On How Many Vacation Rentals Sites Should You List Your Vacation Home?

On How Many Vacation Rentals Sites Should You List Your Vacation Home?

There are literally hundreds of vacation rental sites that you can use to advertise your vacation rental property, varying from very well established to brand new sites. With so many choices available, where should you seek to list your property? Should you stick with one or two of the established sites or should you hedge your bets and list on several different sites?

We recently completed research among vacation rental owners into the number of sites on which they advertise their property. The results were quite interesting.

How Many Paid Vacation Rental Sites ?

It’s clear that most vacation home owners rely heavily on vacation rental listing sites to generate bookings. Approximately half of the owners surveyed said they get more than 75% of their vacation rental bookings using paid listing sites. Hence, it is not surprising that most vacation rental owners choose to advertise on more than one paid listing site. Our research indicates usage of “paid” vacation rentals sites as follows :

4% of Owners don’t use any “paid” sites

8% of Owners use 1 “paid” site

23% of Owners use 2 “paid” sites

27% of Owners use 3 “paid” sites

14% of Owners use 4 “paid” sites

14% of Owners use 5 “paid” sites

11% of Owners use more than 5 “paid” sites

For most vacation rental owners, listing on 3 sites is probably about right. This allows you to market to different types of renters, as well as hedging your bets against the inevitable peaks and valleys that many vacation rental sites go through. Depending on your budget, you may want to consider slightly more or less, but with 65% of vacation property owners listing on 3 or more sites, it’s clear that multiple listings are the way to go!

For a comparison of many of the leading paid sites, visit http://www.compareownerholidayrentals.com)

Should You Also Use Free Sites?

In addition to listings on paid sites, most owners surveyed also list on “free” vacation rental sites. These vary from permanently free sites (usually with an option to upgrade to a “paid” ad with more features), to sites that offer free trial periods followed by a paid subscription. However, there is a much wider variance in the degree to which owners use these sites. Our research indicates usage of “free” vacation rentals sites as follows :

14% of Owners don’t use any “free” sites

12% of Owners use 1 “free” site

10% of Owners use 2 “free” sites

18% of Owners use 3 “free” sites

6% of Owners use 4 “free” sites

4% of Owners use 5 “free” sites

36% of Owners use more than 5 “free” sites

Some owners are skeptical of the value of placing listings on free sites and several commented that they are simply not worth the hassle. However, 86% of owners list on at least one free site and 36% on more than five! Hence, it is probably worth listing on at least some of these sites as well. In particular, it’s worth using the “free trials” to see if the site generates sufficient enquiries to consider later converting to a paid listing. However, the results are more likely to be erratic than the paid vacation rentals sites and you should be prepared for the fact that the number of enquiries is likely to a lot lower than on the paid sites.

Conclusions

If you are a vacation rental owner using the internet to generate rental bookings, then you should list on as least three and possibly more paid vacation rental sites. In addition, you should also list on a number of free vacation rental sites to maximize your bookings.

Kevin Graham is the founder of Compare Owner Holiday Rentals (COHR). COHR provides a guide to choosing the best vacation rental sites on the internet, including reviews of the leading vacation rentals sites and comments from vacation home owners. For further details, please visit http://www.compareownerholidayrentals.com.

You can also find Kevin’s Vacation Rental Forum blog at http://vacation-rental-forum.blogspot.com/

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What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? That’s what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next “home away from home” vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation might just be the thing you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You’ll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren’t just rental homes, but also function as the owner’s own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges. However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there’s always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you’ll only know what you’re getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things aren’t the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn’t usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it’s rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the “go-between” or the “classified” section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you’re not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you’ll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access… etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental. Ask about any “extra” fees, or if the house is “all-inclusive”. Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Barbara Pfieffer lives in Oregon and loves it. She shares her information about things to do on an Oregon vacation. Visit her website, Vacation-In-Oregon.com [http://www.vacation-in-oregon.com/] for more information.

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How to Turn Your House Into a Vacation Rental

How to Turn Your House Into a Vacation Rental

Turning your house into a vacation rental can seem overwhelming at first… but it really doesn’t have to be. This is a process that you can really enjoy and have fun with! I have set up houses as vacation rentals dozens and dozens of times, for my client’s properties, as well as my own houses. I understand what is involved and required from every aspect, from assuring the property is in compliance with governmental agency rules and regulations, to making sure it has all the essentials that most guests require. In my commitment to assuring that my clients are continually successful with their vacation rental houses, I often find myself in the role of ‘vacation rental counselor,’ mostly pertaining to governmental agency and code compliance, quality assurance, and ongoing property maintenance required to meet the current industry standard.

