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Owners Guide to How to Rent Your Vacation Home Helpful Tips to Buying and Preparing Your Home


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When using the website the potential renter is viewing your property with an element of trust and often a feeling of excitement. So what they are looking at on the site should be an accurate and complete description. If the information is not accurate and complete you could be doing yourself a disservice and saving up problems for later and therefore will not make the most out of your rental potential.

The following are some useful tips into making your property work for you.

Showing your property at its best on site

* Good photographs are your best selling point.

* Make each room looks clean and tidy.

* Remove all clutter before photographs are taken.

* Make sure beds are made and tables are laid for dinner.

* Show special features to their best.

* Update pictures when things change or you redecorate.

* Adapt to the seasons - what is good in one may not be good in another.

* Write the description of your house as though you have just seen it for the first time and make sure you mention all the unique selling points.

* Let people know the easiest way of getting to your property.

* Make sure the availability calendar is updated after every new booking.

Handy Hints

* Reply to every inquiry as quickly as possible, if you are away have an out of office email set up or a forwarding service so potential renters are still serviced.

* Have a house pack for all new renters giving details of all local attractions.

* Have a visitor's book for them to sign and hopefully leave a good comment.

* If you have an inquiry you can't take tell them about someone else in the area, they are likely to return the compliment.

The look of your property

* The higher the standard of decoration and furnishing, the wider the range of customers you are likely to attract and so the rental price can reflect this.

* Pictures taken of your property should be of enticing, it really does pay to take the time to do this properly as attention to detail will make the overall look much more enticing. If your property is located in a sunny destination, make sure you take the picture on a sunny day! Like wise if you let out a ski chalet, take the picture when there is plenty of snow about. Consider rotating your pictures with the seasons so that if you are booked for the ski season and now looking to attract walkers for the summer, replace your “snow chalet" image with a beautiful mountain view from the.

* Keep everything as neutral as possible and remember the less clutter there is, the less likely that something you cherish will get broken

* Make sure that the renter has everything there to keep the property clean.

* Provide all the things that the renter might need, including a first aid box

* If you have valuable items in the property make sure you have somewhere safe to put them whilst someone is renting your property

* It is always good to have a collection of games for people to play

* If the area is known for cycling get a couple of bicycles for people to use, or leave information of places where they can be hired

What you are responsible for

* Make sure that the deeds of your property have no clauses to say that you are not allowed to sublet your property.

* Liability insurance to cover any damage caused by guests.

* Check that the security of the property matches the standards set out by the insurance company.

* Use a contract with the renter. Clearly state all dates the property is booked for and any arrangements that you have decided between you that is not covered in your standard agreement, also stating when they have to vacate the property.

* If you need to pay tax on this income it will need to be declared.

* Let the renter know that they must get travel insurance should they need it.

What to charge

* Identify your market and see what comparable properties are charging in the same area.

* Make sure that you have a sliding scale so that you charge more in the high season and also school holidays.

* Should you have a cancellation make sure that the fee is described in your terms and conditions. You may still be able to resell the period to recoup your losses and to reinburse the previous client. Contact previous renters or update your advert headline description to show offering a last minute discount for example.

* Make sure that everything is included in the fee, such as the cleaner and all utility bills so that there are no nasty shocks when your clients leave.

* Make sure that you include all your outgoings when deciding what to charge.

Who looks after your property?

* Are you going to be the one who manages the property? If not you will have to find someone to do this for you.

* Ask other owners in the area what they do to cover this issue.

* If you employ a management company keep in close contact with them. This way they are likely to put more effort into looking after your property and a good business relationship can be formed.

* Also try and book your own property to see if you are happy with the way you are being represented.

* If you are looking after the property make sure that all inquiries are promptly dealt with in a professional way.

* The quicker you respond the more likely a prospective renter is to book with you.

* Make sure you have someone to help with changeover day as this can take some time.

* Have a system in place for the running of the letting right from the initial inquiry to the handing over of the keys at the end.

* Be aware of scam inquiries! Especially people wishing to pay more than the rental charge, then for you to refund the “difference"

How best to look after your bookings

The most important will be a contract with the terms and conditions of the rental

As a minimum, the contract should cover

* Arrival and departure dates and times

* Names of the occupants

* Contact numbers for both parties

* Payment terms - there should be clear and concise payment terms covering deposits for holding the property, completion of payment and coverage for breakages, damage etc.

* Useful numbers for clients such as doctors, police etc.

* Cancellation terms.

* Security deposit, this is over and above the rental price and is an insurance against damages. This should be set at an agreed price with the renter

* House rules - these should be in the contract such as no smoking, pets etc

* Insurance you must have contents and liability insurance and the renter must have their own cover.

* Confirm the booking only after deposit monies have cleared.

* If any damage occurs make sure you have photographic evidence as proof.

A good way to get the booking off to a good start could be to make sure there are certain staple food and item to hand, so why not get your cleaners to leave a starter pack for the renters including tea, coffee, milk, bread, cereal etc

And after they leave have a system in place to leverage their good time and to get any feedback from them - a visitor's book is a good idea

Marketing and getting the property to work for you

* The more you spend, the more people will know about your property, but there should be a limit to set yourself.

* Use the internet, this is now the biggest marketing tool there is and will show your property to a worldwide market.

* Word of mouth is one of the best so make sure you request your clients tell others.

* Keep in touch with past renters and send out a newsletter with photographs to jog their memory.

This was written by with thousands of private rental properties world wide.


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