Vacation Rental Management
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR OWNERS
Your Rental Property
The traveling public has high standards in their selection of vacation homes. In general, expectations have been established by the hotel and motel industry. It is in your best interest to present your property in its most appealing condition. This will encourage happy, repeat guests that will “spread the word” to their friends about their good experience at your property. We have worked hand in hand with our owners over the years to establish an excellent reputation in the Big Bear Lake vacation market. This is a relationship that benefits all of our owners. The quality and condition of your property is part of that relationship.
The Basics of Getting Started
The City of Big Bear lake will require you to have a permit in order to vacation rent your cabin. We will inspect the home prior to the City inspectors review to alert you of any necessary code updates you will need to make in order for your home to pass inspection. We can handle all the work that needs to be done for your convenience as well as submit your documents to the City and meet with the inspector at the time of inspection. Please refer to your management agreement for more details regarding this.
You should also…..
- Identify closets or storage areas that can be locked for the purpose of storing any personal items and various supplies necessary to use to keep your home refreshed.
- Lock up personal linens.
- Remove items of sentimental value or un-replaceable items from the home.
- Don’t leave any outside trashcans visible and available (or they will be used and trash will not be properly disposed of and removed from the property.)
- If there is a doorknob and a deadbolt, the deadbolt cannot be a double key deadbolt, it can only have one key (from outside) and must have a leaver on the inside.
- Make sure that all windows are lockable.
- Window covering on all windows. (stay away from vertical blinds on slider doors).
- Screens on all windows with no tears or holes.
- A water hose with hose bib close to the hot tub for refilling water levels.
- Any hot tub must be covered completely and lockable. Key lock only – not number code.
- Each level of the home must have a fire extinguisher.
- Cap off your gas fireplace so that guests will not be able to uncontrollably use the gas.
- 1 ash metal can for every fireplace within the home.
- Provide ceiling or box fans for warmer days/nights.
- Make sure your bedding is up to date and coordinated. Guests are shopping by the photographs of your home.
- If making a purchase of beds, stay away from double beds, couples most prefer a King but will accept a Queen. Homes only offering a double for couples are really at a disadvantage.
- Consider allowing Pets – More requests come in for pet friendly homes.
- Consider adding a hot tub if you do not already have one.
- If you have a deck, especially offering a view, provide furniture so that your guests will have the comforts of enjoying the great outdoors.
- Consider having the gas company port and hook up your BBQ and get rid of propane tanks.
- If you have a propane tank BBQ you will need to have two on hand.
- I ash can specifically for charcoal ashes from charcoal BBQs.
- 1 ash can dedicated to smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts.
- If you are adding décor, choose things that support the mountain environment. Guests always request a mountain feel in their accommodation.
Recommended supplies etc.
- You need 2 blankets, 2 pillows and bedspreads or quilts for each bed and all pull out couches.
- Everyday dishes, glasses, coffee mugs, silverware, and wine glasses.
- Pots, pans, frying pans, cooking utensils, mixing bowls.
- Bake ware, hot pads, can opener, and steak knives.
- Microwave and a toaster
- Toilet brushes for each bathroom and also a plunger.
- Large wastebasket in kitchen and adequate wastepaper baskets throughout the home.
- At least one color television with cable hookup.
- Vacuum cleaner, bags, belts and a broom and a dustpan.
- Mop and bucket.
- 409 or any kind of de-greaser
- Glass cleaner
- Dishwashing liquid and also dishwasher detergent
- Telephone with long distance blocking
- At least one VCR, DVD player is also ok.
- Washer and dryer (always requested by longer stay guests)
- Barbecue, gas or charcoal no table top BBQ’s
- 2 Propane tanks if your BBQ is a propane model
- TV in master bedroom (highly requested)
- No recliner chairs the mechanisms do not hold up in a rental
- No candles they are accidents waiting to happen, from melted wax in carpet, burns on furniture, to possible fires.
What Is Normal Wear & Tear?
With increased occupancy of your property, you may notice normal wear and tear. In general, we don’t see much in the way of significant damage; however there are a couple of areas that you should plan to accept. So what is normal wear and tear in a nightly vacation rental? If your house accommodates 8 people and rents for 105 nights, that’s potentially 210 people playing, eating and drinking in your home. Homeowners should plan to set aside a percentage of rental income each year to re-invest into their property. Carpeting and furnishings may only last one-half the time they would in a personal residence. Think of a sleeper sofa, you may use it 4-5 times a year or less at home. A nightly rental means (given 105 nights) that the sleeper sofa may be opened and closed twice a day for 105 nights. That’s 210 times! If there’s a coffee table in front of it, it has to be moved or dragged across the carpet the same number of times!
Also, you can expect a certain attrition rate of kitchen supplies. Wine glasses get broken in the dishwasher, coffee cups go missing, etc. The low humidity here in the mountains is hard on wooden furniture especially dining chairs, since they experience stress in the normal usage. The lumber shrinks, the glued joints crack, and then they become weak. You could also expect minor smudging on the walls around corners and staircases. This most likely comes from luggage bags rubbing the walls. The quality of your furniture and amenities will be a factor in the life expectancy.
Some common items you will likely need to budget to repair or replace occasionally or annually are dishes, glasses, cookware, utensils, shower curtains, small appliances and hot tub covers. Over the course of time……
- VCRs will stop functioning
- Remote controls will disappear or stop working
- Carpets will need cleaning
- One or more of the toilets will become stopped up and flood the bathroom.
