Vacation Homes - Condos Singer Island Florida
Investing in Vacation Rental Property
As printed in EscapeHomes.com by Laura Duggan
Investors who buy a vacation home with the clear intention to rent it out profit from knowing in advance what potential renters look for in a vacation rental property. One website recently described the items that they feel renters are looking for. As a variation on their list, here's the top 10 things for the second home buyer to do in order to create a good vacation rental property.
-- Buy Property in the Right Location
People who rent homes for their vacation have clear demands about the geographic location. One, it must be beautiful and relaxing. Two, it needs to be safe...from man-made or natural disasters. Trying to create an attractive rental from the property you buy that is sitting on an eroding cliff overlooking the ocean, just won't fly, no matter how beautiful the view. Ditto if the potential for flooding from high tides or rivers is present. One block off the beach would rent far better than on the beach if the area is known for beach erosion. Three, the location needs to be popular, but not THAT popular. Most people don't want to be inundated with other vacationers if they can help it. Last, the location needs to be easily accessible. Most people are put off by a long plane flight, followed by hours of driving in the jungle to find that perfect spot. Generally, four hours is the max people want to travel for vacations.
-- Think about Getting/Creating a Family Friendly House
A fairly large rental market exists for people wanting to create family vacations. This means first the potential property is furnished to accommodate children ( ie, not lots of breakable knick-nacks, buts of recreational items in the house). More than that is to buy property in a community that caters to families, meaning there are swimming pools with lifeguards, (even at ocean sites, the ocean is often too rough for little ones), playgrounds and an abundant supply of babysitters. Be sure that the property doesn't have restrictions, such as the ones in retirement communities that don't allow little ones. Also, if you are looking to rent to couples/singles rather than families, be sure to emphasize the quiet, seclusion and romantic aspects of the location itself, and the property. This means the property is NOT located adjacent to the sandbox and playground.
-- Make the Rent Affordable.
Vacations homes are always a win-win for people who are looking for comfort at a good price. No hotel competes, since no hotel offers living rooms, kitchens, views, etc, at the same price that a rental home will offer. You don't have to tip the support staff, you don't have to eat out all the time, you can rent videos to play in the room at the nearby video place instead of paying the hotel fees, the phone usage is free (most hotels charge by the call even if it is local). If you want to cater to budget-minded people, buy the property that is one block off the beach, as the price can't be beat compared to the ones right on it.
-- Make the Property Feel Like Home.
One reason vacationers love to rental homes rather than stay in hotels is because it feels like home. That means, they get to cook in fully and well-equipped kitchens; lounge in comfortable furnishings; all their play equipment is supplied (skis, surfboards, golf clubs). It is so important to furnish the rental house well, so that people come in and feel like staying there. And, they don't have to worry about the clutter...there is no clutter in someone else's home! Another thing people like is the fact that there are enough rooms for everyone to do their own thing...a family room with the tv, a room for the readers in the family, the outside area for the kids. Spacious is the key.
-- Pick a Property That Feels Spacious
In addition to the geographic location, it is also important that the home feel spacious in comparison to the neighborhood it is in. People love to step out on a deck and not see anyone or anything except a great view. Places that have a "big sky" view are particularly great. Even if the only view is the vast sky, the feeling people get is expansion and relaxation. So a house could be right next door, but if you don't see it from the house, it's fine.
-- Buy a Property that Works for Groups
Vacation homes are a great option for family reunions, wedding parties, and family vacations. If you are buying a property to host groups, the house needs to have lots of bedrooms and bathrooms. A nice option is to own a few closely connected condos where individual households can stay. Groups also usually need a gathering place of some sort, like a reception room or clubhouse that can be reserved for a function.
-- Buy the Best
Many people choose vacation rental homes as a way of living, for a short time, in a place that is above their normal standard of living. This can mean a chalet, old castle, or very upscale house with a view. It doesn't necessarily have to be furnished as a real 'don't touch' place, but the house itself would have everything first class...kitchen, fireplace, balconies, the tile in the bathroom and other floors, the carpeting.
-- Set up Internet Access on the Property
More and more people do want to be able to access the Internet even when on vacation. The easiest way to do this is to provide WIFI, or a wireless connection, via a cable or DSL connection. The actual router can be locked in a closet, and it should be password protected. The people would arrive and get the password on their welcome sheet. Also, disclaimers for any type of support should be given. It either works for them or doesn't and no refunds if it doesn't.
-- Find Something With Lots of Recreation Options
Almost all vacation renters are looking for the recreation they love the most. You can either own property in a specific type of recreational area, such as a ski property; or find property where things are accessible, such as beach activities, golf, and perhaps even skiing an hour away. The main thing is to buy something that has well-defined recreation, and then advertise it. It is also a boon to include perks with the rental... lift-tickets (or discounts); golf fees (or discounts); tennis rackets, snorkel equipment, etc.
-- Consider Making the Property Pet-friendly
There is definitely a niche market for vacation rentals that allow pets. It is important that part of the rental include a substantial cleaning allowance. That aside, the ability to have people bring their dog or cat is something that most hotels can't compete with. This means looking at property that is pet-friendly, ie, on a ground floor, not on a busy street, and perhaps with a good fenced yard. If you are planning on buying a pet-friendly property, it is a good idea to have wood floors rather than carpeting.
Laura Duggan is managing editor of EscapeHomes.com, and a free-lance writer and writing coach. Her other writing can be found at http://www.inquiringlife.com