Part 4 – How do I know if my House qualifies as a Vacation Home?
Well, a Real Estate professional who is specialized in vacation rentals and property management will be a valuable partner if renting the house out to vacation guests is the plan. The trick is to see the house from the “guest-view”; their vantage point is different from a “year-round” resident’s view. One ground rule is: the age of the home is secondary; if the home is well maintained and neat a home of any age can be rented out successfully.
However, many guests prefer a modern home with e.g. higher ceilings and contemporary refined details. No matter what, a heated pool is the one thing that is a MUST if a house is supposed to be rented to vacationers.
One of the ground rules of buying Real Estate also applies to renting it: it’s all about Location, Location, Location. Guest often have other preferences than owners who life in the home all year. For most owners the proximity to schools or the work place might weight in heavily on the decision where the house should be located; the main questions for guests is how far away the beach is and if shopping and dining is nearby. Most guests also prefer homes that are located in a well-established populated neighborhood over a home that’s the only one in the street. Many homes that may seem to be a bargain might turn out to be not suitable for vacation rental purposes. Guests desire comfort, quiet, and a feeling of safety; a home that’s located in the boon-docks, in an area far off any “civilization”, or a house on a noisy street may be cheap in the first place but don’t qualify as vacation homes.
Choosing a home on the water e.g. a canal or a lake or off water is simply personal preference; even home owners and guests who are passionate about boating don’t necessarily prefer a home on the water because a boat can easily be rented. Especially here in Cape Coral there are multiple companies renting boats and most of them are located right at the river. Compared to driving through a maze of canals to reach the open water it saves a lot of time to start right at the river and head out. This also makes sense if you have rented a boat for several days; just drop it off after a day out in the Gulf and pick it up the next day at your rental location. However, all of those criteria weigh in on your decision; a Real Estate Professional who is familiar with the area and who is on top of future developments and city planning can help you sort out what’s best for you.
A home supposed to serve as a vacation rental home should have three bedrooms to accommodate groups or families with children. A split-bedroom floor plan is recommended most guests prefer to have master- and guest-areas separated to ensure privacy. Two bathrooms are standard and an extra pool-bathroom, accessible from the pool area and an outdoor shower are well appreciated accessories. Guests prefer a spacious lanai with enough room for multiple lounge chairs; a well maintained yard providing privacy though hedges and shade trees is a basic feature for every vacation home.
Usually guests want to make the most out of their money; why rent a large home for more money if a regular home in a “normal” neighborhood offers the same amendments? A home located on the golf course or in a gated community might be more elegant but if there is a heated pool and if it’s quiet and well maintained, well, many vacationers might prefer a regular house over the more fancy one and decide to spend the extra vacation money along the way.