So, with that in mind, it’s important to begin with the basics when you decide to offer your house as a vacation accommodation to travelers. In this article I will provide you with the 5 most important steps to follow to assure your vacation rental success. As you read through this, I advise you to consider the fact that your house is in a unique town or city, that this article is a general guide, and that it is critical for you to become aware of your local community sentiment, and rules and regulations about short-term rentals. Always remember, your house is a private property, it is are not a hotel, and preparing your house and managing it as a vacation rental accommodation for tourists must be carefully and thoughtfully done.

1 – LAWS, ORDINANCES, RULES, AND REGULATIONS

The very first thing you need to do is to educate yourself about your local city, county, and state laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations pertaining to offering your house as a vacation rental in your unique community neighborhood. Please don’t just assume that because it’s your property, you can do whatever you want with it. And, please don’t put a lot of effort and expense in setting up your house as a rental for tourists until you rule out the possibility that there are laws preventing you from doing so. Many local and state government agencies have clear regulations stating that setting up your house to rent as a vacation rental turns it into a business, and it will probably be subject to some level of city, county, and / or state licensing. Many governing agencies also require that to legally rent your house as a short-term rental, you must collect local and state tax from tourists who rent your property.

A quick search in the vacation rental news reveals, that as short-term rentals become more and more popular, many communities have licensing restrictions and very specific rules and regulations regarding renting houses short term to tourists. Call your local town or city governmental offices and get to the appropriate licensing department that can answer your specific questions. Find out what specific licenses and / tax numbers you need to legally rent your house, and get them. I highly recommend that you seek the assistance of an established licensed local rental agency that can properly assist you understanding and complying with licensing and tax requirements required in your community.

2 – YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND YOUR NEIGHBORS

Now that you’ve determined that it is legal for you to rent your house as a vacation rental, and you’ve obtained the proper licenses and tax numbers, it’s time to think about the neighborhood where your rental house is located. This might seem silly, and many people gloss over this important step, but believe me you can save massive headaches and fights with neighbors by dealing with this issue pro-actively. Nearly every news article you read on communities that are resisting or trying to restrict vacation rentals point to the same neighbor issues: noisy tourists staging loud parties, tourists taking parking spaces from local residents, and tourists being careless with their garbage.

In all the years I’ve been in the vacation rental business I’ve seen several neighbor-to- neighbor squabbles that have involved code enforcement, the police, and even expensive law suits. Most of these issues could have been avoided with plain common sense and consideration. Find out who your neighbors are, and do your best to communicate with them and determine if they will resist you renting your house to tourists.

Once you begin renting your house to vacationers, you need to commit to being selective about who you rent your house to. It is important to talk with them and determine if they will be a ‘good fit’ for your neighborhood. Ask them directly what they plan to do while they are renting your house for their vacation. For example, if you discover a potential guest is planning to rent your house to accommodate a wedding party or a birthday party, think about the impact on your neighbors and if they will be okay with this. Some properties I manage are in neighborhoods that will only tolerate very quiet couples, others are set up to accept larger groups and the neighbors are clear on this and understand the rules. Know your neighborhood, and set up your own ‘House Rules’ that your tourist tenants must agree to comply with.

The biggest complaint that most neighbors have who live next to vacation houses is noise. Some neighbors are more ‘noise sensitive’ than others, and you need to know if your neighbor is going to call the police every time a group of vacationers sit around the swimming pool and listen to music. Give neighbors who live next to your rental your phone number, and ask them to call you directly if there is a noise problem. And when there is a problem, call the guests and ask them to quiet down. Since you are renting your house to tourists, it is your responsibility to make sure the guests you bring into your rental house are respectful of the local neighborhood.

3 – FURNISHING YOUR HOUSE AS A VACATION RENTAL

Furnishing your house can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Below is a very detailed list of basic home furnishing items you will need to provide. This includes suggestions for bed configurations, kitchen essentials, soft goods, and household items. Your guests will be looking for the basic comforts most of us look for in our daily living.

