Sanibel and Captiva Islands are certainly considered a “vacation marketplace.” It’s common that our island home buyers seek vacation rental income while their property is not in use.
It’s also common for these vacation homeowner’s to make the same mistakes that ultimately hurt their potential rental income. Don’t feel badly, even those who have multiple vacation homes throughout the country are guilty of these common mistakes…
Mistake #1 – Not interviewing multiple vacation rental management companies, even if you are planning to maintain the property yourself.
We always suggest speaking with a handful of vacation rental management companies on island, since each offer different service packages. Spend some time thinking about your rental income goals, and also how you intend to use the property yourself as these will be key factors in which vacation rental management program is right for you
Mistake #2 – Using non-professional photos, whether self-managed or in a vacation rental program.
First impressions of your potential renters are the photos they see online. It’s important to not only have appealing imagery, but accurate photos and descriptions as well. Deceiving a renter will only foster negative experiences upon arrival.
Mistake #3 – Not requiring a signed rental agreement.
Such agreements cover your liabilities, and also includes important information on cancelation policies, security deposits, cleaning fees, etc.
Mistake #4 – Not checking out your competition and differentiating your property.
Not only is this a good practice to determine the nightly/weekly rental price, but also to see what amenities your competition is offering their renters, and the condition of the homes. Maybe you could include free bike rentals, or discounts at local eateries to stand out to potential renters.
Mistake #5 – Not having the proper insurance.
If you list your property with a vacation rental management company, they should help you secure the proper paperwork and coverage. But what if you’re managing your rental on your own through VRBO? Make sure you speak with a local insurance agent who knows the island, and discuss which policy you need.
Mistake #6 – Not having an emergency fund or savings set aside.
Repairs are inevitable in your vacation rental home, just like any other property you own. It’s important to have money set aside for repairs, so that they can happen quickly, with as little “down time” off the market as possible.
Mistake #7 – Not communicating with renters before, during and AFTER their visit.
While some vacation rental companies do a great job with customer service, it’s important that they are not only communicating before and during the visit, but also following up with visitors after their stay. You should be requesting an online review from every vacationer who stays in your home.