Renting Out Your Vacation House – Vacation Rental Websites Vs Free Classified Ads

If you’re a homeowner looking to rent out your vacation house, there are several ways to go about spreading the word. In order to have your vacation home solidly booked throughout the year, you need to reach the widest audience possible. Thanks to the internet, reaching the widest audience possible looking for your offer isn’t that hard at all. We will cover the pros and cons of some very inexpensive and cost effective ways of advertising to successfully renting out your vacation rental house, condo or villa.

Free Classified Ads. Posting free classified ads is one of the simplest ways of getting prospect tenants to find out about your vacation house, condo or villa. The most popular sites are Craigslist, Backpage and Kijiji. Go to one or all of these sites and provide some nice photos of your vacation house that you are wanting to rent out. Write a warm, fun detailed description about your vacation house, why it’s unique and include any nearby amenities. Go above and beyond, take it a step further and make a short YouTube video walk-through of your vacation house and include the web address or link to the YouTube video somewhere in your free classified ad. That will surely increase your chances of getting responses from potential renters. Millions of people visit the Craigslist, BackPage and Kijiji websites in search of deals and offers for vacation houses to rent out. Millions of people also visit these websites looking to post their free classifieds and offers. The upside is that they get tons of visitors daily and it’s free. The downside is since it is free to post ads, many people will also be posting eventually pushing your ad down the list. You want your listing to appear on the first page of your respective category. The best free way to do that is by checking back every couple of days (if you have not yet received any leads) and re-posting your ad. Unless you opt in for one their paid options, your vacation rental listing will get pushed so far down the list, any prospective tenants will never know your vacation rental home even exists. And there are no guarantees.

Vacation Rental Websites. These are websites specifically catered to vacation rental homeowners such as yourself and property managers. For a small fee they will handle all of the marketing and advertising professionally complete with an online booking calendar. Your task is simplified. All you have to do is provide detailed descriptions, photos, availability, a list of amenities and attractions near your vacation rental house, condo or villa. Once it is verified, just sit back and wait for the emails and calls to come in from potential renters. The most popular vacation rental websites that turn up when doing a Google search (which is what you want to increase your visibility to potential renters) are HomeAway and VRWD (Vacation Rentals Web Directory). HomeAway consists of ten vacation rental websites globally. Three of which are North American: HomeAway.com, VacationRentalsByOwner and VacationRentals.com. As for VRWD they consist of a total of six online vacation rental websites: VRWD.com, TrustedVacationRentals.org, VerifiedVacationRentals.org, VacationRentalsWebDirectory.com, Holiday-Rentals-Directory.com and Vacation-Homes-Network.com. On average these receive around 3 million unique visitors monthly. HomeAway and VRWD are industry leaders when it comes to vacation rentals. They are so confident in their services that they guarantee you will get a booking. If not, you get a full refund or can choose to book again the following year at no cost. Choosing to list your vacation rental house, condo or villa on a vacation rental website is not free, however the plus side is you get increased visibility and organized bookings. Save yourself the hassle of marketing and advertising. You will reach a larger targeted audience. Your listing is much more trusted by renters since it is verified by each website before your listing is added. And you get a risk free guarantee.

There you have it! Those are two of the most effective options to choose from when deciding on how you want to market your vacation rental property. Free classified ads on Craigslist, Backpage and Kijiji or, paid listings on HomeAway and VRWD directories. Whichever one you choose is totally up to you. Either way, best of luck in successfully renting out your vacation house!

Property Pitfalls to Avoid When Owning a Vacation Home

Owning a vacation rental can be a very rewarding and profitable venture. It can also be a very difficult, frustrating, and expensive experience if you don’t avoid some very basic pitfalls. Some pitfalls to avoid may seem obvious, but are worth repeating. Others may be things you probably have not even considered.

I own five historic Key West vacation rentals, and I market and manage over 50 for other people. I have been in the vacation rental business since 1994, when I turned a property I owned in Key Largo, Florida into my first vacation home. Based on decades of experience, I offer below 8 of the most basic and common property pitfalls to avoid when owning a vacation home. In all the years I’ve been in this business, I continue to see people make the same mistakes over and over again that could be easily avoided with forethought, better planning, and some professional guidance.

While it’s not pleasant to talk about the negative realities of owning vacation rentals, it is my hope that you can learn from the mishaps of others and be able to maximize the benefits of owning your vacation home. Think these through carefully before you ‘take the plunge’ into ownership of a vacation home.