Enjoy setting up your house for tourists – and strive to strike a balance between nice and economy. If you are striving to attract a ‘higher end’ clientele add some nice touches and things that you would appreciate if you were ‘a guest in your own house.’ You don’t need to purchase all new items, but please doesn’t use junk or your house will start to look like an unappealing garage sale. Add some interesting art work, wall mirrors, artificial plants, and some nice nick-nacks – just take care not to overdo it or it can start to look cluttered. Some personal pictures (a shot with your friends or family members) are nice to place on shelves… it reminds guests that they are in some one’s house, and not a hotel.

Suggested Bed Size Lay Out

Your vacation rental property needs to be practical and ‘user friendly’ as well as beautiful to look at. I have found the following general layout to meet the demands of most guests. As a general rule, avoid putting too many extra beds in a bedroom, you do not want to give the message of ‘the more the merrier.’ If your property has an office or den, it is a nice feature to add a desk or set up an office.

Try to make the ‘nicest’ bedroom the master bedroom. The nicest bedroom is usually determined by the view and features – such as en-suite bathroom, private deck, French doors that lead to the swimming pool or porch, or it can just be the largest bedroom if the property offers no other unique features. If your property has more than one bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and/or view than you are lucky to have a property that can be marketed with more than one master bedroom or suite… and that is a fantastic feature. That way, couples traveling together don’t have to ‘flip for’ the best bedroom!

About bed sizes: The layout below is suggested after nearly 2 decades of being in this business and listening to what guests require. Today, it seems like most people sleep in king size beds at home, and many couples who stay in vacation rentals insist on a king bed. For some couples, not having a king bed option can be a ‘deal breaker’ since they are convinced they won’t be able to sleep in a smaller bed with their partner. So that being said, here are the basic suggested guidelines…

  • Two Bedroom House

Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed. If room is too small use a Queen.

Bedroom 2:- 2nd bedroom – Queen or 2 twins. (I find that 2 twins are a better option as they can be pushed together to make a King.)

  • Three Bedroom House

Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed. If the room is too small use a Queen.

Bedroom 2: 2nd bedroom – Queen or King or 2 twins.

Bedroom 3: 3rd bedroom – 2 Twins or Trundle bed

  • Four Bedroom House

Bedroom 1: Master bedroom – Prefer King bed, but if the room is too small use a Queen.

Bedroom 2: 2nd bedroom – Queen or King

Bedroom 3: 3rd bedroom – Queen or King or 2 twins.

Bedroom 4: 4th bedroom – 2 Twins or Trundle bed

Guideline for Cookware and Kitchen Items

Equip your vacation rental kitchen with basic cookware and kitchen items. Buy a good set of good cookware, as much quality as you can afford. It does not pay in the ‘long run’ to get the cheapest as it will not last, but not necessary to buy the very best either. Sometimes you can find a nice stainless steel set in a box. Do not get the cheap aluminum stuff.

    • Stove Top Pans: Provide a basic set of 2, 4, 8, and 10 quarts.
    • Skillets: 7 and 10 inch
    • Oven Pans: Glass baking dishes: 9X13 and 8X8, roasting pan with lid (holiday dinners),cookie sheet, muffin tin, 1 pie pan, 2 cake pans, 1 pizza pan.
    • Mixing Bowls: 2 large: 8 – 10 quarts; 2 medium: 2 – 4 quarts; and 2 small: 1 – 2 quarts. These can be stainless or glass. These can also be used as serving bowls.
    • Knives: Paring, large vegetable, butcher, bread, and a sharpener.
    • Cook Prep Items: Colander, spatulas (1 medium size, l large size), mixing spoons (1 large, 1 medium), wire whisk, can opener (a good manual one is best), plastic cutting boards (1 large and 1 small), measuring spoons, rolling pin, ladle, funnel, and tongs.
    • Small Kitchen Appliances: Toaster, coffee pot (electric drip – Mr. Coffee Style), blender (good quality that will spin frozen drinks)
    • Other Kitchen Items: 2 to 4 pot holders and trivets, placements for complete table setting, 6 dish towels, teapot (for steeping tea; not essential but nice), bread basket, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.
    • BBQ Grill: Inexpensive gas grills are best. Plan on replacing them about every couple of years.
    • Flatware and Serving Ware: Dinner plates, soup / cereal bowls, small plates (Service for 8 – 10 works best for property that sleeps up to 8), glasses (service for 8-10), flatware (service for 10 plus meat fork), 6 to 8 Serving spoons, 2 slotted spoons, coffee mugs or coffee cups and sauces (service for 10), 2 to 3 serving bowls and platters for hors d’oeuvres, or maybe a turkey or roast. Bright colorful serving bowls are nice and also help to add a ‘pop of color’ to the kitchen.
  • Cleaning Supplies (keep in property for guests): Hand dish soap, dishwasher soap, degreaser, window cleaner, cleaning cloths, large 2 to 3 gallon plastic bucket, mop, 2 brooms (1 for inside and 1 or outside),1 dust pan

