6 Tips for Converting a Vacation Home Into a Rental

| October 14, 2012

renting a beach houseWhether you need to offset the cost of owning your vacation house, have decided that you don’t use it often enough, or are concerned about it sitting empty, you may decide it’s time to share your home away from home with others and rent out the property. Consider these tips for converting a vacation home into a rental.

Decide on an objective.

Calculate how much net rental income you will earn weekly, monthly or annually. Be sure to include all your expenses, including insurance and upkeep. Then determine how many weeks you want to rent your vacation home and at what times of the year. If you use your cabin in the mountains on New Year’s, decide if this is a holiday you’re willing to give up in order to secure the rental earnings. This all will help you determine the best times to offer the home as a rental.

Check on local laws and with your accountant.

Consult with the city and/or your homeowners association regarding any permits or licenses that you need in order to rent your property. Also talk to your accountant, who will advise you as to how to deal with the tax ramifications of earning rental fees on your property.

Decide on rent by owner or property management.

Whether you rent the property yourself or hire a property management company depends on a variety of factors. If you are into DIY and are available to take a hands-on approach to managing the vacation rental property and screening the renters, then renting the property yourself may work well. It will save you on property management commissions and fees.

If, on the other hand, you are not close to the rental property and have limited time for tasks such as screening renters and fixing leaky pipes (or locating someone to do so), then hiring a property management firm is your best bet.

Remove or store personal items.

You’ll be sharing your vacation residence with what may be strangers, and for your comfort and theirs, it’s important that you don’t leave personal effects in the vacation home. If you wish to store some of your personal items on the rental property, such as a change of clothing and toiletry items and food, it’s best to put these things in a locked closet that can only be accessed by you.

Hire a cleaning service.

Unless you’re going to clean up the vacation rental after each guest checks out, it’s important to hire a cleaning service to do so. Such a service is especially important if you won’t be there in between guests.

Provide rental necessities.

Prior to opening your vacation home to renters, make sure that the property is well-stocked with a variety of necessities such as bathroom towels, tissue and a hair dryer, kitchen items such as pots and pans and tableware, and high-speed Internet access.

Armed with these top tips for converting a vacation home into a rental, you can make money while sharing the charm of your vacation house with others.

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Category: Real Estate, Rental Property -- Homes

About the Author ()

Julie Bawden-Davis is a Southern-California-based writer specializing in home and garden, real estate, small business and personal finance. Since 1985, her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Entrepreneur and The Los Angeles Times. Julie is a University of California Certified Master Gardener and has written five gardening books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening.