Managing the day to day
First and foremost in managing the day to business of your Vacation Rental Property is developing the right procedures.
Collecting Rents –Rents are always collected up front and you will need to accept credit cards. There is a charge to you for this service so be careful and shop around. If you search online for credit card services please beware that some require a long term agreement. I would steer clear of these companies.
Contact your own bank for what they offer in credit card servicing and what their fees are. Make sure you fully understand all the fees and charges associated with credit card servicing before signing anything. Take your time and research these companies. The great thing is that once the rent is paid the money will deposit directly into your bank account typically on the same day.
I now use Paypal which is less expensive but a little hard to understand for some not so tech savvy guests. Make sure you send instructions on how to use this service if you decide to use it. I like Paypal because once you have set up your account you can create an invoice online and forward to guests for payment. You should also open a bank account specifically used for your Vacation Rental making it easier to track expenses and income for your tax records. Speaking of taxes, make certain to check your state’s tax code for what to charge for room tax or if there is a room tax. The state may or may not require you to charge a tax.
The Agreement – Keep it simple and specific, there is no need to scare away guests by being overly legal at this point. List the basic rules and regulations along with instructions upon arrival and exiting. Include a detailed map to get to the location along with a map of the building or community if necessary. Leave a space for credit card info and basic information; address, phone, email etc.
You should collect a cleaning fee along with a security deposit of a few hundred dollars to cover any incidental damages. Include some brochures or information on things to do in the area such as golf, theaters, dining etc. You should send all this info and the agreement via email the minute your visitor decides to stay at your rental. Be sure to collect ½ of the total rent deposit up front and the remaining balance 2 weeks before arrival when applicable.
During these economic times you can either let your property sit vacant collecting dust and no revenue or a wise alternative may be to turn it into a vacation rental. It is truly one of the easiest forms of property management and a great way to earn extra income.