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Successful Vacation Rental Tips

There are many inexpensive ways to improve the success of your vacation rental.  Vacation guests appreciate an owner that takes their comfort seriously.  Here are some of the ways we have found to make your vacation home a successful rental. 

Decorating Tips Family Friendly
Knife Sharpeners Vacation Rental Insurance
Patio Furniture Tax Implications
Air Conditioning Housekeeping Tips
Hot Tub Covers Dog Friendly
Quality Mattresses Maintenance Tips
Home Decor & Furniture Bikes
Marketing Tips  

Decorating Tips

Artwork

Adding artwork can be an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up a room and really make the whole property feel warm and welcoming. Prints of nature, skiing and wildlife are popular in Sunriver and can cost anywhere from $10 on up. Let us know if you'd like help purchasing art for your property.  Amazon is having some great deals on paintings if you are looking to update the art in your home!

Bedding

The color of your bed's comforters can mean the difference between renting and not renting your vacation rental.  Certainly comfort and durably are important, but for marketing, the color of your comforters and how they appear in the marketing photos for your property can make a HUGE difference.  Consider upgrading your comforters every two years to give your property a fresh, attractive look.  Many stores such as Ross, TJ Maxx, and Bed Bath & Beyond offer designer comforters for a fraction of the cost.  Let us know when you do and we will take new marketing photos. Save money in dry cleaning costs by making sure that all of your bedding can be machine washed in your property's washer and dryer.

Games & Puzzles

There is nothing that says Sunriver more then a family enjoying a puzzle or board game together. Every time you visit your home bring a new game or puzzle for families to enjoy. Make sure to throw out old games and puzzles that are likely missing pieces.

Wall Paint

A nice coat of paint makes a huge impact on the overall appeal of a vacation rental. It's so easy for little scuffs from suitcases being carried up and down the stairs to start causing walls to look dull or dirty. We recommend all of our homeowners keep extra, good quality paint in their owner storage so we can do light touch-ups when needed.  We also recommend that you consider adding warm colored accent walls throughout your home.

Knife Sharpeners

A frustration for many guests is finding dull knives in their vacation rental. Providing a knife sharpener will help make sure your guests have sharp knives when they need them. Hand held knife sharpeners such as this one from Amazon.com are an inexpensive way to enhance the guest experience at your home. NOTE: Knife sharpeners generally only work on straight edge knives (non-serrated).  We recommend one like this from Amazon for under $14.

Patio Furniture

Nice patio furniture is a summer must-have and something guests specifically look for when booking their summer vacation homes. We recommend choosing a durable stain resistant material like a powder coated metal or a tough wicker. You can find great deals on sites such as Overstock.com, Wayfair.com and Lowes.com.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is becoming more and more important to secure summer reservations.  Our summers tend to stay hotter for longer than they used to, making it uncomfortable for guests staying during those hot weeks.  Most of the year our cool nights make cooling off your home no problem, but guests booking for the summer don't know whether they will be in Sunriver during a time where it won't be so easy to cool off (some years it is in July, other in August).  Last year it started in June.

Air conditioning can run you between $3000 and $4000 depending on the size of your home (and location of your furnace).  If you are interested in installing air conditioning, ask us about our Property Upgrade Assistance Program.  Contact Robert Bennington with questions.

Hot Tub Covers

The lifespan of a hot tub cover ranges from 2 – 5 years in most cases. It is very important to replace covers when needed to keep the use of your hot tub safe for guests. 

Quality Mattresses

Getting a good nights sleep is a top priority for many guests on vacation. To ensure your vacation rental is providing this luxury for guests we recommend sleeping on every bed in your property to test out the mattresses. The average lifespan of a mattress in a vacation rental is about 7 to 10 years. If the budget doesn't allow replacement or the mattress still has another season left but is starting to show it's age, we recommend providing foam mattress toppers to create a great sleep experience that guests will remember!

Home Decor and Furniture

Some of our favorite online sites for Home Décor & Furniture:

http://www.homedecorators.com/index.php
https://www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/
https://emfurn.com
http://www1.macys.com/shop/furniture?id=29391
https://www.jossandmain.com/

Marketing Tips

In Sunriver there are only three websites worth your effort to make sure your homes is being marketed on. Google is still number one with the vast majority of customers still looking for lodging directly through a search quiry on google. Type your property's address into google to make sure it is at the top of the list. A distant second is VRBO.com. And a growing, but still small 3rd is Airbnb.com.

Family Friendly

Family travel is at the core of what makes Sunriver .... well, Sunriver. The goal of all marketing is to ultimately attract more customers by giving them a reason to choose you over your competition. Here are some statistics to consider about families traveling with children.

88% of parents said that their main fear of traveling with kids is safety.
8 out of 10 parents said that their main vacation rental problem is a lack of gear for their kids (baby gear, toys, games, etc).
44% of parents find that the most stressful travel factor is finding family friendly accommodations.

When parents were asked what would help them relax on vacation, they answered.
► Safe environment for their children.
► Activities and ideas for families
► Gear for their kids

Vacation Rental Insurance

In our overly litigious society it is critical that you are adequately protected against liability claims. By offering your property for rent to the public, you are running a business and are accepting all of the risks associated with that business. Before you rent your property and each time you visit your property there after, make sure you do a thorough walk-thru and remedy any potential hazards. Our rule of thumb is if you think it may be a hazard; fix-it immediately. Here are some important things to think about when insuring your vacation rental.

