Guest Services

Excellent guest services start at the time of booking, long before they even arrive. We offer an individualized, comprehensive, and interactive booking system with a real-time calendar which makes booking easy and problem free. All our vacation homes are described in detail and presented with multiple meaningful photos. All costs are disclosed at the time of booking; there are no hidden fees or surprises on arrival. We only rent houses that we personally manage and oversee and take pride in offering highest standards in cleanliness and functionality. Our guests come from around the globe; Florida, especially the wonderful beaches here on the West coast, invite guests from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, and from all around Europe including Scandinavia and the Eastern European States. All written information is therefore available in English and German language; our vacation home manual, an overview about how to handle things in and around the home and what do to in the area, is also available in French. Our guests also receive an individual “Points of Interest Guido” email 14 days prior to arrival to assist with trip-planning. Rent may be paid in cash, or Cashier’s Check (guests from the U.S. and Canada) at time of check-in or per wire transfer via TransferWise. A security deposit is due at time of signing the rental contract and will be credited back to the guest’s credit card account shortly after departure. We will personally conduct a check-in at the vacation home on the day after guests arrive to answer all questions and explain how everything works; this is also a good time to answer inquiries about local restaurants, events, and sightseeing-highlights in the area. A check-in protocol is provided to document that everything met the guests’ expectations at the time of arrival. We are Continue Reading →

Cape Coral Vacation Rentals

Cape Coral Vacation Rentals are one of the key elements of success for Sanford Realty, Inc. As a Brokerage we are in the business of buying and selling Real Estate for our clients; however, many vacationers who rent one of our beautiful, captivating Florida Villa’s return, and this time they return as buyers! As a service to our investors we offer full service Cape Coral Vacation Rentals: we advertise the home internationally, we take responsibility for property management, we watch and take care of the home as if it were ours, and we perform guest services. Cape Coral Vacation Rentals make this community thrive; investors from all over the globe buy Real Estate in this area, thereby increasing home values, while on the other hand thousands of tourists, more and more each year, come here to enjoy the climate, the beaches, and the safety of Cape Coral. Cape Coral Vacation Rentals are an easy to way to feel at home during your holiday, enjoy a private pool, and have all the advantages of living in a single family home in a safe neighborhood. Just book a home online and look forward to the vacation you have always dreamed of. For investors: what better way is there to watch your investment grow than Cape Coral Vacation Rentals? There is a vacation home waiting for you in one of the most desired areas of our world and during the times you can’t stay there it generates money for you. Cape Coral Vacation Rentals – Is there a better deal?

Part 10 – The Importance of a Good Organizational Structure

Our vacation guests never want to leave – they just fall in love with their wonderful vacation home here in Cape Coral, Florida and are already looking forward to their next vacation by the time they have to go back home – some of them will even be staying at their very own vacation Villa next time 😉 – and we are glad to help them make this dream come true. It requires a quite sophisticated logistics network to make renting a vacation home a positive experience   from the moment of booking until the moment the guests leave. We strive to provide high-quality, personalized service to the homeowners and renters and this is why we rent only houses we personally care for so we can guarantee highest standards. Our online booking system is state-of-the-art and extremely user-friendly; the real-time calendar is always up to date. Of course we respond to inquiries promptly and are available by phone if questions arise. One week prior to the guest’s arrival we sent out an e-mail containing a wealth of information about the area and fun-activities. Prior to the arrival of new vacation guests we make sure that everything is perfect and ready in and around the house. We meet our guests at the vacation home the day after their arrival to perform an individual check-in; this is a great opportunity to answer all their questions and explain how gadgets in the house work. All rent monies are collected at the time of check-in and are transferred to the homeowners account once a month from our Escrow acount; necessary taxes are also deferred as appropriate once a month by Sanford-Realty. We are of course available for guests if questions or problems arrive during their stay and we perform an individual check-out when they leave. Continue Reading →

