Autumn Is Here – Time to Check in on those Safety Items & Prep for Winter!

It is important to check in with your vacation rentals from time to time to see what does need some attention. I know you will lose revenue from a few nights here and there, but like the gutters above it is better than waiting till there is a BIG problem or a bad review.

Autumn Is Here – Time to Check in on those Safety Items & Prep for Winter!

It’s that that time of the year again already. It is one of my favorite seasons, especially at the Sky-High Chalet! The views of the leaves changing for many miles, the crisp evenings and the warm days. We may even have a night here or there to go and use ourselves. It is a great time of the year at all of our vacation rentals for different reasons, but I talk about the Chalet a lot because it is the closest to our home. 

This week, we started our fall cleanup outside, with trimming the shrubs and perennials back and raking any leaves or debris from the yard. It is also a great time of the year to clean your gutters! I know it’s a pain, but well worth taking the time to do it rather than having ice dam up and leak into your home this winter.

The summer is the busy season here, so we also have been going through and swapping out any worn items, like throw blankets, pillows, bedding, towels etc, for new fresh ones. We are making plans with our housekeepers about scheduling time for a deep clean and also to replace any worn carpets and touch minor dings up around the place. 

It is important to check in with your vacation rentals from time to time to see what does need some attention. I know you will lose revenue from a few nights here and there, but like the gutters above it is better than waiting till there is a BIG problem or a bad review. There will be wear and tear in your properties, even if you ask folks to take their shoes off inside, so annually I would recommend doing the little fixes.

In Florida the off season was summer, so that would be when we would drain the pool and do a good once over, along with any repairs to hot tub, docks, AC maintenance and of course any interior things that needed attention.

The biggest things that we are checking on this time of the year for our Northern Properties are:

  • Heating system servicing
  • Fill and propane/oil tanks
  • Chimneys cleaned
  • Check smoke detectors and replace batteries
  • Service or replace fire extinguishers
  • Double check on plowing/snow removal plans
  • Clean gutters/flower beds
  • Put away patio furniture or cover if not using during winter months
  • Cover or put away BBQ grills if not using during winter months
  • Do a deep clean of interior
  • Replace any damaged or broken items (for example, all of my wine glasses at one of my rentals are mix matched now, so I am replacing with a new set)
  • You also want to check in from time to time to your Welcome Book, so that you don’t run out of space in it for guests to share their experiences in it
  • Make sure paths to enter properties are well lit

All of these things are essential to keep your vacation rental running at top notch. The goal always is to offer a product in excellence, so that you get great reviews, make more money and keep them coming back!

For more tips check out my Vacation Rental Academy Coursemy Book and sign up below to get updates on new Blog posts!

Enjoy!

Chris

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Beach or Mountains…oh where should I have a vacation rental?

There are so many amazing destinations to choose from for a vacation rental! Florida tends to be the most popular state for them overall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the most profitable!

There are so many amazing destinations to choose from for a vacation rental! Florida tends to be the most popular state for them overall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the most profitable!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Florida! That is why we owned one there (our very first one) but realized over time that we could buy other properties, at sometimes half of the price and make double the money! Yes, double the money or more even, with half of the expense, from the initial down payment to monthly overhead to keep. For example, our Florida property was a $430k property when we purchased it and did have an in-ground pool, canal access and was in great condition, but only grossed between $30k-$40k/year. That doesn’t leave much left over at year’s end for a net income (which is partially why we sold it, and mostly because the prices went up so high).

I do think that beach area vacation rentals are a great buy but would highly recommend that you are sure of your projections, especially in very seasonal areas, so that you are not in over your head. So many folks in the beach areas use them primarily as second homes, and if that is the case, that is awesome because any extra income is just icing on top. If that is the sole reason that you are buying one there, do your due diligence and possibly try to find an area that has year-round vacationers so that you can sustain the annual steady flow of guests. I also do know that there are properties that are VERY profitable and that make a ton of money, but for newbies, those properties may not be attainable, depending on your finances and willingness to take risk.

Our Florida home had a steady flow year-round, but the nightly rate was dramatically different. Winter months, we could charge $300+ a night, while in the “off-season” summer months we were down into the $100’s/night. That is a HUGE difference when it comes to the monthly breakdown. The summer was also tough because of it being so warm and the electric bill being so high from the air conditioning. I LOVE the beach and do plan on an ocean front property someday, but for those starting out, it’s ok if that isn’t for you!