Guideline for Soft Goods

Equip your vacation rental house with nice quality bedding, towels, and window coverings. Do not buy the cheapest soft goods. They won’t last and you will likely receive complaints. Guests expect good quality towels and linens and will write bad reviews for poor quality items. You can save money by purchasing from discount warehouse and home furnishing stores.

    • Towels: For a 2 bedroom rental – 12 bath towels, 12 hand towels, and 8 wash clothes; for a 3 bedroom rental – 14 bath towels, 14 hand towels, 14 wash clothes; for a 4 bedroom rental – 16 bath towels, 16 hand towels, 16 wash clothes
    • Sheets and Pillow cases: 2 sets for each bed. Get at least 400 count sheets
    • Bedding Protectors: Mattress covers for each mattress zip pillow protectors for each bed pillow (these go on the pillow before the pillow case).
    • Bed spreads or comforters: We take our cue from high end hotel rooms. At this writing (2011) travelers like duvet covers (over comforters) and / or mattalesse coverlets in the contemporary market. Bed covers MUST be washable.
    • Decorative and Comfort Items: Throw pillows, 2 or 3 blanket throws, throw rugs, door mats
    • Beach / Pool Towels – 2 per bedroom
  • Window coverings – Nice curtains and / or blinds

Entertainment and Internet Service:

Flat Screen TV’s: People expect TV’s in the bedrooms as well as the main living room / great room. I recommend a large TV (minimum 36 inch) in the living room, and smaller ones in the bedrooms (15 – 24 inch are fine). Small flat screen TV’s need to be mounted on the wall or bureaus for security reasons.

Cable TV or Satellite: Don’t offer ‘pay per view’ features. It’s too hard to keep track of those charges.

Internet (DSL): WiFi router is an expected feature. Almost all tourists travel with laptops… and they get upset if they don’t have internet access. Most renters do request WiFi.

Stereo and C/D player: Most guests travel with iPods in today’s market, but most still expect some kind of music player. This should not be an expensive unit. It can be a large ‘boom box’ type with detachable speakers and should be large enough that people do not try to take it outside.

4 – Maintenance and Housekeeping

Your vacation rental must be well maintained and kept immaculately clean. Keep in mind, that while your house is not a hotel, you are offering it as a vacation accommodation to travelers, and guests will expect maintenance and cleanliness standards set by nice hotels. This is not a place to cut corners, and if you do, your house will soon appear on a travel log such as Trip Advisor, Flip Key, or rental review sites with negative comments. Bad reviews about poor cleaning and maintenance, even if they are exaggerated by unscrupulous guests, can quickly stigmatize your house and discourage future guests from renting it. You simply must commit to bearing the cost to keeping your house to quality standard.

Most vacation rental agencies collect a departure cleaning fee in advance from the guests to clean it when they leave. Guests expect and deserve to arrive to a clean and tidy property. Set a cleaning rate that will cover your costs to clean the house thoroughly each and every time guests depart. Make sure you plan enough time to clean the house, and better yet hire a good professional housekeeper. Make sure carpets and furniture are cleaned as needed. During periods when your house is not rented, be sure you give it a deep clean. Replace towels and linens with new ones as necessary, and never make a bed or make up a bathroom with tired or stained linens or towels.

If your house has porches or decks and outdoor furniture, they must be kept scrubbed and free from mildew and look fresh for every guest who checks in. Same with windows, yards, landscaping, swimming pools, and Jacuzzi tubs – they must be maintained to quality standard or you will get complaints.

This goes for household maintenance issues as well. You will need to hone your handy-man skills and make sure all the light bulbs work, a/c filters are changed, the internet is working, TV remotes work, the toilets are flushing properly, and the pool and Jacuzzi heaters are working right. You will also need to be ‘on call’ to go over to the property and provide minor repairs. Unless you live in the same town as your rental, and you are absolutely committed to maintaining it, hire professionals to do this for you. If you are not willing or able to do this, or cannot quickly respond to any maintenance needs, I strongly recommend that you hire a professional rental agency that is staffed up to provide these kind of services. It will save you a lot of head ache and could save the reputation of your rental house.

