If you’ve spent any time in a resort community, you’ve probably encountered a good number of vacation rentals. These can vary, from cabins to condos and perhaps even a seaside bungalow. These are properties frequently owned by absent investors and rented out to guests on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. In a busy resort community these homes can not only be a gracious lodging experience, but often more economical than hotels especially at “high season” rates.
If you’re among the many considering investing in a rental property you must make a choice. Prepare to spend the time to maintain the unit and arrange for reliable housekeeping services, advertise your little getaway on the internet and in the local media, and provide facilities for checking guests in and out. The alternative is the preference of a majority of out of town owners…hire a reputable property management company to help maximize your ROI.
Here are a few guidelines to help in selecting the management company that best meets your needs.
- Naturally, word of mouth can help you in your research. Talk to locals and other rental property owners. Most will be happy to share their experiences with you.
- Note the visibility of the management company in the market. Are they easily located in the local phone book? How many units do they manage? Do they have actual office facilities or are your guests reporting for check-in to someone’s garage? Do they advertise in the local travel guides and other area publications?
- Technology plays an important part in property management success. Does your candidate have a solid internet presence? Can you see ample photos online to help selecting an appropriate retreat? Can you easily check availability and book online? Most important, how easily can your candidate be found in the online community? Target a search engine and a search term that you feel people might actually use to shop for a property.
In Ruidoso, New Mexico a mountain resort community the most popular vacation rental is the mountain cabin.
Select, for example MSN…and the simple search phrase “ruidoso cabin”. If your property management candidate shows up in the first page, you’ve located a firm that has the marketing savvy to help your investment succeed. If the company you’re investigating is number one on the first search page you’ve found an aggressive, professional marketer with the tools you need to maximize the return from your investment. If they do not appear in the first three pages of search results…move on. They may have a website, but it is not positioned to help you make reservations.
- What is the rental experience like for the guest? Is the initial contact with a friendly, knowledgeable reservationist? Here’s where your own powers of observation come into play. Call your candidate and actually book a stay in one of their managed properties. How were you treated? Was the property well maintained and clean? Would you rent from them again? This simple technique can be a real eye opener.
These basic questions will help you get started in selecting the property management that can help you realize your investment plans.