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10 Tasks Vacation Homeowners Should Complete NOW to Prepare For the Summer Rush

Trey Duling
4 min read
10 Tasks Vacation Homeowners Should Complete NOW to Prepare For the Summer Rush

Summer is right around the corner, and for most vacation homeowners, this usually means “high season.” Today, I thought we would look at 10 great tips for setting up your vacation home for the high season. Let me start by saying that I recommend you do most of these things yourself compared to having your property manager do them.

There are really only two ways property managers make money: repairs or chores done to a vacation home or through rentals. More often than not, property managers usually way overcharge when they are asked to do simple tasks or chores for a vacation home they are managing.

Essential Preparations for Vacation Homeowners Ahead of the Summer Season

This preparation goes beyond a simple tidy-up, and can greatly impact the comfort and satisfaction of your guests, the durability of your property, and even the profitability of your rental business. Here we delve into 10 essential tasks that should be actioned to ensure your vacation home is fully primed for the summer rush.

Change all the lightbulbs and batteries

These two items seem to always go out at the most inopportune time, so I recommend changing every light bulb and the batteries in the remote controls, alarms, and electronic door locks at least twice a year. Doing this will prevent a guest from coming in to find that the front door won’t open because the electronic door lock batteries are dead.

Related: 5 Tips to Protect Your Vacation Property Against Renter Wear & Tear

Deep clean the vacation home

This means pulling out the sofa from the wall, cleaning up the dust bunnies that have collected under there, and doing the same to the refrigerator and all the beds in the house. It is simply amazing what you will find behind these large items. If you have plants, you must take them outside and shake them pretty well to remove the dust.

Shampoo the carpets

Carpets with large stains on them are the biggest complaint most guests have. I recommend using a professional carpet cleaning company as compared to renting a machine. The key to getting stains out of carpets or upholstery is to use really hot water. The machines you rent do not heat the water enough to get the stains out.

Update or replenish kitchen supplies

When it comes to self-catering vacations, a well-equipped kitchen is always appreciated by guests. Ensure that the cookware, cutlery, and kitchen appliances are in good condition and replace any worn-out or broken items. Don’t forget the small items like wine openers, can openers, and spatulas. Consider stocking the kitchen with essential cooking ingredients like salt, pepper, cooking oil, and coffee, and ensure that there is enough dinnerware and glassware for the maximum number of guests that your vacation home can accommodate.

Conduct pest control

Pests can become an issue, especially in a vacation home that might not be occupied year-round. Before the high season, conducting a thorough pest control session is important. This should be done professionally to secure all potential hiding spots and entry points. Don’t forget the garden or backyard if your vacation home has one; outdoor pest control can help prevent a myriad of issues, like wasps or ants invading a guest’s picnic. Regular pest control will ensure that your guests don’t have to share their vacation with unwanted critters and can help maintain the overall cleanliness and hygiene of your vacation home.

Make sure signage and guest books are updated

Walk through the house and ensure all signage is properly displayed and the guest book is updated. One thing we have done is changed all our guest books to fluorescent yellow/green this year. It catches the guests’ attention and has cut down on our customer service calls by 15%. Almost every question guests ask us is answered in the guest book, so we wanted to bring attention to this book.

Do a safety walkthrough

Take your time, walk through your house, and pay attention to anything guests could hurt themselves on. Here are a few tips on what to look for: bumps in the carpet, handrails not firmly attached, deck guard rails not firmly attached, loose door knobs, etc. Responsible homeowners take care of their properties and the guest who are staying in them. Walking around does not take much time and ensuring everything is securely attached and safe for guests.

Review directions and check-in instructions

It is a good idea twice a year to review all the materials you send out to your guests to ensure the material is easy to understand and accurate. Most vacation home hot spots around the country are expanding now, and there are a lot of detours and road construction. Make sure your instructions take guests to your house the easiest way possible.

Related: 5 Things No One Tells You About Owning Vacation Home Rentals

Review and update your marketing materials

Twice a year it is a good idea to review all the marketing material you have out there and make changes where necessary. Updated, time-stamped pictures are key for attracting even the toughest of clients to please. Most guests like to know that the information and pictures they look at are very recent. Also, always update your copy and highlight all updates you have made to your house.

It is a good idea twice a year to also review the nightly pricing of your vacation home and make adjustments where you need to. Here is a simple model to follow: if occupancy is high for a certain month, raise the nightly prices just a little, and if occupancy is low, then lower the prices just a little. Continue to track the occupancy for the dates where you raised or lowered them. If occupancy is still great for a set period, then continue to raise the prices and if occupancy is low, then continue to lower the prices until bookings come in. This yield management can make vacation homeowners a lot of money at the end of the year.

Complete annual pool and AC services

Research has shown that life expectancy will be prolonged if your AC and pool equipment is serviced annually or semiannually. Right before the high season is a great time to have these services performed. I hope these tips help you when getting ready for the summer rush.

Have any more suggestions to keep vacation homes in tip-top shape? Leave your comments below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.