5 – Managing Your Property – Advertising, Reservations, Rental Contracts, Bookkeeping

The final basic step to turning your house into a successful vacation home is to start advertising it and taking reservations. Today, there are several mega-vacation rental advertising websites to choose from that have huge data bases of available rental properties. Most of these are set up so you can you can post your own ad copy and download your own property photos. Expect to pay over $500. to get positioned on-line so that prospective renters can find your property. You can also use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the availability of your property.

If you decide to manage your property yourself, you must be completely committed to every aspect of the administrative process. This means answering email and phone inquiries in a timely manner, maintaining an availability calendar, talking with potential guests to determine if they are appropriate renters for your house, writing and sending rental contracts to guests, collecting rental fees, collecting and paying required bed and / or sales tax, collecting and refunding security deposits (or determining costs where there is damage), paying housekeepers and maintenance people, paying utilities, keeping licenses current, and generally staying on top of the bookkeeping. There are several home-based reservation management software packages available to help you stay organized, but they will only work if you are diligent about keeping the information updated.

You can also hire a locally established rental agency to provide professional management and advertising services for you. Over the years, I have seen many people try to advertise and manage their own vacation property, and end up finding the process too time consuming and daunting. If they live in the same town as the rental house, they end up spending all their “free time” (and then some) operating their property. And if they live in a different location, they find it too overwhelming to effectively manage from a distance. I strongly urge that you hire an established locally operated vacation rental agency that understands the entire scope of the business and the community where you’re your house is located. http://vacationhomesofkeywest.com

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How Tax Reform Will Effect Real Estate: 5 Examples

How Tax Reform Will Effect Real Estate: 5 Examples

While there are winners, losers, and others, when it comes to the recently passed, tax reform legislation, this article will review, some of the effects and potential ramifications, as they specifically related, to real estate. Even within this topic, commercial properties, rental properties, and real estate management companies, appear to, potentially be significant beneficiaries, while, some homeowners, will discover, either little impact, or a negative one! This article, will attempt to, briefly review and examine, 5 examples, and consider the overall impacts, etc.

1. $10,000 State and Local Taxes, Cap: In the past, homeowners could deduct the entire amount of their real estate taxes, as well as state and local taxes paid. The new law changes that significantly, capping the deduction, at a maximum of $!0,000 per year. For example, where I live, in Nassau County, Long Island, New York, every evaluation, states, we will be, the most adversely affected area, in the nation. This capped amount is insignificant in a region, where our so – called, SALT taxes, are significantly higher, and thus, most envision, it having a negative impact, on the values and selling prices of these homes. When real estate tax, was fully deductible, it enhanced the comparative value of owning, versus renting, and, thus, the economists, and experts in this area, are anticipating, at least a 10% drop in pricing, because of this. Wouldn’t that make ownership less desirable, and, thus, have an undesirable effect on everything related to real estate, in certain, specific regions, of the country?

2. $750,000 Mortgage, maximum mortgage interest deduction: Presently, mortgage interest is tax – deductible, on loans, up to a million dollars. This law changes that, to $750,000, instead, on new mortgages. Especially in areas, where home prices, were $950,000, and above, this might be expected, to have an adverse impact on home sales, the real estate industry, and, on mortgage lenders.

3. Buying versus renting: First – time buyers often weigh, and/ or balance, home ownership, versus, renting! They often, factor in, potential appreciation, of the ownership asset of a house, as well as the deductability of real estate taxes and mortgage interest, into this consideration, and thus, those owning rental properties, might profit, while others suffer!

4. Pricing, and vacation home ownership: Owning a second, or vacation home, becomes more challenging and problematic, because, no longer, will the real estate taxes, and/ or mortgage interests, on these properties, be tax -deductable. The overall impact on pricing of most types of residential housing, will certainly not benefit, present owners, hoping to sell their houses, etc!

5. Home sales: When the real estate market, suffers, the overall economy, does not generally prosper! We will see, commercial properties, benefit, in terms of their pricing, and returns on investment, while residential homes, in many parts of this nation, will become, far more challenging to sell, at a desirable (to the present owner) price. Since, for most people, the value of their home, is their single largest financial asset, this could create, a situation, where, many, witness, an unforeseen, financial/ economic loss!

