How do you recommend that I furnish and decorate my Vacation Rental Home?

Summary:

How you furnish and decorate your home depends somewhat on what guests expect in your vacation rental market. For example, if you’re renting a bed and breakfast, then guests are somewhat expecting the furniture and decorations they would expect to find in a bed and breakfast in your market. I’m somewhat pragmatic about my rental homes, I’m always asking myself, “how can I resolve this problem so I don’t have to bother with this problem ever again? How can I get this done to reduce conflict with my guests, my cleaners, or my maintenance folks?” The result after several years in this business and currently owning 3 rental homes….


I’m somewhat pragmatic about my rental homes, I’m always asking myself, “how can I resolve this problem so I don’t have to bother with this problem ever again? How can I get this done to reduce conflict with my guests, my cleaners, or my maintenance folks?”

The result after several years in this business and currently owning 3 rental homes….

1) We’ve eliminated most of our silk plants. The cleaners hated cleaning them, the guests didn’t miss them. We replaced them with tchotchkes, like antique bells, decorative bird houses, ceramics, other Pier One fare. The result is that the’re tchotchkes are likely to be cleaned resulting in a better experience for both the guest and the cleaners.

2) We’ve eliminated all of our vertical blinds (and there were a LOT of them!) They were always breaking, they were difficult to keep dusted, the kids and the heat of the sun were causing the slats to perpetually break and fall off. We replaced them with nice tabbed curtains, which can be easily cleaned and which can’t be broken by children or damaged by harsh sunlight through the window.

3) We buy *nice* sturdy rental quality furniture, but we no longer buy premium furniture. We don’t live there. We live 1000 miles away and rent to complete strangers for days at a time. It’s a rental home, get over it. We have very little control if our guests aren’t as careful as we like, so we price wear and tear into the rental fee. We budget to replace the furniture over every few years, so we aren’t so bent out of shape when we visit our home to find a 3-foot scratch in a night stand. We’re not happy, of course, but it’s water under the bridge. With several people in a house at a time, accidents happen. We fix damage to the best of our ability, and we replace it when it’s time.

Here’s a quick story: For the past 3 years, we’ve had guests who come in premium season every year and pay full rate. Every year, her young children take crayons or markers to the furniture. I tell the cleaning lady, “be ready to scrub,” because family X is coming again this year. Do I care? No. She pays full rate and returns every year. The extra cleaning required is priced into her rate. It’s much easier and profitable for me to have her return every year than it is for me to try to secure new guests every year. Is it a hassle for the extra clean? Yes. Is cleaning up after her so she’ll return next year easier than getting a new guest to replace her? Yes. Is it better to have her leave and recommend our home as a great place to stay rather than have her angry about me withholding her security fee? In my opinion, yes. Frankly, every single one of my guests may bring as many children and crayons if they like as long as they promise to return and pay full rate the following year.

We’ve never had damage so bad that we couldn’t fix it for $100 or less. It doesn’t happen often, thankfully, but it happens once or twice a year. In my opinion, it’s dangerous to become emotionally attached to a rental home or it’s contents.

For us, it’s *not* about having rental homes with the nicest flat screen TV, expensive game room, antique furniture, and expensive window coverings. For us, it’s a business, it all comes down to having a positive cash flow, a profitable business, and satisfied guests at a reasonable fee.

Chuck Eglinton
www.Mickeytown.com

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