Upgrade & They Will Come
Many new homebuyers seek extra income to supplement their mortgage payments for a variety of reasons. Sometimes that prospect can make the payments more comfortable for their expenses, putting in reach a desirable property that would be otherwise just outside their budget. Other owners simply like the idea of paying down their mortgage at a faster rate. Renting your home, or just a room, can be an excellent way to establish a reliable income stream, especially if you happen to live in an appealing part of the country with sites of interest and lots to do. It’s one of the most lucrative opportunities in the sharing economy, but it requires patience and an entrepreneurial sensibility. And if you do it right, you could easily end up making friends and retaining customers for years to come.
Kitchen upgrades are among the best home improvements you can make in terms of ROI (return on investment), and it doesn’t hurt your property value if you intend to sell someday in the future! For vacationers, an island or breakfast sideboard where guests can catch a quick piece of toast and coffee before heading out for the day is both visually appealing and highly functional. Or use technology to “wow” your guests, such as a coffee maker that can be programmed from the master bedroom.
In the bathroom, consider adding a Jacuzzi or put in a vessel sink, aesthetically pleasing upgrades that your guests will remember. You can add amenities and luxury items to the bedroom as well. Consider upgrading your television to something high-definition and pre-packaged with easy-to-use streaming options for vacationers who want to spend a night in. You can add a mini-fridge to the bedroom to allow your guests to keep beverages and snacks nearby without having to take a midnight stroll to the kitchen. Give the bedroom a fresh coat of paint, too; shades of blue or green encourage relaxation.
Cool and Low-Impact
Guests often remember the little features and conveniences that make their stay enjoyable and give them something fun to do when they aren’t out and about. You might add a pool table or gaming console, which younger guests will certainly enjoy. Or install a home theater, including a large-screen, high-definition TV along with a DVD player (include a collection of popular movies like the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings films). Remember Wii games? They’re still popular and make a nice addition to your in-home entertainment arsenal.
Make Vacation Easy
Your guests will be using your home as a launchpad for many forays into the surrounding areas. Why not compile a list of popular sites along with easy-to-use directions and tips only a local would know for getting around? People like feeling like they have the “inside scoop” when deciding what to do and where to go. Include a list of your favorite restaurants and where to go for the best breakfast, lunch and/or dinner, including a nice mixture of foods and culinary styles-- don’t forget to include nearby pizza delivery places. (And it certainly won’t hurt your relationship with your neighbors to refer people to these local hot spots—it’s a great way to support your community.)
Add Some Security
In addition to feeling at home, guests want to feel safe and secure inside your rental property. As such, you’ll need to add some security features to your home if you don’t already have some installed. Smart doorbells and exterior cameras/lights will go a long way to provide peace of mind to your guests, as will a full-blown home security system. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to handle any upfront costs for installation, equipment, and activation fees, as well as a monthly charge to a home security company to monitor the property.
Beware-- not everyone has a dog as well-trained as yours, and allowing pets does run the risk of making your rental less appealing to others if visiting animals cause damage or leave odors behind. However, if you do choose to allow pets, your pet-owning guests will be appreciative of anything you can do to make their furry friends happy. Set up a dog run in the backyard or make a dog crate or cage available for when they’re out running around. Keep cleaning materials on hand in case a pet emergency unfolds on the carpet or furniture. A pet-friendly rental, if done well, can win you more return guests as many struggle to find places that welcome their animal companions.
When you live in an area that’s in-demand among vacationers, it makes good financial sense to investigate turning your home into a vacation property when you aren’t using it, but you’ll need to keep it appealing and attractive to bring customers back for more each year.
Other great ideas on quick refreshes for your home:
Thanks to our guest contributor, Erin Reynolds, for the great suggestions! See more from Erin on her website.
posted by L. Lathrop for Jim Burns