This is a guest post by Rick Albert, a successful Windsor Hills vacation home owner. Rick Albert purchased his vacation from The Flamingo Group last year and is doing extremely well with it. Here he shares about his experiences on how you can also find success owning an Orlando vacation home. If you are interested renting Rick’s villa for your next trip to Orlando you can contact him directly here: Rick’s Windsor Hills Villa
So you’re considering purchasing a vacation rental property in the Windsor Hills Resort Kissimmee? If so, you have done your homework and you’re on the right track. The Windsor Hills resort is one of the most sought after short term rental communities in Central Florida. With top notch amenities and close proximity to attractions, Windsor Hills is a global vacation destination with strong rental demand.
Despite being a global attraction and a premium vacation destination, there is a big difference between being an owner in Windsor Hills and being a successful owner in Windsor Hills. Here are a few tips to set you apart from your competition and make your rental business a winning proposition for you.
1.) Create a Business Plan:
This may seem like a simple idea: Buy a Windsor Hills property, rent the property, make lots of money and all is well right? Wrong! Create both a short term and long term plan for your business. Take care to see that you are sufficiently insured. Determine if you need to incorporate or create an LLC. Understand your tax benefits and liabilities. Plan an exit strategy. Will you retire to this Windsor Hills Resort property? When will you sell? How will your business respond to a catastrophic event? These are just a few questions that should be addressed in your business plan.
2.) Choosing a Windsor Hills Management Company:
If you’re like me, you don’t live in close proximity to your vacation rental and cannot be on site daily to address the needs of your Windsor Hills Resort property. You will need to choose a management company. At present, there are over 200 different management companies currently working in Windsor Hills. There are large companies that will manage everything for you including booking your property to daily maintenance to small companies who service a small group of owners with just daily maintenance and leave the bookings to you. Shop for a quality management company that will fulfill your requirements. Don’t hesitate to contact other owners and ask for their recommendations. The success of your business depends on how well your Windsor Hills management company services your Kissimmee vacation property and guests.
3.) Choosing Renters:
Who is your target customer? Is your Windsor Hills rental property geared for executives or is it geared for families visiting Disney? Determine who your target customer is and manage your vacation home business accordingly. Decorate and appoint your Windsor Hills Resort property accordingly and then price your property to match your target customer. Under pricing your property will put you out of business just as fast as over pricing your property which leads directly to the next topic…
4.) Know your Competition:
Do your homework. Who is your competition? What amenities does your competition offer? What does their rental calendar look like? What do they charge? Based on these factors, determine how you can make your Windsor Hills property more appealing to potential guests.
5.) Effective Advertising:
I can’t stress enough how important effective advertising is to your success. Would you wear sweat pants and a t-shirt to a job interview? Of course not, so why would you present your Windsor Hills property in a boring, lack-luster manner? This is your one shot to grab a potential customer’s attention and make yourself stand out above the thousands of other rental properties in Central Florida.
Start by choosing an inviting name for your vacation home business. Your potential guests are traveling a long way to Central Florida to enjoy the weather, the attractions and the amenities. They have planned and saved all year for this trip and probably don’t want to stay at the “Smith Rental.” It sounds much more appealing to stay at the “Windsor Hills Luxury Sunshine Escape.” Be creative. Choose a name that is befitting your property and amenities and entices renters to stay with you.
99.99% of your customers will come from online inquiries. The other .01% will come from referrals and return customers. All of whom will look at your online advertising before booking your property.
Whether you list your Windsor Hills property on a portal site such as Homeaway.com or VRBO.com, you need to make your listing stand out. Hire a professional photographer/videographer to stage and shoot your property. Quality photographs will set your property apart from the rest. When potential customers are scrolling through properties on these sites, bright colorful photos are going to grab their attention and direct them to your listing. Provide a complete, descriptive narrative for your property and amenities. Consider hiring a professional to write a quality narrative for your listing. Homeaway.com offers this service to its customers and may be worth the fee if it creates additional bookings for you.