Part 9 – Renting a Vacation Home: Taxes and Overall Cost

Taxes are a serious matter; this is true in all languages and for all countries. After all – taxes were the reason Al Capone finally ended up behind bars! Rental income is something that generates income for the homeowner; as with all income there are certain taxes that need to be paid diligently if one wants to avoid unnecessary trouble.  Lee County Tourist Development Tax – usually known as Tourist Tax Currently this amount is 5% of the gross rental amount; this tax goes into advertising and promotion of the area (53.6%), the rest goes into beach and shoreline improvements and stadium maintenance. Florida Sales Tax 6% of the gross rental amount goes to the Florida Department of Revenue. Both taxes, Tourist Tax and Sales Tax – a total of 11% – apply when renting to transient guests for money no matter if they are family, no matter where they are from or where the homeowner resides because the income is generated here in Lee County, Florida. The Lee County Clerk of Court Internal Audit Department as well as the Florida Department of Revenue enforces taxes. Usually a homeowner who is renting his or her property to vacation guests would file their taxes by themselves, however, if the homeowner employs an agency who rents the property for them the agency will act as a so-called “Dealer” and submit the taxes of all rentals in a consolidated return for all rental properties under the Dealer’s collective tax number. If the homeowner rents on his or her own in addition to using an agency the homeowner is solely responsible for the taxes that are to be paid from this generated rental income. In this case the homeowner needs to apply and will receive an account number, user name, and password along with information Continue Reading →

Part 8 – Advertisement: How to win over the renters

Vacation rentals are booming and it has, especially with a wide selection of affordable houses on the market, become very popular to buy a second home and convert it into a vacation rental to generate income. This is easy enough and after reading this blog nobody should have an issue to decide how to furnish, decorate or altogether present a vacation home to make it successful. It is, however, not easy to come by adequate numbers of vacation guest to populate the house in a profitable way. Friends and family are more than likely to spend some time in your vacation home in the most beautiful area of Florida but they rarely pay. You might advertise your home at work, talk to more extended friends and maybe you even advertise in a local newspaper. All this is usually not enough and a house that’s unoccupied most of the time does not only cost money without generating any, but it’s also hard to keep it up and safe. A professional can help! Guest acquisition is a time-consuming and costly process that requires resources and a multi-national approach. Most guests in today’s world are looking online for accommodations; it seems that not too many people are booking single family vacation homes via a travel agency or via traditional advertisement in a magazine or paper. The method that promises the most success is the Internet and therefore requires an interactive, speedy and catchy Web site. Online advertisement must attract a multitude of nationalities; English language is naturally the most popular language as many of our guests hail from the northern U.S. or Canada especially during the winter season. Many guests, however, come from all over Europe and a bi-lingual approach is just one more service we offer to our valued guests from around Continue Reading →

Part 7 – Money makes the World go round (Chapter 2: Cost of Real Estate)

Money is something to consider no matter if you are planning to buy a house, sell a house, or rent it out. As prices go there is no easy answer to that but what’s for sure is that a house in one of the most beautiful areas of Florida is a good investment. Home prices depend on location, location, location. And please remember, you can always change the appearance of a house: you can change the exterior and interior color, the landscaping, the tiles around the pool …. but you can never change the location! The same quality house will be much more expensive if it is located on a gulf-access canal instead of on a freshwater canal; the house on the freshwater canal will be more expensive than the same house off-water. And then it depends if the house is located in one of the more desirable, more developed areas or in one of the more remote areas of town. Prices of course also depend on the size of the home and any specifications e.g. pool, over-sized lot, and extras. Expressions like short-sale and foreclosure have become all too familiar in what was called the big housing crisis; however, the signs are set for recovery and prices are going up in most areas. Short-sales and foreclosures can be tricky; short-sales are usually time-consuming and there is no guarantee that after waiting a long time for news after making an offer the house will be yours. Short-sales work with multiple offers and prices can be adjusted upwards even during the process. Foreclosure houses may be in bad shape; an owner who was unable to keep up with payments does usually not spend the money maintain the house; this is a buy-as-is-deal which may have repercussions that outweigh the initial savings on the Continue Reading →

Part 7 – Money makes the World go round (Chapter 1: Rent)

