How To Make Money With Vacation Rental Property

make money with vacation rental property

There are a lot of ways to make money with vacation rental property.

Some people rent out a spare bedroom while others rent out their entire house.  Some hosts even rent the place that they’re renting out on sites such as Airbnb.

Make Money With Vacation Rental Property

Here’s the #1 tip to make money with vacation rental property:

Greet Your Guests In Person

This is absolutely contrary to the smart lock trend.

The rationale for using a smart lock is that it allows guests the opportunity for late arrivals and early departures.  And that’s a good thing.

But sometimes vacation rental hosts get lazy, or they’re too busy property managing other vacation rentals.  So they use the smart lock as a crutch and don’t meet their guests in person.

Guests really appreciate a quick tour of the place and being able to put a face to the name of the host.  After that a phone call or quick text message is all that’s needed.

Top Notch Internet Service

The #2 tip to make money with vacation rental property is to offer top notch internet service.  That’s because virtually everything we do now days is on the internet.

People Skype and use Netflix all the time.  Business travelers using vacation rental property as a home base often times need a speedy connection to hook up with the server at their main office.

Smart hosts will make sure the internet in their vacation rental is superior, and then tout that fact on their listing.

Including a screen shot of a Speedtest report is also a great sales tool.

Each vacation rental property market is different.  But using these two examples of how to make money with vacation rental property will help you do just that, no matter where your vacation rental is located.

(If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, using this link will get you a $25 credit on your first visit anywhere in the world!)

 

Three Ways Neighbors Can Undermine Your Open House

neighbors can undermine your open house

At first glance it might seem strange that there are ways neighbors can undermine your open house.

Anybody who has been in the residential real estate business for a while knows that this is absolutely true.

Why Would Neighbors Want To Undermine A Open House?

Most people get along with their neighbors just fine.  But once you decide to sell your house and a ‘For Sale’ sign pops up, your best next door neighbor can become your worst nightmare.

Neighbors believe that when the house next to theirs is for sale, cars will be blocking the street, criminals will come to the house disguised as interested buyers, and real estate agents will be knocking in their door seeing if they’re interested in listing their house for sale.

So, as odd as it might sound, neighbors will try to make it difficult to sell your house.

Here are three ways neighbors can undermine your open house!

Ways Neighbors Can Undermine Your Open House

#1  Stealing the ‘open house’ signs – This is probably the most common way that neighbors try to sabotage an open house.

Right after the open house begins the neighbor will back-track through the neighborhood and remove all of the open house signs.  Often times they will try to sell them on the internet to make a little extra money!

#2  Spreading lies about your house – Neighbors have been known to lie in wait for people leaving an open house.

Then they will casually approach the prospective buyer.  Striking up a conversation, the neighbor will then talk about a fictitious murder in the house.  Or they will mention seeing the termite pest control truck in front of the house yesterday.

#3  Loud parties & music – Open houses are usually held on the weekends, to attract the highest number of potential buyers that are shopping around.

Unfortunately the weekends are also when your neighbor is probably home.  You’ve never heard a noise from the neighbor for as long as you’ve lived in the house.

But, oddly enough, your neighbor will pick the day of your open house to have a loud, drunken pool party with heavy metal music.

Vacation Rental Property Management Trends

vacation rental property management trends

Vacation rental property management trends are a hot topic lately.

That’s because more people are renting out their home part of the time, or sometimes most of the time.

Here are some of the latest tips and trends in vacation rental property management.

Personal Touch – The #1 in vacation rental property management trends

Many owners of vacation rental property are going the way of smart, electronic lock boxes.  The reason for this is that it makes it easier for the guest to arrive early or late, and to come and go as they please.

While that may be true, guests also appreciate the personal touch of being met in person, getting a quick walk through of the place they’re renting, and having any questions answered.

Speaking of the personal touch, guests absolutely love the offer of tours or events put together based on their interests – golf, wine shops & tastings, best foodie locations.

Doing this shows the guest that you want them to have a great time during their stay and are willing to go the extra mile.

Richer Experience – Why people choose vacation homes to rent

Sites such as Airbnb are becoming increasingly popular almost everywhere around the world.

(If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, be sure to check it out.  you can get an Airbnb travel credit just for clicking and signing up.)

