Worldwide Holiday Vacation Rentals
Having a Vacation Rental anywhere in the world is a big investment, both of your personal time and of your finances. It can be for some a wonderful experience and for others quite a different experience, let’s just call it “the elephant in the room.” Most people find themselves within the situation of buying a vacation rental because they have money to invest and they have always wanted to invest in real estate. Instead of buying and then selling, the decide to buy in a location they like, possibly because they too will use the property. Then they begin the process of elimination and finally they purchase the house. Most of us wouldn’t realize that this is just the start of what is to become the rental, there is much more to this process than meets the eye.
When an owner purchases a home there are a series of things that happen, no matter where they live. They have to set the house up to pay the Government, City Taxes, or country taxes on a Transient (short term) rental. This is usually handled by the owners, but if you decide to use a property manager than they can assist with this process. Once you get the paperwork filed then you need insurance, to insure the renter in the house and to designate it as a rental home. This way if something happens your vacationer will be covered and you will be covered. These are two things we highly encourage and without setting the house up correctly you may run into a big problem, which typically means fines and removal from the rental pool.
Now after you’ve done all the buying, setting up the paperwork and designating it, there comes the next phase, which is the furnishing and updating of the house. Most people have no idea how important this is and most people we’ve had the luxury of working with are open to our suggestions. So we’ve compiled some very good ideas for our owners, especially those looking to attract a luxury buyer, so that you can get more bookings.
Does the house you just bought need a lot of updating? Are you thinking of putting it off? The only way to put off updating is if the things to be updated are not that important, things that only you would notice, like a closet being too small or a window being a little worn. If the things you are thinking of waiting on are old kitchen, old appliances, air conditioning units on their way out, flooring that is old and dingy and bathrooms that are old and tired, than you’re making a HUGE ROOKY MISTAKE.
You cannot cover up the imperfection that is the Guts of the entire house, with some paint and a few pieces of furniture. If a client walks into a house that has old kitchens and flooring, the first thing they will do is complain. In fact most of our complaints, come from the very things owners should update first: Air conditioning, Bathrooms, and Kitchens. This will be what a family will continue to complain about until the day they depart, making your life, or the life of the manager, stressful and awkward.
The first things you should do if buying a home that is affordable yet “needs work” is make the changes, right away. You should invest in nice flooring, kitchen cabinets and preferably granite counters. If you cannot afford all of this and your cabinets are in good shape, simply reface your cabinets and add granite or a high grade granite look alike. The bathrooms should always have nice tile work (new) and not dingy and stained, nice tubs (not dingy and stained) and be painted a neutral color (tan or light brown) to give them very Resort Like Feels. You never want a bright blue or pink bathroom, a high level client does not want to cringe at using a bathroom so that’s a bad idea. All rooms should really have a pleasing and neutral paint, with white baseboards.
After you’ve done your work on the bones of the house, we want you to really think about what type of vacation you’re selling. Is this a luxury home in a luxury location? If so, do not even think about adding whicker to any part of the house, not even the exterior. Although I highly believe that is the ONLY place whicker should even be considered. Whicker should never be someone’s living or dining area, that is not only really a bad idea, but it also makes renters stay away. You are not looking to sacrifice making good money over a few hundred dollar decision. Your house, now a neutral color, with nice floors and amenities, should use this basic model for design.
Model 1 – The Family Traveler
If you are renting a family home, maybe in Orlando or near a Theme Park Somewhere, there are a few tips to consider. People with children want to keep them entertained, so if you didn’t buy a house with a pool that was a wrong choice. A house with a pool will always rent better. Secondly, people with children will always like a game room. A game room is usually a space that an owner designated for the Billiard Table, a Television, some video consoles and some DVD’s to chose from. This will be an important feature for Family Travelers. Aside from that having a nice crib, a pack and play, and a high chair are also a great idea. If you don’t have them, they will ask for them. Better to prepare than to be caught off guard. The last important feature for a family traveler is having a list of area hospitals and family doctors, just in case someone gets sick. This usually happens with people who travel a long distance and have toddlers, the stress of the flight, coupled with a new environment, makes for the perfect combination for illness. Most parents are aware of this so they like to have those items at hand.
