in Tampa, and barrier island beaches.Naples, Southwest Florida vacation condo and beach house rentalsSouthwest Florida is the place for some unique outdoor fun, with airboat rides, excursions and hiking through the Everglades National Park, the Naples Zoo, bird watching, charter boat sport fishing, and world class beaches. Florida beach rentals, island rentals, villa rentals, and luxury vacation home rentals put you in the center of action while remaining independent of others. Set up a beach Florida vacation, or condo rental now for your upcoming Florida vacation rental to have home comforts while you are sightseeing.Miami condos, South Beach beach villas, Fort Lauderdale apartment rentalExciting nightlife, fashion, and passion sum up South Florida/Miami/South Beach. Dance the night away at Latin clubs, and work on your tan all day at endless beaches. Collect seashells for souvenirs, go sailing, fishing, or jet skiing, surf and build sand castles. This is the life of the rich and famous, made affordable by using your beach house rental, vacation house, Florida condo, or rental house in town. Settle in and hit the town for world class shopping, entertainment, or just beautiful people watching.

Florida Central Atlantic Coast beach villas rentalThe next area to consider is Florida’s Atlantic Coast Central. There are beach vacation rentals, Florida condos, and vacation rentals by owner to be found that will exceed your best expectations. Visit famous sunny vacation cities of Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Jensen Beach, Daytona Beach, Port St. Lucie, and other fun locations. Kissimmee, Melbourne, Vero Beach and all the way south to West Palm Beach are towns where you will want to spend much more than a day. The region is crisscrossed with hiking trails inland for the outdoors enthusiast, and white sand beaches for sunning along the coastal waters of the Atlantic.Florida Keys, Key West Beach condo and summertime holiday villa rentalsBe sure that your Florida vacation includes a stay in the amazing Florida Keys. Take the unique Overseas Highway across the water to paradise. Swim in the Atlantic, or the Gulf of Mexico, along the way to Key Largo, Key West, and see in person the legendary country that Hemmingway found to be inspiring. Enjoy the Gulf Coast Florida offers, and wander pleasant Key beaches. Go fishing on a charter boat to catch the big ones you can tell stories about, the marlin, and sailfish.Settle into your vacation paradise on a Florida beach, in your rental house. Enjoy a Florida rental for a sun filled, fun filled vacation. Stay in a rental house, beach house rentals, or villas Florida, and make it your home away from home. Who knows, you may decide that you want to retire here someday!