How to Manage Your Vacation Rental Remotely

How to Manage Your Vacation Rental Remotely

Just because your home is being used for someone else's vacation doesn't mean you can't relax too.
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This Home Guide is presented by Level Home, whose smart locks pair high design with an intuitive approach to home entry.
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Whether it’s short-term or long-term, renting out your home can be a daunting prospect—doubly so if you’re doing it from afar. While it’s always an option to hire a property management company, the costs can quickly add up, with some services charging 12 percent of your property’s monthly rental value.

Be Locked In

Luckily for you, we’re living in the golden age of versatile, well-designed smart home devices that make the task exponentially easier. Of the products available, installing a smart lock is, well, key. These allow you to change the code between guests or tenants, monitor comings and goings via the app, and grant access for cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. Just be sure to have a backup plan in case the power goes out or the batteries die—extremely hot or cold temperatures can also trigger mechanical issues. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra set of keys in a lock box.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open

Setting up an external security camera—emphasis on external, now—will let you monitor the driveway, street, or front door, which comes in handy for tracking packages and discouraging thefts or break-ins. Having an eye on the ground lets you know exactly who’s visiting your property, whether welcome (guests, postal workers, service vendors) or unwelcome (your guest’s undisclosed bachelor party, burglars, bears).

A smart thermostat, smoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector will ensure the comfort and safety of your guests, and if thin walls are an issue, a noise detection device will preserve the goodwill of your neighbors.

Assemble the A-team

Technological arsenal aside, the most important factor in the success of your property is having a trusted crew of local vendors. Your cleaner or housekeeper will not only keep the home tidy and spotless, but also alert you if a chair is broken, a faucet is leaking, or the toilet paper supply is running low (some cleaning services can also restock essentials for you). A dependable handyperson should be on call for small repairs, and ideally can refer you to other specialized vendors like electricians, plumbers, or roofers as needed. Lastly, have a landscaper to trim hedges, mow the lawn, or pull weeds. If you’re at a loss for how to start assembling your dream team, reach out to your realtor—chances are, they’ll be able to recommend someone local.

Talk the Talk

As with most situations in life, communication is everything. Be responsive and attentive to your guests or tenants; if you’re managing several properties, look into services that can automate messages upon booking, check-in, and check-out. Keep a guestbook somewhere visible with essential information like house rules, Wi-Fi credentials, important phone numbers, and your favorite local haunts. Remember: the better you’re prepared, the less you’ll be scrambling to put out fires—and the more glowing your reviews.

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Jenny Xie
Dwell Contributor
Jenny Xie is the author of the novel Holding Pattern, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. She’s received fellowships from Bread Loaf, Yaddo, and MacDowell, among other organizations.

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