If you own a waterfront home, then it’s likely the property sits empty at least six months of the year. Vacation homes are a great getaway destination in the summer, but you still have to pay property taxes and maintenance fees to keep them in top shape.
Luckily, renting out is a great solution that can help you cover the expenses and still make the most of the property. However, before you start making money off the rental home, there are some important things to know.
For starters, your property listing should be as honest and as accurate as possible. If you exaggerate your listing and renters complain to Airbnb, you can lose your listing or be subject to penalties.
Keep reading to discover five essential tips you should know before renting out your house by the water.
1. Be Accurate And Honest In Your Description
With rental properties, photos and videos are a deciding factor for your success. People want to see if the place meets their requirements in terms of style, convenience, and pricing. However, don’t underestimate the power of adding detailed and accurate descriptions to your rental posting.
For example, aside from describing the number of rooms and amenities, you can also highlight the benefits of living on a lake and tell people how to make the most of their vacation. Suggest what they can do in the area and include places to eat, get groceries, and rent watersport equipment. The more information you put in the posting, the more renters you’ll attract, as long as you’re honest and transparent.
2. Screen Your Renters
If you decide to rent out your home, you should be prepared for all kinds of renters. Most people will not treat your belongings like you would, and in extreme cases, they may even damage or break them. This is why you should screen the renters thoroughly and implement some measures to prevent bad tenants from renting.
For example, you can hire a property management company and have the manager check in on the renters during their stay. Another option is to ask for a security deposit and a cleaning fee that you’ll return if the house is left in a good condition.
Some real estate agents can also match your property with decent renters and you can always check the renters’ reviews if you use websites like Airbnb or VRBO. Another way to choose the type of renters is to put restrictions on the property listing. These can include a no pet policy, no indoor smoking, no more than five people in the property, no parties or large gatherings, and keeping the place clean.
This is one of the best ways to deter bad renters as they won’t want to pay extra for any damages or breaking the rules, which leaves you with renters who match your requirements.
3. Take Quality Photos Of The Home
Avoid using photos taken from low-resolution phones or cameras, blurry photos that don’t show details or photos taken at night or with a camera flash. Always take photos in natural lighting and use a high-quality camera. If possible, hire a professional house stager and photographer who will make the property look beautiful.
If you purchased the property recently or plan to purchase one soon, ask the real estate company if you can use their staging photos. If you don’t plan to rearrange the furniture or buy new pieces, these photos will give renters a good idea of what to expect.
Also, don’t put objects in photos that you plan to remove later. This includes things like champagne bottles, luxury items, artwork, appliances, or other objects that enhance the appearance of the listing.
If you don’t offer them in the unit, don’t include them in the picture. For example, guests will expect to see a champagne bottle upon arrival, and if they don’t find one, you might get negative reviews.
4. Leave A Detailed Manual For Renters
Whether you’re renting out your home year-round or seasonally, you have the right to request good behavior from renters. This is why you should prepare a detailed manual for them which will include instructions for appliances, thermostats, locked gates, parking spots, remote controls, and other safety measures.
You can also add a list of the most popular local attractions, things to do, restaurants, family activities, and day trips. Finally, to protect yourself from lawsuits and liability, include specific instructions related to safety. For instance, if the house has a deck that can’t bear the weight of more than 10 people, make sure to write that down in both the manual and the rental contract.
5. Get The Property Insured And Collect Deposits
Whether you’re renting your own home or a property you bought specifically for renting, you need a good insurance policy in place. First, you need a homeowner’s policy, but also rental home insurance to protect it against damages and lawsuits by renters.
Some online property marketplaces like VRBO offer rental protection for hosts and landlords, but you should talk to a lawyer and have your own just in case. Another great idea to protect yourself is to urge renters to buy their own travel/renters insurance policy to protect their personal belongings during their stay.
Many property owners also collect security deposits from renters to cover potential damages, cleaning fees, and early cancellations. Make sure to check the laws and regulations in your state for more details on your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
Use This Checklist Before Renting Out Your House
Whether you’re renting out your house for the first time or you’re in the process of buying a waterfront property for renting purposes, these five things are essential for all property owners.
The renter-owner relationship should be based on mutual respect, but there should still be rules and boundaries. Give renters the freedom and privacy they need, but also make sure you and your property are protected against damages and lawsuits.
Ready to buy a waterfront home to rent out? Get in touch with us today and let us help you find the perfect property for your needs.