You may think that owning a vacation home is something that is completely out of reach; this is not necessarily true. If you’ll think a bit outside of the general idea of “vacation home” you’d see it’s not just a home on the beach or by the lake. Any “get away” property can be a vacation home if you make it incredible. Generally a vacation home is a home you purchase with the expectation of rentals paying for it. To get the maximum amount of rentals, you have to make your vacation property more desirable for renters.

Consider a portable building

If the cost of a beach or lake house is beyond your reach, consider a ready-made portable building on a little piece of land. Look for property outside the big city limits. Many times you can pick up an acre of land for under $5k. Adding utilities will add another few thousand dollars. The cost of a small portable modular building can vary, but for a building like my studio, I paid under $8K. With added electric and improvements we probably have about $10k invested. Now, you’ll be adding a small kitchenette and bathroom and that will add additional expense.

Improve the lot by adding landscaping considering the way you want your renters to feel when they visit your  property. Add a deck and maybe a fire pit, and definitely a covered porch. Everything about the property should reflect comfort and peace. You’ll likely be into the entire home for under $50k as opposed to $150-$300k for a beach or lake house.

Furnish it

You’ll need to make your vacation rental as comfortable as possible. This means investing in great furniture. There are several factors to consider when buying new furniture for a vacation home. Your expectation is that the house will be rented most weekends so the furniture will get a lot of use. Think about using comfortable, yet durable fabrics or leather so it’s easy to clean any spills or stains. If you choose fabric, be sure you have it coated in fabric protectant so liquid will roll off easily. 

Your accessory pieces don’t have to be top end necessarily; end tables can be used furniture, but refinishing them will give a custom look. You want the place to look like everything is deliberate and high end. Have baskets with lots of blankets and pillows for those cold winter nights.

Outfit the kitchen with dishes that continue the style of the house. Supply great cookware and utensils for those who visit who want to cook a gourmet meal. Matching dinnerware is a nice touch as well. Don’t forget dish towels and pot holders! The same goes for the bathroom. Stock the room with soaps, bath salts, and great linens. Luxury is the key word. 

Don’t skimp on the bedroom

Most people seek a vacation rental because they want to escape the rat race for a few days. They want luxury and comfort above all. There’s no more important room than the bedroom for them to find the peace. Invest in a great mattress in at least a queen size, king size is preferable. Be sure you have beautiful furniture in this room as well. 

The bedding should not look like an afterthought. Buy bedding that continues the theme of the house; whether rustic country or romantic. Learn how to make bedding last longer, so you won’t need to replace it as often. Having bedspreads that are machine washable will help insure the cleanliness of the linens. White sheets are best, as they can be bleached after each rental. Have several sets on hand so the bedding can be changed immediately after each rental. 

Keep the paint neutral

In keeping with the idea that a vacation rental is a peaceful retreat for the renter, choose paint colors that are soothing and calming. Paint the interior in more neutral colors so you can easily change the décor with the seasons. Add beautiful greens and pinks in throw blankets and pillows in the spring, brown earthy colors in fall, and red and green for Christmas. A neutral background makes changing décor a snap. Decorating for each season lets the renter get the sense that the property is fresh each time they visit.

Choose the right lighting

Details are where your renters will see that the price of the rental is worth every penny because nothing was just thrown in. Just because you got a great pendant light at an auction doesn’t mean it’s right for your vacation home. Your lighting choices reflect the overall design just like the furniture. Beautiful rustic lanterns to light the porch can take someone back in time. A gorgeous chandelier over the dining table can give the feeling of being on a romantic holiday. Bathroom lighting should be great for applying makeup and not be harsh. Your best bet is always have as much natural light as possible. Make windows easily seen with no furniture blocking their light.

Just consider all of the things you look for when going on a get away to a vacation property and outfit your rental thusly. Attention to the small things will help make your vacation property more desirable for renters.

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