There was a time that when you went on vacation, you’d have to find a hotel in the area. All hotels are pretty much the same, it wasn’t special, but it got the job done. And then came VBRO and AirBandB. Suddenly, if you do a little digging, you can find a quaint, fun place to stay whenever you go on vacation, often for less than you’d spend on a hotel.
If you have a spare guest house or a rental property, this affords you the opportunity to make a little extra cash. You can list your rental property on one of these sites for short term stays. Local visitors are able to take advantage of your otherwise empty space instead of staying in a boring hotel, while you make a little money on space you aren’t using. It’s a win-win situation.
However, since the appeal to “for rent by owner” properties is more experience-based rather than deal-driven, you can’t just charge bottom dollar and expect people to flood through your doors. Not that you’d want to charge bottom dollar anyways. If you want to be successful as a vacation rental owner, you need to consider the experience your visitors have in your space. Here are a few tips for doing that:
Three Tips for Staging a Property for Vacation Rental
- Scope out the neighborhood.
The say the three rules to real estate is location, location, location. This is just as important with vacation rentals as it is with any home sales. Your guests might be staying in your house, but the state of the neighborhood will impact their enjoyment (and the ratings they leave you, which impacts future business).
While ideally, you’ll think this over before you purchase your vacation property, if you already own it, you might be able to at least influence the are for good. Get yourself active in your HOA, if there is one. Rally the neighborhood to care about the upkeep of their homes. If you have a neighbor with a lawn that needs a little TLC, offer to help them. Not only will it help your vacation rental by improving the experience your guests have, it will also establish rapport with your neighbors. Maybe if you need a little help with your property later, they’ll be willing to help.
- You only get one chance at a first impression.
The first impression that your home gives will make or break the entire impression your visitors have regarding your home. If your interior is amazing, but the exterior is run-down and dilapidated, your potential clients will remember that your home is run down and dilapidated.
Take a moment to stand outside your property and ask yourself honestly what you see. Are your front porch swings broken and worn out? Are their weeds growing everywhere? Do you need a fresh coat of paint? Invest a little time and money into the curb appeal of your property, and it will change the entire impression of your property.
Pro tip: You might notice we mentioned front porch swings. If you don’t have any porch swings, you should consider installing this, or some other patio furniture. Having nice outdoor furniture designs essentially expands the square footage of your space, which appeals to many travelers. Porch swings or hammocks in particular are an inexpensive upgrades that add space, functionality, and experience to your property.
- Invest in the kitchen and bathrooms of your rental.
When home shopping, the most important factors that make or break a home sale is the state of the kitchen and the bathroom. The same is important for a vacation property. When potential visitors are scoping out your vacation home online, the biggest factor that they’ll pay attention to when mentally categorizing your home as either “nice” or “I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole” is the state of your bathrooms and kitchen.
Before listing your vacation rental, give your bathroom and kitchen a little face lift. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. Consider adding new hardware to the cabinets if the current are outdated. Give the cabinets and walls a nice paint job, if needed. Make sure the space is clean and modern, and you’ll have guests flooding through the doors!
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