Would you rent your home online?
Emily Hurley
May 1, 2014 in Design Dilemma
I see more and more people listing their homes on services for weekend (or longer) rentals. For big events like the Superbowl, it's not uncommon for people to rent their homes and then go stay out of town to take advantage of the demand and high temporary rent. Is that something you would do?

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I speak as a manager of vacation rental properties for 14 years. Yes, I'd rent my home out. In fact, I do rent mine out long term and manage two as vacation rentals - a cabin and a large home at the Jersey Shore. Have had as many as 12 properties in Vegas, and will be opening two in PA this summer. There are things that must be done to put it on the market, but many owners have property that is paying its own way - mortgage, utilities, insurance - and making them a tidy sum of cash too!
May 1, 2014 at 3:27PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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May 1, 2014 at 4:00PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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I have been considering the option of renting my house out for sometime, but everyone I spoke to about it told me that the house would be damaged or even destroyed. How can you prevent that this does not happen?
May 1, 2014 at 6:31PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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One word: Damage Deposits
May 1, 2014 at 6:32PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Not I...
May 1, 2014 at 6:33PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Nancy Walton
Check out vrbo.com and see what the competition is. It's a very popular site.
May 1, 2014 at 6:36PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Not my main residence. We have friends and family members who have vacation homes and they do rent them. It helps with the mortgage payment. There is always the risk of damage to the property, but there should always be a damage deposit.
As for us renting a property for vacation, we did that (don't remember the site,,either vrbo or homes away)..what a disappointment for one of the properties in Maine and we could not even leave a review. In Jersey we had a beautiful rental, but unfortunately that is not always the case everywhere.
May 1, 2014 at 6:43PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Thank you all for the helpful info.
May 1, 2014 at 6:58PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Nancy Walton
We did an online rental while in Maine last fall and had a lovely little house for a weekend. In Kennebunkport, as advertised. I would do it again.
May 1, 2014 at 8:26PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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In all these years there has been only one instance of damage that was not totally covered by the damage deposit, but we have a clause in our lease contracts that excessive damage will be covered by the tenant. Most damage was minor - broken fan chain, spilled alcohol requiring additional carpet cleaning, a class coffee table top broken. Once, we did the damage when a chimney cap blew off and landed on a tenant's car!
May 2, 2014 at 4:42AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Glad to hear that Nancy. We rented one in Ogunquit with a couple of friends. It was so filthy that I was gagging. Our friends go in that area every year. They found a different house in Wells and once in Kennebunkport that were nice.
May 2, 2014 at 6:27AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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a friend of mine recommends AirBnB...she uses that site to rent out her home. It has a flat annual fee and has insurance to cover any damage! She said its much cheaper than VRBO, which charges more, possibly a percentage, not sure. She has great luck and highly recommends it.
My house is currently on the market, after the initial wave of lookers, it's stalled, so I may consider renting it out some weekends just to help with bills. Who knows, maybe someone will stay there, fall in love with it and buy it!
May 2, 2014 at 12:39PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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I would love to participate 3,800sf+, koi pond, hammocks, kid friendly. Located in the middle of the dyaye of California. 3.5 hours to San Francisco (with traffic) and 3 hours to Southern Calif (with traffic).
May 3, 2014 at 10:38PM   
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Not the home I live in, people are too messy and dirty. We had a rental (my old house) for 5 years, and the lady who we rented it to left it filthy. She was a professional, made good money and paid her rent on time every month, but she was a SLOB!!! We sold the house when she vacated.
May 3, 2014 at 11:26PM   
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Suzanna Sebesteny
A few times I've rented my apartment in the downtown core. Not the whole thing, but rented for a couple of weeks here and there to share my place to traveling business people. I don't know if it was because I was also living there and keeping my eye on them, or if they were good tenants, but I had pretty good luck. It was through a company that did the advertising and charged a nominal fee. They didn't guarantee anything, but found us lots of prospects. I was a good deal for me and for the renter. Much cheaper for them than a hotel. And I made a new friend or two.

I don't know if I would rent my home long term. Especially furnished. My mom rented her place for three months while she traveled and had great luck. Better than a kick in the pants because although it was hard work to remove and put into storage the personal items, and cleaning after, it did pay the bills for her while she was away.
May 4, 2014 at 12:00AM   
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I rented out my village home for nearly 4 years and had to spend quite a bit on redoing the garden and renovating the interior when I returned. Nevertheless, I don't regret it as it gave me the chance to try out city living without losing my home and the damage deposit covered some of the renovation bills.
May 4, 2014 at 1:08AM     
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Troy Hull
I have rented through www.bookmygetaway.com and have nothing but GREAT experiences with them, they take the time to qualify potential tenants and provide me with an up to date status, keeping me informed every step of the way. Their website is very user friendly and informative too! I would highly recommend them with your Vacation Rental!
May 4, 2014 at 3:53AM   
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I have been renting our properties out for over 15 years and the rule as I see it is if it is your personal home Id say no If its a 2nd home where there are not personal items and you can be prepared to 'replace anything' the its a great source of income
May 4, 2014 at 4:07AM   
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Mary Brammall
I bought a home in a 55+ community in FL with the intention of renting it to Snowbirds until we were ready to retire and live there ourselves. The house had been a display model and was completely furnished. I might add that I was living in the UK at the time! Thanks to the Internet, I was able to rent it out every Winter. The first year or two were learning experiences, but then I was lucky enough to have renters who stayed for 3 or 4 months and came back for 2 to 3 years. Of the 7 renters we had, 3 of them ended up buying their own homes in the community. My main source for obtaining our guest was www.vrbo.com.
May 4, 2014 at 6:36AM   
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I have been renting my residence for three years as a vacation destination.