Setting up the bedrooms in Model 1 is easy. You should have at least 1 King (master) 1 or 2 Queens and the 3rd or 4th rooms should have two twin beds for kids or two bunk beds (but nice quality). The kids rooms should have a Television and movies and/or game console. The living area should be ample, large sofa and have a great surround sound system. The kitchen table should seat at least 8-10 if not more and you should always hide a folding table somewhere just in case. The kitchen should have at least 12 dishes, 12 cups, 12 coffee mugs, 12 bowls, 4 frying pans 4 pots, 4 pans and enough cutlery for 12 guests. As well you will need at least 12 wine glasses for your guests.
Keeping at least 6 towels (preferably white and plush) for each bathroom is a must, hand towels as well should be included. However I never like to include a wash cloth, that is unsanitary and should never be something a client asks for, if they were to ask for it than you would dispose of it afterwards. You never know what goes on a washcloth and I wouldn’t want that on my face or body after a stranger had used it on something personal.
You are all set with Family Traveler
Model 2 – The Beach Vacation
Ah the beach, a place where people go to get away from it all. Whether it’s the Caribbean or French Riviera or your local beach, it’s really just the idea of the lovely ocean and sunsets. This type of house, although you will feel like coloring the walls with the rainbow, DON’T DO IT! Whatever makes people feel like they should paint their homes like their children’s elementary projects has got to change. Nobody who is walking into a vacation home wants to see this, in fact it doesn’t say “relaxation” it says “a crazy person lives here.” And that is not what we’re selling to a luxury traveler. So when you are objectively looking at furnishing and painting your home you should think of a Luxury Beachside Resort and not of a tiki bar.
That being said the same will apply for paint. A nice muted beige or the lightest of yellows (LIGHT) being the word here, is what we need. The bedrooms should be decorated resort style, with plush mattresses and lovely pillows and white sheets and a light colored white or contemporary comforter. Remember when buying a comforter that you don’t want something that is going to stain easily. Buy high end or keep buying new ones every month. The towels in the bathrooms (6 in each) should be plush and welcoming, there should be a flat screen television in each room and if you have a master patio there should always be a nice sitting area for the guests. You should leave a lovely sea scent in the rooms, something welcoming. Have some amazing bamboo art or natural fibers hanging around. Give the house the feel of the inside coming into the house, but in a very nice and comforting way. Remember STAY AWAY FROM LOUD colors.
The living area should be a nice comfortable sofa, not leather but a nice fabric. NO one wants to sit on leather after they have been sweating all day long at the beach and you don’t want to replace those sofas every year. So a nice fabric, that breathes easy, some nice furnishings maybe in a washed wood, with a dramatic look, and some great art throughout. The house should feel like a cottage on the beach, A 5 STAR cottage. The kitchen should again have all we mentioned above, as well as more plastic cups as we will be using them for barbeques outside. This house will need a grille and outside eating area. If on the beach you do not need a pool but if you are not on the beach and do not have a pool that is a big NO NO. You need one or the other for the beach home rentals. You will also need, in closing for this section, a great set of beach towels, at least 15.
Model 3 – The Ski Rental
Now that it’s come time to go skiing, it’s time to get down to business. Let’s start with décor on this one right away. If your Chalet, Cottage or Home are too far from the slopes you will get very few if any request. This is just to get started so you know. The ski homes main function is to serve as a home base for the skiing family or to serve as the summer base for nature lovers and hikers. The house should come well stocked with ski racks, heated flooring, and should emanate the idea of skiing and nature. The décor should be solid and/or contemporary. Some owners have switched from the heavy European feeling décor to a more Crate and Barrel Style of furnishings, which seems to work well for the traveler. This style can be a mix of hard wood tables with a more contemporary chair or a very heavy wood bed with contemporary accents, no matter which way you chose the color scheme is always the same. Dark Colors on furnishings work best, leather sofas work best, you need a game room with billiards table and you absolutely need a bar area or something that functions as a bar area. The kitchen should have everything we’ve discussed, including but not limited to all the dishes and glassware, but in addition this house should offer a tea kettle for hot chocolate and some really amazing large mugs for drinking their morning coffee.