Your vacation home business website is the final piece of the puzzle. Again, don’t present your Windsor Hills property in a boring, lack-luster manner. Hire a web designer who can help you build a quality site. A strong homepage that holds a visitors attention is key. From there, make your site easy to navigate. Display large quality photos of your property and amenities. Have pages for your rates, availability and contact information. A video or virtual tour will also set you apart from your competition. Potential guests will want to examine all that you have to offer and a quality website will solidify your legitimacy as a quality business.
6.) Time Spent
The last component to your success is the amount of time you personally spend on your business. Unless you decide to hand your keys to a full service management company, your success depends on your personal involvement. You can expect to spend at least one hour per day on activities directly related to your vacation home business. Activities such as responding to inquiries, keeping in contact with your Windsor Hills property manager, speaking with guests and bookkeeping all require your attention. Your vacation home business will not run itself and the property owners who exercise due diligence in daily operations tend to be the most successful. And last but not least, don’t wait to block out time for you to stay throughout the year. You’ll get a firsthand look at how things are going with your Windsor Hills property and your own vacation is probably a primary reason that you’re shopping for a rental property at all!
This is a guest post by Rick Albert, a successful Windsor Hills vacation home owner. Rick Albert purchased his vacation from The Flamingo Group last year and is doing extremely well with it. Here he shares about his experiences on how you can also find success owning an Orlando vacation home. If you are interested renting Rick’s villa for your next trip to Orlando you can contact him directly here: Rick’s Windsor Hill’s Villa
This is a guest post by Lisa Sedore, owner of www.SunshineVillaOrlando.com. Please scroll down below for more information on her and her services.
What room comes to mind when you think of the heart of a home? Your kitchen, right? Well, an Orlando vacation rental home is no exception to this rule. With just a few quick kitchen fixes you can pump some new life into a flat line rental kitchen and increase your bookings in the competitive Disney area vacation home market.
Toss those drab tea towels and dish cloths to the curb. Pick up some towels in some of today’s hot color schemes and use these must have items as part of your decor. Drape a stunning red towel over the oven door or fold a vibrant yellow dish cloth next to the sink. Bring your kitchen a little life with eye catching color.
2. Dress Up your Window
What’s your style? Whether simple and functionable, county or elegant the window treatments say it all. Try some mini blinds and valance or a cornice box hung high to enlarge the look of your window. Highlight a modern sleek look with a Roman shade or bump it up with wood blinds for a touch of elegance. Cute little cafe curtains add a homey county feel to a Florida home.
Ready, set, go …. Armed with only a screwdriver and an hour of your time watch this magical transformation. The variety is limitless, from cute and quirky designs like animals and flowers to stainless steel, brushed nickel to bronze knobs and pulleys. This simple switch brightens and extends the life of pricy cabinets.
4. Update Faucets
Go with the flow in faucet trends to keep your kitchen sparkle. These hard working almost forgotten tools modernize any kitchen counter. Before you buy, check in on your sink / faucet relationship. Too tall of a faucet equals splash works yet too short leave you wishing for a deeper well.
5. Shine Some Light
Some like it bright, some like little light. Mix a variety of light sources to blend light levels in the kitchen. Task lighting provides sufficient direct light to chop veggies or read recipes while ambient light creates warm glows that fill the space and warm our hearts.
Guests will take notice of the updates and modern fixes to your kitchen rewarding you with increased inquiries and more bookings. After all … kitchens are the heart to all our homes!
Lisa Sedore (owner) is The Villa Manager, she is dedicated to providing vacation rental property owners the best solution to their business management and booking needs. Her blog site, www.
This is a guest post by: Kahmen Lai, mold removal and prevention specialist.
Is that dirt on the garage wall? One event almost guaranteed to send you into a state of panic is the discovery of mold in your home. Even if you’ve dealt with the problem before, finding a mold infestation is extremely unpleasant and dealing with it can be expensive and inconvenient. And yet, if you leave a mold growth unchecked it can spread and have significant health implications including respiratory problems and fatigue.
Often the first indicator that you’ll notice is the odd grey-black spots appearing on a wall. Once you know you’ve got a mold problem, treating it quickly and effectively is of paramount importance.
Getting Rid of Mold in Your Florida Home
There are any number of home remedies that can kill mold, including tea tree oil, vinegar and baking soda, but those in need of a harsher solution often turn to chemicals like chlorine bleach, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. Scrubbing or wiping down the surface with these substances will generally kill the mold and return your walls to spot-free splendor.
