The trend continues for more people buying a second home on Cape Cod and planning to rent it as a vacation property for a few years before moving here full time. Savvy realtors almost always include the remark, “…and it would make a great vacation rental.”
So, until you’re ready to move in full time, using the professional booking and management service of Cape Cod Oceanview Realty will allow you to take the plunge to buy that second home you’ve always dreamed of owning on the Cape.
Here is just a short list of things to consider in preparing your Cape Cod Oceanview rental property:
1) Legalities. If you rent out your house for more than 14 days, you must report your rental income. But it also means you can deduct rental expenses. Depending on where you own property on Cape Cod, you may need to register with your town and most pay income taxes.
2) Insurance. If you’re renting out the vacation property for money, it’s considered a business activity and probably not covered by the homeowner’s policy. Luckily, with vacation rentals becoming more popular, more companies offering commercial coverage for short term rentals are becoming easier to find.
3) Safety. Smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets should be up to date and tested regularly. Bannisters and deck railings must be secure. Remember to provide PFD’s and helmets if kayaks or bikes are offered and make sure everything is in good working condition.
4) Cleanliness and Cleaners. Cleaning standards for vacation rentals need to be a higher standard than just an ordinary house cleaning. You should also have a thorough spring cleaning, especially if your property has been closed up for the winter. Changeover days are usually weekends and house cleaners work hard! Typically, they may have multiple homes to clean in a very small amount of time and they never know what kind of untidiness they might walk into.
5) Property Caretakers. Oceanview can step in and answer to immediate issues but there are times you’ll need a property manager or caretaker. Oceanview will contact your caretaker in the case of an emergency such as storm damage, broken water heater, plumbing and electrical issues. You’ll need someone to do the changeover cleanings, someone for yard care, trash removal twice a week and someone to be available in case of questions or emergencies that can’t be handled from afar.
6) Decor. Decorating is usually the fun part. Once upon a time, vacationers didn’t really expect much in the way of decor in a vacation rental. But, like everything else, times have changed. Travelers don’t want to lounge on threadbare sofas and feel the springs coming through the bed mattresses. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but a small investment usually pays off. You never know what particular amenities a guest may want, and you can’t please everyone, but there are some no-brainer amenities that should always be included depending on your area (i.e. On Cape Cod… a lobster pot). There are some items that will need to be replaced every year if not more: mattress covers, pillow protectors, potholders, dishtowels, kitchenware, and if provided, towels, sheets, and pillowcases.
7) Advertising, Marketing and Booking. Our agents will help you determine competitive rates, what amenities you want to offer, and the number of guests that you can host. Our comprehensive marketing programs help us to share your listing and maximize your bookings. Using a professional rental agency takes away a lot of the guesswork and stress and assures you someone is working hard to get those bookings!
8) Finances. As far as finances go, speak to an accountant, but generally, you’ll want all income and expenses to be kept in a separate bank account from any other household funds. You’ll also want to keep careful records as much of what you spend on your rental home may be tax deductible at the year end. Even some of your own vacation may be a write-off if you spend more time of the day working than relaxing.