Wake up America, because there are ramifications to everything, and this legislation, creates a few winners, many, who will tread – water, and many losers! Be prepared, and proceed wisely!

Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, Director of Development, consultant, professionally run events, consulted to thousands, conducted personal development seminars, for 4 decades, and a RE Licensed Salesperson, for a decade+. Rich has written three books and thousands of articles. Website: http://PortWashingtonLongIslandHouses.com and LIKE the Facebook page for real estate: http://facebook.com/PortWashRE

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4 Tips To Rent A Yacht That Will Make Your Cruise The Most Enjoyable And Memorable

4 Tips To Rent A Yacht That Will Make Your Cruise The Most Enjoyable And Memorable

Yachts have for the longest time being considered as open only to those who can afford their luxurious nature. It is however very possible for you to enjoy a luxury yacht even if for only a few days of your holiday. With so many boat rentals available, you will definitely find a yacht that you can afford for your private or group cruise needs. There is really no better way of enjoying the waterways than in yacht and with a few helpful tips, you will be able to rent a yacht that makes all your dreams come true.

Tip 1 – Choose the right type of boat

There are different yacht charters to choose from to match your activity levels, budget and taste. You can go for a small sailing yacht or a motor yacht if you are looking for a romantic getaway for you and your partner. The same can also be suitable for a small family looking to spend an intimate time together. If you are a larger group, then a catamaran that is crewed makes a very suitable option, whereas a mega yacht is best for even larger groups made up of more than ten people. Remember yachts can also be rented for corporate getaways of the parties; whatever your needs, you will find one that works best for you.

Tip 2 – Get a fully crewed yacht

Most private and luxury yacht charters are fully-crewed meaning that you will have a captain and chef and other crew members to ensure that all your needs are met. Of course, there are people who would want to have the yacht all to themselves and hence choose to skipper themselves. But with a crewed yacht, you have all the time to sit back and relax or engage in other exciting activities on board without worrying about the boat at all.

Tip 3 – Go for a non-fixed itinerary

This can be a wonderful alternative compared to a fixed one where everything you do on the cruise is timed. When you choose a private charter yacht, you can make a loose itinerary such that you can stop whenever you want or stay longer in areas that interest you the most before moving to the next point. It is also a great way to deal with unpredictable weather because you can easily move to better places if the weather starts misbehaving. This kind of itinerary gives you flexibility that would otherwise be hard to enjoy. You will only be required to be back at the agreed time, but what you do in between is up to your preferences and agreement with your captain.

Tip 4 – Enjoy the cruise in your own style

When you charter a boat, you can choose to have an adrenaline filled adventure or a more relaxed kind of cruise for you and your partner. Most rental yachts come equipped with equipment for watersports meaning you can indulge as much as you wish if such adventure is what you are looking for. If relaxation is your thing, then find a vessel that has a therapist as part of its crew so you can enjoy a massage on the go. Some luxury yachts come with spa facilities so you can choose accordingly.

Marina Del Rey boat rentals offer bespoke services to ensure that all preferences are satisfied for those interested. To enjoy the best experience ensure you choose a Los Angeles yacht rental that meets all your expectations.

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Home Buying Advice for Young Los Angeles Couples

Home Buying Advice for Young Los Angeles Couples

Most homebuyers enjoy looking at real estate, particularly in character-rich Northeast LA. But first you should get your financial ducks in a row.

It is no secret that Northeast LA is a hot real estate market. For many years, real estate in Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Pasadena have consistently been in high demand. Homes in Glassell Park, Hermon and Garvanza continue to fetch top dollar. Everyone is trying to take his or her slice of the American dream of homeownership.

But some interesting data on home prices, rental prices and home ownership rates with younger people in the Los Angeles area should be given serious consideration by young individuals and couples who are sitting on the house-buying fence in 2017 and 2018.

The short story is prices for owning and renting are going up, ownership rates in LA lag behind the rest of the country, and low interest rates mean mortgage payments are actually less right now compared to other periods in the recent past.

Since 2007 home ownership dropped from 52.3 percent to 47.8 percent (in 2016), according to data collected by Apartment List. Those least likely to be homeowners today are African-Americans, Hispanics and people under the age of 45. (For what it’s worth, ownership rates overall dropped by 8.1 percent in San Diego.)

