How to Rent out and Market Your Winter Cabin
If you have a winter cabin, you may want to rent it out. There are many advantages. Many people rent their vacation property for additional income. Renting your cabin can also ensure that it doesn’t go uninhabited for months.
There are, however, many considerations to keep in mind as you prepare to rent out and market a winter cabin. Here are eight to think about.
Renting It Out
Decide Who Will Clean and Maintain
A vacation rental needs to be spotlessly clean and kept in tip-top shape. You need to decide who will do the cleaning and maintenance. If you live close, will you or family members do it? If not, you’ll need to engage cleaning and maintenance people.
Ask local property owners for references to get experienced and reliable people.
Plan Who Will Communicate with Renters
Another issue is communication with renters, both before their stay and during it. Some property owners always do this themselves, answering e-mails and showing up with the keys. Others use real estate agents, who field queries from potential renters and show them around on the property. Others still will seek the advice from brokers who specialize in the hospitality business.
Think through the pros and cons. If you do it yourself, you’ll know the renters and can point out all the advantages of your cabin. But it can also be time-consuming. You’ll be on call for flooding toilets at midnight and requests for more towels. If you don’t want to do it all yourself, research vacation rental property managers.
Make Sure the Property Is Fully Winterized
If you use the cabin yourself during winter, it might be already fully winterized. But if you are seldom around in winter, make sure renters will find it comfortable, convenient and safe in the winter.
In other words, it needs to be warm and free of drafts inside. Pipes need to be insulated against freezing and bursting. Walkways need to be shoveled, sanded and salted in the winter. Is the property fully accessible in case of heavy snow? If not, keep adequate snow removal supplies at the property and maintain an open line of communication with tenants.
Remove Your Personal Property
Remember, when people come to stay you’ll need to remove any personal property. Valuables will either need to be moved or locked up. But you’ll also need to remove clothes from the closets, food from the refrigerator and possibly personal possessions from the common areas.
Remember, when people rent, they have a reasonable expectation of the place looking like a rental. It won’t if your personal effects are all over. It needs to be like a stage set for their needs.
Marketing the Property
Decide on a Reasonable Rent
When marketing your winter cabin, you want to make sure that the rent is reasonable for the area, the amenities renters will have and the time of year. If your cabin is in a ski area, it will be highly desirable, and the rent can be very high. If it’s not near any winter attractions, it may be worth less.
The best practice is to scour comparable rentals online. Look at square footage, location, available activities and amenities. Price your rental to compete.
Take and Post Winter Pictures
In today’s world, renters expect to see potential properties pictured inside and out, from every angle. Accommodate that expectation! Take realistic and flattering pictures of your property during the winter. If renters don’t see photos of the season you’ve advertising for, they may assume something is wrong with the property during the winter.
Show the exterior from every angle. Take warm and inviting pictures of the inside: the living room, kitchen, bedrooms and more. If there’s a fireplace, show its cheery crackle. Show the driveway, the view from the window — the more, the better.
Emphasize the Amenities
When writing copy for the rental, be sure to write it from the renter’s perspective. Why is the property desirable? Likely because of an amenity that matters to people on vacation, ranging from “nestled on a nearby lake,” “you can snowshoe nearby,” to “it’s a peaceful holiday get-away.” Focus on those things.
Be sure to emphasize any feature that makes it attractive. If it’s an easy drive from the interstate, for example, mention that. If you have a fireplace, Wi-Fi or high-definition television, be sure it’s in the listing and pointed out to potential renters.
Choose Where to List It
While you can list the property individually, many knowledgeable property owners suggest listing it on sites that cater to vacationers. You want to attract people who are looking to vacation in a winter cabin, not be one of many real estate listings on your local online classifieds. Airbnb is just one of the places that will list your property to domestic and international travelers.
Renting your winter cabin is a great idea. Be sure to follow these tips for renting it out and marketing it properly for the best results.