Most people would prefer as well to have a way to get to the lifts, so please provide either a golf cart or something they can easily get around in. If you do not have this, than try leaving the numbers to the carriers that pass by that route to pick up skiers. If you are walking distance, even better. Upon arrival the skiing family will want to find themselves warm, so always make sure to have instructions for the heater and fireplace. If it’s a wood fireplace make sure to leave some wood and if it’s electric than make sure to leave instructions.
The kids rooms should have bunk beds or similar, but upscale not cheesy. The Guest rooms should have King Beds for Adults, most people skiing want room to move around. So at least 2 or 3 kings and then 1 Queen and the rest can be Bunk Beds for singles or kids. Make sure the comforters are plush and the sheets are high level cotton, do not let a skier sleep on polyester, this would be a bad idea and fairly uncomfortable.
And last but not least, a Jacuzzi is an absolute must! If you do not have a Jacuzzi it may just break the deal, so don’t forget to buy one.
There are other “Luxury Models” I have not included. That would be the Mansion Model and the Fully Catered Model. Here are just a few ideas below.
The Mansion Model
So you purchased a Mansion, that’s great. Now the first thing to note is like other homes, you need to be sure your interior and your décor meet the standard of the vacationer. A Mansion renter is going to require much more than your ordinary family. This renter is a well traveled person with very refined taste and they don’t want to be stuck in a home they dislike for any reason. So you have to be extra careful with this traveler because if you fail to please they will leave.
The main idea here is that EVERYTHING needs to be perfect. And when I mean everything, I even mean your gardening. I cannot explain enough how much a mansion fails if it is not landscaped well. Landscaping gives the feel of luxury and says you care about the house, if at this point you’re thinking about this, than you need to get your landscaping done. The client will want to enter a house and feel “amazed” and not scared. The floors if hardwood should always be cleaned and polished. The floors if marble or travertine should be checked for stains and nicks. The paint should be crisp and not be painted a multitude of colors, tans, sands, whites and off whites, work best in mansions. The style today is Modern with a touch of Asian and a touch of nature. You do not want to overdo the “theme” and you do not want to give a client the reason NOT to sit on your sofa. It should be modern but welcoming. Remember a white sofa is NEVER a good idea unless it’s leather and treated. White is a color that stains easy so stick with a tan or neutral color. There should always be a flat screen television hanging from the Media Rooom/TV room Wall, when there is not, there is a problem. Nobody wants a tube TV in a Mansion. So update this part of the house or lose a client base. No Carpeting is needed, please remove all Asian Carpets from your modern décor, it does NOT go with the theme and creates an eyesore not a complimentary accessory. Lots of light, lots of great pieces can easily be found at any upscale furniture store. If on a budget try City Furniture or something like that.
The bedrooms should be platform or platform like, if going for the contemporary feel. There should be lots of great variation in height in the room and nice art pieces. Never leave a house too bare, it just says you don’t have money. In your dining area, stay away from glass or stainless or metal. A nice Wood table with High Back Chairs and low level lighting (modern) will do the trick. This creates a great feeling without adding the element of “odd” into the room.
For your accessories always try for beautiful color to add to the white, some lovely vases, some lovely floor pieces, some great paintings, will all make this mansion pop. Outside a nicely done patio with a welcoming summer kitchen, heated pool, and lovely loungers just rounds it all out.
Dishes should be of highest quality as should all accessories in a mansion.
Fully Catered Model
A fully catered house means a house that has a staff. One big thing about the Fully Catered house is how you treat the guests. As staff should never be overwhelming or inside every room all the time. They should help with unpacking, gathering groceries, putting groceries away, cooking, and making the house feel like a hotel. Ask the guests how many hours they need them, make a very timed arrangement, as not to disturb the clients while they want their privacy.
As well this should be a house that has an element of luxury, so it will match the mansion model for the most part. So be sure the staff is also able to communicate in their languages, have a concierge to help the client make reservations and be sure to get a grocery list prior to arrival.
There is so much more than meets the eye to buying and renting a vacation home. If you need help, let us know.