Winterize your Vacation Home in the Off Season

Written by: jess

Winter has arrived, the leaves have fallen, scarves are wrapped tight and the kids are cuddled up under blankets with mugs of piping hot cocoa. But, as a vacation rental owner, there’s still work to be done! Even if you’re not renting during the off-season, you’ll still want to make sure that your home is secure until next year. We’ve put together a check-list to ensure your home will hibernate safely during the winter months.

• Alert the post office that you will be gone so that your mail can be forwarded.
• Hire someone to check on the home every few days or every week to make sure there are no incidents.
• Make sure your alarm system is working properly.
• Hire a snow plow service to shovel after snow falls as snowy sidewalks are a giveaway that no one is home to burglars.
• Make sure you have a few exterior and interior lights on timers so it looks like someone is home at night.

Keeping Your Home safe in the Cold:
• Clean out gutters and install leaf blockers over gutters- this will help keep water away from your home.
• Prune any overhanging limbs that could cause damage during a storm.
• Remove screens and put up storm windows.
• Close swimming pool and store lawn furniture as well as the grill.
• Keep your thermostat at a cool 55 F, cool enough to not waste heat but warm enough so that pipes will not freeze and burst (!!)
• Prep your pipes by putting antifreeze down drains and toilets, wrapping pipes and leave water dripping ever so slightly out of a few faucets (make sure the drains are open!) to keep water flowing and prevent frozen pipes.
• Caulk holes around windows and weather strip around frames to make sure that no drafts get through.

One thing to consider before you go through the measures of winterizing is to try and find a long-term renter for the off-months, however long that may be. This way, you can still make some easy money on your second home while someone else can have the pleasure of enjoying it! If this is not a possibility, it’s never too early to start finding guests for the next season, so start advertising and putting the word out there about your vacation home.
But whatever you decide to do, make sure that your home is ready for the chill!

Posted in Rental Management, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , ,

Tips for Accommodating Holiday Travelers

The holidays are a busy time for travelers and property owners alike. Prepare for the holiday season by considering these tips so that you can impress your guests while taking advantage of your own holiday plans!

Fall Seasonal Touches

Be Festive!

Get in the spirit and share those holiday comforts that you enjoy in your own home with your guests! A simple wreath on the door, gourd centerpiece on the dining table, or autumn scented candle in the living room is an inexpensive way of showing your attention to detail and can get your guests in the mood for the season. When decorating your property look for simple autumn or winter themed decorations. Take this opportunity to have fun and get creative with your surroundings! If your property is in a region with particular fall or winter foliage, incorporate it in the home to give your renters a closer connection with the new surroundings. If you use physical keys for your property, consider sending them in a holiday wrapped box to get renters extra excited about renting with you.

Add a Personal Touch

In the vacation rental world, personalization is key to set yourself apart from the competition. Offering rental deals during the holidays is a great way to draw attention to your property. Consider including a gift card to a local restaurant or shop with your guest’s holiday reservation and present it as a gift upon their arrival. In light of the gift-giving season, having something tangible to give to travelers can be more special than simply offering a seasonal discount. If a gift for each booking is out of your budget, something as small as a signed holiday card can be a great way to welcome guests to your home.

Be Well Informed

Although not always the case, chances are that you know more about your rental area than the traveler that has rented your property, so use this knowledge to better include them in your greater community. No matter how large or small your town may be, it is almost guaranteed that it will host some combination of holiday events that are open to the public such as light shows, concerts, festivals, and specialty theater or sporting events. Use this special season to your advantage and learn everything you can about what your surroundings have to offer at this time. Leave a brochure or a simple collection of community event information in your home for guests to use as a reference. If you feel comfortable, consider asking your travelers what their favorite fall and winter activities are so that you may focus your research in one direction.

Plan Ahead

In order to ensure that your own holiday plans will be stress free, be extra careful about updating your calendar and property functions for your in-coming holiday guests. The better prepared you are for the needs of your renters, the less they will need your assistance while you’re celebrating with your own friends and family. Go the extra mile and try to anticipate the needs of a holiday traveler. If you don’t already, consider leaving a guide in your home that includes the locations of shops for great last minute gifts, stores with gift-wrapping services, or restaurants that are guaranteed to be open during the holiday period while most are closed.

Avoid unnecessary stressors by incorporating these tips prior to your guests’ stay this holiday season. You’ll thank yourself for the preparations made and your guests will take delight in the outcome they produce. Happy bookings!