If you own a second home or vacation rental property, maintaining your investment can be a real challenge, especially if you are not local. In the High Country of North Carolina, where winter weather can be brutal to your home’s systems extra attention and routine maintenance to keep your home in tip-top shape is a must.
In addition to the upkeep of your home, if your second home will be used as a vacation rental, other services may be needed. Hiring property management services will make things a lot easier and can save you time, money, and energy instead of doing it all yourself.
How to Maintain a Second Home When You Are Far Away
Whether you will be using your second property for personal use or for an income-producing vacation rental, routine maintenance, and care are important. Effective maintenance management is even more important if you are far away or don’t plan to come home regularly.
Finding a good property management company can be very helpful to second homeowners by providing a variety of services. These services fall into 3 areas of property management including:
- Arrival and departure preparation
- Regular maintenance and repairs
Hire a Property Management Company
Hiring a property management company can help second homeowners with routine cleaning and maintenance and record, report, and fix any problems while they are away from the property. If you will be using your second home as a vacation rental your property manager will provide so much more.
Your property management company can market your home, handle bookings, collect rent, prepare your home for renters, and then act as their point of contact, ensuring the guests’ needs are taken care of in your absence.
Whether you will be using your second home for yourself or as a vacation rental, managing a property yourself to meet an Airbnb program’s requirements can be difficult unless you live nearby. Tapping into home services can be very helpful, especially for income-producing properties.
New Home Set-Up Services
Setting up a home for vacation rentals can take some time. One of the most important things to know before getting started is to make sure that the area zoning or HOA allows for short-term rentals.
A vacation property management company can help in the transition and set up of your home into an income-producing vacation rental by:
- Checking for leaks, making sure all the appliances work, and making repairs if needed.
- Vet and verify cleaning partners or agencies and provide cleaning and sanitizing checklists that ensure a high level of cleanliness for guests.
- Inventory your home for the essentials that will be needed for overnight stays
- Create useful Welcome Books with information about the area and manuals with instructions for appliances and smart home features.
- Set up smart home features like TVs, door locks, and security systems.
- Market your home on vacation websites etc.
- Set up and handle bookings and rental fees.
Deep Cleaning and Organization
Next, you will want to start with a clean, well-functioning house. Beginning with a clean and organized vacation home is essential in establishing a great start to your investment.
You can always do this yourself but hiring a professional that knows the expectations for a vacation rental will save you time and stress.
Also, once the rentals have begun, you will want your professional cleaning service to also come in for a semi-annual deep clean and keep your home looking great year-round. Some of the deep-cleaning items include:
- Washing the curtains
- Flipping the mattresses
- Paint touch-ups
- Steam-cleaning or conditioning furniture
- Cleaning all kitchen appliances
- Taking inventory of the linens, towels, kitchenware, etc.
- Reporting any repairs that may need to be addressed.
House Manual Creation
Anytime you go on vacation it is always nice to have information about the home and neighborhood at your fingertips. Most vacation management teams will provide or create a house manual with information about the property, the local area, and instructions for appliances.
Guests appreciate this extra touch whether it is in a book located in the house or a digital manual that guests can access online before they come. Some things that can be in the house rental manual include:
- House rules
- Instructions for the appliances
- Wi-fi access details
- Info for trash and recycling
- Inventory and starter kits
- Area Attractions
- Property Management contact details
Security and Smart Home Configuration
Vacation homes can be set up with many smart home features that provide a more luxurious experience for guests, giving them more independence to check in and get to know the property. At the same time, with automated smart features, the homeowner benefits from reduced costs, energy savings, and better security.
Some of the more common smart home technology used in vacation homes are:
- Self Check-in
- Smart Locks and Security Systems
- Smart TV’s
- Digital guidebooks
- Home Assistants
- Smart Thermostats
- Smart Smoke, Carbon Monoxide, and Water Alarms
- Smart Lighting
- Noise Monitoring
Arrival and Departure Preparation
Arrival and departure preparation can be individual services like housekeeping only or a full-service Vacation Rental Management company. If you use a property management company they will be the central point of contact for guests and the homeowner.
The company will handle all aspects of managing properties to ensure you and your guests have a satisfactory stay and you can rest easy knowing everything is already taken care of.
Housekeeping and Provisioning
Between turnovers, you will want to make sure your rental property is well-stocked, clean, and ready for the next guests.
Housekeeping and provisioning services are provided by independent contractors. These professionals not only clean the property upon the departure of each guest.
Having a cleaning and sanitizing checklist will provide the cleaning team with your expectations for the home and help them navigate a standard cleaning process with consistency for your or your guest’s stay.
Home Concierge Services
Home Concierge Service is a different type of property management that offers a more personal touch. In addition to cleaning and maintaining the property they raise the bar by providing a 24/7 service for guests with direct communication with the guests by making recommendations and arranging and assisting in requested services such as:
- Grocery shopping service and delivery
- Flower delivery
- Dinner reservations
- Baby gear rental and delivery
- Mid-week housekeeping
- Childcare services
- Pet walking
- Personal Chef
Some vacation homeowners do not want or need the full package of services of a property management company but would rather hire a keyholder service instead. A key holder service involves having a trusted third party or security service holding an extra set of keys to the property.
Keyholder services are responsible for responding to any security issues that may occur at the property. Having this service is beneficial for vacation homeowners who live far away so that they can rest easier knowing that someone can provide a quick response to any alarm or security issue in their absence.
Property Maintenance and Repairs
As you can see, there are many services that can be part of a vacation rental package whether they are provided a la cart or by a Vacation Property Management company. Many can be services for your guests or for maintaining and repairing property while you’re away or between rentals.
Regular home inspections are very important to keep abreast of any problems or malfunctions with your home so repairs can be scheduled as soon as possible before a minor problem turns into something major.
Likewise, hiring a landscaping or lawn service to keep your outdoor areas manicured and looking nice not only helps eliminate extra work and stress for you but also helps maintain property value. Have you ever thought how freshly cut grass and regular yard maintenance can keep your vacation home appearing lived in and more secure?
Why Your Second Home Needs a Property Management Company
While you are away, a property management company can provide so many services to help you maintain and enjoy your vacation home and rental. Regular housekeeping, inspections, repairs, and even landscaping keep your second home in great shape so you can relax and have some fun on your vacation, making less work for you.
Management companies and services can also be your emergency point of contact. They can inform you when things occur that need attention such as damage from winter storms or power outages or a possible break-in or intruder. They can arrange for repairs or call the authorities to handle situations that need immediate attention.
By keeping your home clean and in good working order and by offering specialized amenities and services for your guests, you will enjoy the ease and comfort of owning a second home while your guests will want to keep coming back year after year keeping you with a steady income and increase the return on your investment.