A Guide to Renting Out a Vacation Property

Vacation property is a house or any other type of property that you can use for vacations. Normally, this is something reserved for you and your loved ones. But if you can't use your vacation property this particular season, that doesn't mean the property should go to waste. Renting it out will allow you to earn some extra income while the tenants get to enjoy a pleasant vacation. While the process does have a few wrinkles, you can make it enjoyable for everyone involved if you take a few simple steps.

Figure Out Your Rent Duration

Figure out for how long you want to rent out your vacation property. With vacation properties, you get a little more flexibility than you would with ordinary residential rental properties. You can rent out on daily, weekly, monthly and/or seasonal bases (or any combination thereof). You should make sure that the lease clearly states how long each tenant is staying and whether your tenants can extend their stay. Keep in mind that, unlike conventional residential rental properties, vacation homes don't offer steady long-term income, and plan your budget accordingly.

Figure Out Your Rental Rates

Once you have figured out the rent duration, you should figure out how much you will charge for each period. You should try to stay within the price range of similar vacation property rentals in the surrounding area. You can figure it out by browsing local classifieds, either in local newspapers or on the Internet. You may also want to look at networking sites such as Craigslist.

Set Your Rental Policies

Once you have figured out how much you will charge in rent, you should put together a document outlining the rental policies. It doesn't have to be a lease in a classic sense, but it should be comprehensive. You should include maximum occupancy requirements, conditions under which you may issue refunds, and cancellation procedures. You may also want to touch on whether you allow pets and your policy on smoking. You and your tenant will sign this set of policies to make it legally binding--otherwise, it's essentially unenforceable.

Be Ready to Deal with Damage

As a landlord, you are responsible for repairing any damage to your vacation property. If the property is remote from where you live, you may not be able to get there in a timely manner. That is why you should research local carpenters, power companies, utility providers and other services ahead of time. That way, you'll be able to start getting the problem fixed as soon as you hear about the damage.

Write a Classified Rental Ad

Once the above steps are completed, you should write an ad that you will use to attract customers. It should include a brief description of your property (including general location),  the available dates, rental rates, what kind of deposit you are asking for and contact information. If possible, try to mention local amenities such as beaches, parks and recreational centers. If you plan on advertising online, be sure to take a picture of the exterior and at least one shot of the interiors. 

Get the Word Out

Once you have drafted your ad, post it in the places where you found other ads. You may also want to consider taking out ads in your regular area of residence. That way, you will have a better shot of attracting the vacationers. You should also consult the chamber of commerce of the area where your vacation property is located. They might be willing to provide tourists and prospective renters with listings of local rental properties.

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