Over the last decade or so, the vacation rental industry has grown tremendously. A market that’s been dominated by timeshare companies has been transformed by multiple platforms that give Arizona homeowners the option to list their property on their own. Although this industry still holds a “Wild West” feel, it’s a great opportunity for people to earn money while they’re on vacation – or during premier events that draw a crowd to Phoenix. But, before you go “all in” on this venture, we wanted to provide you with a guide to listing your home as a vacation rental.
1. Solidify the dates that your property will be available as a vacation rental.
Once people see the market for this type of revenue stream, they tend to put the buggy before the horse. Getting started without a gameplan can cost you a lot of time and money. There’s no reason for you to set up a listing account when you haven’t solidified everything, or a place to go during rental weeks.
There’s a big difference between wanting to go on vacation during a certain time of year and actually booking that vacation. Get together with your spouse or loved ones and determine what dates work out for everyone. If you’re not sure what dates to select, we’ll cover some options in step 2 of this guide.
Either way, do your best to figure out every element of the trip and confirm reservations or other purchases prior to listing your home. It’s also important that you realize things don’t always go as planned. Whether you’re planning a trip or a Phoenix staycation, you should definitely have a backup plan in place. Scrambling at the last minute is less than ideal.
If something falls through, cancellation fees for reservations and listings can be costly. A 1 star rating for your vacation rental will be tough to overcome. Especially when you haven’t even rented it out yet.
2. Solidify the Demand For Your Property Prior to Listing it.
If you’re having a hard time determining where to start, be purposeful with your planning. Research different events that create a demand for lodging in your area. For example, the Fiesta Bowl is normally the last day of December or the first day of January every year. At the same time, if you live in Gilbert, your listing may not be as attractive as a property that’s closer to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Take the time to research which events are close by so you’re not crossing your fingers leading up to the event date. There’s tons of happenings throughout the year in Phoenix. Make the most of them.
You can also research what times of year people travel to Phoenix for vacation. Not all winter visitors are snowbirds. There are plenty of families looking for a comfortable place to stay while they explore our amazing state. A few nights in the East Valley might be appealing to them.
3. Figure Out How You Should Price Your Vacation Rental.
When it comes to determining the price of your listing, outside help would be beneficial. If you know a Phoenix real estate agent, you should definitely ask them to point you in the right direction. In most cases they’ll have a favorite listing website for you to review. If you’re on your own, this is a great way to start comparing and contrasting your online listing options.
As you sort through each platform, make sure you’re focusing on the dates you’ve solidified on the front end. Most homeowners don’t realize pricing will fluctuate based on occupancy or dates that include special events. If you plan on renting your home in November, don’t look at prices in July. Most people are looking to escape Phoenix during this time, not settle in.
When sifting through your options, pay close attention to the amenities that are listed on each property. If you have a pool or grass in the backyard, don’t compare your home to a similar floorplan if it has rock landscape. These features are premiums in Arizona. Square footage, upgrades or number of bedrooms shouldn’t be your only focal point. Remember, people are vacationing here, not just sleeping over.
4. Find a Reasonable Listing Platform that’s Credible and Safe.
One of the most important steps of listing your vacation rental is listing it! The first thing most people look at is the price. But, we’d encourage you to not shop for price. Like most other things, if you invest in a cheap solution, you’re going to get a cheap experience. What separates this decision from others is that you’re loaning someone your house – not purchasing shoes. Spending a little extra cash on a reputable company is worth it.
Unexpected fees, privacy concerns and low quality underwriting need to be considered. When listing your home as a vacation rental, you need to make sure that potential guests are required to pass quality background checks and that additional security measures are in place. Do your homework and read through as many homeowner testimonials as you can. This is a big decision.
5. Determine what needs to be removed from the home prior to renting.
Protecting personal belongings should be a no brainer, but tons of homeowners experience let down in this area. Even if renters pass background checks, it doesn’t mean their friends or family are as responsible as them. We highly recommend that you remove personal mementos and anything else that’s private from the home. You can easily replace decor, lighting and other furnishings with cheaper options.
The second aspect of this is determining where to store your personal belongings. Whether you rent a storage space in Phoenix or leave some stuff at their neighbors, don’t wait until the last minute to move this stuff. Make sure you have everything staged a few days before so you’re not scrambling to make it all work. Do everything you can to ensure this is a peaceful transition.
6. Take Extra Steps to Secure the Property While Guests are There.
First and foremost, you want to make sure your guests are safe during their stay. The last thing you need is a lawsuit. It might even behoove you to have a home inspection done prior to renting it out. This also gives you an advantage in the Phoenix vacation rental market – and might even help you position your price higher.
Secondly, you need to make sure your property is safe. Look into options for security staff or have someone on-call in case something goes wrong. Whether its a neighborhood watch or a friend that’s a police officer – it’s never a bad idea to have eyes on your home.
7. Have Professional Photos Taken of the Vacation Property.
One of the last things you’ll want to do before listing your vacation rental in Phoenix is schedule a photographer. If you try to take pictures on your phone, you’re going to limit yourself to a 2D presentation. Quality photographs create appeal and will help you rent the property faster.
You can normally ask the same realtor friend for a recommendation.Otherwise, find a local Phoenix photographer and schedule an hour session for a few hundred dollars. You’ll be able to use the pictures for the next few years, so it’s worth it.
8. Schedule a Cleaning Crew Once Your Guest Move Out.
The last thing you’ll want to do before listing your vacation rental is find a professional cleaning company. Just like everything else, quality here should be valued. Aside from a thorough job, an experienced cleaner knows exactly what to look for.
We’ve spent thousands of hours cleaning residential and investment properties all across Phoenix. Since we deal with rental move-outs and evictions all the time, we know where to look and why. A detailed clean is important – especially when you’re moving back in over and over again.
Once you’ve rented out your home a few times, you’ll start to appreciate a standardized routine. Having consistent providers for inspections, repairs and cleaning will help you transition into this new lifestyle. Earning additional income while experiencing peace of mind is a great combination.