7 Tips to Give Your Short-Term Rental a Competitive Advantage

by Sandy Dodge

A man works on his laptop with a view of a lake outside the window.

As the usage of short-term rental services has increased over the years, so too has the competition between rental owners to make their properties stand out. There are a variety of marketing tactics you, as a rental owner, can employ to give your home an edge, but ultimately, making the property as appealing as possible is the best way to ensure your strategies are effective.

1. Boost Your Curb Appeal

Renters are scrolling through pages and pages of properties, looking for something that catches their eye at first glance. To make your property stand out, invest time and energy into the home’s curb appeal. Making these improvements doesn’t necessarily require breaking the bank, either. Simple projects like a fresh coat of exterior paint, refinishing the patio or deck, and creating a beautiful yard will go a long way towards helping your home stand out amongst the competition.

2. High-Quality Photography

Once you’ve spent time curating and beautifying your rental, it’s important to communicate its feel to potential renters. High-quality photos give renters the best impression of what it’s like to spend time in the home. Photograph every room in bright lighting to make the space as inviting as possible. Be sure to thoroughly clean every room before taking photos to have it looking as inviting as possible.

3. Improve Your Description

After potential guests explore your photos, they’ll read your property’s description. While it’s helpful to read descriptions of other listings in your area to get an idea of what tenants are looking for, it’s important to communicate the unique attributes of your home. Talk about what makes it special, emphasize the selling points, and reference what renters are seeing in the photos you’ve provided.

4. Repair or Replace Your Appliances

When guests are paying for a rental, they expect everything to be in fine working order. To make your property stand out, consider repairing or replacing your appliances. This makes for a more enjoyable stay and could potentially offer you a competitive advantage. All appliances have a certain life expectancy, so if you haven’t replaced your appliances in a while, it just may be time to do so.

5. Upgrade Your Bedroom and Bathroom

Renters are looking to relax, so any luxury you can provide them will do wonders for giving your property an edge amongst the competition. Two areas of the home where you can deliver on luxury are the bedroom and the bathroom. From the bedspread and pillows to the curtains and rugs, experiment with different textures in the bedroom to make it as comfortable as can be. A high-quality mattress is also a worthy investment to make your guests’ stay all the more memorable.

By making simple upgrades to your bathroom, you can give the guests the feeling of having their own personal spa. High-quality shower heads and a spacious, relaxing tub will help to deliver a luxurious atmosphere to your bathroom, as will meticulously cleaning the space and keeping your surfaces well organized.

6. Upgrade Your Kitchen

A welcoming kitchen is the key to making your rental feel like home. Kitchen makeovers often come at a high cost, but there are ways to transform your kitchen without breaking the bank. Start by upgrading your lighting, giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, and refinishing your cabinets. If your kitchen needs new appliances, remember to select them first before making any renovations to ensure their dimensions are correct.

7. Provide a Workspace

With more people working remotely than ever before, some renters will likely look at your property as a potential place to conduct their work. Accommodating these guests with a quality workspace can make your rental stand out. Consider making the workspace multifunctional using items like a folding desk. This gives remote workers the option to stow their home office setup at the end of the day while ensuring that the workspace won’t be a permanent fixture for guests on vacation.

If you are interested buying or selling a short term rental property on beautiful Orcas Island give me a call or a text at 619.224.9015 or email at Roxy@RoxyMarck.com.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying and Selling a Home

There’s nothing more exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling than buying a home. However, it’s a complex transaction; there are a number of steps along the path that can confuse, betwixt, and befuddle even the most seasoned buyers and sellers.

How can you avoid those potential pitfalls and common mistakes? Look to your real estate professional for advice and keep these guidelines in mind:

 

BUYERS:

 

#1 Review your credit reports ahead of time

Review your credit report a few months before you begin your house hunt, and you’ll have time to ensure the facts are correct and be able to dispute mistakes before a mortgage lender checks your credit. Get a copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Why all three? Because, if the scores differ, the bank will typically use the lowest one. Alert the credit bureaus if you see any mistakes, fix any problems you discover, and don’t apply for any new credit until after your home loan closes.

 

#2 Get pre-approved

Before getting serious about your hunt for a new house, you’ll want to choose a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage (not just pre-qualified—which is a cursory review of your finances—but pre-approved for a loan of a specific amount). Pre-approval lets sellers know you’re serious. Most importantly, pre-approval will help you determine exactly how much you can comfortably afford to spend.

