7 Reasons to Lease Your Vacation Condo

couple visiting apartmentWe 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?


7 Reasons to Lease Your Vacation Condo — 13 Comments

  1. So the lease it that they give you a monthly rent even if it is not rented and you can’t go there anymore? I saw some companies offer investments in vacation homes where it is fully managed but you still get 4 weeks personal use per year, it looked interesting as you won’t likely go more but still get the guaranteed income.

  2. We don’t own a vacation rental but we definitely rent them from other people. I like having a kitchen on vacation so we typically rent beach condos instead of getting hotels.

  3. Well, I’ve never had a vacation condo but would love too. I could imagine there being several reasons why renting your vacation spot out would be a good idea though like, doing everything there is to do twice! Thanks for the great read!

  4. These reasons totally make sense to me. My husband’s parents have a vacation condo in Phoenix and they used it for a couple of years, but after that they decided it’s too much of a hassle to go there 2-3 times a year, so they limited it to 1 or none and rented the condo out for the rest of the year. They still like the idea of having it as an investment property, but they don’t have to go there all the time and can still pay all the expenses and even make money off it during snowbird’s season.

  5. I can see why you took that step. We used to own a Lake of the Ozarks condo with my parents, but sold it last year for some of the reasons you mentioned. Unfortunately our complex wouldn’t let you lease out units, so we didn’t have that option. I still like the idea of having a vacation home, however, so this was an interesting read.

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