Owning a second home in a favorite area is a wonderful way for families and friends to spend time together during summer vacations, holidays, and the occasional weekend trip. However, owning a home that is only occupied a few weeks each year can still mean paying the mortgage and insurance, as well as property taxes, lawn care, and maintenance, even when it is vacant.
A good way of creating income, which can be used to offset these costs, is to turn it into a vacation rental. If you are interested in using your second home as a vacation rental, here are some tips to make it a more successful experience.
Research the potential
Second home owners who are interested in using that property to earn rental income should first take time to make sure that there is an active market for vacation rentals in that particular area that will help make the transition worthwhile. To do this, go online to research other vacation rentals in the area, using their websites to see what these homes offer to guests, and to explore the rates being charged.
Many vacation rental websites also offer a booking or reservation calendar online that shows the available and already rented dates for a year or more in advance. Existing vacation rentals that show many advance bookings are good indications of a strong vacation rental housing market, and good news for your situation.
Renovate for guest comfort
When researching existing vacation rentals to determine the demand, it is also important to look at the features and amenities offered by the most popular ones. If your home can be inexpensively renovated to include some of the most popular features it will likely compete better against the existing competition. Some relatively inexpensive renovations to consider include:
- an outdoor living area with grill, seating, and a fire pit for late evening relaxation
- an attractive hot tub, preferably situated in secluded location
- adding an extra bathroom to an existing bedroom to upgrade it to a suite
- updated paint and flooring to freshen the look of the entire home
- good quality linens for guest use
Remember that turning your second home into a vacation rental allows you to reclassify it as an investment property, making many of the renovations and ownership costs tax deductible.
Rely on professional management
Managing the daily needs of a vacation rental from afar is sure to be clumsy and unproductive. Instead, vacation home owners can be better served by relying on a local real estate professional or property management company. In addition to handling bookings, professional management means that homeowners can rest assured that repairs, lawn care, snow removal, cleaning, and preparations for guests are all handled in a timely manner.