Owning a vacation property is an excellent way for you to earn some additional income. In fact, many people who own vacation properties are able to earn enough each year to cover the cost of their mortgage, property taxes, and all other property-related costs.
When utilized correctly, your second property helps make it possible to increase your wealth with each passing year. You will also have the rare opportunity to occasionally vacation “for free.” However, if you do hope for your endeavor into property ownership to be a successful one, you will need to make sure your property is actually being rented.
One of the most common reasons some vacation property owners end up losing money is that their properties go unoccupied for significant portions of the year. Even if you are not earning an active income, you will still need to pay the mortgage (likely a second mortgage) and also pay for baseline utilities.
In order to avoid this common—yet preventable—problem, you will need to be proactive about marketing the actual property. In this article, we will discuss a few of the things you can do in order to effectively market your vacation rental home. By keeping these simple tips in mind, you can increase your occupancy rate and help convert your vacation home from a liability into a financial asset.
- Hire a Property Management Company
If you are starting the rental process from scratch, it can be very easy to find yourself overwhelmed with the number of tasks at hand. Instead of turning the task of marketing your vacation property into a full-time job, you may want to consider hiring someone who can effectively do this for you. For a (usually) reasonable fee, property management companies do things such as monitor your listings, navigate relationships with renters, and make sure your property is getting the exposure it needs. The cost of the management company will typically be offset by the increased income the company helps provide.
- Increase your Total Number of Listings
Between Airbnb, VRBO, and various other websites, there are plenty of different places you can potentially list your rental property. However, despite the fact that most of these sites are not mutually exclusive, many property owners only manage to list their property on one site at a time. If you have had trouble securing renters, you may want to increase your reach and list the property on multiple platforms. This way, you will be able to pull from a larger pool of potential renters.
- Take Professional Photographs
Though it can be tempting to pass on hiring a professional photographer, it is important to recognize that the right photographs can have a major impact on whether or not your property is actually rented. A professional photographer can help make the place look larger, cleaner, and brighter—all things that will stand out as potential guests shuffle through hundreds of options. These photographs will likely be the first impression anyone has of your place, meaning it is certainly a good idea for you to take them seriously.
- Gather Positive Reviews
While your potential guests will care to hear what you have to say about your property, they will likely also want objective input from people who’ve stayed at your vacation rental in the past. Doing things to incentivize positive reviews from your guests—offering special perks, asking to follow up questions, etc.—can help slowly improve the reputation of your property over time. If you have had trouble getting your guests to commit to leaving reviews, this may be something that a property management company can help you with.
- Offer a Detailed, Well-Written Description
While it may seem that the description of your property is somewhat of a “formality”, this could not be further from the truth. The way you describe your property online will help your guests determine if the rate you are asking for is actually appropriate. Your description should be honest, yet paint the property in a positive light. Talking about luxury features, the details of the home (number of rooms, bathrooms, kitchen setup, etc.), and even things to do nearby will all be very helpful. You will also want to use a clear, error-free writing style in order to project a sense of professionalism.
- Keep Outdoor Spaces Livable
One of the surest ways to attract people to your rental property—especially in the summertime—is to increase the value of your outdoor space. If you can add major outdoor features, such as a pool or a hot tub, your home will immediately become more appealing. But even if you can only afford to add smaller features, such as a barbeque or a hammock, you can still easily add value to the property. Keeping your grass trimmed and your yard generally clean can also make a major difference.
- Update your Interior Design Scheme
The purpose of updating your interior design scheme isn’t to show potential guests how “stylish” you are—it is to show potential guests that you actually care about keeping your property up to date. Interior design details are among the first things people notice when they walk into a room and they are also among the easiest to fix (compared to structural issues, at least). Getting new surfaces, painting your home an “agreeable” color, and installing modern lighting fixtures are all things you can do to make your property more marketable. Adding some tasteful works of art can also give your space some much-needed character.
- Pay Attention to Major Events in your Area
No matter where you live, there will be some times of the year where the rental property market is busy and other times where it is considerably slower. By paying attention to events happening in your area, you can take advantage of the busy times and develop your marketing strategies around them. Events such as major concerts, sporting events, festivals, and business conferences can all cause a temporary uptick in the demand for rental properties. Seasonal events (beach season in Florida, ski season in Colorado, etc.) can also have a major impact. By adjusting your rental prices accordingly, you can maximize profits while still making sure your property is consistently occupied.
If you have already purchased or begun the process of purchasing a rental property, you are one step closer to securing a valuable second source of income. However, there will still be a lot of work that needs to done before you will be able to break even on your investment. By keeping these rental property tips in mind, you can achieve your financial objectives while also enjoying the joys of property ownership.