You wake up on a Monday morning and step into the shower half-asleep before you realize that there is no hot water. You wait, hoping that something will happen to kick start it. But nothing does. At best, it’s lukewarm if you crank the handle to the very top, and you’re wishing at that moment that you had hit the snooze another few times. At least this could have happened on Saturday. But naturally, it’s Monday.
Swaddled in a bathrobe, you grudgingly drag yourself to the hot water heater and flip open the hatch. Immediately the problem presents itself: the pilot light is off. A couple efforts to revive it are in vain. The phone number of the hot water heater repairman is still taped to the side of the heater from the last time this happened two years ago, so you call, set an appointment, and fume over the issue as you clean up for work in a chilly, soapy waterfall.
The fix for the problem is not wickedly complex, but it takes time to learn it and the tools to address it—time and tools that many people need to other things, like work or your kid’s baseball practice. Having a simple understanding of what led to the cessation of hot water from your shower head, however, at least takes the edge off of the stress and concern that you may be another $1000 short for a new hot water heater later in the day.
Rental management operates in much the same fashion. The reason many people don’t understand the entire process of rental management is that it takes time and tools. It takes hours of research, for example, to understand what the most effective avenues are to market your unit, to fill it to a healthy capacity, and to effectively price your unit depending upon the time of year. Some of that information is readily available; other information is accessible only through channels available to real estate professionals. Or, given the area your unit is located, and how much traffic your unit gets, how often can you expect to have to replace bulbs, stock up on essentials, or conduct routine maintenance such as changing screen doors or replacing fans?
By gaining a basic understanding of the process, you can lessen the anxieties associated with property ownership. There is a wealth of information out there at your fingertips—both in blogs and property management websites local to Kauai—that will help to familiarize you with the rental process from beginning to end. For example:
- How do I ensure that I don’t double-book my property?
- How do I ensure that my renters can get their keys?
- What happens when my renter loses their key or locks it in their unit?
- What is the best way to coordinate laundry and housekeeping?
- Who do I call if there’s an emergency, such as a broken pipe?
- What happens if someone is injured on my property?
- What is the most effective way to handle billing?
- What is a reasonable cancellation policy?
- How do I handle GET and TAT taxes?
- How do I ensure that the unit remains adequately stocked?
- What items should I have available for my renters?
- What do I do if a renter doesn’t check out on time?
- What happens if my cleaning crew doesn’t show up?
Take advantage of the free resources and get to know the basic process. Our website should offer some guidance on these areas, or you can call us 24/7.
If that’s all you have time for, at least you are prepared for anything that might come your way. Then, get back to enjoying your unit for all of the reasons you purchased it.
Be sure to follow the blog in order to get automatic delivery of the next in the series, where we’ll discuss Setting Goals for your vacation rental operation.
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Lisa Stevens is the Owner/Manager of Koloa Kai Vacation Rentals, which she runs with Jed Stevens, her husband and General Manager.