Buying a home to rent out as a vacation rental is an exciting and potentially very profitable investment. There is something special about joining the hospitality industry, even as a one-booking inkeep. It's fun to prepare the hand towels and little soaps that make an Airbnb or VRBO into a hotel-rivaling experience. But managing vacation rental isn't just about hospitality. You still need to handle maintenance for the house as a normal structure with a roof and gutters and an HVAC of unknown age.
So how do you maintain a vacation rental home in the face of both guests and normal wear-and-tear? Let's dive into the top industry tips for vacation rental maintenance strategy.
Block Your Home Maintenance Schedule from Guest Booking
Build yourself a maintenance schedule and then block it out for booking. You can often pre-schedule things like HVAC tuneups and gutter cleanings several months in the future. So you can plan the weekdays (always weekdays!) that these services will happen and make sure that no guest early-books those dates by blocking them out.
Lock All Non-Guest Areas and Storage
Want to avoid damage to non-guest items and areas? Lock them away from guest access. Guests are, understandably, curious when they visit a new vacation rental and often explore the entire space. Lock any storage that contains venue supplies and lock any area that hasn't been prepared for guest comfort. You may also want to lock things like the breaker box and pool heating controls for guest safety.
Find an Ace Cleaning and Inspection Team
Your cleaning team needs to be your first line of maintenance defense. They may be the only ones who see the property between one guest and the next. Find a reliable cleaning team who do spotless work and can handle inspections as well. Your team needs to know how to report and remove broken items and quickly call a handyperson for things like broken faucet handles or detached light fixtures. Some guests get rowdy when there's another booking on the way.
Store Spare Batteries and Supplies On the Property
Keep your supplies on-site in a locked closet. Spare batteries for the remotes, replacement rolls of toilet paper, baskets of individual soaps: these are all things you want readily available when restocking between guests. Maintenance supplies should also be on-hand, from cleaning fluids and sponges to wrenches and plungers. In fact, leave the plunger by the toilet. Most guests prefer to handle simple clogs on their own.
Perform a Full Inspection Weekly and Monthly
While there may be a rapid turnover between guests, make sure to do a full maintenance inspection once a week or once a month - depending on the level of use your rental receives. Ensure that no maintenance issues are being overlooked from guest to guest and that no maintenance issues have been hidden behind or under something by a guest.
Perform Safety Audits
By renting your property as a hospitality venue, you are subject to public venue safety requirements. Make sure that the home, fixtures, and furniture are all safe for normal use and some level of rough-housing, or bracing from a fall. Check the handrails on your deck, balcony, or stairs. Make sure there are no loose floorboards and put rugs down where wet floors can be predicted.
Check all your door handles, locks, and drawer pulls. Check your shower curtains, light fixture security, and window latches. Make sure your guests will be safe.
Remove or Replace All Broken Items
If something is broken by a guest (or otherwise), immediately remove it from the property or lock it away in storage. Do not expose guests to broken items and handle any item maintenance between registered guests.
Rearrange the Furniture Twice a Year
Finally, experienced vacation rental investors know to rearrange the furniture every few months. Guests hide things and lose things in strange places. The arrangement of the furniture often creates these hiding places and causes us not to realize that there are unseen spaces in the room. Rearranging the furniture can help you shake out or reveal many lost, hidden, and even illegal items that have been left in the vacation house. If you are considering investing in a vacation rental, the first step is to secure a loan and purchase the property soon to be your charming hospitality venue. Contact us today to speak with a loan officer and prepare your next real estate investment.