Another set of statistics (compiled by Lending Tree) found that 36 percent of Millennials were homebuyers. Ownership largely correlates with income and savings, so for those who think they might be able to do that, here are four critical steps to take to make it happen:

Time it to when you are most employed/credit worthy- You want to show a lender your best credit worthiness, which is a function of total income (both earners), debt-to-income ratio and your overall credit score. If either member of the couple plans to take time off or scale back their work schedule, such as to have children or go back to school, it’s wise to get a mortgage before making that move.

Know your financial parameters – Simply, you need to know what you can afford. List your monthly expenses, your monthly income, and pay special attention to what your monthly housing expenses are (calculating for utilities and insurance). Then meet with either a mortgage broker or a realtor to use that information to calculate what size of a mortgage you can afford. There are various terms in every mortgage (i.e., number of years, interest rates, size of down payment and closing costs) that will affect the size of your monthly payments.

Find your down payment – This will be 10% to 20% of the purchase price, or more if you have it. On a $600,000 home, that means you’ll need up to $50,000. We will leave it up to you to determine where it comes from (often it is from parents or grandparents who understand the good sense of owning over renting).

Plan for 4-6 years out – Because there are transactional costs associated with home buying, there is a breakeven point for all purchases (assuming an appreciating market) where you will be able to see a profit should you decide to sell. The real estate valuation firm Zillow calculated in 2015 the “breakeven horizon” in the Los Angeles region to average at 5.1 years. But this comes with variation. The Zillow analysis found numbers for several Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods that hover around this average:

Eagle Rock 6.3 years

Highland Park 4.8 years

Hermon 4.5 years

Glassell Park 5.5 years

Mount Washington 6.1 years

Note that other areas have longer breakeven points, including Atwater Village (7.4 years), Silver Lake (8.3 years), Los Feliz (8.9 years) and South East Pasadena (9.1 years). No numbers were available for Garvanza, another popular NELA area.

Without question it’s a process that requires planning, saving and organizing. But for most people a home is also the biggest investment of their lives. There should be a little work involved.

Knowledge real estate in Highland Park and Homes in Glassell Park click domain for more details.

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Should Landlords Accept Tenants With Pets?

Should Landlords Accept Tenants With Pets?

One of the interesting discussions I have with property owners is about pets and whether they should accept them. It is a hot topic, so I thought I would lay out the pros and cons and some of the things you can do to offset the potential risk of accepting pets.

60% of Americans Own Pets!

To start you need to understand that about 60% of Americans have pets. If you decide not to accept pets, you are eliminating almost two-thirds of the population as potential tenants. Also, if you have a high-end single-family home that number may be as high as 70% to 75% of families are going to have pets.

If you own lower end properties or student housing that percentage might be lower. But either way, if you do not accept pets, a large chunk of the population is not eligible to rent your property.

Pet Owners Tend to Stay in Apartments Longer!

Pet owners tend to be very good tenants in that they tend to stay longer. Because it’s difficult for pet owner to move or find another place that accepts pets, they are going to stay at their current property much longer. Obviously, that helps with turnover and with repair costs so it’s better to have longer term tenants.

Pet Owners Tend to Make More Money and Make Better Tenants

Pet owners tend to make more money than non-pet owner tenants. Because owners of pets have pay for food, vet bills, and all the other stuff pet owners buy it indicates a higher disposable income than non-pet owners. Higher incomes should allow them to afford higher rents and be able to offset any short term financial trouble.

Charge Extra Rent and Security Deposit

You should make more money with accepting pets. We charge an extra $25 per month, per pet. If the tenants have two pets, then we would charge an extra $50 per month of rental income. We also charge an extra $300 per pet in security deposit. It is refundable if the place is perfect when the tenants moves out, but if pet does any damage then we have additional monies to be used to make repairs. Also, if the carpets were not clean when they left, one of the things we will be using the $300 security money for is to clean and shampoo the carpets.

Use Pet Addendums to Lay out the Pet Rules and Regulations!

We recommend that you should have the tenants sign a full pet addendum. The pet addendum lays out all the rules and regulations of owning a pet and the ramifications if they don’t take care of that pet.

Do Not Accept Aggressive Dogs

We do not accept any aggressive dogs. If tenants own a bull dog or other aggressive dogs we would not recommend accepting them. Additionally, I would not accept dog that are over 50 or 60 pounds as they are adding a lot of additional risk for your building and other tenants or neighbors. One of the reasons for this is most property insurance companies will void your insurance if you accept aggressive or large dogs.