Don’t Buy the Wrong House:

Seem like an obvious statement? Well, the adage ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ is a good one to ponder ahead of time in this critical first step. I’ve seen many people ‘fall in love’ with a house or cottage they find while on vacation themselves, and decide it will make an ideal 2nd home and perfect rental. Be sure you ‘knock the romance out of your head’ and carefully consider how desirable a property will actually be perceived by potential guests and if you can afford it. First, find out what size and configuration of properties that are most in demand in the area you want to buy. For example, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do most renters seek? Do guests want historic homes, condos, cottages, studios or does it matter? Is a pool important, or a garden? Are you willing and able to make any needed renovations?

Don’t forget to Make a Business Plan:

Make a basic business plan and determine if you can make enough money through your rentals to justify the purchase. Get the help of a rental professional and an accountant or financial advisor to create a preliminary plan. Learn how much you can expect to pay to operate your vacation property, and how much you can expect earn in income. Get actual or projected occupancy rates from an established local rental agency. Find out what time of year you can expect to rent your home. Is there a short tourist season, or is there a year around season? Some communities have a high demand for private vacation homes and they command excellent rental rates. But other areas have a glut of unsold homes now being offered as vacation properties, driving rental rates down too low to cover the cost of owning a 2nd home.

Don’t Buy a Property in the Wrong Location or Neighborhood:

Carefully research the location, e.g., just because an extra 15 blocks from the center of town or the beach is no big deal to you, this could be too far away and a deal breaker for potential guests. In other words, make sure that the property you buy will be appealing to potential vacationers. And, what do the neighbors think about vacation rentals being operated next to where they live? This has been, and still is, a huge ongoing issue for many communities across the country. Many cities and towns are grappling about whether to allow or restrict short-term rentals. Some neighbors are vehemently opposed to the idea of a ‘revolving door of tourists’ coming in and out of their neighborhood. Other areas are thrilled to have tourists bringing money into their communities.

Don’t Ignore Community Rules and Regulatory Agencies:

As vacation homes have become increasingly popular, many communities have created rules and regulations that restrict and govern property rentals. Contact the community licensing department where you are planning to purchase a vacation property. Find out if there are restrictions on the time and frequency you can rent your home. Find out if you need to purchase a business license or a special transient rental license. Ask if you need to have a health and safety inspection by the city, county, or state. Find out if you need to collect and pay a tourist bed tax and state sales tax. Don’t ignore the rules and regulations. In some communities, code enforcement officers scan vacation rental websites in search of properties that are offered as illegal rentals. Getting caught breaking the law unknowingly can be expensive and embarrassing!

Don’t Pretend You Can Avoid Renovation and Major Repairs:

Be prepared to accept the fact that owning a successful vacation home means that ongoing quality control becomes a way of life. Unless your property is located in an area where luxury and comfort are disregarded as superfluous, expect to renovate and keep your property to a high quality standard. If you want your rental to be competitive in the vacation market, expect to upgrade you kitchen, bathrooms, replace carpets, floors, decks, porches, windows, repaint, landscape, and put on a new roof when the time comes. In some locations you will need to add a swimming pool or at least a Jacuzzi. Make sure the local building department will allow you to make upgrades. Figure out a time to make needed repairs, and mark off time in your rental calendar to do the work.

Don’t Under Estimate the Importance of Housekeeping and Property Maintenance:

Even after your vacation home is upgraded and operating, you must commit to ongoing housekeeping and on-call maintenance services. If you don’t provide good housekeeping services and regular property maintenance to keep the property to a quality standard, you will most likely live with constant complaints. And you can expect unhappy guests who may be compelled to write bad reviews about your property on internet vacation travel logs and rental websites. A maintenance person must be on-call to fix the myriad of little things that happen in a house such as clogged toilets, mal-functioning a/c or heaters, swimming pool problems, mal-functioning internet connections, and TV remotes to name a few. The more your property is rented, the more maintenance and housekeeping you need o provide.

Don’t Think Your House Can be Successful without Proper Furnishing and Staging:

A common scenario is for new owners of a 2nd home to think they can furnish their property with a hodge-podge of inexpensive garage sale items or discarded personal items. When people do this, they end up with a house that looks like a second-hand store or their own garage sale. If you have a knack for decorating, then go for it. Pick a décor style have fun. It is perfectly acceptable to have a mixture of old and new items, but in the end they all have to work together in a unified style. Buy comfortable furniture – a nice sofa and easy chairs. Choose an attractive micro-fiber fabric, its ideal for vacation homes. Make sure you provide good bed mattresses and the right bed sizes. Most travelers today want king or at least queen size beds. Buy a larger flat screen TV for the living room or den. Unless you have the know-how and the time to do these tasks, hire someone to do them for you. Many furniture stores have staff decorators who offer this service for free.

