Second of a three-part series on owning a vacation rental home. See part one, on deciding to own a vacation home, here. Excerpted from the upcoming book “Vacation Rental Success in Mexico” by Stanley Kahng, founder of Remixto, which has partnered with Yucatán Expat Life.
Offering your home for rent is easy, but making it stand out among the competition is a challenge. Stanley Kahng of the Mérida property management firm Remixto explains how your property can “pop.”
The difference between an occasionally booked home and one that is booked solid is a cohesive theme and solid amenities. Choose a theme for your home. It could be any type of furnishings — traditional Mexican or a luxury getaway theme — but carry it throughout.
Then, add every amenity you can afford that fits with your theme.
Nothing says wow like an upscale vacation amenity. In Merida, pools are common, so think about taking it to the next level. Add an outdoor shower, a poolside palapa, an outdoor kitchen or bar. Or try a rooftop terrace or spa bathroom.
You’ll love them yourself, and if you plan them in advance, they don’t add that much to your overall construction costs.
Another great way to create that wow factor is to stage a key moment in the home in your rental photography. Make it a reason why people rent.
This will most likely become your first photo to captivate guests. It should be illustrative of the theme you have chosen to adopt. Encapsulate the feeling and experience that guests want to have when they visit.
Businesslike decorating decisions
Besides the architecture of the home, the furnishings you choose are probably what differentiate your home from a similar one down the block. But it’s important to step back a moment and remember that this is a business.
While you may love to decorate your new home in varying shades of purple, remember, you’re decorating it to appeal to a wide variety of guests. Get inspired by homes in magazines, other vacation rental listings in your area, and local shops.
Decorate in keeping with the story you are crafting. Find a singular theme or motif that can carry through your home and help make it unique.
Check out Casa Serena. The owners of this home went with a comfortable and familiar motif, something unique in Colonial Mexico. The soft white of the wall, the oversized furniture, the flat screen TV, welcome guests who may feel a little out of their comfort zone in a foreign country, and who would welcome a familiar home to return to after sightseeing.
Some amenities are cheap. Add lots of them. A toaster, blender, barbecue grill, microwave, hairdryer, toaster oven, juicer, hammocks (a big must), coffee maker are all relatively inexpensive but go a long way to make your home more competitive. These things show you care.
There are other basic amenities that guests expect. A TV with cable, or if that’s not possible, a Netflix subscription. A DVD player with a library of DVDs or an Apple TV box will add to your amenities.
Dress your home like a hotel. That means name-brand mattresses and high thread-count sheets. It’s all about the linens. Your guests will be spending a third of their day in the bed you provide, so make it special. Splash out on luxury sheets and then advertise you’ve got them.
Clutter: Too much or too little personality
There is balance between having too little and too much stuff on display. Too little and your house will feel cold, uncomfortable, sparse and unloved.
Too much stuff and it feels overwhelming. How can a guest imagine themselves in your home if there is too much of you on display? Your guests have to be able to imprint themselves on your home, so leave them some room to do so.
Your guest is likely spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment for a week’s stay in your home. In a sense, it’s “theirs” for the period they are renting it. Let them feel themselves in it and you’re on the road to outstanding rental success.
Next week: In the final installment of this series, why your rental property is a “use it or lose it” proposition.
Excerpted from the upcoming book “Vacation Rental Success in Mexico” by Stanley Kahng, founder of Remixto.