8 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation Rental Income

Buying vacation property on Sanibel Island is a significant investment, and many of our clients are looking to recoup costs by renting their home or condo.

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Your rental rate will be based on the condo complex or neighborhood, and the time of year it is. You may notice, however, that similar homes and condos often have significantly different rental income than yours. To help maximize your income, we’ve listed a few actions you can implant immediately:

1. Advertise the property yourself.  Don’t rely solely on your rental management company. Promote your property on sites like VRBO.com, HomeAway.com, FlipKey.com and a number of other sites that can showcase your property nationally and internationally. Consider building your own website (a must if you don’t use a management company). And don’t forget the power of “Word of Mouth.” Tell your friends, and share your property on social media to attract the most attention from your own sphere of influence.

2. Renovate to “Near-Luxury status.  Guests want a relaxing “resort” experience, and condos upgraded to this level see up to 40% greater revenue than non-renovated units. Renovated kitchens with granite counters and flat-panel TV’s are on the top of renters’ lists, and offer significant return on investment.

3. Professionally decorate with an island style The furnishing should make visitors feel like they are on vacation, but don’t use wild colors or tacky beach decor. Be distinctive without being too cliche. Use a unified color and theme throughout, and consider a professional opinion to help set the ambiance and insure you make the most of your budget.

4. Get professional photos.  Photos make the first impression for those searching online. Great photos will make a huge difference in the number of bookings you receive. No one will read about or consider your property unless they like what they see initially.

5. Write interesting copy.  Don’t just recite facts about your home’s size and location. Be colorful in your descriptions. Accentuate what really makes your home special and why it makes the perfect rental. Is it a small complex offering solitude on a lonely stretch of beach? Or is it in a large complex with all the amenities, kid’s programs and close to restaurants?

6. Keep a well equipped kitchen.  More vacationers are eating in these days and they appreciate a kitchen that has the necessary utensils, pots, pans and bakeware to prepare meals and desserts.

7. Get repeat business.  Focus on customer satisfaction. You want your customers to feel at home and connect with your property. Follow up with them and thank them for their stay. Send them postcards reminding them of your property for next year’s vacation. Well-run properties have bookings that are 70% returning guests.

8. Occupy your property in the off-season.  The winter months, (November – April) is “in-season” on Sanibel Island. Rental rates are significantly higher and desirable properties are fully booked. But don’t forget about the importance of obtaining “off-season” rentals. This serves as a huge chunk of potential income.

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Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.