- Windows will need cleaning inside and out which will require professional attention as we are only able to do the ones immediately within reach.
- The garbage disposal will become jammed and need to be serviced.
- A deep through cleaning will be needed about 2 times per year.
- Weed abatement and yard clean up required by the city twice a year.
- If your home is in the City of Big Bear Lake a vacation rental home permit is required once per year the current home inspection and permit is $175.00 (price subject to change by the City).
- Vacuum cleaners wear out and will need repairing or replacing.
- Light bulbs don’t last very long in the mountains.
- If you have a propane BBQ you need at least 2 tanks for replacement when one is full.
So what could you expect if there is a significant damage incident? We have a security deposit protection plan for every rental that will cover up to $5,000.00 of accidental damages. Our maintenance department can make repairs in a wide range of areas involving “accidental” damage. We also have numerous outside vendors who work with us to take care of anything from broken blinds, burned or scratched wood furniture, hot tub issues, holes in walls, scratched appliances, carpet problems etc. If there is significant damage or if the damage appears to be reckless, we will have the guests’ credit card and will do our best to collect from the guest. Fortunately, out of about numerous reservations per year, we have only needed to go back to less than 6 guests per year for collection (and the amounts are typically in the $75 to $250 range). Our highest amount in ten years has been a claim for only $800, which was paid by the guest. It is important to understand however, that you as the owner are ultimately responsible for your property and it is important that you have accurate insurance coverage for liability and damage. Check with your insurance company regarding extent of coverage for a vacation rental home.
Whether your home has a high rate of occupancy or not, when you offer your home to the traveling public you need to adopt an attitude of being rental ready on a perpetual basis. Although we do regular cleaning surrounding every rental, the properties also need a deep clean after each busy season. Once in the spring and once in the fall. These cleanings are essential to maintaining the home in excellent condition to promote happier guests who will return to your property time and again.
Professional Carpet Cleaning
It is recommended to have professional carpet care a minimum of once per year. If you enjoy higher occupancies than we suggest the carpet cleaning be done in both slower seasons.
Snow Plowing Service
Sign up for annual plows, NOT pay per plow! Annual plows occur each time there is a snow fall of 4 inches or more and has nothing to do with whether or not a renter is expected. Having an annual contract will make your home a priority no to the plow vendor. Contracting on a “Pay Per Plow” basis, will put your property at a disadvantage as the vendor will only go out when an occupancy is expected. This can lead to snow staying on the ground, settling and turning to ice. Ice is very difficult to remove if not maintained on a regular basis. Removing of ice build- up can and most likely will be cause for heavier equipment use which in turn will be a greater expense for the owner for the cost of the service not to mention that many times this scenario makes it impossible to allow last minute bookings. That being said, owners can lose twice by having a higher cost of service as well as lost revenue from a potential rental.
An annual plow contract is paid up front for the season, sometimes there is a discount if paid by a certain time. Yes, it’s a small gamble as none of us will know how much snow we will get for the season. However, you must adopt an understanding of the various scenarios that can arise when a home is not in a continuously prepared state of rental readiness. The same goes for us not knowing when your home will get that rental. I can assure you that if you are not prepared, one will come! Have you heard of “Murphy’s Law”?
Keeping your home cleared of ice and snow will greatly enhance your ability to allow for last minute rentals. We know what the obstacles and how to get around them. The winter season is the highest revenue earning season in Big Bear, we want to make sure our owners understand how to ensure their home is never at a disadvantage!
New vacation rental homeowners should view their home as an investment. While you have a personal attachment to your property, it’s important to view it as a rental property that will generate income to pay for a portion of your investment. Gold Rush Resort Rentals’ goal is to maximize each owner’s income potential. We will do our best to keep every unit rented, clean and well maintained. In order to meet this goal, homeowners are asked to evaluate and refurbish their homes, where needed, on an annual basis.
Please read the following décor and amenities list and carefully consider each item before deciding whether or not to incorporate it into your rental property.
Flooring: Carpet vs. Hard Surface - The heavy traffic areas of carpeting need to be cleaned in mid-season, at a minimum, to insure a fresh, clean appearance. Coffee and coke “dribbles” are normal wear and tear and must be expected. The guests that arrive in April deserve a home in as good a condition as those that vacationed the first of July. And, your December guests are paying the highest rate for your home! That said, it is important to maintain the condition throughout the year, not just when higher occupancy levels occur. If you’d rather not contend with the wear and tear associated with carpeting, hardwood flooring and tile are both great alternatives, especially in high traffic areas such as living rooms, dining rooms, recreation rooms, kitchens and even stairways.
Electronics / Remotes - Guests love to see nice stereo equipment and high end TV sets in their rental homes. If your system involves more than a DVD player and TV, please provide detailed instructions so that guests can easily operate the equipment.
DVD / Video Library - A movie library is a great amenity to offer your guests. However, we do not open each case or count the number of titles each week. Assume that you will lose a percentage of your movies each year.
Pool Tables / Cue Sticks / Ping Pong - Because these games are so frequently used by guests, you should expect to repair them every one to two years. The breaking of billiard sticks and/or tips is common and considered normal wear and tear, you will be required to replace these items on an as needed basis.
The following items are NOT recommended in rental properties*:
- Game systems
- Remote controls for Garage door opener
- Sports equipment (basketballs, volleyballs, etc.)
- Exercise equipment (treadmill, weights, etc.)
*Please keep in mind, if an item is advertised, we must provide it in working condition.