Managing Your Short Term Rental

When you are deciding how to manage the rental of your vacation home, you have to choose which management style will work best for you and your lifestyle. Is it best to hire a property manager? Or self-manage? Maybe a combination of the two is best-suited.

Property management route: A property manager is a professional vacation rental manager who manages more than one property that is not owned by themselves or members of their family. 
Property managers can effectively make a short term vacation rental stress-free and take alot of the leg work out of marketing the property and the turnaround between guests. But, like with anything it comes with a price.

Benefits of Property Management: 

  • Manages checkout and check-in of guests 
  • Turnover process between guests
  • Finding guests – marketing across different platforms
  • Coordinating cleaners and repairs
  • Handling disbursement of funds 
  • Maintaining property appearance and damage
  • Furniture staging

In exchange for their services, they typically charge a commission, which can range from 20 to 50 percent of the rental income, depending on the amount of services and how involved they are. 

Self management Route: Many vacation homeowners choose to rent out their second home without the use of a property manager, especially being local owners. Being more hands-on can give owners more control of the guests that are renting, as well as the level of service. 

Benefits of Self-Management:

  • Income. You can make more money without property management fees.
  • Complete control of who rents your property. By talking with a potential renter yourself, you can better screen who you will allow to stay in your home, whereas property management companies might not be as particular.
  • Availability of vacation rental websites. Websites like VRBO and Airbnb have made renting without a middleman extremely easy.

There are some challenges to renting your home without the use of a property manager, especially from a distance. Finding a reliable cleaning service or housekeeper is probably the most difficult part of renting your vacation home by owner. Your housekeepers are going to be the eyes and ears to your home; they’re the ones who are going in there every single week, and they are the ones checking up on the renters, making sure that there was no damage or theft. Since this is such an integral part of renting your home, you need to find someone who is reliable, communicative, and trustworthy.

Hybrid of property management and self- management: Luckily, property management doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. With more and more vacation rentals open for business each day, property management companies have become more flexible by allowing “hybrid” relationships. You can still self-manage with the added comfort of knowing you have a management company for emergencies or unforeseen problems that may arise. This could be especially helpful if your vacation rental is not near your primary home. There are several different ways you can use a property manager while renting-by-owner:

  • The owner buys and manages online listings, but the property manager’s contact info is listed. With this method you won’t get inquiry or emergency calls from renters at inconvenient times, such as during dinner or in the middle of the night.
  • “À la carte” property managers, where the owner only pays for the services they want. Obviously, cost and services will vary depending on exactly what your needs are. For example, the owner handles their own marketing and bookings, and the property manager handles cleaning, maintenance, and keys and charges a flat fee for each. If you’ve had difficulty finding a housekeeper you like in the past, this could potentially be a good solution.
  • Full service property managers who charge a discounted commission for bookings generated by owner. This might work well for you if you do not have as much time to devote to renting your property as you would like, but still want to play an active role in the bookings.

For recommendations of property management company, or an analysis of which managing style would work best for you, please reach out!

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