Don’t Believe it is Simple to Successfully Market and Manage Your Vacation Rental:

If you’ve read this far, you know there is a lot more to owning and operating vacation properties than first meets the eye. With the proliferation of mega vacation rental websites, that make it easy for home owners to advertise their own property, it can seem simpler than it is. There is a lot more to this business than putting up a web page and answering email inquiries and phone calls and keeping an availability calendar. The task of writing rental contracts, collecting money, collecting and paying taxes, staying current with community licensing and rules and regulations, checking guests in and out, providing housekeeping and ongoing maintenance, dealing with complaints, dealing with property damage done by guests, and addressing unhappy neighbors can be daunting. And, I haven’t even addressed the demands or creating a successful marketing campaign. In today’s market it goes beyond writing good ad copy and providing quality property photos on a website. Be prepared to engage in social media such as Facebook and twitter to reach your potential rental guests.

Finding The Best Mexico Vacation Deals

A vacation to Mexico includes a little of everything, like beaches, rich marine life, archaeological ruins, colonial architecture, delicious food and a rocking nightlife. This Latin American nation, which connects the United States to the rest of South America, is a popular tourist spot.

For travelers on a budget, Mexico is a dream destination. The country offers affordable lodging and food, and traveling around is relatively cheap. Nevertheless, for tourists who plan well in advance, Mexico vacations can be cheaper still thanks to an array of exciting Mexico vacation deals.

Plan In Advance

If you have decided on traveling to Mexico on your next vacation, advance planning will help you grab the best Mexico vacation deals. Are you seeking really cheap Mexico vacation deals? Then the best time to head to Mexico is just after the rainy season. The weather is pleasant at this time, but hotel rates and airfare are cheaper. Since this is the low season, heavily discounted Mexico vacation package deals are easier to come by.

Tourists heading for a Mexico vacation during the peak tourist seasons between July and September and during the Christmas and Easter breaks have to deal with higher lodging and flight rates. The best way to combat the peak season hikes is by planning well in advance. Shop on the Internet or call your travel agent to get the best Mexico vacation deals. Remember, last-minute planning will only inflate your travel expenses. Moreover, there is the possibility of not getting suitable reservations if you keep your Mexico vacation planning until too late.

What About Last-minute Vacation Packages?

The problem with last-minute planning is that you might not get the hotel or the location that you were hoping to. However, if you are open-minded and flexible about your travel plans, big discounts are available on last-minute vacation deals as well.

Mexico is popular with the tourist class. What that also means is that there will be last-minute cancellations by other travelers. It is best to contact a travel agency to find out about available cancelled deals. Travel agencies are generally looking to sell off these packages. Often enough, these last-minute deals are available at throwaway rates. For those travelers that are brave enough to leave everything until the last moment, last-minute vacation deals to Mexico are a fantastic and affordable option.

Finding The Best Mexico Vacation Deals To Fit Your Budget

While shopping for Mexico vacation packages, look for deals that will allow you to visit most of the major Mexican attractions. The ancient Mayan city of Tulum should be on your must-visit list, along with Mexico City, the volcano at Toluca and the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carmen or Acapulco.

Mexico is largely a cheap vacation destination, but places like Cancun tend to be a little more expensive. Tourists on a shoestring budget are advised to avoid costly places like Cancun. However, if Cancun features heavily on your vacation itinerary, search for discounted packages to this happening city. All inclusive vacation deals to Cancun, Mexico are a good idea for travelers on a limited budget.

What Are The Different Types of Deals?

There are two basic types of vacation deals to Mexico. All inclusive vacation packages have been gaining in popularity in recent times, not just with families and large groups but with couples and solo travelers as well. All inclusive vacation packages are instrumental in helping tourists save money on accommodation, meals and travel activities. Such deals are easily available and often prove to be major bargains. Moreover, they make sticking to a budget that much easier. Since you already know your big travel expenses, it is easier to keep aside a little something for shopping, eating out, off-site tours and other extras.

Many tourists, however, prefer to go a la carte on their vacation. An a la carte vacation deal to Mexico ensures greater flexibility and is better suited to tourists who like exploring. Since meals are not included, travelers need not head back to the hotel for lunch, dinner or other activities. They have greater freedom to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this Latin American travelers’ paradise.