Professional Shampoo Carpets Once the Tenants Move Out!

We require pet owner tenants that they must professionally shampoo the carpets when they leave. They must pay for the cleaning and provide us a receipt proofing the cleaning was done. If for some reason they were not to do it, then again as I mentioned earlier, we’d use that extra $300 in security to have the carpets professionally shampooed and cleaned.

Hard Wood Floors and Pets?

One major concern is hardwood floors. If you have a property with hardwood floors, accepting pets is a real risk factor. We do recommend mitigating the risk by requiring that they have rugs over some or all the hardwood floors. But either way, if you have hardwood floors, it is an extra risk and make sure it is worth having a dog in the property with hardwood floors.

Service Animals are NOT Pets!

It is very important that everybody understands is that a service animal is not a pet. If you decide to not accept pets, that’s fine. But if the tenant has a service animal you cannot decide to accept to decline a tenant based on a service animal. So just make sure you’re aware of that as an owner that a service animal is not a pet.

If you are a real estate investor or property owner and want to learn more about how we can help you buy investment properties and our property management program please go to our website at http://www.delvalproperty.com/.

Mike Lautensack is the owner of Del Val Realty & Property Management (“Del Val”). Del Val is a FULL SERVICE Philadelphia Property Management company with over 15 years’ experience and manage over 3,500 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA. We advise property owners how to build wealth and financial security through hassle-free ownership of rental real estate with our NO “Hassle” FULL Service Management Program. This proven management system allows owners to enjoy the financial benefits of cash flow, tax savings, and wealth creation. All this while it GUARANTEES you will never have to deal with maintenance or tenant issues.

By Mike Lautensack

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Secrets You Should Know About A Rent To Own Home Deal

Secrets You Should Know About A Rent To Own Home Deal

So you are sick and tired of renting. You want to own your own home, but you do not have much of a down payment. No doubt you have heard of “the perfect solution” – rent to own. But is it really as perfect as everyone says – hardly. There are some secrets about rent to own properties that you need to know about. They are most overlooked aspects of a rent to own deal. So let us find out the truth about lease to own homes.

How Rent to Own Works

So this is how it works. You rent a house with the option to buy. You will have a lease that will typically last between 2 to 3 years. The seller will also expect you to put some sort of upfront down payment or option fee. This is usually 1 to 7 percent of the agreed upon purchase price. In addition to the rent, you will be paying what is called a Rent Premium or Rent Credit. This extra amounts put towards the purchase price of the house.

Let’s see how a Salt Lake City, Utah rent to own would work out. As of January, 2017 the median rent for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Salt Lake City is $1,500. Now the additional amount that you will pay towards the purchase is negotiable. Generally you should expect to pay 20 to 50% above the market rent. For the sake of argument, let’s go with 25% which is about average. So you will pay $1,500 a month in rent and an additional $375 towards the purchase. If your lease lasts 3 years, you would have a rent credit in the amount of $13,500. Median home values in Salt Lake City are $280,000. If you paid a 3% option fee of $8,400 and combined that with the rent credit, you would end up with a down payment of $21,900 or 7.8%. Not bad.

The Truth about Rent to Own Homes

Do you want to know the dirty little secret few buyers in your position realize? If you decide that you are unable or unwilling to buy the house at the end of the lease agreement, you forfeit ALL of the money you have paid. That includes the Rent Premium and the option fee. Gone. All of it. The seller keeps all the money and you get to call a moving van and start all over.

You would be surprised on how many times this happens. The buyer may run into some problems with the house and they want out. Money lost. The buyer may not be able to qualify for a mortgage. Money lost. Or, imagine that the seller fails to pay the mortgage and the property gets foreclosed on. Yikes! Money lost.

So, before you race to snap up the closest rent to own or lease option property, make sure you do your due diligence and have the house inspected. Start working with a lender in order to qualify for a mortgage and for goodness sake, make sure you absolutely love the house.

However, a calculated decision of renting to own a house has it own benefits as well.

To find more about various programs of rent to own options, hop on to http://www.idealhomeforyou.com/rent-to-own-programs-utah/

Blake Rounkles wrote this article to cover the most common overlooked points of a rent to own home deal in Salt Lake City, Utah but principles apply to any market. Blake is a professional real estate consultant and specializes in rent to own home deals. With his professional experience and knowledge of Utah real estate market he helps avoid any mistakes that can result in loss of your real estate investment.

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