5 Tips of Starting A Vacation Rental Business

A few years ago when the kids were young, we decided to invest in a summer home.  As big boaters, we wanted something close to a body of water but affordable enough to maintain year round.  Our first venture was a trailer, but due to the cleanliness of the lake it was on, cramped quarters, and only 5 Gallons of hot water, we quickly traded our trailer in for a home along a cleaner body of water

We ventured into Michigan and found a small quaint town.  We couldn’t afford lake side housing so opted for a little cottage a mile from the beach.  It was close enough to home but far away from reality.  As the kids grew, our ability to make it out to our summer home lessened so we decided to dive into the world of renting.  After interviewing several rental companies in the area, we opted to manage rentals ourselves to avoid the hefty 20 – 25% fee.

CONVERTING

If you are in the process of converting a vacation home into a vacation rental some changes need to be made.   Walk through your home and remove any valuable items you don’t want broken or removed from the property. Swap out family photos with artwork. Consider the linens – the quantity and even the color.  Whites may be easier to bleach but may stain easier.   Make sure you have back up towels and two sets of sheets for each bed for quick turnovers or when you don’t have time to have laundry done.

PURCHASING A VACATION RENTAL

If you are purchasing a new property, make sure the economics work. Research the area and figure standard rental rates and the length of the season.  In our case, our rental season is only 12-weeks long so we needed to make sure that renting made more sense than selling, we figured-in the cost of furnishing and updating as well as taxes and utilities.

Edan Gelt Vacation Rental Business
Edan Gelt Vacation Rental Business

LISTING

We chose to list our property on both AIRBNB and VRBO.  It takes a bit of coordination to make sure the websites are updated continually so if you rent on one, you need to make sure you block off the dates on the other

You need to create a powerful listing that captivates online viewers so treat the listing as a marketing tool.  Take great pictures and write an honest and detailed description of the property.  Include your distance from key destinations and any added value your property offers.  Research pricing of similar properties and price accordingly, taking into consideration fluctuations for holidays and peak travel times.

RESOURCES

Put a team in place.  Interview cleaning people, get to know your neighbors and find a local handyman.  If your vacation property is far from your main residence, your team is your most valuable resource.  During the summer, our cleaning lady becomes the go-to gal.  She lets us know if there is damage and turns over the property for the next guest in as little as 3-hours.   Our neighbors have also helped when tenants had issues like a new battery in a smoke detector or figuring out cable.  They even  notified us of a burst pipe in the winter.

TAXES

Make sure you pay taxes on your rental income, state dependent.  If you are a vacation homeowner and only want to rent less than 2-weeks per year, you can do so tax-free but anything more is taxable.

It does get a bit chaotic at times managing a vacation rental with schedules, tenants and but for us it’s been fun.

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

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Presentation or Content: What is more important?

A marketer for more than two decades, Edan Gelt has often debated with colleagues and clients about which is more important, presentation or content. This argument has covered everything from RFPs and presentations to marketing campaigns and website development. On one hand, you want to present the importance of your concept but on the other hand, a ton of data does not entice someone to consider you.

Decisions

The best way to describe the presentation and content is to relate it to the way children make choices.

It’s a holiday, you offer two equally sized packages to your child and tell him/her to choose one to open. One of the packages is wrapped in sparkly paper with a beautiful bow – the other a brown beat up, raggedy box.

In the brown box sits a brand new iPad, the other sparkly package contains a blank old notebook of the same weight. The child doesn’t know what each box contains. Which box will be chosen?

Plan Ahead

Before you create your presentation, RFP, website, etc. – know your target audience. According to Edan Gelt, if you don’t know your audience, you won’t know how to engage them. For example, my son would want something wrapped in blue where my daughter would immediately go for the sparkly wrapping.

Are you presenting your ideas to clients, business partners, or colleagues? Do you want to encourage, inspire, or persuade them to take action? Knowing your audience and your goals will help you craft your content and presentation. What package do they want to open and what do they expect to find?

Edan Gelt

Content with a Kick

This involves gathering data and supporting information about your content and including visuals to make your message clear. Consider what your audience needs to remember after you deliver your message. Begin by removing all the information that isn’t important or may be confusing.Then add color, pictures, metaphors, examples or whatever it takes to make the content visually appealing and relatable

Designer Delivery

If you are emailing an RFP or delivering a speech – connecting with your audience doesn’t just depend on the presentation itself. The delivery is just as important – the introductory email, the passion that shines through when you talk, or the platform you use to introduce a new product.

If you are emailing your RFP, relate to the person you are emailing. Learn about them or their business and express interest before adding the “attached, please find”.

If you are giving a speech, be dynamic, use body language and facial expressions to engross the crowd – show the passion behind the product.

If you’re promoting a website through an online platform – engage with the audience with information they find relevant that relates to your website.

Using snail mail? Consider packaging that entices the recipient to open the package.

Conclusion

While many business professionals prioritize content, the presentation should never be neglected in lieu of great information. You may have the most relevant and groundbreaking information or product of all time, but an uninteresting delivery will bore your audience or may never reach them.

According to Edan Gelt, a fancy package or dynamic presentation might dazzle the audience but will achieve nothing if your content is lacking. This only proves that presentation and content are equally important to a successful end result.

Originally published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/

The Fun of Rehabbing an Old Building

All of the shows on TV make flipping homes very attractive but once you purchase an old building, what in the world do you do with it?

When we purchased our first building, it was built in the 1890’s and came equipped with gas space heaters – we had no idea of what they even were.   This means no central heat.  The contraptions looked like large space ships in the middle of the room.  The joy I thought I would feel starting the project suddenly felt overwhelming.

Given below are some highlighted points that help you decide how to approach rehabbing:

Vision

The first thing that you need to decide is if you are rehabbing to hold or rehabbing to flip – this can impact your budget and expectations.  Obviously if you are going to flip, you are going to spend less and will be more focused on aesthetics and may not invest much in mechanicals.

Edan Gelt

Renovation

Think kitchen and bathrooms – this is where the value is.  This is what your potential buyer or renter will be most focused on.  If you are renovating to hold, you will have to address not only the cabinetry, appliances, floors and counters but also make sure that the plumbing is updated and the electrical systems are addressed.

Also consider curb appeal, sometimes just painting old siding can give an old home a fresh look.

Electrical

Many homes that were built in late 1800’s or early 1900’s are not equipped to handle today’s electrical load.  They were built with only 30 – 60 amps for the entire home, using a just a few circuits. Combining old circuits with today’s electrical load, the circuits can overload and become hot, sometimes catching fire, according to Edan Gelt

To add central A/C, you will at least need to add a 220VAC Circuit if you are not updating all of the wiring.

Problems

You never know what you will find once you start opening walls to update electric or plumbing, you can find mold issues, structural issues, roaches and more.  It is important to ensure you have reserves to cover the unexpected.

According to Edan Gelt, finding a good inspector before you purchase the property may help you forecast some issues but some won’t be discovered until after your start construction.

 Edan Gelt and her husband have rehabbed apartments and homes with a rent and hold approach.

Originally published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/