Yes, we can! We are associated with a local design service in which you may be interested. The designers who operate this service have furnished many homes of our own for vacation rental, as well as a number of homes for clients for whom we manage. They have furnished homes on many budgets, and can be very economical when they need to.
They did a small cottage recently for only $16,000! While we recommend that most homes be furnished on a slightly higher level to generate the most income, it is possible to do it for a very reasonable cost.
We suggest budgeting about $25,000 - $35,000 for a two-bedroom property, $35,000 - $50,000 for a three-bedroom property, and $50,000 - $75,000 for a four-bedroom property for casual-type furnishings. For more upscale or more formal decor, a larger budget is appropriate.
We will schedule the photography and the building of your web page to advertise your property as soon as we have a signed management agreement in our office. You will most likely begin having guests right away. We have prospective guests contacting our office daily to schedule rentals immediately, or for up to a year in advance. However, your occupancy will likely increase after your home has been in our inventory longer.
This is because it takes some time for our advertising to have an effect, and because your guests will likely become repeat clients and generate word-of-mouth business. Your annual occupancy rate will depend on the location and condition of your property, as well as the amount of time you use the property yourself.
No two homes in our inventory are alike. They differ with regard to location, number of bedrooms and baths, floor plan, bed sizes, style and decor, and the way they are equipped. In the same way as homes differ, guests' needs differ. We will try to match the guests' needs to the homes available.
Here are some things we have learned from our experience that make your home more desirable to guests so that it is selected by our clients more often:
First, we have an extremely difficult time selling bedrooms with double beds. They simply do not meet the needs of today's customers. A king is the first choice for the master bedroom, but a queen is also fine, if the room is too small for a king. A queen or two twins is fine for guest rooms. A room with only one twin bed is just as difficult to sell as a room with a double, so if you want maximum occupancy, no double beds and no singles!
Second, a washer and dryer is a must. Because most of our guests stay a week or more, and many stay several months, most residents will reject a home without laundry facilities.
Finally, a hot tub is very desirable, and we have found that the homes with hot tubs generally earn $5000 to $10,000 or more additional income as a result of having them, so an owner can usually pay for his hot tub with increased rent in about one year.
Our Operations Department has advised us that the vast majority of "handyman-type" calls revolve around three items.
These are 1) light bulbs out, 2) vacuum cleaner needs belt or bags, and 3) repair to TV/DVD and/or remote control needs batteries.
While our housekeepers, our maintenance people, and our staff members will attend to these items if and when they become aware of them, you can keep your maintenance costs down by checking on these items when you are at your property. Make it a matter of routine to stock vacuum cleaner bags, an extra belt, and light bulbs to fit all types of fixtures in your home. Change batteries in the remote controls when you are in the house, whether they need it or not. It is much less expensive to do that than for us to dispatch our handyman after regular business hours to put batteries in a remote control for you! And don't think your guests are going to do it. They don't think it's "their job."
We collect deposits that, in our experience, are appropriate to the number of people who will occupy your home and the length of their stay. California law permits us to collect up to two times the monthly rent for an unfurnished unit, however, the market will rarely bear these rates. We typically have more deposit than is necessary to cover damages.
Rates for rentals are based on the rents for comparable properties in similar locations. Since approximately fifty percent of residential property on the Monterey Peninsula is non-owner occupied, this is relatively easy to accomplish. Rates are not set by totaling your mortgage payment, your taxes on the property, and your expenses! While it might seem reasonable to attempt to set your rate in this way, keep in mind that there is no correlation between what a property costs an owner and what it will generate in rent. The market sets the rents-you and I do not.
Yes, it is an absolute must in this area to have the cable connected. Only a few channels are available without cable. To appeal to today's guests, HD service should be provided. Based on our experience with the providers who are available to provide television service to the homes we manage, we have had the most success with Comcast Cable. While not without their issues, Comcast has been more reliable and easier to work with than other providers. They also provide the fastest internet speed, which is very important to our guests.
During the past few years, guests' expectations for television have increased. Today's most up-to-date vacation homes have at least one smart TV. A high-definition, flat-panel 37" is a standard size (throughout the lodging industry, not just in vacation rentals) and more high-end properties are opting for 42" and beyond. Our guests are demanding better and better accommodations, and our property owners are spending more to improve their properties in an effort to continue to be competitive in the current market. Your property should have a newer model in the living room that is at least a 37-inch in a small room; larger is better in a larger room.
The living room and family room, if applicable, should not only have high-definition television, but should also have Blu-Ray player(s) if a smart TV is not being provided. The properties that have the best occupancy also have flat-panel television in the bedrooms, also connected to the cable. A television and a DVD player in each bedroom will prevent guests moving the audio/visual equipment around for their convenience. Audio/visual equipment is very inexpensive today, so it is easy to spend a small amount of money to make a large impression on your guests!
Wireless internet service is a "must-have" in today's vacation home market. Our customers demand it, as they carry their portable devices with them, often working on the go, or at the very least, checking email. We cannot sell a vacation rental home that does not have wireless internet service. And as we stated above, getting your internet service through Comcast Cable will insure that your guests have fast, reliable service, as opposed to having a slower, less reliable service that is provided through a telephone line. This is because the wires over which the service that cable is provided are bigger than those used for telephone service. The cable wiring is also better protected, meaning that there is less likelihood of interruption in service.
We recommend the HD Double-Play (cable and internet) or the HD Triple-Play (cable, internet and phone).
Telephone service (a land line) has historically been a required item in a vacation rental home. Most property owners still provide basic telephone service, which gives free, unlimited local calls to the resident. We now feel that we may have finally come to the point in vacation rental history in which a land line is no longer a requirement, due to cell phone use.
You may provide a land line or not, as you see the need for your personal use. If you do elect to provide a land line in your property, we recommend that you subscribe to toll call blocking service on your telephone line at the time you connect your telephone service.
Most land-line phone services provide unlimited nationwide calling, but you will want to block all calls outside the service area, all third party calls, all collect calls, international calls, operator assisted calls, and calls to 900 numbers.
I are not CPAs, therefore cannot give you tax advice. But a quick search on the internet will tell you that how frequently your property is rented has an impact on your after-tax return. If we rent your property for 15 days or more in a calendar year (which we will), you are required to report the rental income on your tax return. The good news is that you may deduct the expenses of owning and managing the property up to the amount of income you receive, and if your expenses exceed the income from the property in any year, you can carry the expenses over to future tax returns.