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Feb 26 2018
Hosting Tips

8 Renovation Tips for First Time Vacation Home Renters

Have you decided to break into the vacation rental market and rent out a property? Great choice! Today, due to the ease of the Internet when it comes to booking vacation properties – especially the rise of home-sharing sites like Airbnb – reaching potential guests has never been easier. If you’re planning on sprucing up your property in anticipation of your first guests, you’re likely wondering where to begin with renovations. Try the following renovation tips for first time vacation home renters to get started.

1. Think about who you’ll be renting to

Before you take on any renovations, you need to think about who you’re marketing to. Younger guests are likely to have different needs and desires for vacation properties than older guests, and although you can of course market to all kinds of demographics, you ought first to figure out who is likely to be looking for a rental in your area. Is it popular with older people looking to visit museums and galleries, or are you more likely to be hosting university students who just want to party? Once you have an idea of who your market consists of, figure out how to cater to them. Guests who are in the area to indulge in the nightlife may be less bothered about fancy showers and more concerned with extra lounge space, while families with children might consider a comfortable sleeping space and a big kitchen to be of the utmost importance when choosing a property.

2. Consider what will give you good reviews

You might have to trawl through a few review sites, but try to get a feel of what guests are commenting on when leaving reviews for properties in your area. Do they appreciate modern features in a home or are they generally more focused on function? Getting a glimpse into what vacationers appreciate will help you to plan a renovation. Decent reviews are incredibly important in a competitive market, so you want to make sure you’re going to impress your guests and encourage them to speak positively of your property.

3. Think about the outside of your rental property

The outside of the property is what your guests are going to see first – and we all know that first impressions stick. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden to show off, be sure to keep it well maintained; you might even like to plant a few trees.  Additionally, ensure the home itself is looking slick by cleaning out the gutters and repainting whenever necessary.

4. Work on making your home as comfortable as possible

For most people on vacation, comfort is paramount. If you can manage it, add an ensuite to the bedroom – everyone likes having a private bathroom, so it’ll likely be a selling point. Consider additions that will help with temperature control; if you don’t want to install an air conditioner, you might like to invest in a set of blinds that will help to keep the cold out and the heat in during winter. A good set of blinds will also function as a sleep aid, which will be a plus for your guests; vacations are for relaxation so they will appreciate getting a good night’s sleep.

5. Make a plan for long-term maintenance

Ideally, you’ll be welcoming a lot of guests to your property, which means a lot more wear and tear than usual. You might have finished renovating by the time your first guests arrive, but if you want to keep your property looking fresh, you’ll have to commit to regular work. Make a checklist for each room in your property and its areas that are likely to need maintenance, such as carpets, fixtures, and mattresses. Ensure that you check on each item regularly and repair or replace it as necessary; carrying out maintenance once or twice a year will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

6. Carry out renovations that are likely to help you sell later

You might not want to rent out a property forever. Perhaps your property is an investment to sell on at retirement, or perhaps you just don’t want the work associated with catering to visitors forever. If this is the case, you ought to focus on renovations that will make your property easy to sell in the future. Particularly sought-after are properties with extra bathrooms or kitchens – why not anticipate this early and save yourself time in the future?

7. Add a unique touch that visitors are likely to appreciate

Perhaps you’re already planning to offer a stellar breakfast or a fantastic selection of movies and books for visitors to use, but there are renovations that are likely to stand out to renters who are sifting through pages upon pages of similar listings. Additionally, consider the rental properties near your own when deciding on renovations. Think about what they’re missing; if a guest is to choose your property over the others, what’s going to draw them in? Why not invest in something that will entice guests to press that ‘book now’ button? You can use your imagination here, but guests tend to be particularly fond of facilities they don’t have access to at home, such as jacuzzi bathtubs or high-end coffee machines.

8. Don’t rush into anything

Renovating is likely to be a big project that will cost you a serious amount of money, no matter how much upheaval you’re planning on doing. Renovations can help you to maximise your rental income, but before you set your heart on those grand ideas of indoor aquariums and home cinemas, sit down and make a budget. Consider what you’re willing to invest in, and research the likely returns on these investments.

Once your renovations are complete, take some decent photos and craft a well-written introduction to your property, making sure to highlight the features of your home that guests will appreciate. Once you’ve figured out where you’ll be listing your property, you’ll be ready to welcome guests!

Cloe Matheson
Cloe is a writer from New Zealand with a passion for all things travel and adventure. She enjoys experiencing different cultures, trying local food and exploring new places. You can often find her at a local café typing away while enjoying a good cup of coffee. See more of her work here.
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