Many people delight in the “rustic look” and enjoy spending time in a home with a fireplace fueled by good, old-fashioned wood, a claw-footed bathtub, and comfy beds piled high with down comforters.
But many more people prefer to embrace technology and stay in homes that have the latest and most up-to-date amenities possible. When they are searching through the various Vacation Rental Marketplace websites, they will scour each listing to see if it offers the sophisticated ambiance that they desire.
What technological upgrades can you institute to make your home stand out from the competition?
Let’s talk about the exterior of your home first.
Download Your FREE copy of ‘How to Rent Your House!
Renting your house is a great way to enter the world of real estate investing, but most first-timers (understandably) have a lot of questions. Fortunately, the experts at BiggerPockets have put together a complimentary guide on ‘How to Rent Your House’. All the skills, tools, and confidence you need to successfully rent your house are just a mouse-click away.
Consider Automatic Sprinkler System
This piece of technology is probably not one that your potential renters will care about very much — but it is one that may save your lawn and keep it lush and green even when you’re not there to care for it.
If your vacation property is a home with a front and back lawn, you will want to make sure that the grass and any gardens are properly cared for. Your renters will have neither the time nor the inclination to water your lawn for you. By installing an automatic sprinkler system that turns on and off automatically, you can take care of this issue.
Add a Garden
A garden — whether a simple rock garden or a blooming flower garden — certainly helps to beautify the exterior of a home. Because of its very nature, a rock garden will last longer and require less maintenance than a flower garden. A rock garden is not to everyone’s taste, however — more people prefer the beauty of colorful flowers.
Plant flowerbeds along all four sides of your home, and place plants that flower at different times of the year. If you install an automatic sprinkler system, you won’t need to worry about the flowers dying prematurely.
Add Siding or Paint the Exterior
There are so many different types of siding — imitation brick, rustic stone, or simple paneling — that it is easy to beatify a single exterior wall or the entire home.
This is one of those upgrades that may not bear fruit when you are simply trying to attract first-time visitors to your home, but it will certainly help in making them return visitors.
And to be frank, return visitors are what you want. It is always a good idea to go the extra mile for your guests so that they will return again and again, rather than simply hoping that new people will see your listing.
Perform Sidewalk and Driveway Repair
By the same token, if you have a sidewalk surrounding your house and there are any cracks or sections jutting up thanks to tree roots, have the sidewalk repaired. Not only will it look better, but it will also prevent any potential injuries from people, especially kids, tripping and falling.
If there are any large cracks in the driveway, this should be replaced as well.
Again, this might be a relatively expensive upgrade, but it will provide dividends in the end.
Add Sidewalk and Driveway Lighting
Another upgrade that will benefit both you and your renters is to install lighting along the sidewalk leading up to your house, as well as beside the driveway.
These lighting systems come in two main types — those that are timed to come on automatically and those that are activated by motion.
Again, it’s all a matter of safety. Your guest returns to your home in the middle of the night after a long evening. He or she may be quite tired. By having the sidewalk and driveway properly illuminated, there will be less chance of accidents.
Now let’s talk about the interior of your home.
Install Motion-Sensor Lighting
It doesn’t take any effort at all for someone to walk into a room and turn on the lights, except if it’s late at night and they don’t know or don’t remember where the light switches are because they are in an unfamiliar location.
It is extremely easy and inexpensive to install motion sensors right beside the doorways to each room of the home — from bedrooms to kitchen to living room. People will also be delighted if the bathrooms have such motion sensors because in the middle of the night they may become disoriented and forget where they are if they have to get up to go to the bathroom suddenly.
Provide Adequate Room Lighting
One thing that annoys most people when they stay in a hotel or motel is that there is no overhead lighting. There will be two totally inadequate lamps placed at equidistant locations over a queen or king-sized bed, and that’s about it.
Don’t subject your guests to this!
If your house does not have overhead lighting in the bedrooms or living room, install it. This is in addition to a variety of standing lamps and desk lamps, which you should provide for the ease and comfort of your guests.
Provide an Attractive Kitchen
Another reason why people will choose a vacation home over a hotel room is that they want a kitchen in which they can actually cook and a dining room where they can sit with their family members and share stories of the day as well as eat good food.
Make sure there is plenty of cabinet space for the stocking of groceries. Install under-cabinet lighting to make it very easy to see what’s on the counters.
If you don’t currently have a dishwasher, consider buying one. A microwave to go with the oven is also essential.
Install Windows and Window Coverings
Installing new windows can be an upgrade with a significant cost, but as with so many other improvements, it will save you money in the long run. Double-hung windows keep out the cold during the winter, for example.
The appropriate window coverings will also help keep out the damaging rays of the sun and prevent any drafts.
The window coverings — drapes or blinds — should match in all the rooms. This gives the home a “finished” look that your guests will appreciate.
What small changes do you think make a big differences in rentals?
Let me know with a comment!