Sunday, 24 September 2017

Tips for Vacation Home Owners- Picking the right Property Manager

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:12
Exterior of a vacation home in Orlando Exterior of a vacation home in Orlando

Even though the real estate market has turned the corner and most markets are seeing an increase in prices, there is still value in buying a vacation home in some markets.  If you are a new vacation home owner or you have owned one for your years I would like to offer you some advice on home to make sure your house stays in good condition.

1.       Interview numerous property managers- The first thing you will want to find out from the property manager is if they are hands on or do they hand off a lot of the inspection work to one of their employees. Or worse, do they rely upon the cleaners to keep them informed on the condition of the vacation home.  It is really hard to manage a vacation home from behind a desk; property management is something that has to be hands on.  All it takes is for a couple of bad guests or neglect from the property manager for a couple of weeks for a vacation home to go down in value.

2.       Pay your own bills- If you own a vacation home a lot of management companies would like to pay your monthly water, phone, cable, and electricity bills for you. They reasoning is sound; they do not want the power cut off when a guest is staying in the house. On the other hand, if you are like most home owners you pay your bills on time, and a power bill is a good check and balance system for you to have. Let me explain, your power bill should correlate to your booking calendar. If no one is staying in the house for a week then the electricity bill should show much less use than a week when guest are is staying in the house. It is little check and balances like this that can make a huge difference at the end of the year. All it takes is for a property manager to not notify you once or twice a year of a week long booking to be the difference from your vacation home producing a profit or a loss for the year.

3.       Expect and Plan for Repairs- Here Orlando the biggest repair cost with our home owners is AC repairs, so we suggest that all of our owners have an AC contract. This is where large Air Conditioning companies will inspect your AC unit, and depending upon the condition they will offer a contract for them to service the unit. This contract usually comes with 2 annual cleans and if it does break down the owner only has to pay for the parts the labor is covered under the contract. Depending upon where your vacation home is located you might experience other repairs. A good rule of thumb is that you should plan to spend 1% to 1.5% of the value of house a year on repairs. So if you buy a $200,000 home then you should plan to spend anywhere from $2000 to $3000 a year to keep it up.

4.       Don’t sign a long term contract- Keep in mind everything is negotiable before you sign the papers. So I caution you on signing a long term deal with any management company no matter how reputable they are. BMW is a reputable car company, but they have produced some lemons over the years. Usually the only time you would be looking to replace a management company is if the rentals are not what you desire or if they are not looking after the property the way you want them to. Either way, if you are forced to give them a 60 or 90 day notice of termination, trust me they are not going to take better care of your property after you have given them notice.

5.       Interview Guest- If you do your own booking call the guest or e-mail them after their stay and ask them about their vacation. Ask them specific questions about the house, and use this as an opportunity to find out the condition of the house and what services or improvements you can do in the future to make the next guest stay even more enjoyable.

If you rely upon your property manager to provide you most of the bookings, put in a guest comment book and number the pages at the bottom (1,2,3 etc.). This way if a guest writes a bad review in the book the property manager cannot rip out that particular page.

Do spot checks on your vacation home. Make sure the property manager provides you an availability calendar of your property, and if there is a week where it is open simply pop in or if one of your friends is in the area have them go by and check on the house for you. This is frowned upon by many property managers, but you need to check what you expect to get RESPECT.

These are just a few quick tips for vacation home owners who take pride in their vacation home, and they  want to make sure it is well taken care of . My name is Trey Duling and if you own a vacation home in Orlando I would love to talk with you about the management of you house. Please check out our website at or call me at 1-800-633-7108 ext 7007.

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Trey Duling

Trey Duling is the owner of He has been managing and renting vacation homes in Orlando since 2001. If you have a vacation home in the Orlando area and you are looking for a property manager give Trey a call at 1-800-633-7108 ext 7007.

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