Landlording & Rental Properties

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Vacation Property for Maximum Renter Appeal

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
61 Articles Written

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Let’s say that your vacation home is in Orlando, Florida and that you want to rent it out to people during those months of the year when you won’t be using it.

Orlando is a very popular vacation destination, as we don’t need to tell you! So how can you ensure that people looking for the best home vacation rental will choose your property over all the competition?

First, do not despair about finding steady renters for your vacation home. Since Orlando is such a popular destination, there will always be someone needing a place to stay! But you want someone to choose your property first, not as a last resort!

You also want them to pay you a reasonable rent so that you can make a profit out of your property — and this is possible if you add some features to your home that your competitors don't offer. (Remember, you are competing against other people renting out their vacation homes, as well as hotels and motels!)

Curb Appeal

“Curb appeal” is a term real estate agents use when talking about homes that people are trying to sell. But the same principle holds true when you are trying to encourage potential guests to rent your property by sharing dozens of attractive photos on the various vacation rental marketplace websites such as FlipKey, Homeaway (click here to list your place for free on HomeAway—only pay when you get a booking) or VRBO. It is even more imperative if you create videos of your property for your YouTube marketing channel and for your website (which you should have in addition to your listings on the marketplace websites).

If your home has bright paint or clean siding, there’s no real need to improve, but if the paint has faded and is peeling, consider having the whole house repainted in a cheerful color.

People in search of a new home might not be persuaded by an extensive flower garden — they might just like a lawn — but your renters will quite likely find it very attractive. Boast of it as a romantic setting for an evening’s outdoor dinner in your description of the home, for example.


Related: 17 Guest Security & Safety Tips for Your Vacation Home Rental Property

Have a lawn service take care of weeding, mowing, and watering. If your exterior property is arranged so that there’s no mowing needed (you’ve had an extensive rock garden installed, for example), make sure that your automatic sprinklers come on for the flowers.

If you’ve got a pool — either in-ground or above-ground — in your backyard, this could be a definite plus. Just make sure that there are plenty of safety devices available and large signs encouraging parents to keep an eye on their young children. And if you have a pool, you must have your handyperson maintain it properly.

A private pool is a definite attraction for people coming to nice, sunny, hot Orlando. But the safety of your guests should always be paramount. Make sure your guests sign a waiver, too.

Amenities: Bikes and Kites

Other items you can provide for your guests at no additional charge (except for a deposit) may be bicycles or even kites! There are many kinds of sports equipment that will enhance your guests’ stay at your property. If you’re going to go with bikes, make sure your guests sign a waiver absolving you of any responsibility should they be harmed while riding the bike — and have a lawyer look at the paperwork to make sure it’s ironclad with unambiguous wording!

Home Security System

If you don’t already have a home security system for your vacation home, consider having one installed. Not only will this system help to keep your home safe, but your guests will feel more secure — even if the home is located in the poshest of locations!

Interview security system providers to ensure you get the best deal for the best company. As with all things, don’t sacrifice quality due to price. If you can get a security system and a fire alarm system hooked together, you may save money on the package. The security system needs to be easy to use so that your guests won’t have a problem entering and leaving the home.

For added security, make sure the home is well lit. Line every path with solar-powered stake lights and install motion sensor lights by the front door, side door, back door, and garage. Home and garden stores sell these solar-powered stake lights that come in a variety of designs and heights.


Home Automation

There are other upgrades to your vacation home you can make that you can boast about in your descriptive text, which will also save you money in the long run.

Related: 7 Smart Home Gadgets Landlords Should Consider for a Sought-After Rental

For example, how many guests think they’ve turned the water off in the sink, but being distracted, forget and leave it on all night? That’s a lot of water going down the drain — and a lot of money added on to your water bill. By installing motion-activated faucets, your guests can use just the amount of water they need, and the water will automatically turn off after a few seconds.

It’s possible today to convert your home into a “smart home.” A “smart thermostat,” for example, allows you to digitally set the temperature in your home, so the heating or air conditioning comes on at a certain time and turns off at a specific time.

There are so many things that someone can do these days with a remote control, just sitting in a chair — assuming you purchase the upgrades. You can raise and lower shades, turn gas fireplaces on and off, and switch on and off lights, all with the touch of a button.

Be sure to list all these amenities in the description of your property!

Something that everyone expects, if you’ve got a garage, is an automatic garage door opener. But you may as well mention that in your text as well.


Depending on where you home is located, you will want to have wireless internet available. Obviously, if you have a cabin in the woods that people go to for solitude, you may not be able to have wifi, but for any other location, it really is a must.

Any other upgrades you’d add to this list? As the guest of vacation properties, what amenities have you enjoyed most?

Leave your input below!

Trey Duling is the President/CEO of, a large travel company specializing in Florida getaways. He has over 27 years of...
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    Andrew Escamilla
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Great article Trey with some very useful information. I have one questions though. I know a large number of vacation rentals are in warmer climates but what about winter vacation homes such as Lake Tahoe and mountain areas. I would guess winter prepping the home would be a good idea making sure pipes don’t freeze and if in a place like Lake Tahoe or Truckee, CA they can get up to 6-8 feet of snow so snow removal for safety would be a concern too. Thanks again for your tips.
    Brad Ter Beek Investor from Mystic, Connecticut
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hey Andrew! Just came across a decent winterizing article: It has a lot of the big items. My grandparents manage three vacation rentals properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and you can bet it gets COLD up there! If you’d like more specifics I can absolutely get them for you.
    Trey Duling from Orlando, Florida
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hey Andrew, I am not real sure about prepping houses for the winter, my vacation home management business is in Orlando. We don’t know anything about snow….is that the white stuff that is on the ground in Colorado and Wyoming? Just kidding! Yes, I’m sure snow removal and prepping the house against pipes bursting and the such needs to be done, I just don’t have any expertise in that area.
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Just curious has any forum members ever been involved in foreclosure tax overages, does it really work? hard to believe an home owner would leave all that money on the table.
    Tom Smith
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Trey, I agree with you on curb appeal. This is the first impression of the home. It is important to get it looking it’s best. I noticed lots of bright color in the landscape. This also helps. Great article.
    Brian Eilering Real Estate Agent from Woodstock, GA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    We just left a vacation rental at the beach near Gulf Shores. It was rather pricey and I agree with what you said in regards to having things to do. We were near a fishing area, I would have liked to have either had or have known the following: 1. A couple fishing poles 2. Crab trap 3. Bikes 4. Kayak 5. What can we catch and where (we were there for a few days scouting the area for our future VR. I spent too much time figuring out my fishing location and not catching anything) 6. Wifi was out – not completely their fault 7. Golf Cart (we were just between walking/driving to local marina) I felt like the price we paid, we should have had a few of these items, certainly not all. As I proceed, I will implementing quite a few of them. Thanks for sharing, great article.