Experience the 5 Simple Ways to Find Make Money Online Work

As long as you possess a willingness to learn and a desire to work hard there are ways you can make money online. Thanks to the Internet make money online work is not hard to find today . Some of these may take a skill, but generally anyone with average intelligence can make money working online.

I’ve come up with five great ideas that you can look into.

1. Take paid surveys. Many companies are willing to pay you for your opinion. Finding these companies is the hard part.

Utilizing a survey company as a middleman is one good way around that. Cash Crate will pay you to take surveys as well as recruit people to also take surveys. Even on a part-time basis there are many people earning several hundred dollars a month or more just by doing this.

2. Join an affiliate program. You can become an affiliate marketer in a matter of minutes and affiliate programs are free to join. Because you get paid to sell other people’s products you really do not need your own website.

Generally the affiliate merchant will also teach you how to promote online and provide you with all the marketing materials necessary. Just by doing affiliate marketing you can develop a full-time income or even more.

3. Become a virtual assistant. Companies have developed a need for someone to handle day-to-day activities as they continue to grow online. As a virtual assistant you can do things as though you were an employee of the company while working from home.

Virtual assistants do everything from answer the phone and typing, to following up with emails and doing simple marketing tasks. To find companies to become a virtual system for spend a day or two e-mailing anybody you can find online and I’ll bet there are plenty of companies willing to talk to you.

4. Write blog articles. Millions of blogs really need that content right now. You can develop a list of companies to write blog articles if you enjoy writing.

This can pay you extremely well and is very interesting work. Just by writing articles for other people’s products many people earn a full-time income.

5. Do telecommuting. As companies look for ways to trim their overhead they are hiring telecommuters. Even though you work from home, you work for a specific company.

Tjobs.com is a website that matches employers and employers for different types of jobs. Many of these jobs come with a guaranteed salary, and benefits such as health insurance and vacation pay.

There are at least five great ways to find make money online work at home. You are only limited by your specific skills and desire to get started.

4 Affordable Florida Island Vacations

Vacationing on a tropical island may sound like an activity reserved for the upper crust of society, but there are dozens of sandy and warm spots off the Florida coast that are perfect for a budget retreat. Make your dream trip a reality with a trip to one of these gorgeous locations.

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is west of the Florida mainland in the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re on a tight budget, visit J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge — admission is only $1 if you’re traveling on foot. There’s an education center you can visit for free, and the park is home to over 200 species of birds. This makes it a great spot for viewing wildlife.

Many people consider camping to cut the cost of staying at a resort. Thankfully, you don’t have to pick between four-star resorts and primitive beaches to afford a trip here. To save on accommodations, book an affordable Sanibel Island hotel with Hotel Planner.

Cayo Costa

Image via Flickr by James St. John

One of the best things about a trip to Sanibel Island is that you can easily venture to some of the most secluded beach spots in the state and retreat back to your hotel room for a full night’s rest. Bowman’s Beach is a good choice during the week, but it can get crowded during the weekend.

To enjoy guaranteed peace and quiet, take a ferry ride to Cayo Costa. This island has little more than a ranger station on its shores, and if all you want to do is camp out, swim, and go fishing, you can vacation on Cayo Costa for next to nothing. You can also add a daytrip here to your Sanibel Island itinerary.

Marco Island

Marco Island is a sunny destination south of Sanibel Island past Naples, Florida. Free and cheap activities include kayaking and paddleboarding in the tidal lagoon, or you can sunbathe on Tigertail Beach. To save on your travels to this location, book a hotel inland rather than right on the beaches. Another tip is to visit in the offseason. In South Florida, tourists flock to the beaches for warmth in the winter. If you can stand the heat, you’ll contend with fewer crowds and better room rates on Marco Island in the summer.

Key West

Key West might sound like a pricy place to visit, but it’s affordable if you search for good rates on hotels and avoid the expensive resorts. There are also plenty of free and cheap things to do, like sightseeing at Dry Tortugas. You can also visit one of the island’s many famous homes. Ernest Hemingway, Harry S. Truman, and Tennessee Williams enjoyed a tenure here, and you can learn more about their lives with a visit to their respective properties.

Hopefully these recommendations have inspired you to start planning your dream vacation. If you do your research, you can find lodging and activities to meet your budget. Try one of these locations, and cross a stay on a Florida island off your travel bucket list.