 

#3 Know what you want

You and your real estate agent should both be clear about the house you want to buy. Put it in writing. First, make a list of all the features and amenities you really want. Then, number each item and prioritize them. Now, divide the list into must-haves and really-wants.

 

#4 Account for hidden costs

In addition to the purchase price of the home, there are additional costs you need to take into consideration, such as closing costs, appraisal fees, and escrow fees. Once you find a prospective home, you’ll want to:

  • Get estimates for any repairs or remodeling it may need.
  • Estimate how much it will cost to maintain (gas, electric, utilities, etc.).
  • Determine how much you’ll pay in taxes monthly and/or annually.
  • Learn whether there are any homeowner’s or development dues associated with the property.

 

#5 Get an inspection

Buying a home is emotionally charged—which can make it difficult for buyers to see the house for what it truly is. That’s why you need impartial third parties who can help you logically analyze the condition of the property. Your agent is there to advise you, but you also need a home inspector to assess any hidden flaws, structural damage or faulty systems.

 

#6 Evaluate the neighborhood and location

When house hunting, it’s easy to become overly focused on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the condition of the home and its amenities while overlooking the subtleties of the surrounding neighborhood. Take time to check crime reports, school options, churches and shopping. If schools are a key factor, do more than simply research the statistics; speak with the principal(s) and chat with the parents waiting outside.

 

 

SELLERS:

 

#1 Avoid becoming emotional or sentimental about the sale

Once you decide to sell your house, it’s time to strip out the emotion and look at it as a commodity in a business transaction. If you start reminiscing about all the good times you had and the hard work you invested, it will only make it that much harder to successfully price, prepare, and market the home.

 

#2 Fix problems (or price accordingly)

Homes with deferred maintenance and repair issues can take far longer to sell and can be subject to last-minute sale-cancellations. These homes also often sell for less than their legitimate market value. If you simply can’t afford to address critical issues, be prepared to work with your agent to price and market your home accordingly.

 

#3 Don’t overprice your home (and/or refuse to negotiate)

Getting top dollar is the dream of every seller. But it’s essential that you let the market dictate that price, not your emotions or financial situation. Allow your agent to research and prepare a market analysis that factors in the value of similar homes in the area, and trust those results.

 

#4 Use quality photos

The vast majority of prospective buyers today search for homes online first. In order to make a good first impression, you need a wealth of high-quality photos of your home and surrounding grounds. You may also need to consider professional staging in order to position your home in the best possible light for prospective buyers.

 

 

The process of buying or selling a home can have plenty of twists and turns, but with some smart decision making, you can avoid the most common mistakes and pitfalls.

 

Click here if you would like to connect with an experienced real estate agent.

 

Kitchen Remodel Cost: 7 Tips to Save Your Money

You’ve Moved into Your New Home. Now What?

Congratulations on your new home! You made it through the arduous process that is buying a new home. Now it’s time to take on the task of moving in.

You did your research about the neighborhood and you feel like you know the home like the back of your hand. However, there are some things to do as you move in to protect your newest investment, and yourself, from the unknown variables in and around your home.

 

Change the locks garage door codes

Previous owners might have changed the locks, but they may not know who all has a key or a code to open your garage, especially neighbors who they trusted to watch their place while they were away. Changing the codes and locks on all the doors ensures that you have complete control over entry to your home

 

Check or Install Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If the home already has fire and carbon monoxide devices, make sure they are in working order by testing each one with the tester button. Keep a note of when to replace them as well.

If they don’t have them, install a device in each sleeping room, as well as common areas like the living room or kitchen. Hallways are a great place to cover multiple rooms with one detector as well.

 

Install a security system

Enjoy total peace of mind with a new security system. Meet with a consultant on the best ways to protect your home for a system that works best for you and your lifestyle.

There are also app-connected systems that you can set up yourself that notify you of movement on the cameras or doors and windows opening.

 

Meet the neighbors

Build a sense of community and get to know the lay of the land by knocking on neighbors’ doors to get to know them. Bring a small gift as a “thank you” for dealing with the moving trucks. This is a great initial step for figuring out who you can trust to watch things while you’re away should you need a helping hand in the near future.

 

These are just a few ideas on what you should do as soon as you move in. What are some things you do, or suggest to friends and clients on move-in day?

