Looking to rent your New York home as a vacation home? Here are our top tips for renting your vacation house by owner this vacation season.
The American Dream is getting more expansive – and expensive. You’re footing the mortgage and property taxes on a house that’s empty 90% of the year. Now you’ve said no more. You’re renting your vacation house by owner.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little extra peace of mind? Owning a second home allows you create a home away from home, prepare for retirement, and have a bit more financial security.
Tips for Renting Your Vacation House By Owner
Of course, the necessary steps involved in getting the rental ready can rob you of sleep if you’re not careful. Keep reading to find out how to do it right.
Why Rent Your Vacation House?
Raise your hand if you like taxes. No? Thought so. What about the mortgage?
It’s all money out. Renting can help you make up the difference – especially in a high-tax state like New York, where the new tax reform costs you a lot of money in lost tax returns.
Benefits of Renting a Vacation House By Owner
Think of it this way. Your vacation house is a luxury, and you’ve been happy to enjoy it when you have the time to go there. But if you’re not using it, why not let it earn money for you?
That way, not only do you have a lovely vacation residence to look forward to every year, the place is paying for itself as time goes on.
Maximize Your Vacation Rental
Now we’re totally past the boring stuff and you can go rent your vacation house?
Sure you can put your house up for rent tomorrow if you really wanted to.
It just tends to work better for you if you go in with a plan. Also if you take care of a few things beforehand.
Furnish, Decorate and Prepare Your Vacation Home
It’s not enough just to have a lovely vacation home. You need to have a vacation home that lives up to the standards of your would-be guests.
Bear in mind, what guests expect varies on location, but as a rule, they’re generally going to expect most of what they would get out of spending their vacation at a hotel.
This is the fun part of putting your vacation home on the market – it’s a chance to breathe new life into the place! Polish it up, replace furniture if it needs replacing, make it the kind of place you’re almost sad to have other people stay in.
Then, add the extras.
A fast Wi-Fi connection is a minimum, as are toiletries, paper products, and basic cleaning supplies.
Extras, like a hot tub, board games or similar recreation options are the cherry on top.
Set Up Your Welcome Package
You’re welcoming visitors into your home. Except, in this case, most of the time it isn’t you personally.
So you need to make sure everything is ready when they get there.
For example, you’ll need to know how they’re getting into the unit – hidden key? Keyless entry?
The easiest way to manage this is to create a welcome packet which includes important info like the Wi-Fi password, various instructions like where to find the key and how to operate things, and information about various amenities.
You can even put together a list of recommendations with a guide of tips and favorite places that only the locals know. It’s the little things.
Think of it this way: by welcoming them into your home, you’re providing them a travel experience. Make sure it’s a great one.
Decide How to Manage Your Home
This includes deciding how to manage your house.
Renting your vacation house by owner makes you a landlord.
That also means you’ve now taken on a landlord’s responsibilities. That means more than just making the place pretty and getting your documents in order.
Because yes, managing it yourself will be more streamlined. But it’s also more work. That means managing credit cards/checks, listings, photographers, etc etc.
If you’re not willing/able to do the work, bring in someone who will.
But keep in mind that renting your property yourself is more cost-effective – a property manager may charge you up to 30% of your rental amount.
Manage Your Calendar
Hey, we get that your vacation home is awesome, and you want to spend a vacation there. You will want to spend long weekends, summer, and maybe winter breaks.
Here’s the thing, potential renters also like to take vacations during summer and long weekends. For which they rent vacation homes.
They cannot rent your vacation home if you are taking a vacation in your vacation home.
Coordinate your calendar beforehand. If you’re willing to use your vacation home during the off-season, you can take much higher rental fees all the way to the bank.
It varies place to place but as a general rule, a week of in-season rental is roughly equal to a month of off-season rental. It’s also easier to rent in-season because, you know, everyone wants to take a vacation.
Bring in the Pros to Make Your Property Shine
Remember when we mentioned polishing up the place?
Unless you’re planning on scrubbing the floors and fixing the leaks yourself, it pays to have a professional cleaning service and maintenance crew.
Even if you are planning on scrubbing the floors yourself…don’t. Hire a professional.
If your home is popular, you could have guests checking out in the morning and another set of guests checking in that afternoon. Cleaning up between the two is vital to a solid first impression.
It can also help to have a pro involved in writing a description that makes your vacation home sing. Same story with high-quality photos – it’s the first impression people will make of your vacation home, so make it homey and make it count.
Do you want DIY tips? Here is OUR GUIDE TO CREATE A WINNING VACATION RENTAL LISTING (THAT GETS RESULTS)!
Taxes, Insurance, Agreements, Oh My!
Yes, yes, it’s dull, but we have to cover the boring stuff too.
Depending on where you are, your city, county, and state may require you to either a) register your home or b) get a business license.
They’re also likely to tax you the same way they tax a hotel (pro tip: hire someone to help out). Make sure to consult a professional accountant throughout the process, as everyone’s financial situation varies.
While we’re on the subject of following the law, make sure your homeowner’s association allows you to rent your property.
Many homeowners associations don’t like rentals, and some cities and counties actually ban it.
You’ll also need insurance because a typical homeowners policy doesn’t cover vacation rentals. Talk to your agent about what you need.
And, finally, the agreement. As in, the rule book which your would-be renters must abide by. Things like the number of allowed occupants and whether pets are allowed. Management companies often have agreements you can modify.
Ready to Rent?
Renting your vacation home has many benefits, and to maximize them you should get guidance from the professionals. If you have any questions, head to our contact page. We are happy to chat and answer questions any time!
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