The mountains on the other hand offer an entirely different angle of potential expense, income, and seasons. They can be very “seasonal” also, especially if it’s in an area that doesn’t offer winter sports like skiing, snowmobiling, or isn’t close to attractions. Our properties in more rural, mountainous areas have blown the others out of the water. The area and average list price of the properties still do play a factor into it all of course. In our area for an example, you can pay anywhere from $200k-$400k for a great mountain home/cabin with seclusion and possible views and expect for it to gross anywhere from $45k-$90k/year depending on amenities, location, views, access etc. The same goes for our cabin in Gatlinburg, Tn. Both areas offer year-round opportunities for guests and a steadier flow of monthly income.

Now to circle back around, I am not saying that you must do either to start. You can start very small and wherever you are (if they are allowed there) and scale up over time. I do offer a module in my Vacation Rental Academy Course that teaches you how to find the perfect property, so if you haven’t taken that yet, please make sure that you do! It will offer you valuable insight regardless of what area you happen to choose, from location, to features, attractions, and so much more. Make sure that it is affordable and that the projections will be profitable, so that it can be a long-term fun investment! My course will give you all of the tips from how to buy, where to buy, how to furnish, market, customer service, how to find a property manager, and how to grow it so that you can have more eventually!

For more tips and insight on all things vacation rentals, motivation, and abundance, make sure to continue to follow my blog, and connect with me on Instagram (@christinavandergrift) and FB (@MsChristinaVanDergrift).

Chris

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My Comprehensive, Cutting-Edge Guide to Buying and Managing Vacation Rentals

Drawing from her experience as a self-made real estate broker and entrepreneur, the book serves as a comprehensive resource for all aspects of owning and operating a vacation rental, including buying, managing, dressing, pricing, and maintaining the property.

WELLSBORO, PA. — After a year of canceled vacation plans and weekends spent lounging around at home, travelers are eager to get back out in the world. As they make their summer plans, a significant amount will opt for the privacy, comfort, affordability, and unique experience of a vacation rental, adding to the growth of this highly lucrative and equitable industry and creating a window of opportunity for those looking to invest.

To help curious newcomers and traditional rental owners better understand this flourishing market, Christina VanDergrift has released “Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide: My Wealth-Creating Secrets with Little to No Money Down!.” Drawing from her experience as a self-made real estate broker and entrepreneur, the book serves as a comprehensive resource for all aspects of owning and operating a vacation rental, including buying, managing, dressing, pricing, and maintaining the property.

VanDergrift begins by taking readers through the story of her first vacation rental, humorously recounting the lessons learned along the way. Afterward, she provides digestible, concrete steps on how to get off the ground with shopping, selecting, and preparing the perfect space. Through candidly sharing her path to success, she hopes to empower readers with the message that real estate investing, particularly vacation rentals, is more attainable than it may appear.

“I started out with no formal education and a family that didn’t invest in anything,” said VanDergrift. “Investing in real estate and vacation rentals has changed our entire world and created lots of memories and long-term abundance.”

“This book made me excited to look into vacation rentals,” wrote an Amazon reviewer. “Christina’s honesty, humor, and personal experiences confirm that the process may not be easy and there will be bumps, but with hard work and determination, one can reach their financial goals.”

Educational, engaging, and easy-to-read, “Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide” demonstrates that regardless of budget, education, or experience, anyone can own, enjoy and generate wealth from a vacation rental property.

“Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide: My Wealth-Creating Secrets with Little to No Money Down!”
By Christina VanDergrift
ISBN: 9781982262105 (softcover); 9781982262129 (hardcover); 9781982262112(electronic)
Available from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Balboa Press

About the author
Christina VanDergrift understands the challenge of having big dreams but little money or experience to take the steps toward attaining them. Through her work, she strives to use her unwavering motivation and lessons learned to educate, inspire and empower people who are interested in getting into the vacation rental industry, real estate, or business in general but don’t know where or how to begin. Starting with only grit, determination, and a willingness to learn and put in the work, she is now a real estate broker and entrepreneur with multiple businesses under her belt, including a car wash, vacation rental management company, and settlement company. VanDergrift was recognized as Realtor of the Year in 2019 by the North Central Penn Board of Realtors and made Pennsylvania Business Central’s list of Top 100 People in 2020. She currently resides in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three boys.

VanDergrift has also launched her virtual Vacation Rental Academy to provide educational resources to individuals ready to take the next step in becoming vacation rental owners. For more information, please visit christina-vandergrift.com, orconnect with her on Facebook (@MsChristinaVanDergrift), Twitter (@CRCVanDergrift), and Instagram (@christinavandergrift).