Problems with Mold Solutions
The problem is that these solutions often have huge disadvantages – the toxic fumes alone are enough to cause concern. If you’re treating a porous structure like wood or drywall, many of these treatments won’t work effectively. Then of course is the main problem: once you’ve treated the growth, there’s no guarantee that it won’t crop up again.
Keep the Area Dry and Well-Ventilated
Since mold is caused by excess moisture in the air, one of the best ways to prevent mold growth is to ensure that the location is kept dry. If you’re living in a home that is predisposed to mold growth, you might want to invest in a good-quality dehumidifier that draws the moisture from the air and prevents condensation forming on walls. Disposable interior dehumidifiers are smaller and less expensive and can be used in tight spaces like in wardrobes or under sinks. Disposable dehumidifiers are rarely recommended for bathroom usage so you may need to install an extractor fan for your bathroom as well.
Of course, the cheaper solution is to ensure that the area is well-ventilated. If you’ve got problems in your garage, for example, you may want to consider switching to a well-ventilated structure like a carport as an alternative, which will allow air to flow through. Your garage, which will then have infinitely more space, can then be cleaned, treated for mold and used for other purposes. To encourage airflow, the garage should still be opened and ventilated every weekend.
It’s important that once you’ve discovered a mold problem that you treat it immediately in order to prevent it spreading. However, once you’ve got it under control you should also look to prevent it from reoccurring. That way, your home will always be mold-free and you won’t have to worry about getting rid of another infestation!
Kahmen Lai has been providing practical home advice for many years and specializes in mold removal and prevention. She also writes for www.getcarports.com/ , a company that offers produces and installs ventilated structures.
I was just chatting with one of my past clients via email yesterday about how she is doing with her Davenport vacation rental home since she closed. I was so happy to hear about how well she is doing. In her email she mentioned, “We have been over 100% on projected rental weeks and bottom line dollars for quite a while now. It’s paying down it’s own mortgage”. That’s so exciting for any Orlando vacation home owner to be able to say that. I had no doubt she would as she’s a very ambitious woman!! (Check out her awesome vacation home HERE)
She brought up the topic of trying to find a niche for her vacation rental when discussing about how she wants to take things to the next level and I thought it would make such a great topic to share with other prospective and current Orlando vacation homeowners. In the next four weeks I will be writing a series of blog posts on how you can carve out a niche for your Florida vacation rental to help keep you booked solid throughout the year.
Why Niche, Why Now?
In today’s market there is so much competition with owner’s undercutting one another that it’s almost essential to have a reason for vacation renters to choose your unit over someone else’s. Go look on VRBO and Homeaway, what do you see? I see hundreds of vacation home owner’s all running the same ad over and over again with the same boring headlines and photos trying to target anybody and everybody.
Creating a niche for your Florida rental property shouldn’t be something that you do on the side it should be the core focus of your marketing plan! A niche marketing plan does three very important things for your Florida vacation rental home:
1. It Builds Value: There is not enough that can be said about creating value when you are trying to market, sell or even rent a property. You need to create value and give prospective renter’s a darn good reason why they should spend the money to rent your property over the next guy’s. I’m not just talking lots of pictures of your glorious games room but something bigger than that. Something that hits their emotional triggers. If zeroed in on a small group of people, lets just say golfers for examples sake, and you really marketed your property to hit their emotional triggers than chances are you will get their booking every time over Mrs. Plain Jane’s home up the street who has little more to say than how great her pool is.
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2. It Sets Your Home Apart: In today’s market everyone has a pool, a games room, Plasma TV’s and many even have themed bedrooms. Why is your home special? Well, if you had a niche your home would be extremely special to a small focus group of people because it offers everything they could ever want in a vacation home. It would literally be their home away from home and once that group of people stays at your place why would they ever stay anywhere else? And guess what, people talk. Especially people who are part of a group, a team or share the same hobby. I’m going with the golfer example again here, if your property is set up to cater specifically to golfers and golfers are the main group of people that stay at your home well now you have the perfect setting for your home to go viral, and I’m not talking Influenza (for those of you not familiar with the term viral, it refers to the fast spreading of news both online and off). Golfers are some of the chattiest people I know (and believe me I know!). They love to tell their buddies about their family, vacations and business while on the course. Just think about how many people your golfer guests are going to tell about your vacation home that was the only place they ever rented that catered to them. They had they best golfing trip in years and their friends back home will hear about it!
