Author: Vanessa de Souza Lage | 27 Apr 2012
If you own a vacation home, it makes great economic sense to rent it out for those periods of time when you are not using the property. However, the management of a rental property can be time consuming, and you may prefer to let an experienced vacation rental agency handle the marketing of your property and the bookings for it. If you do not reside at the location of the property, you may also want to find an agency that can attend to maintenance, yard work and cleaning for you. These agencies are not all equal, and it is important to find one that offers a cost-effective and reliable service for both you and potential renters. Use these five tips, when searching for an agency to represent your property:
1. Find an established company that has an office at your property’s location and that represents similar types of properties to yours. Potential renters will feel more confident if they know there is a local office that they can call upon, if they encounter any issues. They do not want to find that they must call an office that could be in another time zone and cannot respond immediately to their requests. Visit a selection of property rental agencies and see how helpful and efficient they are, and how professional the office looks. If staff are unhelpful to you, they are not likely to be any more helpful to potential renters. Check the local chamber of commerce or better business bureau to find out which agencies they recommend and which they have received complaints about. If you are renting out a property at a resort complex, ask other property owners for their recommendations. The complex may even offer an in-house property rental service.
2. Before entering into a contract with a specific agency, get quotations for like services from at least three. Examine the contract carefully and ensure that it covers all the aspects you have discussed with the agency’s representatives, these may include:
- Any guarantees that have been made that the agency will book your rental for a minimum period of weeks during the contracted period.
- Agency fees.
- Payment schedule and method of payment.
- Ancillary services such as property and pool cleaning and maintenance and yard work, and the fees for these.
- Marketing strategies.
3. Ascertain how the agency will market your property. These days, the majority of vacation bookings are made online. Check the agency’s Internet presence and how easy its website is to navigate. Chances are, if you are not attracted by the website and its contents, potential renters will not be either. An agency may also advertise itself and its properties in appropriate publications dependent upon the resort, such as golf, sailing and travel magazines. be sure you understand how the agency intends to advertise your property and any additional costs you will incur for marketing. As with staging a property for real estate sale, you’ll want to make sure that your rental property is in good condition and welcoming to guests and that photos of it are appealing.
4. Ensure that your property is priced competitively with other similar properties in the location. It is important that the agency has a good knowledge of the local area and the local vacation rental market. Do some research yourself and see if the rent the agency plans to charge, is truly realistic for the current market.
5. Particularly, if you are considering long-term tenants (anything longer than two weeks) in your vacation property, it is important to know how the agency will vet prospective renters and ensure their trustworthiness and ability to pay the rent. It is also important to know how they will deal with problem renters. Remember, if the property is outside of the US, other countries do not have such stringent eviction and rental property laws. Investigate property ownership and rental laws for the country the property is located in, so that you are fully aware of your rights as a property owner and landlord.