In the vacation rental industry, property standards matter. With several online travel agencies to compete with, setting strict property guidelines may be detrimental to the online health of your business. At the same time, you want your portfolio to be filled with quality properties, so striking a balance in your portfolio standards is key. While deciding the rigidity of your standards, keep in mind the potential income streams you might be foregoing, and the impact your properties have on your brand reputation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when considering setting and maintaining quality standards for your property portfolio.
Setting Your Portfolio Standards
The first step in maintaining high property portfolio standards is establishing a vision for your ideal property. This will be iterative, and will no doubt change over time, but you still want to set a baseline standard to keep in mind. Here are some questions to consider:Will your properties be located in a specific area or neighborhood?
- Will your properties be located in a specific area or neighborhood?
- Will your properties be oceanfront, and will they have private pools?
- Will there be a price threshold for your properties?
- Do you plan on offering standard amenities to your guests?
- Are you looking for a certain type of property (e.g. mountain homes with ski access)?
The Vetting Process
There are several factors to consider when vetting homes:
Location – The location of a potential property can be important depending on the size of your current portfolio. A home could look like a perfect opportunity, but could turn out to be located an hour drive from your other properties. The logistics of maintaining that property will be costly and a major challenge.
Condition & Amenities – What is the condition of the home and its amenities? Is the home in a perfect location but has outdated furniture? Does the home meet all the requirements of your ideal property portfolio? If not, ask the homeowner if they’re willing to perform upgrades to reach the standard you’re advertising. Offer to help them develop a plan based on their budget and projected rental income.
Owners Persona – Selecting the right homeowners for your program is as important as selecting the right homes. It’s simple: you want to work with homeowners who want to work with you. Look for homeowners who are easy to contact and are friendly, and who realize their home is an investment.
Maintenance and Replacement Scheduling
Vacation rental properties age quickly, particularly as the industry moves towards higher frequency and shorter stays. Setting a maintenance and replacement schedule with your homeowners will help them protect their investment while also maintaining your portfolio quality. Work with your owners and decide the ways you can maintain their homes’ condition within the given budget.
Regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance, plumbing checks and carpet cleaning is a must. Things like fresh paint, updated decor, and new appliances go a long way in keeping an aging property desirable to future guests. More expensive updates can be spaced out, such as refurnishing kitchens and bathrooms. While you can’t expect your homeowners to renovate frequently, they should be willing to maintain and update the quality of their properties.
Keeping your vacation rental property standards high doesn’t have to be difficult. Set goals and standards for your rental properties, vet the homes and their owners, then maintain and update properties. Have a clear vision for your brand and set your standards accordingly. Communicate with your homeowners to ensure the vision for their home aligns with your brand standards. Provide a great return on investment and a wonderful vacation property for you owners and you’ll grow revenue for your rental property management business.