News & Insights

How to Manage Your Vacation Property When You’re out of Town

So, you’re looking to rent out a vacation home. If you’re not ready to retire to a vacation destination, you’re going to have to manage it from a distance, which comes with an interesting set of problems you need to solve.

What can you handle without visiting?

  • Online listings, marketing, and booking the house. Your online presence is important, but luckily you can do that from anywhere. List your vacation home on as many listing sites as you can and make it as professional looking as you can. Make a good website to show off the property with good, professional pictures. Most importantly, make sure that potential customers can easily see availability or book the rental online.  
  • Communication with guests before, during, and after their stay. Since you’re renting out a vacation home, you’re not just selling somewhere to sleep; you’re selling an experience. Communicate with your guests before they come in, updating them on what’s going on in the area and will be there during their stay. Afterwards, check in on them and see how everything went, to see if there’s anything you can do for them or improve for the next time. Even if you’re not going to be there, you can still help them have a great experience.

Find good people nearby

If you’re not going to be there, you need to have people you can trust to take care of issues with the house. You need contractors to fix things if they break, cleaners to come in between guests, and someone to handle the house keys for you and your guests. Make sure that they’re people you can really trust and can act on your behalf, since you’re not going to be there yourself to handle anything.

Make handling the keys easy

To stay in the house, your guests need to get in the house. There are several possible solutions to this problem:

  • A lockbox: One of the simplest ways to do this is to have a lockbox that requires a key code to open. When a guest arrives, they enter the code and take out the key. When they leave, they leave the key back in the lock box. If they forget to leave the key, then you can deduct the cost of replacing it from their deposit.
  • Someone who handles the keys: If you already have someone in the area who’s helping with the vacation house, such as a cleaner or contractor, they might be available to help keep track of the keys. If you already have someone who’s doing a lot of work on or around the house, this option might be worth pursuing.  
  • Digital locks: Smart locks will let your guests access your house without having to exchange keys. An app on your smartphone or just a code to get into the house might cost some money, but it saves a lot of keeping track of keys.  

Hire a property management company

If this looks like a lot of work and you’re not sure you can handle it all from a distance, you might want to hire a property management company. It’s going to be an expensive proposition, but you’re paying for them to do most of the work that you would otherwise be doing. They don’t only handle the work onsite but can do all of the work you’d handle remotely, like professional online listings, marketing, and booking the house.  

Renting out a vacation home will take a lot of work or cost you a lot of money. It’s a great opportunity with a lot of upside, just know it’s not going to be easy, effortless money especially when managing it remotely.

Photo by Johannes W on Unsplash

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author

Rebecca Green is a content editor and writer for RentPath. She enjoys interior design, dogs and can tell you where to find the best pizza in Brooklyn. You can see some of her other published work on Apartment Guide and rent.com