First, if you are renting a prime property with prime prices and deposits, you usually attract a quality renter who respects your home imho. Think of it as lending your home to friends. We do put items that are dear to us away in cupboards, some locked, some marked private, and renters seem to respect the demarcation point. Only once have we had to claim part of the damage deposit for items that were "lost", damaged and the property left extremely untidy, but most of the deposit kept ($190) went to additional cleaning and not for replacement of goods.

Secondly, I pay my cleaning team a good wage to clean between visits. None of this "let the renters clean it when they leave" because only if you or your team is present can you assess damages left by the previous renters. You also bring it back into a great condition before renting it out again. Most people who rent vacation homes would rather pay a higher rental fee that includes cleaning and linens than clean it themselves or walk into a home that has been indifferently cleaned. I do not "nickel and dime" over accidental breakages. Most often, the renters tell me they broke something and ask where they can go to replace it! And they do!

Be prepared for wear and tear. I have yet to meet a renter who really respects my non-stick frying pans or knives, so I only provide mid-level goods in this department. Linens, kitchen outfitting and general use items are all part of the "can be replaced" inventory, and expect that every year something will wear out and have to be replaced. Give them enough patio ware they won't take your breakable glasses and dishes outside, provide cutting boards so they don't cut your counter-tops. Preventative steps (coasters on every wood surface, place-mats and tablecloths to protect dining room surfaces) go a long way to curtailing damage.

It is a business, so set it up that way. Check on local websites and vacation home websites to see what the average rental is for your area and type of house. Figure out what you will be spending on taxes, utilities, cleaning, landscape maintenance (because usually you aren't around to cut the grass and weed the flowerbeds), insurance (because your home owner's policy will deny any claim faster than you can blink an eye if you try to delude yourself you don't need commercial insurance for a rental) and mortgage interest. And then factor in about 15% of the rental fees for replacement and repair.

In the end, only you can decide if the financial return is worth the effort. Is it to generate income for you or cover property costs? Put a home to work that otherwise is sitting empty? Cover a period when you are living far away and can't use it? People rent for some or all of these reasons, and my experience with it has been very positive. The people who have rented my home appreciate the beauty of its location and its appointments, and respect it accordingly.
May 4, 2014 at 10:15AM     
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Anyone who would like a manager/customer service rep to deal with the public regarding rental of your property, I'm available and would be happy to discuss the potential with you.
May 4, 2014 at 10:49AM     
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JAC Frances
I would NEVER, EVER rent my home online or otherwise. The things people do to vacation rentals is enough to keep me from doing it.
May 4, 2014 at 12:46PM   
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John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
We rent a number of suites long term and currently have to short-stay properties. Damage has been limited to a broken glass and a burnt teflon pan in the short-stays. A number of factors play into the long term rental business.

In Canada where there is no tax deduction on mortgage interest when buying your home, anything that can generate income and thereby make mortgage interest tax deductible is a very good thing! For overseas property owners buying in British Columbia, a local advisor on the BC practice is a vital piece of understanding a very different rental market.

We've learned through hard knocks over multiple generations--that's background I bring to coach/consultant work for landlords and those considering the biz. it is not for everyone, but can be great.
May 4, 2014 at 1:29PM     
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Brandi Nash Hicks
I live three blocks from downtown Chattanooga ,I have the only home on this street ..becoming very hip commercial area and it is huge.i would love to rent it out I am right in the tourist area.
May 8, 2014 at 9:50PM   
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Mark Bischak, Architect
I find "renting your home" an oxymoron.
May 19, 2014 at 9:51PM     
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Nancy Walton
The title should probably have been worded "Would You Rent OUT Your Home Online?"
May 19, 2014 at 10:29PM   
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The owners of a few houses in our neighborhood have done this, in all cases these are not their primary residences, so some have cheap furnishings they don't care about, but one resident had his expensive electronics destroyed (security deposit didn't cover it all and he had to sue for the rest). For the neighbors these short term rentals are a nightmare; people rent the house telling the owner that there will only be a few people there, but more often they have large parties, with lots of noise, drinking, and even drug use. One house in the neighborhood was used for shooting a porno movie (with outdoor scenes witnessed by the neighbors). You may luck out and have no problems, but the bottom line is you have no idea on how your house will be used, the renters will lie to you and their misbehavior may destroy your relationship with your neighbors. At least with a long term renter, you have time to check references and do a background check. When you rent short term you are putting a great deal of trust into someone you know nothing about. Many cities (like New York) have started banning these because of the complaints of the neighbors so check with your city, they may be illegal or restricted, even when allowed some are regulated (e.g., safety requirements such as handrails/fire extinguishers) and/or require the payment of hotel taxes. And guess who will turn you in if you don't follow the law - your unhappy neighbors!
May 19, 2014 at 10:41PM   
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