People who travel for pleasure or business are tired of the traditional hotel experience.  Vacation homes offer a much richer experience.

They are located in local neighborhoods vs. business or tourist districts.  Guests get a better idea of what the area is like.  They can shop at the local stores and eat at the local restaurants.  Plus they get to meet ‘real’ people rather than other tourists.

Easy To Use

Millennials make up the largest segment of vacation renters.

These are people who are used to using the internet and cell phones for almost everything.  Online booking and payment makes managing a vacation property much more efficient, as does text messaging.

Sending a guest a quick text to make sure everything is going well is very much preferred over a phone call that could interrupt whatever they are doing.

Remember that the personal touch is one of the most important vacation rental property management trends.

How To Sell A Rental House

sell a rental house

When the time comes to sell a rental house there are three important factors to keep in mind.

That’s because selling a rental house – or any other residential rental property – is quite a bit different from selling one that the owner used to live in.

Tips To Sell A Rental House

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to sell a rental house.

#1  The rental house shouldn’t look like a rental

Most houses for rent look pretty basic.  They have all white paint, basic window coverings and appliances, and very little landscaping.

All of those things are great if you own a rental house or property manage real estate.   They help to keep the routine maintenance costs down and minimize the things that can go wrong with the rental house.

Updating the paint colors, fixtures and appliances can help make the house you’re selling not look like the rental property that it once was.

#2  Consider staging the rental house

If you’re trying to sell a rental house it should be vacant and without tenants in it.  It’s always easier to sell a house that used to be a rental when there is nobody in it.

Once the paint colors and fixtures have been updated, consider staging the rental house for sale.  Proper home staging can highlight the best features of the house.

Staging a home will also make it easier for a buyer to picture your house becoming their home.

#3 Remember the HOA rules & regulations

Good landlords and property managers know that finding and keeping great tenants means there are no surprises.  The tenants know up front what the rules and regulations of the home owners’ association are.

When you’re selling a house that was a rental, always be sure to let the potential buyers know about the HOA rules & regulations.

Doing so will avoid any unpleasant surprises during the escrow, and will make it that much easier to sell a rental house.

How To Break A Lease

how to break a lease

There are times when either a tenant or a landlord will want to break a lease.

Why A Tenant Would Break A Lease

A tenant may want to break a lease for a variety of reasons, some legitimate and some not . . . at least in the eyes of the landlord.

Maybe a group of roommates rented the house and now one has left.  Or the tenant may have lost a job.  Or there’s a personal situation such as a divorce or major illness.

Why A Landlord Would Break A Lease

There are also times when a landlord wants to break a lease.

One example is if the landlord owns a single-family house that is a rental and decides to sell.

It’s almost always easier to sell a vacant house rather than one that is occupied.  Buyers – especially those looking for a home of their own to live in – don’t want to have to deal with a tenant.

Or sometimes the tenant doesn’t cooperate with showings or keeping the house in good condition.  Even if they say they will.  This is a stealth way of a tenant sabotaging the potential sale of the house they’re living in so that they can continue to rent.

A landlord might also want to consider breaking a lease if the tenant is simply too much trouble.  Even if a landlord knows how to find and keep great tenants, it’s always possible to end up with a bad tenant.

Some tenants need to be constantly reminded to pay their rent on time.  Others constantly need something fixed or are disruptive to the next door neighbors.

Tips To Breaking A Lease

To avoid time, trouble, and possible property damage, smart landlords try to make breaking a lease a win-win situation.

First, find another tenant.  Be especially sure to check their references and verify the tenant’s income.

Next, make the first tenant responsible for making sure everything is clean and in good working order, and the the house is move-in ready.

Lastly, have the new tenant take over the remaining term of the existing lease, and sign a new lease as well.

Doing this will minimize any loss of rental income or unnecessary repair expenses, and create a win-win situation for both the landlord and the tenant who wants to break a lease.

How To Tell If A Real Estate Copywriting Client Is Legit

real estate copywriting client

As someone who makes their living as a freelance real estate copywriter, it’s important to be able to tell whether or not a real estate copywriting client is legitimate.