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3. It Establishes Credibility: Credibility is everything in business. Without that you’re nothing more than a hole in the wall with a fancy sign out front. People need to believe your home is the only home they would go and stay at when they come to Orlando. If people don’t, you will be nothing more than that guy in the ad below or above you and you’ll book randomly just like everyone else. You need to establish your home as the ultimate choice for your target group. Once you have established this and found your niche just work it!! Put everything you have into your target group and don’t worry about the rest. I am speaking from experience, I own a marketing company where I am retained by small companies to market for them. My company only services specific types of businesses such as doctors and attorneys. If I tried to focus on everyone I would be losing out. When you focus on trying to market effectively to a smaller group of people you will attract less people but less will be more because you will have a higher conversion rate and more repeat and referral business. That means less uninterested inquiries and phone calls that go nowhere. LESS IS MORE in marketing!!
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As I was browsing HomeAway tonight looking for a vacation rental I noticed one ad in particular that caught my eye over all of the other ads. This ad was nothing special but it had three things going for it that most of the others did not. If your vacation rental ad on HomeAway or VRBO doesn’t already consist of these three things than I would advise you to consider implementing these tips into your ad and you will most likely notice a higher click-thru rate in 2010.
1. Accept Online Payments
The very first thing I noticed about this ad over the others was that it accepts online payments. I don’t know about you but I’m a creature of convenience and love to keep things as simple as possible. If a customer can quickly and easily pay online for their vacation rental and does not have to deal with calling a management company or owner to arrange payment than they will be much more likely to book your property over one that makes them jump through the hoops to make payment. Many owners don’t implement this concept for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are they either don’t know how to set it up or they don’t want to pay the fees that are assessed when accepting credit card payments. It takes about 2 minutes to set up a Pay-Pal account and start accepting credit card payments. If you decide to start accepting online payments be sure to list it on your ad!
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The second reason I clicked on this ad was because it had more reviews than the other vacation condos listed on that page. No matter how happy your customers may be after they leave your vacation home, getting a testimonial from them is sometimes one of the hardest things to do. It’s not because they didn’t think your place was great but in most cases it’s just plain inconvenient for people to go to your website and leave feedback or send you an email with feedback. There are many methods you can implement for getting more feedback from your guests and I will go into that in another post but it’s important that you get as many of your guests as possible to leave you a review about your property.
Don’t forget to join the waiting list for The Pink Flamingo’s up and coming e-book “Everything You Wish You Knew BEFORE Buying a Florida Vacation Rental Home“
3. Great Cover Photo
The subject of what makes a great vacation rental ad photo is debatable by many but what I loved most about this particular ad was that it didn’t have the same picture of either the kitchen or living room as all of the other vacation rentals did. This photo showcased exactly what I was looking for and that was an amazing view and a great location. The photo that you put on the front of your ad is going to be the first and in some cases the only picture that prospective renters are going to see, so make it count! If your home is in a tropical location like Florida it’s great to show a picture of the ocean view or the pool and spa area. Take into consideration what you are trying to sell and that’s a vacation not a house. People make purchases based on emotional reasons so learn to push those emotional buttons in your ad and watch the click-thru rate and bookings sky rocket!
Here’s to 2010 and all of the bookings you will be getting for your vacation rental!
When I first set out to write this post I intended on it being about tech savvy Orlando vacation home management companies that “get it”. As I started my research online to see which companies are embracing the technology revolution and which are still stuck in what looks like the industrial revolution I was very disappointed with the results I found. So the focus of this post has now shifted and I’m sad about that.
Being a tech geek myself I prefer to work with other businesses who are tech savvy as well. I like to follow them on Twitter and become a Fan of their Facebook page (hint hint-feel free to fan our Facebook page for awesome updates) to stay updated with what they are doing. Unfortunately, it seems to be hard to find any Orlando short term rental management companies that are embracing the technology revolution they way they should. Do they understand the power of the internet and social media?