Money is, as always in life and business, a sword with two blades; the one who pays wants to see the smallest number possible at the end and the one who earns wants to see a real big number. Vacation rentals are business and needless to say: the same principle applies. It is not easy to satisfy all parties and requires a lot of negotiation and maneuvering. All the recent changes in the real estate market created a buyers’ market with a wide selection of houses for sale and many owners, unable to sell for what appears to be reasonable price, have decided to rent their homes out to vacationers to make some money. Owners who rent their homes out to vacation guests usually expect, rightfully so, to make up for maintenance costs. A home, that’s rented out successfully, about three-quarters of the year, will most likely generate the monies to pay for the monthly maintenance, taxes, and services e.g. lawn- and pool care. Can one make money by buying a home and renting it out to vacation guests in Florida? Probably not when you think of getting rich, but if you plan to enjoy your home during your vacation and generating money to sustain the house when you are not there you have a deal. One of the main services Sanford Realty, Inc. offers other than assisting clients with buying of selling houses is Vacation Rental services. The vacation homes in our program are rented out to vacation guest from around the world who expect first class accommodations. Rental fees are another hot-topic and the same rule applies: realistic does the trick! With a wide variety of vacation homes on the market, price and quality of the home you want to rent out must be more attractive than its Continue Reading →

6. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?

Part 6 – Services required to keep your vacation home “up and running” (Part 3) A/C Maintenance Life in Southwest Florida would be much different without Air Conditioning; the heat and humidity of the subtropical environment demand air conditioning to avoid overheating, moisture, and a subsequent mold problem inside the home. It’s always a good idea to get a maintenance contract with a licensed provider to have the system serviced on a regular schedule e.g. twice a year. Having a contract usually saves cost on parts if repair is necessary and can make a difference in regards to your place on the waiting list when your A/C dies on the hottest day of summer. Without contract the wait can be days and guests don’t want to stay inside a 90 degree F hot home with about as much humidity; the home-owner may well end up paying for their hotel stay. The A/C filters in the home should also be changed regularly; the property manager will usually take care of this. Pool Care The pool is the one of the most important features in a rental home in Florida. It needs to be well maintained, clean and sparkling at all times; to keep it that way it needs to be serviced once a week. A professional pool service will check the water chemistry and add whatever is necessary e.g. Chlorine to keep that crystal clear blue lagoon of yours in shape. The filter needs to be clean on a regular basis and the walls and bottom require brushing and vacuuming. Yard- and Lawn Service The appearance of your lawn depends on the kind of grass in your yard. There are a lot of different kinds and they all have their pro’s and con’s. All of them have different properties and require Continue Reading →

Homeowners and Home Price

Every homeowner thinks his house is the nicest and best kept in the neighborhood just as every parent thinks their kid is the cutest ever. A study* asking 300 Real Estate agents in the U.S. reveals that many homeowners believe their home is worth much more and tend to demand a higher listing price. 77% of all homeowners insist on listing their home for a higher price than the one recommended by a Real Estate professional; many of them are deeply disappointed if low-ball offers come in or worse, no offers at all. Many homeowners estimate that the value of their home is 10-20% higher than the proposed listing price, 40% believe the value of their home is up to 9% higher than the Real Estate agents assessment and only 6% of homeowners think their house is worth less than the listing price. One final interesting detail: most buyers believe that the listing price is too high; however roughly 77% of all homes are being sold below the listing price. *2012 National Home Value Survey

6. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?

Part 6 – Property Management – Who takes care of your Vacation Home in your absence? (Part 2) TV, Phone, and Internet As previously mentioned: your guests expect a well maintained home with modern and functional equipment. This is also true for all electronic gadgets in regards to entertainment e.g. TV and HiFi. TV’s in the bedrooms are almost a standard feature as is Internet access. The phone should be blocked for international calls to avoid unnecessarily high phone bills; nowadays many guests are using Skype for their calls and phone cards are readily available in many local stores. Water and Electricity The water bill greatly depends on the area your house is located in and if it is on city water and sewer or on a well. However, the cost for city water and sewer is significant; there is no choice, if the area is already connected to the system it may well be that there is a residual debt that goes to the new home-owner. If the home you want to buy is located in an area supposed to be connected in the near future the additional cost must be considered in your decision. There is a monthly bill for city water and sewer; there are no costs other than maintenance of the water-purification system. There is also a monthly bill for electricity; this of course depends on usage and the season of the year as the Air Condition System is usually the main culprit during the subtropical summer months while the pool heater is usually to blame for excess electricity use in the winter. A pool heater is a must if the house is supposed to be rented out to vacation guests. The heating system can be Solar or an electrical heat pump but Solar might not Continue Reading →