That’s because, as the old saying from Ben Franklin goes, time is money.  The more time a freelancer spends on a prospect who isn’t going to turn into an actual client, the less time there is for a legit client.

Real Estate Copywriting Client Litmus Test

In chemistry a litmus test is used to tell whether a solution is acidic or basic.  Freelance writers look for real estate copywriting clients who are acidic.  We want clients who actually do something – who react.

Basic clients, on the other hand, are those who do nothing.  In other words, they don’t react.

Ways To Make Sure A Copywriting Client Is Legit

First, look at how quickly a prospect responds to a project inquiry they’ve made.  Usually prospects are anxious to get their project completed.  That’s because, just as with real estate freelance copywriting, time is money in the real estate business as well.

Clients who take more than two or three days to reply to an inquiry they’ve made aren’t going to be that serious.  Or, they are actually a middleman in disguise, and they’re waiting for a response from their client.

Next, if the client won’t sign a contract for services, they’re not serious about their project.  Plain and simple.

Talking is one thing, but signing on the dotted line and submitting a deposit is something completely different.

Qualifying A Real Estate Copywriting Client

After we know a real estate copywriting client is legit, it’s important to know if their project is as well.  Not legitimate in the sense of an actual project existing, but in the sense of whether or not that project can be done well.

Is the project defined?  Are the characteristics of the target audience known?  Or is the real estate copywriting project vague, with the target market being everyone who is buying and selling real estate?

Some clients already know how to get the most from their freelance real estate copywriter, while others will need to be guided through the writing process.

The end goal is to make the real estate copywriting project a win-win for everyone involved.

Why It’s Important To Verify A Tenant’s Income

verify a tenant's income

Both beginning and experienced landlords often overlook the crucial steps to take to verify a tenant’s income.  Not doing this can end up being an expensive mistake, both in lost rental income and damage to the rental property.

Why Verify A Tenant’s Income?

In today’s real estate rental market, rents continue to go up while tenant’s incomes remain the same, or maybe even go down.

When this happens, people who would normally rent a place to live just for themselves often find that they need to have one or more roommates in order to make ends meet.

It’s easy to verify a tenant’s income when you’re only talking about one tenant.  But dealing with verifying the incomes of multiple tenants is a bit more difficult.

This is also where problems can occur.

Verifying The Income Of Multiple Tenants

As a rule of thumb, and depending on local laws and customs, landlords will usually require a total income of at least three-times the monthly rent in order for a tenant to qualify for a rental property.

Problems can occur with multiple tenants.

Many landlords believe that the more tenants they have on the lease, the more secure the lease will be.  That’s because the more people there will be to go after if the tenants default by not paying their rent.

All of this might be true.  But good landlords and property managers know it’s much more important to find and keep great tenants than having to chase down the bad ones for money owned.

The Risks Of Multiple Tenants

If one of the tenants on the lease ends up losing a job, relocating for work, or simply never moves into the rental property, the landlord ends up with a weaker group of tenants than expected.

Self-employed tenants can also be a risk, especially when the tenant says he works a cash-only job.

This type of tenant will offer to present a letter from his employer verifying the income.  This is always a big, big red flat for a landlord and a property management company.  Tenants with cash incomes will almost always create problems for the property owner – usually sooner rather than later!

Landlords should remember that it is more expensive to evict a tenant and repair damage to the property that it is to wait for a tenant whose income can be properly verified.

Starting A Freelance Writing Business

starting a freelance writing business

If you’re thinking about starting a freelance writing business, of if you’re a prospective client curious to know how freelance writers work, then this article is for you.

Tips On Starting A Freelance Writing Business

CEO Blog Nation recently reached out to me, asking for my thoughts on the subject, and they were nice enough to publish what I had to say in their post 13 Entrepreneurs Share Advice On Starting A Side Business.

The main takeaway is that freelancers – and anybody who runs their own business – should think of themselves the same way that a company thinks of itself.

From birth we’re trained to do one thing and one thing only.  We go to school, obtain a degree specializing in a certain field, then go to work in that field.

That might be great for people who only want a 9-5 day job, but that approach simply doesn’t work for entrepreneurs and people starting a freelance writing business.

How To Think And Act Like A Company

This isn’t so much about incorporating yourself, having your clients sign freelance writing contracts, and collecting on bad debt.  Although all of those are important aspects of any freelance writing business.

