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VACATION RENTAL REHAB
FOR MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY #2 - 11/22/15
So, you bought a vacation rental property in a great location. Now what do you do?
All property for rent, especially furnished property for vacation rentals, will need some remodeling in order to maximize the renting party’s experience for the few days they are in the house. This is different than long term rentals, as it will be furnished. Sometimes the furniture that might come with the purchase can be used – and sometimes it cannot. In our case at Lake Tahoe, we threw it all out.
The most important item to address is plumbing. Nothing causes more grief than this. Make sure you have gobs of hot water – to not undersize the water heaters. We have a 120 gallon unit – electric – that never runs out. Check every drain and faucet to verify they are working properly and have a good flow. Take showers and see if the water temperature changes from cold to hot and back. This is very irritating and needs to be fixed. We sleep 11 people and have 3 full baths – so far no complaints here.
We recommend getting a hot tub if one is not already in place. Ours will hold 8 adults – and this is a welcome relief after a day of sun or snow any time of year. We have a service tech that comes weekly to monitor the chemicals and clean it as needed. This is well worth the investment as we are a long ways off.
Take care of any pests with a service contract or you can purchase high frequency noise-makers to keep small rodents at bay. Monitor for any bugs or ants the first year, and hire service contractors accordingly after that. If your house is in a heavy snow area – like Lake Tahoe – you will need snow removal services also during the winter.
If your house is on pier and beam, have electric heat tape installed on the low parts of the plumbing lines underneath the house to prevent freezing. You cannot be there to keep water running in the sinks, so this is a good long distance solution. We also installed a Wi-Fi thermostat so the inside temperature can be managed long distance with our cell phone and desktop computer. No freezing pipes for us in 3 years – and it gets cold at 6500 feet elevation by Lake Tahoe.
Paint inside as necessary with washable paint so you can keep it clean with just a damp rag. All walls are painted the same off white color throughout for easier touch-up.
New fixtures installed as needed to promote individual themes throughout the house, as each bedroom has a different style. In our case, the overall theme is a mountain home – so we have a rustic look everywhere. Floods were installed in the outside corners of the house with timers, so they would not be left on indefinitely. Have main breaker checked to be sure you are not overloading the wiring and if necessary increase the capacity to allow for future electric expansion.
Many people generate much garbage, and we have to provide bear boxes to keep the wild animals that roam around us from going through the garbage. All garbage cans are set inside these metal bins and locked away from the animals. We had to add additional capacity as I underestimated how much trash 11 people can produce in 4-5 days.
Repair exterior as needed and paint or stain – depending on exterior covering. This will probably have to be done every 4-5 years in harsh climates. Power wash first – before painting. This also helps make the outside pictures look snappy for online viewing.
Make sure all appliances are in good working order, and if possible, provide double appliances in case of failure. We provide a free standing ice machine, 2 refrigerators, 2 washers, 2 dryers and 2 microwaves. We also have boot and glove warmers that we set out in the garage for snow skiers. If you have plenty of hot water and ice, all else can be forgiven.
Carpet is not your friend in a vacation rental, although we all have some. Try to have most floors in the common areas hard surface for easy cleaning. Carpet in bedrooms is fine. Bathrooms need lots of light – especially around the mirrors.
We keep extra supplies in each bathroom – toothpaste and brushes, soap, tissue. If you have a fireplace, keep a starter amount of wood and let the renters buy any extra they need. Be sure and place grab bars in bathrooms and any other places with stairs/steps they make require people to steady themselves. Hope some of these tips help.
David S. Martin
David Realty Company