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

PS – Connect with me on social! IG @christinavandergriftFB MsChristinaVanDergrift, and LinkedIn

If They Can Do It, Why Can’t I?

Have you ever wanted to try to do something or emulate someone’s successes so that you could be successful like them, but didn’t know where to start? You dreamt up a wild, crazy idea or dream, only to get excited for a moment and then overwhelm yourself with the idea and how it may not work out. Then the fear of the “why you shouldn’t” and the uncomfortable possible outcomes flood in, and make you not do anything a moment longer…

I have been there many times throughout my life. Sometimes at the most random moments or while traveling, sometimes during work and maybe even during adversity.

Sometimes, however, this thought or dream is planted in the back of your mind and again at random times, you get reminders of it or see signs of things that make you think, “Maybe I should think about that again or try it to see where it goes.”

When these thoughts come back, that is when I tend to have the self-talk, a lot of prayer asking for wisdom and favor, and normally ask myself: “What is the worst that could happen, if I just try? If they can do it, why can’t I?”

Then, I write down the goal. Writing it down somehow makes it seem more real and less scary. I think of and write down the first few steps that it would take to get to that goal. I try not to get overwhelmed by the end result, but only focus on the first 2 steps of whatever it might be.

I had one of these moments last year, around the time of the shutdown. The world had literally shut down and I felt helpless and lacking. I was supposed to be the leader at my businesses, the teacher then to my kids, and a wife to my husband. There was so much unknown all around me, but deep down I had faith it would all work out and that we would get through it. I wasn’t sure how, or what was ahead, but I had to find some type of control in my world, a healthy outlet to get through it.

That is when I got my sign of what I needed to do… I had recently read a book that encouraged me to tell my story and write my own book so that I could help others with their lives, with my knowledge and life experience. I had never thought in my life that I would write a book, or even have the time to do it, but apparently – it was time! And why not, what did I actually have to lose – if someone else can do it, why can’t I? The book idea I had was teaching people how to buy, create and operate vacation rentals.

When I first learned about vacation rentals, I had been in real estate in a variety of roles already, from Broker/Owner of a real estate company, to landlord, entrepreneur, etc. I had one of those “moments” that planted the seed several years ago, that intrigued me about trying something new and getting into a new adventure of owning vacation rentals.

With a husband, three sons, and several businesses, there was little time to travel – let alone have a vacation home someplace to regularly visit. By chance, I had a conversation with a local gentleman that had purchased a vacation home in Florida that was much more expensive to maintain and own than originally planned. He explained to me that he had decided to have a property manager rent it out as a vacation rental so that he not only had a free vacation home, but also had basically a free place to visit and stay at that others were paying for and maintaining for him while he wasn’t there. (Insert lightbulb moment here for me – If he can do it, why can’t I?!)

Fast forward through a huge learning curve, highs and lows (and when I say lows, I mean lows)… I used it all to help educate and inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and take chances. Additionally, I explained tons of other benefits of real estate investing, even with little to no money down and one being an additional income stream.

My book is called Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide, and although it appears to be a manual of how to buy, operate and grow vacation rentals, behind the cover it is so much more!

My common threads throughout the book are:

  1. Setbacks are ok, keep going;
  2. Bumps in the road do not mean you should turn around;
  3. Life is what you make it, so make it happen! And above all:
  4. Do everything in excellence!
  5. It doesn’t matter who you are or your pedigree, you can make a name for yourself with hard work, consistency and goals.

I have included an excerpt from my book and hope that it inspires you to dream big, set the goal, make a plan and have faith that you can find the right teachers and knowledge along the way to make it happen!

Conclusion (Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide)

Ever since I went down the path of owning my own vacation rentals, I felt like I became a conduit of information and realized that it sparked so many questions and curiosity. Ultimately that is what made me realize I wanted to teach and empower others to do the same.

It is such a rewarding and profitable industry, and I know that with the right tools, you can do it too. I hope that I have helped you and allowed you to think out of the box for your future and next steps. Whether you currently have rentals that you can upsize or convert, you have a down payment to buy an existing one or create one, or maybe you want to buy one with “No Money Down” – you can, and the sky’s the limit!!! I cannot stress this enough. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Write down the goal, plan on the steps, then put in the work… anything is possible!

Short-term sacrifices lead to long-term rewards; consistency is key. I can remember being 17 years old and having to get up at 5:00am to go to my waitress job thinking, “Why the heck am I not like most other kids my age and not just sleeping in!?” But that thought would only last for a second and I would make myself get up and go. The same thing has happened many times in my adult life. I remind people regularly, including my kids, that these short-term sacrifices pay off big time – if you are consistent.

Maybe you can’t jump all in to the industry right now because of financial reasons – just start small, and don’t give up. If you’re hesitant because of nervousness or not wanting to take a chance, just visualize yourself doing it and what the outcomes could be. You may realize – how can I not do it!?

Like I said at the beginning, life is what you make it, so let’s make it happen!

Chris 

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).