I personally, would be concerned about enrolling my Orlando vacation home with a property management company who does not have a tech savvy enough marketing department to even put their own company on the internet map. It would make me wonder, “If they can’t market their own company properly, what are they possibly going to do for my home?” I can tell you what they will do for you home; They will book your home out with tour operator bookings that pay half of what you should be getting and this is where 90% of your bookings will come from. The other 10% will come from your owner bookings if you choose to go that route.
I hope local Disney area short term rental companies start embracing this change and start making more of an effort to get their own direct bookings. That will translate to more money in both of your pockets. I don’t know when this change will take place but what I will ask you is this; How tech savvy is your Orlando short term rental property management company? Can you find them on Twitter? Facebook? Flickr? If so, are they active? Do they have a presence on some of the large travel social networking sites like Viscape? If you can’t answer yes to even one of those questions perhaps it’s time to tell them how you feel about their level of exposure and dependency on tour operators. Maybe they will listen and together we can get the Orlando vacation home market up to speed.
For you techies- Don’t forget to follow the Flamingo on Twitter: @RealEstateFL
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We all like quick fixes right? Well here are 15 quick and easy changes you can make to your Orlando vacation rental and booking routine to increase your exposure and revenue this winter.
1. Update Your photos!
There is nothing worse than outdated, bad angled pictures lurking around on your property website. People will be booking your home solely based on the photos they see online. You only get one chance at this so make it count. The Flamingo thing to do would be to dip into your wallet a little and hire a professional Orlando real estate photographer to come in and snap some shots. It’s an investment that will pay off in the end.
2. Expose Yourself!
Don’t be afraid to put your home out there. There are over 50 websites you can list your Orlando vacation rental home on to get some owner booking revenue coming in. Consider the top three and take an ad out on those sites. Again if your pictures are terrible than don’t waste the money but if the package looks good than by all means get it out there! One of my personal favorite sites for this is VRBO
3. Start a Blog
Yes, I just told you to become a “blogger”. This is by far the fastest and most cost effective way to start generating some exposure online. It’s free to start a WordPress blog and if you do it correctly can generate a ton of new business and stir up interest in your Orlando vacation rental. A great thing to do would be to blog about up and coming events in the Orlando area, any news or information about your vacation home neighborhood, any specials you are running and have a place where guests can leave comments and testimonials. You can also link this to your property website.
Nothing speaks louder to a potential prospect than the voice of another satisfied guest. If you are not utilizing testimonials on your website/blog than you are missing out on a large market of people. Encourage your previous guests (the satisfied ones) to go onto your website/blog and leave you a testimonial on the testimonials page (which you should have in place already). In all of your online advertising link back to this page so people can read them.
5. Love Your Competition
Who says you have to compete with the competition? There is more than enough business to go around for everyone and there is also power in high numbers. Get with other owners of properties in your neighborhood and link your websites up. What’s great is that they may have guests that are looking for specific dates that they already have booked but guess what, their “buddy” up the street has availability. Many Orlando vacation home owners have even started neighborhood websites where all owners within the community advertise their home and they market the site together.
6. Build Your Database!
This is huge! Your Orlando vacation rental property is a business and should be treated like one. Every person who contacts you in any way, shape or form is a potential booking. You should be keeping a database of every email address that comes through your inbox inquiring about your Orlando vacation rental property. Utilize this database when you are running specials and want to tell people about it. You will be surprised how many people respond to specials that they may have not been interested in before. Make sure you are using a program like Constant Contact that offers an unsubscribe option in your emails. Nobody likes to be spammed.
7. Automate Yourself
If you’re like me you have a life and a family outside of work. The last thing you want to be doing is be sitting around by your computer and waiting for booking requests to come in. The downside to that is people want immediate responses to their questions and will go elsewhere if they do not get one. The easiest way to solve this problem is to set up an auto-responder on your email and within that responder let the customer know you will be getting back to them before the end of the business day. You may also want to include a frequently asked questions list as well as some testimonials and a link to your site.
