Ski Season is right around the corner…

Ski season is right around the corner and rental properties are already being booked for the 2014/2015 ski season.  Make sure your property is in tip top shape to ensure the best revenue.  Check out these great tips…

Be street legal.

First, look in to local laws and HOA restrictions so that you can be sure to conduct business legally. You may find that you need to obtain a license or permit before renting out your home. You may also find that your area specifies a minimum night stay for short term rentals. Additionally, I recommend consulting with a tax professional to make sure you know how to report your income and what you will need to set aside for taxes.

Ensure you’re insured.

Next, make sure that your insurance policy allows renting and will cover damages. You can require renters to purchase $1000, $3000 or $5000 worth of damage protection, for which they only pay a small fee. You may also want to consider additional medical liability insurance to protect yourself in the event that someone gets hurt on your property.

Make your property enticing

When someone is going on vacation, they want to stay in a clean, comfortable place.  I suggest getting a professional deep clean at the beginning of every rental season.  You may also want to look into getting the carpets cleaned and putting a new coat of paint on the walls.  Adding new, more modern furnishings will go a long way to attract potential renters.  Consider updating one piece a year to make the property feel fresh.  This may include your technology, such as replacing an old box television with a new flat screen.  Make sure to remove all clutter and anything breakable, families don’t want to have to worry about their child breaking something.  Also, updating the bedding and towels every year will keep your guests more comfortable.  Don’t forget, the small touches like nice soap or shampoo will make an impact on your guests when they come to stay.

If you market it, they will come.

I suggest hiring a professional photographer to stage and shoot your home. Take new pictures each year after a fresh cleaning to keep your property looking new and inviting.  You should also write a short description of the property including all of the amenities that it offers.  Even though your guests are not buying your home, they often look  for the same upgrades they would when making a purchase so highlight those in your description.  Location, Location, Location – your guests want to be in the best possible place for what they are looking to do so make sure to highlight surrounding attractions. Providing maps and activity guides to all your guests will make their trip easier and stress free.  They will be more likely to come back and stay with you again.

Outsource when necessary

If you do not live close to your rental, you may want to consider hiring a property manager to handle business for you. Property managers can help with marketing, screening tenants, handling contracts and deposits, maintenance, repairs and cleaning. This typically costs 20-40% of what you make from renting, but can be invaluable for far-away owners.  When the management company is in charge of the cleaning, ask to view other units in the rental program before making a decision.  Remember, guests are most impressed by cleanliness so this can be one of the most important things to evaluate.