We own a vacation condo lakefront in the Branson area. After 7 years of renting it to vacationers on a nightly basis, and using it occasionally ourselves, I have decided to let a local company lease it on a yearly basis.
Here are seven reasons I took this step – reasons you may also find relevant.
You are tired of traveling to it.
It takes time and money to get to and from your vacation home. You feel obligated to go, since you spent the money on it or you need to go to work on it. Deep annual cleaning, general maintenance, painting and repairing and re-stocking with lost items are just a few of the kinds of work you won’t miss when you lease it yearly.
Each year, I have spent at least 5 days deep cleaning everything in the condo. I wash windows, woodwork, empty all cabinets and clean inside, wash bedspreads, blankets, pillows and all linens. I hand scrub the tile floors, clean the furnace closet and furnace filter. I wash all the nick knacks and silk plants and I paint any and all spots that need painting.
Your family won’t gather there anymore.
We bought our condo as a family gathering spot, some place fun to come to visit with each other. After a few years, the shine wears off and family members get busy with other areas of their lives and just don’t have the time to gather at the vacation condo each year.
You’ve seen and done everything in the area – twice.
After you have been vacationing in the same spot for multiple years, you start to feel that you have seen and done all of the touristy attractions in the area.
You aren’t making enough money on your nightly rentals.
We rented our condo out for 6 years on a nightly basis – giving up the prime season dates in order to get a bit of income to offset annual operating costs. We generally broke even on those costs over the years, until 2 years ago. Starting then, our nightly rental management company seemed to be unable to give us any rentals.
Nightly rental management is too much of a hassle.
This year, I took over nightly rental management for the summer season – just to get enough rental days to try to break even on operating costs. It was a real hassle. I developed a web site, took out a VRBO ad, drew up a guest services contract, responded to hundreds of inquiries, took payments, collected and paid sales tax and refunded security deposits. It took a big chunk out of my time, and caused me a lot of sleep loss!
Expenses are less with a lease than with a nightly rental.
With nightly rental management, because it is such a hassle, the companies charge 38% – 40% of your gross rental income for a management fee. On top of that, they charge a fee to re-supply your condo with little soaps, and starter detergents, toilet paper and all the other little things renters expect. On top of that, there are cleaning fees after each renter leaves and special fees for any maintenance needed while in your condo.
The county also may consider your rental a ‘business’ and charge commercial tax rates. Ours did and they were twice as high as the residential real estate taxes!
You can take a break from your vacation home, but still come back to it.
The vacation condo market seems to still be in a slump. Leasing your condo instead of trying to sell it will allow you to wait out the bad market while giving you a break from the rigors of nightly rentals and personal use.
Do you have a vacation home? Would you consider leasing it out?