Archives For Management

Tax CollectionSimilar to a hotel room, your vacation rental is subject to state, county and local taxes. What the tax is called – sales, lodger’s, hotel, use, tourist or transient occupancy tax, for example – and what you must charge, if anything, varies by location.

Here are the steps to licensing and collecting taxes for your vacation rental:

Confirm What City Your Rental Home Is In

Even if it seems obvious, it’s a good idea to double check what city your rental home falls in and if this is in the incorporated or unincorporated part of the town. You can contact your city’s planning and zoning office to find out. From there, you’ll be able to proceed with determining the relevant city, county and state licensing and tax laws. Continue Reading…

Pet Policy to ConsiderThoughtful policies and procedures for your vacation rental are your first line of defence against disagreements with renters and other awkward or upsetting situations.

A real estate lawyer will walk you through the contractual basics, like your reservation policies, and ensure any legal requirements are covered.

However, the essentials can vary depending on your preferences, and other guidelines outline your processes and expectations. Here’s an overview of policies and procedures you should consider. Continue Reading…

MyVR Rate CalendarAre your rates the right fit for your vacation rental? As noted in our earlier post about setting your rates, pricing your property is subjective — more of a best educated guess than an absolute calculation. It’s possible for you to miss the mark and price too high or low. If your rates are off, how can you adjust?

Is There A Problem?

The average vacation home is rented for 17.4 weeks a year. Before you get too anxious about what you may or may not be doing right, do some research and consider: Continue Reading…

Lockitron Remote Keyless Entry

As a vacation rental owner, I’ve come across some pretty awesome high-tech gadgets to help manage my property remotely. In some cases I’m spending a little extra for the peace of mind, but in others I save in the long run. More importantly, I’m chipping away at that distracting “what if they forgot/what if I forgot” feeling. And in a lot of ways it’s making things easier for my renters.

Here are some things I either use, can’t wait to try, or have heard about from other vacation rental owners:

Keyless Entry With Cell Phone

Cool, no? Lockitron lets your guests lock and unlock the door with their cell phones. You can add or revoke access instantly, so it’s great for a multi-user situation like vacation rentals. Continue Reading…

Bedroom EssentialsWhat should every vacation rental have, and what are nice-to-have extras?

There are certain features and accessories that vacation home renters have come to expect – or, at least, that they hope to find when they walk through the door. Other features, when they show up, are considered a bonus.

Here’s our room-by-room guide to items you should include.

Don’t forget: There are also items that may legally be mandatory in your area, like fire extinguishers and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure any items required by your insurance plan or local bylaws are at the top of your list! Continue Reading…

Vacation Rental FloodingHurricane Sandy hitting the east coast of North America; tsunami warnings on the west coast, through to Hawaii. Like any home, vacation rental properties can unexpectedly be positioned directly in the path of disasters.

When an emergency strikes, there are two things you need to protect: Your home and your guests. If recent situations have caught you off-guard, plan ahead so everything is prepared for next time. Continue Reading…

Vacation Rental CalculatorLike any business, setting rates for your vacation rental can be a stressful challenge.

Set your rate too high and rentals could be slow or non-existent, or your guest may have expectations that are higher than you can deliver.

Set your price too low and you may not be able to earn a profit, or you’ll only attract people who abuse your property as a cheap rental.

How do you find balance? Here’s a four-step process to help you decide on a range that matches your property. Remember: While you want to research the information to set the right rate for your property from the beginning, you can fine-tune later.

Step 1: Know Your Costs

External factors carry a lot of weight when it comes to setting rates for your vacation rental, but to start you need to focus on yourself: What is the minimum you can charge to break even? Continue Reading…

Handyman Maintenance Vacation RentalThere is no golden rule when it comes to do-it-yourself maintenance for your vacation rental; some people can wield power tools like a pro while others are barely comfortable lifting a screwdriver.

Whether you look after your own property maintenance depends on your availability and comfort level, but if you’re handy around the house and have a good selection of tools, some DIY projects can save you money. Others, however, could leave you open to liability.

How do you know the difference?

While you should make sure you’re up-to-speed with any local bylaws and regulations, there is one key deciding factor when it comes to working on your vacation rental: Whichever is the safest option for both you and your future guests. Continue Reading…

Staged Vacation RentalYou put a lot of effort into marketing your vacation rental. You have a great-looking website, relevant information, and professional photographs. Plus, there’s the time, energy and money you’ve invested in purchasing and maintaining the property.

In many ways, all that work boils down to one critical moment: When your renters open the front door.

While your marketing efforts, and any correspondence you’ve had, are what draws guests to your doorstep, their decision to rent from you has been based on no small amount of trust and logic: They may have fallen in love with the photos, but it’s the location, budget, and their needs that made the decision for them.

The thing is, people are emotional creatures. Your home won’t leave a lasting impression because it had two bedrooms and a balcony. Instead, the tone for their trip will largely be set by what they find when they step through the doorway.

Reward the trust they’ve placed in you with the quality, service and style they expect — or, even better, exceed those expectations — by staging your vacation rental. This attention to detail isn’t just good customer service; building the perception of positive value will help protect your business and rates in the future. Continue Reading…

iPhone Calendar Paperless Vacation RentalFor many vacation home owners, the movement towards a paperless office isn’t just the environmentally friendly solution – it’s the solution that makes the most sense. How much information do you already email back-and-forth between yourself and your renters, property manager, or accountant?

Calling it “paperless” can be a bit misleading; more often than not, the reality is simply “less paper” – potentially significantly less paper. However, committing to a paperless office is increasingly affordable, and it’s only going to get easier.

Adopting a paperless philosophy for your vacation rental has two benefits:

  • Cutting your need for paper helps eliminate waste and scale back printing costs.
  • Incorporating digital solutions can help streamline standard processes. Continue Reading…