Consider This – Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

If you’re thinking about purchasing a second home or vacation home that may become your eventual retirement place – here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Remember the key to vacation homes is location, location, location. This may sound like a cliché, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It is wise to really learn the area by visiting it several times to explore the region and check out the amenities before you make an offer on a home.

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Spend time in the area during the “off-peak” season after the crowds return home. Different seasons bring a different environment. Some of the local stores, restaurants and shops may only be open seasonally. You’ll want to be familiar with what the area has to offer during the “off-season.”

2. Assess the property’s true rental potential. Areas with year-round rental potential increase your rental income when you’re not staying in your vacation home.

Be certain, too, that the home you’re considering has the amenities renters expect. Properties that double as vacation rentals should have hot tubs, fireplaces and views to lure tenants. Access to the beach for kayaking or trails for hiking offer year-round options for entertainment. A dock or landing strip will give potential tenants easy access to the property.

Before making an offer check with the local government for permit requirements or tax consequences and, if appropriate, the homeowners association, to be sure short-term rentals are allowed.

Once your offer has been accepted complete your due diligence. Hire a professional inspector to assess the condition of the roof, foundation and other major systems. Major repairs may not only drain your savings, they may also prevent you from renting the property to generate income.

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3. Do your math before writing an offer. Add up all the costs for buying and maintaining the vacation home. Mortgage rates are sometimes a bit higher for second homes than primary residences and some lenders may require a larger than normal down payment. Property managers may take a significant bite out of gross income so shop for a manager. If you plan to service the property for yourself, calculate the time you will spend performing such services as booking, cleaning and completing repairs to the property.

4. Don’t let yourself become emotional about the prospect of fulfilling your retirement dream. Sleep on it, maybe even give it a month before making an offer. Emotional desire can cause buyers to rush into making an offer. Just because prices and mortgage rates are low doesn’t mean that you need to rush into a premature decision.

Proceed with caution until you feel confident that the home will not only suit your needs today, but in the future. Another consideration is the age-friendliness of the property. This is especially true if you plan to move into the home when you retire. Years from now it might not be as easy to handle a flight of stairs or maintain an expansive garden.Ferry and Mt. Baker

Consider This – Break the Cycle of Stress

With the busy days of summer long behind us and the fall routine well underway we enter “the holiday zone”. Queue creepy music.

The holiday season can be stressful. Summer is far behind and it’s back to our full-time jobs; hauling the children to school, sports, and all of their other extracurricular activities; preparing the home and garden for winter and getting ready for the ever lengthening holiday season. Unless you are a stress management guru this time of year will increase your stress levels.

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Amazon best-selling author Paul Huljich, one of America’s leading stress management experts and author of Stress Pandemic, 9 Natural Steps to Break the Cycle of Stress & Thrive (2nd Edition; Mwella Publishing) says, “People who cope with stress in unhealthy ways end up creating significant personal health problems and more stress for themselves. My advice is to become aware of the activity that is spiking your stress levels and take steps to actively manage both your and your family’s ways to cope with the increased stress in your lives.

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Don’t fall back into old, familiar patterns of stress this season — fight back!  With prevention comes the key to success against stress!  In dealing with children, you should focus most on limiting your child’s stress levels by preparing them for what’s to come. Talking with your kids and understanding what may be causing their stress is a good first step in helping them cope with stress. By helping kids work through their stress you’ll not only teach valuable stress management tips that will help them throughout their lives but also help to decrease the stress levels in your own life.

Another good approach to cope with increased stress this fall is to “un-schedule”.  For example, there are loads of fun and rewarding extracurricular activities for children, but it is just as important that kids take time to relax and have some unscheduled time at home or outdoors. Try to reserve at least one weekday after school that is a “free day,” and stick to that schedule for the school year. Both your child and you will be much more relaxed and prepared when you allow yourselves proper downtime.”

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Keep in mind that this time of year you are subject to a barrage of marketing telling you that you must go out and shop the minute the turkey is consumed. The sole purpose of these commercials is to “sell more soap”. Celebrate this year with quality family time at home. Keep the decorations simple. Buy one less gift. Instead, give the gift of listening. Trade a day of shopping for a day of listening to the dreams and desires or possibly the fears of family members. When you stop buying into the commercialism the stress level comes down.

If you are ready for a reduced stress purchase or sale of real estate, give me a call.

Source: www.stresspandemic.com