5 Mistakes Vacation Rental Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Team Donovan on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 at 9:34am.

Buying a home in Orlando to use as a vacation rental is a smart idea, especially if you eventually plan to retire here or use the property as a second home.  Vacation rentals can generate income for you, especially if you buy a property in a desirable area, such as near Disney World. 

However, if you’ve never rented out a real estate property before, you could wind up making some costly mistakes. Here are a few of the more common pitfalls to avoid so your vacation home can be a profitable investment for you. 

1. Setting Unrealistic Rental Rates – Since the Orlando area is competitive when it comes to vacation rentals, it’s important to know your numbers. That means researching rates of competing rentals in the area and determining the occupancy rates for the period you intend to rent. Holiday travelers are a savvy bunch and will do their homework to compare listings to get the best deal for the money. If your rental rates aren’t competitive, it will be easy for prospective guests to bypass your listing. 

2. Taking Too Long to Respond to Inquiries – Have you heard the saying, “You snooze, you lose”? That’s certainly the case with vacation rentals. If you take too long to respond to potential guests, they will just find a new home to rent instead.  That’s because they likely have contacted several properties and are just waiting to see who responds first.  Make sure you respond to potential renters as soon as possible. 

3. Making Common Listing Mistakes – There are a variety of vacation rental websites that can list your property. Of course, your vacation home may likely be listed among dozens or even hundreds of similar properties, so you have to make it stand out from the competition.  Here are a few common listing errors to avoid: 

  • Using all caps to grab the reader’s attention. Capitalizing every letter in a word or headline only makes it seem as if you’re shouting and can offend the very guest you’re trying to attract. 
  • Giving a boring property description. Your listing should clearly state the property type (such as condo or villa), highlight any special amenities or features, (such as a hot tub or game room) and specify the distance to nearby attractions. 
  • Not posting photos, or posting amateur-looking photos. Your listing needs to highlight your property’s features, so photos are the first impression potential guests receive of your vacation home. That’s why it pays to invest in professional photos that will show off your home in its best light. Take advantage of the website’s rules regarding photos and post as many as you can because these images are your advertising medium. 
  • Not updating availability calendar. Keep your calendar up to date so your guests have plenty of booking options 

4. Stop Spending Money on Marketing – Once you secure a steady stream of rental guests, you may be tempted to cut back on advertising. Don’t! There will always be competition for vacation rental properties, so it’s up to you to figure out how much you can afford to spend each month to promote your listing and stick with it. 

5. Not Updating Listings – Posting your vacation rental on a website doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it. Review your listing from time to time to make sure it continues to stand out against the sea of rentals in your area. 

Need help finding the perfect vacation home in Orlando? Contact the experts at Team Donovan. We specialize the in the sale of properties for use as a second home, investment or both. We can guide you to the areas in Central Florida that permit short-term rentals, and connect you with a property manager who can look after your property while you are away. Call us today at 407-705-2616 for a free consultation or fill out our online form.