Chapter 1

Vacation Rental Property Management Guide

What is Property Management?

Property management is the process of managing properties by keeping up and dealing with everything you need to run a rental business. Office staff, managers, and mechanical teams are generally used to help oversee the many aspects that go into rental properties, whether they are individual family dwellings or apartment buildings.

Property managers operate, control and oversee all aspects of these units to ensure that they are running to their full potential and smoothly for the owner of the properties. It helps give accountability to those renting the properties when they have a professional to speak with regarding issues they may be having with the property. This can be long-term properties, or those looking for vacation rentals.

Benefits of Property Management Companies

Through property management companies, there are numerous benefits to using their services for the owner of the properties.

  • Having a point of contact for all guests’ concerns, questions, complaints, etc.
  • Have a way to fill in the property throughout the year so that it is never vacant and the right guests come and go.
  • Reduces the time, effort and headache that goes into managing multiple properties at once when someone is able to provide the vacation management services for you.
  • Inputs all of the mechanical and other property issues to the service team so that they are all taken care of within a reasonable amount of time.
  • They help to get more guests in the vacation home so that there is more of a turnover rate so it is almost never empty.

Benefits of Property Management Software

Through the use of a property management software, property owners or property managers are able to easily manage their businesses and benefit from all the tools that are available. With PMS solutions that everyone in the team is able to access, it can make management of the properties much easier for everyone.

The best property management software provides a multitude of easy-to-use tools for every professional that is caring for the specific units or properties. It helps them manage the vacation rental properties easier while giving the best information on them.

If you read the property management software reviews, you’ll find different PMS’ that benefits the user overall. Even those searching for a bed and breakfast property management software could benefit from PMS solutions like Lodgify. The number one goal is to find an app that will allow you to manage all your properties and get guests coming and going with ease.

Property Management Tools

Property management tools and extra resources are starting points for all companies that are hoping to make operations run much smoother. There are many different tools that are readily available to help those in the property management industry. These tools are there to provide a guide and some help to those that are in the industry and want a bit more from it, as well as helping to make their lives a bit easier in the end. Learning about some of the main tools is the best way to go when you want to find something that is going to help you and let you learn from them.

Property Management Agreement

A property management agreement is oftentimes an agreement that is a must-have for all parties involved. It is a legally binding agreement between the parties that the scope of work is going to be performed by the manager and when it is not, or they do not fulfill their duties as the manager, that the owner of the property is covered in the case of this. It is important that the property manager is someone that you can trust, but having this contract in place will protect everyone involved in case something were to happen.

When you go to sign a property management agreement, you want to make sure that you have some extras put into it to cover everyone, such as:

  •  Responsibilities of both the owner and the manager and what is expected
  •  The length of the agreement between the parties
  •  The fees and payments being made by the owner and to the manager
  •  Equal opportunity housing and what is expected of that
  •  Any and all termination clauses that would make it grounds for dismissal or quitting

Property Management Contract

It is important that you understand the contract that you’re getting into when it comes to the scope of work being performed, what is being done by who and how it needs to be done, as well as fees and other extras that are defined throughout the contract.

There are always things that should be put into the contract so that there is no misunderstanding of what should and should not be done by either party. Know who is doing the screening on tenants, who cares for the property, who collects the money, how repairs and maintenance is not only done, but how it is funded, what reports are sent to the owner and how often they’re going to be sent, how tasks are approved to be done and so on. These little things need to be stated in the contract so that there is no miscommunication between the two.

Top 3 Property Management Books to Read

If you’re ever stuck and want to learn more about property management, then you can look into some of the top rated property management books that are out there. They provide more insight regarding what you can and cannot do, what to expect and more.

1. Property Management for Dummies

Just like the rest of the for Dummies books, this one teaches you everything from A to Z regarding property management and doing so successfully.

“Discover how to be a landlord with ease Thinking about becoming a landlord? Property Management Kit For Dummies gives you proven strategies for establishing and maintaining rental properties, whether a single family or multi-resident unit.”

2. The Property Management Tool Kit

If you want to get out the tools and keep everything flowing as it should be, then this is the book that comes highly recommended. Not only do they give tips and tricks, but they can actually teach you ways to become a better property manager overall.

“The Regional Vice President of the National Apartment Association (NAA) offers his insights on property management here in 10 concise chapters.”

3. The Book on Managing Rental Properties

This is the big book that covers just about everything and some. If you’re wondering what you need to do with agreements, how to work with renters and other specifics, then you can find all of that information to get you where you need to be right inside this book. It is the handbook that is required by all property managers.

“No matter how great you are at finding good rental property deals, you could lose everything if you don’t manage your properties correctly!”