Tax Implications for Vacation Rentals

A vacation home would be considered a full-time vacation rental if you rent out the property and you spend less than 14 days in the home annually, or your time in the home accounts for less than 10% of the total time the property is occupied in a given year. In the case of a full-time vacation rental, you face the same tax implications that you would face with any other type of investment property. Many of the expenses associated with home are deductible, including repairs, maintenance costs, marketing fees, property management fees, and interest on a home loan.

A hybrid rental is one in which you stay more than two weeks per year and also rent it out for more than two weeks per year. With a hybrid rental, you must keep detailed records to determine what percentage of the time you spend in the vacation home versus how much time renters spend in the property. Let's say that you spent 30 days in your vacation home last year. Renters spent a total of 110 days in your rental. So in all, your family accounts for 21% of the occupancy, while renters account for 79% of the vacation home's occupancy. Next, you total up all of the deductible property expenses. Then, you subtract 21% from the final figure (this corresponds to the 21% of the time that you spent in the vacation home). In all, 79% of the eligible expenses would be deductible from the taxable rental fees collected. It's NOT possible to claim rental-related losses in this scenario, but it would be theoretically possible to deduct away all of your rental income.

** We are not tax experts and we recommend you seek advise about your specific tax situation with a qualified accounting professional. **

Housekeeping Tips

Making sure you have extraordinary housekeeping of course depends alot on your housekeeper. But there are many things that homeowners can do to give your housekeepers the best possible opportunity at success.

► Make sure all your bedding is machine washable
► Reduce or eliminate all decor in bathrooms and kitchens other than framed artwork hanging on the wall. Reminder, every item in your house is another surface your housekeeper needs to clean. Bathrooms and kitchen create a lot of dust and gunk.
► Keep your counter tops free from decor, with the exception of one or two items.
► Eliminate all bathroom rugs, tooth brush holders, soap holders, or other items you don't find in hotels. There is a reason hotels don't have these items.
► Cover all your mattresses with waterproof mattress encasements (Here are the ones we recommend from Amazon)
► Carpet is a vacation rental's worst friend. Eliminate all carpet in high traffic areas, such as kitchens, living rooms, hallways and stairs.
► Use extra large comforters that hang over your mattress and box spring instead of bed skirts. If you want to cover your box spring, use a fitted sheet or mattress encasement.
► Kitchen Supplies. On each trip to your home, stock it with tin foil, saran wrap, coffee filters, zip lock bags, salt & pepper, and other non perishable kitchen goods for your guests. These little touches will help make guests want to come back to your home again and again.
► No shoes please.  Reduce stains on carpet by encouraging guests not to walk on floors in their shoes. Placing shoe baskets, with a kind sign by the doors will cut down on the overall items trekked in by guests.

Dog Friendly

Allowing dogs in your home can be the difference between booking your home and not booking your home. Dog friendly homes in Sunriver always book up first. On average a homeowner can expect up to 30% more booked nights by being dog friendly. Charge a nightly pet fee to help cover any damage or extra cleaning required.

Maintenance Tips

Skimping money on maintenance may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can actually cost you more money by losing or reimbursing guests. Investing in your property now will pay off in the long run with happier guests and less issues. Here are some common areas to consider investing in.

► Installing hard flooring in high traffic areas, such as kitchens, living rooms, hallways and stairs.
► Roof inspections and proper sealing to prevent leaks from ice damns during the winter
► Replace your appliances when they are past their average life expectancy and before they die.

Dishwasher: 9 years
Microwave Oven: 9 years
Range, Electric: 13 years
Range, Gas: 15 years
Refrigerator: 13 years
Dryers: 13 years
Washers: 12 years

► Pay for a full house inspections every few years instead of waiting till just before you sell. This is a great way to catch any developing issues before they cost you even more money.
► Spend a day with your tool belt going through every detail of your house, fixing everything you find and noting anything you can't fix.
► Locate and note where all of the following are located on your property: Boundry line, Main water shut off, Circuit Boards, Sewer Flush Out, Furnace, Crawl Space access,
► Review the SROA Rules and Regulations. Removing just one wrong tree can cost you as much as $2500.

Bikes

The number one activity in Sunriver is biking. In all surveys guests report biking more often than any other activity as a key activity they enjoy while staying in Sunriver. Kids bikes come in so many different sizes, that they are not as important to provide as adult bikes. Parents recognize their need to bring their kids bike from home. But lugging along adults bikes for the whole family is often not an option. Make sure you have at least half the number adult bikes at your house as your home sleeps. For example, if your home sleeps 8, you should have a minimum of 4 adult bikes. The more the better. Stay away from buying bikes at the big box stores. The price might be right, but the cost in repairs will far exceed any savings. A high quality, single speed bike is all you need. These in general cost upwards of $250+ but you will save big on annual repair costs. To really wow your guests, buy high quality multi-speed bikes from a local bike dealer (not a big box store). Your repair costs will likely be more but your guests will really appreciate having the extra speeds for some of the Sunriver hills.

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