How to Improve Your Vacation Rental to Book More Weeks

January 17, 2017
Posted: Xpert Team
Categories: Blog

improve vacation rental bookings

January on the Outer Banks may appear to be slow but that is deceiving.  It is a great time of year to make sure all repairs to your Outer Banks rental property are complete.  It is also the time of year to get home improvements completed before the spring and summer season.  So, what improvements are most in demand for 2017?  Most important, which improvements will make your property stand out and be profitable?

Read the list below to find out!

Kitchen Update

A full kitchen remodel can be quite expensive.  It is not uncommon for cost to run $50k and higher.  If you have a poor layout or inferior materials then you may need to do a full remodel.  However, if your layout and materials are high quality then a few selected improvements could give you real bang for the buck. 

Painting the cabinets will allow you to completely change the look for minimal cost.  Replacing knobs or adding an island can increase the appeal and allow the workspace to function better.  New countertops will appear fresh and clean on the crisp newly painted cabinets.

Consider adding some wow to your kitchen with smart appliances.  A smart coffee maker that can be controlled by a renter’s smart phone is sure to appeal to renters.  There are all types of smart appliance on the market from refrigerators, dishwashers to microwaves should you need to replace an existing appliance. 

Bathroom Update

It may be time to look at your bathrooms from the eyes of a vacation renter.  Your baths may be completely functional but lack the oomph factor many guests looks for while on vacation.  A high end house will require a jetted tub and lavish details.  However, a few luxurious details in even a modest rental will pay rich dividends.  A high end rain water shower head will be appreciated by all guest for a rejuvenated shower experience.

If your bathroom surfaces are worn and tired it may be time to replace them.  A new sink and mirror will instantly give the space an improved vibe.  Consider replacing faucets, lighting, towel racks and a few new accessories to take it a step further.  Add a fresh coat of paint to pull the whole new look together.

Entertainment Systems

It seems everyone wants a big flat screen TV.  If you don’t already have one, add it to the den or living room where families gather.  Next, consider adding smaller flat screen version to bedrooms and other spaces.  You will find hanging the flat screen will free up space on surfaces to provide a cleaner and neater look to your space.  Make sure to photograph the new space so potential renters can see instantly the updated modern look.

Smart Home

Smart home technology can provide some real benefits to out of town property owners.  Home security systems let you monitor your home with your smart phone.  You can even lock and unlock the doors with your phone to allow access for workmen or guests.  Cameras will let you monitor the home, inside and out from a distance but be sure to inform guest or turn monitoring off when rented.

A smart thermostat is a popular upgrade and can provide cost savings.  However, do not be tempted to change guest settings while they are in the house.  While you should set the allowable range, resist the urge to override guest settings.

Smart lighting is a simple upgrade and allows guest to set the lighting according to mood without finding where all the switches and settings are located.

One caution with employing smart tech in your vacation rental is to not make it too complex for the average renter to be able to operate.  You don’t want to frustrate your guests.  A high end home theater the guest can’t figure out how to operate will not add to guest satisfaction.

Upgrade Exterior

You don’t want your renters to drive up to the rental home and be disappointed.  Making sure the home has curb appeal has the added benefit of attracting other vacationers who may see your home and be interested in renting in the future.

First impressions count.  Obviously, it has to be clean.  A thorough power wash is necessary at the beginning of the season and even during the season to keep it fresh.  Bugs, salt and vegetative debris can make a great house look sad. 

Fresh caulk and paint will improve the appearance and energy efficiency of your home.  Even just re-painting the front door can add a whole new look and drama to the house.

Exterior Landscaping

In the Outer Banks, a little landscaping can go a long way.  A small patch of grass will provide a play area for the toddler set or provide a play scape for a family game of croquette.  It can also make your house stand out from competing properties.  Succulents in pots or baskets are welcoming and do not require on going watering and maintenance.

At minimum, you should have trees trimmed, leaves raked and flower beds mulched and weeded before guest arrive.  Edging on street and driveway provides a finished and well-cared for look.

Refinish Decks

People come to the Outer Banks to enjoy the outdoors.  Make sure your deck is inviting and safe.  Replace any rotted boards, secure all popped nails and power wash and refinish the decking. 

Update Flooring

Floors can take a beating in the Outer Banks.  Our dirt is more like sand that grinds finishes and makes them appear worn after a short time.  Carpets suffer and get worn and stained after only a few guests.  In areas where flooring is too worn to refurbish, upgrade with new flooring.  Today’s vinyl flooring has many styles that look like wood with the durability of vinyl. 

Refinishing hard wood floors will make them look new again.  Make sure to include a good sealer for easy cleaning and to keep the floors looking nice for many seasons.  For more flooring ideas, check out this post.

Replace Windows and Doors

Windows open up the view and if that view is clouded by old cloudy windows your guest will not be impressed.  Besides making the space appear dirty, old windows are not energy efficient.  Replacing old windows with energy efficient windows and doors will provide savings on your energy expenses and keep guests more comfortable and secure.

Handicap Friendly

Including some handicapped friendly improvements will increase the appeal your rental has to a larger market.  Many families include the extended family in vacation plans and that can include older seniors with some mobility issues.  A few simple additions of grab bars in showers and baths can be the deciding factor between your house or your neighbor’s house being rented.  If you are doing a remodel to the bath, kitchen or other rooms, consider designs that are also handicapped assessable; like counters that wheelchairs will fit under, wider hallways and elevators.

Little Things

Try to look at your vacation home with fresh eyes.  It may be exciting to imagine the brand new gourmet kitchen but it may not be in the budget or provide a good return on investment.  Consider the little things like door knobs.  You probably could not tell me what type or finish are on your door knobs.  Replacing door knobs throughout the home can go a long way in updating the look.  Alternatively, removing the knobs, spray painting them with a new color or finish can provide the same boost at a fraction of the cost. 

Are the lighting fixtures, fans, faucets dated or worn?  What about the knobs on your cabinets?  Replacing them or refinishing with paint will instantly freshen up the space for pennies.

How about window treatments or blinds?  If they are not functioning or missing slats replace them immediately.  While this may appear to be a small item, it can really bother your guest and could be the thing that prevents a good night sleep or catching the game because the blinds won’t keep the glare off the TV.

As potential renters are viewing your rental pictures, you want them to see well designed inviting spaces that they can’t wait to visit and experience.  If your pictures look like the space was pieced together with second hand cast offs they will likely go to the next property.  Travelers book vacation homes to have the comfort and convenience of home with a taste of luxury they may not get at home.

If you are not sure where to start, review the past years guest reviews to see what may be a common item mentioned.  The staff at Xpert Home Services can also provide an assessment to suggest improvements that will improve your bottom line and increase bookings. 

The number one most important thing is cleaning.  Call today to schedule an Xpert Home Service deep clean.

From painting to home automation to cleaning, Xpert Home Services has you covered.  Before you embark on your next vacation rental improvement project, speak to the Xperts or call 252-226-9742 to get the job done safely, professionally and at the best cost. 

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