8. Consider Allowing Pets
Say What! Animals in MY vacation home!! I know it’s a big thing for many to allow owners with pets to stay in their Orlando vacation rental property BUT consider this: So many other owners feel the same way so imagine the amount of people who are looking for a place like yours that can’t find anything that allows pets. Often time the first vacation rentals to book are the pet friendly ones. The extra booking revenue you earn from this should far outweigh the cost of having your carpets steam cleaned every other month. You can also charge extra for pets!
9. Game On!
Not everyone has a games room in their Orlando holiday villa and it’s costly to add one but one thing you can do to increase bookings is throw in a PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii. This will appeal to families traveling with children and in Orlando, that’s mainly your target market.
10. Stock Up on The Tea. . . and don’t be cheap!
This may seem incredibly obvious and even most hotels do this but having a nice selection of good tea available to your guests when they arrive is a big deal! Don’t scrimp on the tea and buy the cheap Lipton stuff. . . Stock up on the good stuff from places like Teavana and even Starbucks. This is a great feature to point out in your marketing. It’s the small details like this that keep people coming back for more.
11. Offer Up Your Home To Realtors
Most Orlando Realtors who are vacation home specialists only work with out of town and country buyers. When they fly down for their inspection trip they will need a place to stay. Offer your property up to their clients at a discounted rate. If you get in with a busy enough office you can easily score an extra 5-10 bookings per year. That can really fill in those gaps! Talk to your Realtor who sold you your vacation home property and let them know you’re interested in offering up your villa.
12. Secure The Net
Make sure your guests have access to a SECURED internet connection when they are staying at your Orlando villa. Many guests staying in Orlando on holiday are already paranoid and scared of getting ripped off. Some people, especially those traveling here form other countries, will feel much safer knowing they have internet access and it’s completely secured. I for one am one of those people and I can assure you that being a computer geek has it’s perks!!
13. Offer a Vacation Consultation
Who knows your home better than you? Chances are that you’ve been to Orlando on holiday several times and stayed at your property. You know all the hot spots and by now should know many of the local spots as well. Offer your guests a one on one phone consultation where you tell them all the inside information about the neighborhood, the town and the not so heavily advertised but oh so cool attractions they should hit up while they are here. People love a personal experience and this one gesture could turn a one time booking into a lifetime guest.
14. It’s All In Your Name
Addresses are BORING! You don’t want to market your property as an address you want to name your property just like you would your pets or your kids. It needs a fun name that will be remembered by just about anyone browsing the web. A name will make your property stand out from the others and almost instantly add credibility as an established vacation home. I reemember one owner named her house “The Pineapple Palace”. I still remember that because it’s different and it’s fun.
15. Add a Hammock
This is about as black and white as it sounds. People loves hammocks, especially when in Florida on vacation. I love hammocks even when I’m NOT on vacation so buy a hammock and put it in your backyard or if you have a large enough front porch that works too. Make sure you take pictures of the hammock and use it in your marketing. Hammocks rock! (Literally)
6 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should Never List Your Orlando Vacation Home For Sale With a Property Management Company
The purpose of this post is not to knock management companies as their are a few good apples out there however, it’s been my experience that property management companies should stick to what they do best and that’s managing vacation property. Here are some of the issues I’ve ran into with homes that are listed by property Orlando vacation home management companies that also have a real estate side.
1. Scheduling Conflicts: I’ve never had more issues trying to get into houses than I have with ones that are listed with Orlando area management companies. It’s inevitable for everyone that if your home is being actively booked there will be times it can not be shown however, the vacation home management companies I have had the pleasure of doing business with seemed much more concerned about the bookings than actually showing the home to prospective buyers. It seemed as though they only wanted to sell the home to their clients who were staying in it (they will make more money that way) than to expose the home to as many buyers as possible in order to get it sold quickly and for the best price. This is certainly not in the sellers best interest.
2. Not a Specialized Process: Yes many management companies have a real estate division however it is NOT their specialty. When it comes to selling an Orlando vacation home, marketing is one of the most important skills a real estate company/associate can possess. Aside from slapping an MLS print out of the property in their window and throwing the home up on their website (that doesn’t get any traffic anyway) I haven’t seen any vacation homes listed by Orlando management companies that are being marketed effectively, uniquely or heavily. A dentist and an orthodontist both work on teeth, however I’m not going to go to a dentist for braces I’m going to go to an Orthodontist.