Freelance writers should spend some time thinking about how to develop multiple revenue streams for themselves, just as a regular company does.  For example, Mercedes doesn’t just sell one car.  They sell multiple cars and they also design and build engines for other uses besides passenger vehicles.

Multiple Freelance Real Estate Writer Revenue Streams

Entrepreneurs thinking about starting a freelance writing business can use the same approach.

Here are three ways that freelance real estate writers in particular can make money with multiple revenue streams:

  1. Write real estate books and distribute them on multiple platforms, not just Amazon.
  2. Market your core business of freelance real estate writing through various offline and online venues, such as Upwork.
  3. Invest in real estate, even if it is just through a crowd funding site or by investing in a REIT.

Doing these three things will help you with your freelance writing craft, and also help demonstrate to prospective clients that you have first-hand experience with what you’re writing about.

How To Sell Your Home For The Most Money

sell your home for the most money

A writer from a national real estate publication recently contacted me asking how to sell your home for the most money.

Here are three quick tips on how to do exactly that, including one that requires a high level of negotiating & people skills.

Make It Easy For Buyers To Call Your Place Home

There’s a lot of emotion tied up in the home buying and selling process.  As a seller, it’s important to tap into the buyer’s emotions.  One way to do that is to make it easy for the buyer to imagine living in your home.

This can be done by removing personal items such as family pictures, trophies or ribbons, and anything else that reminds prospective buyers of you and not them.

First Impressions Count

Numerous articles have been written about the importance of curb appeal, first impressions, and removing clutter when you try to sell your home for the most money.

That’s because when you live in your home, when the place you are selling is your home, it’s difficult to be objective.  Your real estate agent won’t always be honest with you because they don’t want to offend you and end up looking for another listing.

So, consider bringing a close friend to critique your house.  One who isn’t going to mince words with you and who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings because you’ve known each other for far too long.

Sell Your Home For The Most Money

This tip takes a lot of negotiating skill, up-to-the-minute knowledge of your real estate market, and a high level of understanding the emotions of buyers.

This technique involves pricing the home below market in order to attract multiple offers and encouraging a bidding war on your home.  The best offer wins, which will just so happen to be the highest priced offer.

This isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be done when you have an experienced real estate agent as a negotiator on your side.

 

Why Invest In A REIT?

invest in a REIT

Tell a friend you’re going to invest in a REIT and they’ll probably ask you why?

After all, most people get their start in real estate investing by buying a single family home, them progress into smaller multifamily or apartment buildings.

On the commercial side of real estate investing, people often get their start by buying a small office condominium or a building for their own business.  Then, they branch out from there.

What all of these have in common is that they involve direct ownership of the real estate, something that a REIT does not.

What Is A REIT?

A REIT is a real estate investment trust, which is a form of group ownership of some or more pieces of property.  REITs can be asset class specific, for example investing only in apartment buildings.  Or they can be more generalized, holding a mix of real estate assets and targeting a specific return or investment strategy.

REITs can also be public or private.

An example of a large, publicly held REIT traded on the New York Stock Exchange is Equity Apartments (symbol EQR).

Privately held REITs have become more commonplace since the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012.  This allows smaller, non-accredited investors to put some of their capital into privately held REITs.

Three Reasons To Invest In A REIT

Unless a real estate investor is dead-set on owning properly directly, there are several advantages to investing in a REIT.

#1 Indirect Ownership of Property

This is an advantage because the real estate investor doesn’t have to get involved with the day-to-day issues of leasing or property management.

#2 Access To Class A Property

While the definition of Class A property varies from market to market, in general this term refers to only the newest or most updated property, with the best amenities, and national or regional tenants.

#3 Invest In Multiple Asset Classes

When a real estate investors buys directly they usually have limited resources, meaning they can only purchase one or two properties.  Investing in a REIT allows people to potentially own a mix of property across different real estate asset classes.

Is Investing In A REIT Right For You?

Since different investors have different investment strategies and objectives, only the investor can answer this question for sure.

But given the way the real estate market is growing, and the advantages that REITs offer, many people are finding that putting some investment capital into a REIT is a good way of diversifying their real estate investment portfolio.