Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions

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Debbie Bone
  • Developer
  • Vancouver, WA
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Anyone experienced with VACASA?

Debbie Bone
  • Developer
  • Vancouver, WA
Posted Oct 24 2019, 15:14

I’ve purchased three cabins-beachfront-great location cabins on 1/2 acre. I want to develop Condos or townhomes but meanwhile vacation rent them to help cover costs. I’m finding a lockdown style 32-35% property management rate by local managers and I’m not impressed by what I’m hearing on reviews. VACASA is new to this area and wants to manage the cabins but still want 32% not including extra fees for maintanance etc. The properties were very mismanaged so I can’t go on past rents. Area rents are great occupancy summer and dead in winter. I travel-work a lot and don’t really want to manage myself unless absolutely must. Does anyone have experience with VACASA or have suggestions. The local municipality requires a property manager for absentee owners and state of WA requires property managers to be licensed real estate agents. I’ve thought of a couple ways to work around all that but if VACASA is as good at marketing as they say I’d lean that way. Thanks.

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Replied Jan 27 2023, 08:35

Vacasa treats its employees like garbage. You literally work tons of hours,because they can not keep housekeepers and they are not paid enough! You also have deadlines to get the homes cleaned, your in trouble if you get overtime, and housekeeping more than likely knows more about your home than the GMs who are put to be in charge of them..so if your wanting things not stolen or broken, my advice don't have expensive things in your rentals.. 

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Replied Jan 27 2023, 10:28

As a homeowner, I can say from my experience, the housekeeping team is treated rather poorly. And yes, the above poster, Victoria, is correct, it's the housekeeping team that knows your property the best. Unfortunately, all that knowledge goes to waste because the housekeeping team is rushed through cleanings by management and paid very little (they just got another pay cut late 2022) which promotes constant turn over. Our local team (housekeeping & management) is very nice and everyone works extremely hard, unfortunately, upper management at the corporate level just does not understand local markets and since they are not the boots on the ground, they lack understanding of the time needed to properly provide the services they promise to deliver to homeowners. As owners that live in another state, we have to schedule at a minimum, quarterly trips to deep clean the property because housekeeping can't keep up. Guest experience is not a priority to them and communication with our guests have gotten so bad, that I will phone our property on the landline to check in with the guests and make sure they don't have any questions. This is not allowed by Vacasa, but after a handful of bad reviews, all centered around poor communication, I have taken on the guest experience on my own. Vacasa IS good at getting your property rented. We have had very few vacant nights in the year we have been with them and winter is typically difficult to book in our rural area. Unfortunately, those bookings come in at the sacrifice of a decent nightly rate. Our nightly rate during the winter months has been below $100. After Vacasa's fees, we were sometimes bringing in less than $60 a night for a 2 bedroom/2 bath that sleeps 6 people in a very desirable setting with 95% of reviews being 5 star. That doesn't even cover the cost of mortgage, property taxes & rental taxes, insurance, guest gift, fire wood, cable, internet, amenities, etc. However, the property is in use which limits the possibility of frozen pipes. Bottom line, Vacasa does deliver on bookings, however, on the guest experience, maintenance, and cleaning, be prepared to visit your property regularly (which you should do as a homeowner anyway) and WORK or have your own team that will subsidize Vacasa. Kind of makes their 25%+ not worth it when you have to spend more money on top of that to make up for their undelivered promises. 

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Replied Jan 27 2023, 16:07
Quote from @Todd McLaughlin:
Quote from @Mary Beth Hebert:
Cathy:  That is horrifying!  I am about to visit my own condo for the first time since Vacasa took over management 3 months ago.  It's been almost fully rented, though those bookings already existed when Vacasa took over, so no credit to them for that.  I'll try to remember to report back when I get back.

Mary I'd love to hear what you found when you visited your condo.

Apologies for not reporting sooner.  I've now been using Vacasa for 13 months and have visited my property 3x.  There have definitely been issues with guests destroying some items (2 of 3 brand new comforters had to be replaced in the first month they were on the beds!).  That said, I've been pretty happy with Vacasa.  BUT I think it makes a huge difference who your local manager(s) is/are.  My contact person has been really good.  She's been responsive and a great communicator.  I've had to replace an oven, which ended up requiring a lot of handyman work.  I've replaced all the window treatments and a few other things and they've arranged the service people for all of that (at my expense, of course).  But when a hurricane was heading toward the island, Vacasa proactively moved all my patio furniture inside.  

There have been a lot of unexpected  expenses, but I can't blame Vacasa for those (they paid to replace the comforters--well, they've told me they will, I have not submitted the receipts yet).  It's been a big learning curve for me since this is my first str property.  In addition to having a really great local manager, one other thing could make some difference:  I have a relatively high end, ocean front condo which is expensive to rent so I don't have to worry about having a bunch of college kids tearing the place up.  Most of my bookings are a couple with or without a single child or two couples.  I've no clue what these folks do to comforters, but since I allow dogs, I suspect that could be the answer.
The property has been very well rented this first year, so I'm inclined to stick with Vacasa in spite of the very high fees.  If the service declines, I'll absolutely be jumping ship.