3. Under-staffed: Wow, this has been a huge problem I have been running into when trying to sell Disney area vacation homes listed with Orlando management companies. Their operating hours are from 9am until 5pm Mon-Fri and if you call on the off hours you get a voice mail that won’t be checked until the next business day. When do you think most of your property showings and contracts will be coming in? It’s usually on the weekends or after 5pm and if your agent/broker is unavailable during those times you wont be hearing about any offers until it’s most likely expired. Take in consideration time differences as well if you are living in another country, by the time everyone gets on the same page the buyers have moved onto a different property.
4. Poor Marketing: This reiterates what I recently stated in number 2, due to the fact that 99% of Orlando management companies main source of income comes from the management end, they don’t dump too much time and money into their real estate marketing or train their agents how to market and sell Orlando vacation property. The property sales are a bonus for them and from what I have seen the listings get slapped into MLS and that’s about as much marketing as your going to get. Why would you want to pay a full service real estate commission for a half service job and wait even longer for your vacation home to sell? It sounds convenient at the time to just list with the company who is managing your Disney area vacation property however, this can be one of the most costly mistakes you can make when selling your home.
5. Ulterior Motives: Management companies are not trained to sell homes they are trained to book vacation stays. It’s the difference between hospitality management and business marketing. They are two completely different animals and therefore you run the risk of ending up with a Realtor who’s sole purpose in selling your home is to secure vacation home management with their company. If you have two buyers both placing offers on your home, Buyer A wants to use their management company after closing and Buyer B does not but buyer B is willing to pay more or offer better terms which offer do you think you’re going to hear about first? Though it is illegal to withhold offers from the seller, I have seen Realtors wait until after the one that was in their company’s favor was accepted and then present the higher offer afterward when it’s too late to accept it. I’m not saying they all do this but I have seen it happen and you always run the risk of this whenever there are ulterior motives with the agent (kickbacks, quotas etc).
6. Hard To Show : This has to be one of the most common reasons why it’s so complicated to sell properties listed with Orlando management companies. Many of them do not utilize the lock box system and insist on meeting you out at the property. This means you have to work within their restricted schedule. Most buyers that are buying real estate in the Orlando-Disney area do not live here and are only in town for a limited amount of time. I recently ran into a situation where there were two townhouses listed in a resort community that my buyers really wanted to see. They were only in town for 48 hours and for the sole purpose of finding a vacation property. The management company who had these townhouses listed was not able to reschedule their day or free up some time to meet us at the properties within that 48 time period. My clients did not see those town homes and purchased something else instead. Do you think the management company went back and reported that to the seller during their weekly feedback session? Probably not.
As you can see these are just some of the most common sense reasons why it does not make sense to list your property with a vacation home management company in the Kissimmee, Davenport or Clermont areas. It’s vital to the sales process to stick with a specialized firm who has a website with excellent Google placement, specialized marketing techniques, a steady flow of vacation home buyers and is specifically trained in the sales and marketing process for Disney area vacation homes.
What are people saying about your vacation home when they walk into it? Better yet, what are they thinking when they DON’T book it after looking at the pictures online? I have a pretty good idea of what is going through their minds and I feel that I owe it to my readers to share it with you so you can avoid the mistake. If you want to double your bookings this year then here is what your home should NOT look like! These are real pictures from real Orlando vacation villas.
After a long flight on a plane to get to my dream holiday I was so excited when I opened the door and realized that I just died and went to NIK-NACK HELL! Definitely going to book it again next year. . . definitely.
One of my favorite parts of a vacation is soaking in the huge roman tub covered in fluorescent chachkis and lace window treatments. . . if you stare long enough it even looks like magical, pink butterflies are coming to take all of your bookings away!
I don’t know about you but these beds look about as uncomfortable as poor Nemo does crammed in that corner. Not something I would look forward to sleeping on after walking in a theme park for 10 hours but then again us locals just like to complain.
This home happens to be one of the Easter Bunny’s favorite places to stay when he comes to Disney. He especially loves how the fake flowers match the wall and plastic place mats.