Property Management Business Plan

property management business plan is good to have, any business plan is good to have, and it can keep you on track to success. Make sure to know how to write a business plan and have some tips that can bring the entire plan together nicely.

In order to write a great business plan, it has to have these components within it:

  1.   Executive Summary
  2.   Market Analysis
  3.   SWOT Analysis
  4.   Financial Projection
  5.   Marketing Plan
  6.   Marketing ideas & Strategies

All of these are important factors and they all have an overview of what to expect when working with your company. When you have a business plan, you can have an initial plan to stick with. This is where the plan is going to come in handy and provide you with all that you need to keep going. The business plan is an essential plan that everyone wants to make use of when it comes to managing properties.

Even if you’re not new to this, it is important to stick with moving up and learning more. There is always something to be learned as a property manager.

Additional Property Management Tools

Property management accounting software is built right into the platform, which makes choosing a program to use for all management needs is essential. The management team is able to use the app to go over finances, upload the property management contract, as well as the property management agreement. Everything can be done through the use of one app that does it for you – even keeps track of the rental amounts that are owed by guests.

Improving business just got easier with the property management app that gives you easy access to all of the tools you are in need of. Make this app part of your property management business plan and you can take off being able to rent out your vacation properties in confidence. You never have to keep track of papers, filing cabinets and other extras when you have an app that helps you keep track of everything, including a website that you build and showcase for those interested in visiting.

Property Management Services

For those that are looking to enjoy a second income, vacation rental properties are a must-have. Not only is it passive income, but it is also something that provides a fun way to make money. One of the services that you should definitely take advantage of when you have rentals though is vacation rental cleaning services. By being able to keep track of everything happening in the property, especially with cleaning and caring of the property, you’re on top of everything and have to do close to nothing to keep it running. Management services are the types of services that do this.

Not only that, but it is also important to keep up to date with the inside of your rental by making sure the furniture is nice, fixtures are modern and that everything is in great working condition. Interior design goes a long way on a rental property. There is software that provides you with a way to keep track of all the changes being made so you know what to charge. This software helps owners stay on top of what needs to be done or what was done and managers to effectively market and charge accordingly.

The less you have to worry about with your vacation rental property, the better off you will be. Even when the locks have to be changed, the property management company will make sure this is something that is done.

List of Property Management Services

When you’re interested in hiring property managers, then you need to know what exactly they can provide you with. You might only need some of the services, or you might need a comprehensive, extensive list of all the services provided. It is important to speak with the individual insurance company to find out what they can do for you.

Evaluate the Vacation Rental Property

  • They will evaluate the property and determine what the best rental rate would be for it.
  • Provide documentation with detailed pictures of the inside and outside of the rental.
  • Offer repairs and improvements that can improve the amount of rent that you get for the property.
  • Gather the information on the rental rates from the area and work with the owners of the property to determine which rental rate would be best.
  • Speak about the pros and cons, what the owner would like from the property, pet policy, smoking, etc.
  • They will install and change out the rental locks.

Promote the Property

  • They will prepare the home to be rented out.
  • They will market the property so that visitors can view it and find it – create a website, list it on other websites, print publications and more.
  • Increase curb appeal by keeping the outside of the property well manicured.

Check-in Guests

  • They will draw up the rental agreement with the renters, confirm their dates and review the guidelines they should adhere to while staying there.
  • Ensure all agreements have been properly executed.
  • Collect security deposit from guests.
  • They do all of the check-ins that are required by inspecting the unit, making sure the guests know about damages, return the security deposits, clean out the units and do repairs, return the keys and put the property back up.

Financial

  • Are you worried guests are not going to pay for the rental? They will hunt them down and receive payments while also enforcing any and all late fees.
  • They will collect the rents and security deposits required.
  • They provide all of the accounting services, making payments, collecting payments, keeping all documentation of the payments in and out, keep track of the tax side of the paperwork and advise the owner of any tax issues that might arise.

Legal

  • They provide legal advisement when there is a legal dispute or litigation.
  • Refer the owner to legal attorneys they can work with.
  • They abide by and understand the legislation and laws pertaining to these rental properties.

Maintenance

  • They will provide periodic inspections on the inside and outside of the home to check for repairs, damage and other needs while also making sure that nothing is in violation and then send reports of the property after doing so to the owner.
  • All of the maintenance is provided by the managers of the property.
  • If any contractors are required, they will find the best ones for the job and check their credentials.
  • They will maintain the outside areas of the house, including leaves, grass and snow removal.
  • They are the ones that maintain the 24-hour emergency helpline.
  • They can provide renovations and rehabilitation projects as needed.