One of the nicest features of still having linoleum flooring in your vacation home is that the rolling chairs don’t go bump-bump-bump like they do on the tile. It makes for a more enjoyable breakfast in the outdated eat in kitchen.
It doesn’t have a gamesroom BUT the garage door does double as a giant magnetic checker board. . . Checkmate.
I found this great site called wdwmemories that has over 5,000 royalty free images of Disney World for you to use. The site is supported by Google ads so the expense is not passed on to you! Remember these photos are for non-commercial use only so you may want to e-mail the webmaster and make sure it’s okay to post them on your home website first.
This is a great source for you to bookmark when creating your property website for your owner bookings. The one element that I think most owners will agree on is that when trying to get bookings on your Orlando vacation home Disney sells! Remember not to go overboard with the Disney photos. Here are just a couple of the great photos that I saw on wdwmemories.com
Once you purchase your Orlando, Florida vacation home investment you’re going to want to start booking it out in order to offset your expense of owning it. If you’ve decided not to take the management route, or even if you want to get extra bookings if you did, here are over 60 great sites with strong google placement that you can start exploring to get your property exposed to thousands of Disney bound travelers. This is also a great resource for any travelers seeking a short term vacation home
The Big Boys
These sites have not only made a name for themselves but have international recognition. They are on every travelers bookmarks page and dominate Google as well. In my opinion every owner who is serious about renting out their vacation home should be on at least one of these power house vacation home sites.
The Local Yokel
There’s nothing like a hyper focused site that is focused on just your city or state. The search engines love these types of sites and you’re sure to get great exposure and more serious inquiries. Often times people that have vacationed in the area before look for these type of sites to find a vacation rental.
Free For All
Who doesn’t love free? Just saying that magical word seems to have therapeutic effects on our wallets. These sites all offer free villa advertisement. Some offer it in the form of a free trial period and some are just plain free.
These websites are perfect for the budget conscious owner. It’s a great idea to place your listing on one of the big boy sites first and pick one or two of these budget sites as a secondary means of advertising.
These websites not only give you advertising on one site but when you list with this group they syndicate your listing across numerous sites giving you maximum exposure for a minimum price. Some are even free!
I came across this neat site a I was browsing the web the other day and I wanted to share it with you. It’s called Rentmeavacation.com and it’s totally FREE to advertise your short term rental villa on. It appears to be popping up on the first page of a google blog search with the search term “Kissimmee” so I imagine it gets a decent amount of traffic.
- It has a currency converter that is very easy to use.
- It has very relaxed blog feel to it.
- You can subscribe to the RSS feed to the specific area you are looking for a vacation rental in.
- It has mapping integrated in
- Unlimited picture uploads
- It’s completely free
- The search function is not very detailed
- There doesn’t appear to be any way to put your listing at the top
- Not very many bells and whistles
You get what you pay for but this is a great site to utilize as a free source of advertising your villa.
Believe it or not there is alot of work that goes into preparing your vacation home to rent before you can actually start renting it out. If it was a short term rental before you purchased it a lot of this may have already been done otherwise, here is a short and brief reference for the not so fortunate:
Compliance: Your vacation home must comply with STR laws for the County and your HOA (Homeowners Association) as well. Your home must be in a community zoned for short term rentals it is against the law to use it as a short term rental. You must comply with all health code regulations for your county. Here is Lake Wales (Polk County) Short Term Rental requirements.
Insurance: An additional insurance policy above and beyond your homeowners insurance is required to cover liability. It’s usually at least a $200,000 policy and can run anywhere from $200 annually on up.
Permit Requirements: Each county has its own short term rental permit requirements and a rental permit must be obtained before you can legally start renting your place out. Thankfully this was put in place to help prevent some of the foul conditions that some owners try and rent their house in. Under most circumstances your property management company takes care of this for you however if you are not using one this will be your responsibility.
Tax Preparations: If you do not have a management company handling this for you then I suggest you get a good accountant. You are responsible for sending the government a percentage of your nightly income. In Florida it is currently around 13.5% off the top of every booking before you even touch the money.
These are just a few of the important details that go into prepping the home to rent. If you hire a management company you can save yourself most of the trouble because they will do it all for you. If you plan on taking on this task without a management company than you may want to consider some form of meditation or relaxation, you’re going to need it!