9 questions to ask when choosing your vacation home manager

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate

When you want to put your Colorado vacation home on a rental program, how do you know which management company you should hire to take care of it for you?  You have many options, from renting it yourself using the internet with some local assistance, to being very hands off and doing no more than cashing your check each month.Breckenridge colorado

Decide what your goal is for your property.  Do you want to rent it as many nights as you can and make as much money as possible?  Or are you more concerned about the condition of your condo and prefer to have someone that you know will screen the renters very carefully and check the inventory after the guests leave?  Most people want both, but it is not always possible, and you will have to do some research and ask a lot of questions.  Here are a few suggestions when you talk to the potential managers.

1.  What fees do you charge besides the 25 to 50% you will take of the total income?  These could be cleaning fees, marketing fees, internet advertising, linen fees, telephone charges, health club use or any number of other things.  There is one  particular company in town that charges 50% plus so many other fees that they end up with about 57%. 

2.  How often is the property inspected; after every cleaning, once a month, twice a year?  Is the inspection cursory or do they check against an inventory list to make sure nothing is missing?  What are they looking for when they do the inspection? Copper Mountain

3.  How often is the carpet cleaned and is it spot cleaned as needed?  This is probably my biggest gripe, as it would be so easy to spot clean, and yet often nothing is done until the property is scheduled for its annual carpet clean.  There is no excuse for your home or condo to be dirty when guests arrive. 

4.  When does my check arrive and what is the cutoff date for payment?  Getting your check July 20th for June rentals is about as far as I would let  them go.  Ask what kind of accounting you will get.  Will it be a  detailed statement or just a check each month?  Do they require that you give them a deposit, and if so, how much, and under what circumstances will it be used? 

5.  What if I want to use my condo myself?  Do they routinely charge a cleaning fee or will they accept the condition in which you leave it?  Many management companies have had poor experiences with the owners not leaving the condo in the condition they think it should be for the next guest, and they charge to clean it.  Don't forget that the cleaning includes linen changes, new shampoos, soaps and coffee packets and little extras like folding the kleenex into a fan and the toilet paper into a little "V". Copper Mountain winter

6.  If I want to book my condo for a friend of mine to use at no charge, do I lose my place in the rotation of units?  This happens most often at the ski areas, where they might have 30 similar units in the rental program and they are rented in rotation.  You might lose your place in the rotation, and therefore lose a rental opportunity if you or a friend use your condo. 

7.  When is the deep clean done, what does it consist of  and how much will it cost?  Do I have the option of doing the deep clean myself if I want to?  A deep clean usually means cleaning things that don't get done on a regular basis, like baseboards, blinds, carpets, behind and under the refrigerator and under the sofa.  The bedcoverings and pillows should be washed or sent out to be drycleaned.  Will the managers notify you if they think you need a new hideabed, paint or new carpet?  Will they lower the ranking of your unit if you don't?  (ie: gold, silver,  bronze.) 

8.  How is routine maintenance handled?  How much money will they spend on your behalf with prior authorization and at what point will they call you to see if it is ok?  Do you have the option to do the maintenance yourself if it is not an emergency? Lake Dillon

9. Do you get a security deposit from the guest to cover breakage or missing items and will you charge them if something happens?  I find that frequently the ski area lodging companies don't want guests upset by charging them for damages because they want them to come back again.  Often the homeowner is the one that gets to foot the bill. By the time the homeowner finds out about the damage, it is too late to charge the guest for it, even if you were to know which guest it was.

10.  I know, I said nine, but here is a bonus.  Talk to as many people as you can who have had experience with rental companies.  Ask the company for referrals and talk to your resort area Realtor.  He or she should be knowledgeable about the companies in town and their reputations will tell you a lot about how they operate. 

I have written several other posts on my experiences and those of my clients with Colorado vacation homes, so be sure to check for similar articles.  Among them are "The good, the bad and the ugly" , "6 easy money making ideas for renting your condo", "Your vacation home can pay for itself" and "How to get your rental property to cash flow"

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Location:
Colorado Summit County
Tags:
summit county colorado
vacation home
rental

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the graph to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the key to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
332,931
Thesa Chambers
Alpine Real Estate - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
nicely done - finding a good manager is an important aspect in a vacation home - I had a client loose $20k in repairs because the management company had done such a poor job with maintenance.
Sep 13, 2007 11:33 PM #14
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor

Thesa, I think owners need to see the property every so often.  If they don't stay on top of it, they will have problems. 

Sep 14, 2007 12:09 AM #15
Rainer
11,959
Heather Peck
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Nevada Real Estate

Outstanding blog. 

May I add that you want to know how they market your property in addition to just managing it.  Also, does the owner have a way to see how often their property is being rented without calling all the time?

Our company has been in the vacation rental business for 12 years in Las Vegas.  We only take on the best properties and our owners make the most moeny because of our agressive marketing program.  We also maintain our own cleaning staff who is followed by a quality control manager who inspects before and after each rental. 

Advise your clients to make sure they do business with the best.

Sep 14, 2007 12:32 PM #16
Rainmaker
325,145
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Joanne,

This is a must-read post for anyone planning on buying a rental property there or any other resort location. If you get these items cleared with the management company to your satisfaction, you ought to be able to sleep well.

Sep 14, 2007 04:43 PM #17
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor

Heather, thanks for the input!  Those are good suggestions.  I don't manage properties, but my clients always ask who they should use.  I will update the post to reflect your additions.  The cleaning is so important, and it gets overlooked here very often. 

Esko, I have it available for my clients, but I will add Heather's suggestions to that copy too.

Sep 14, 2007 05:21 PM #18
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Joanne- It's amazing how much resort property managers get. I liked your suggestion in other posts where you help people rent their own places. For those folks who want to be a bit more hands off, these are great questions. I'm not sure I would have had them all on my list. I agree it is a must read for property owners.
Sep 15, 2007 10:00 AM #19
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor
Jennifer, I will be working on a new version of the "rent it yourself" post this week and should get it online soon!  I have  a good friend who manages properties and he says that you can't make a profit at less than 45%, but it sure seems like a lot!
Sep 15, 2007 10:10 AM #20
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Joanne- It does seem like a lot. I'd rather have that money in my pocket, but I wouldn't be as long distance as some property owners. I can't wait to see your new post.
Sep 15, 2007 10:13 AM #21
Rainer
34,107
Carmen Rivero
Infinity Real Estate Group - Altamonte Springs, FL
Joanne, great post, I would like to include a link as a reference in some of my posts, would that be Ok?
Sep 18, 2007 01:47 PM #22
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor

Jennifer, I am delayed getting the new post up, but hope to do it this week. I blended two posts together to make one, and that doesn't always work well!

Carmen, of course you can link...that is what blogging is all about!  No need to ask in the future.  I have this same post on my outside blog if you would rather link to it.  www.mountainlivingblog.com

Thanks!

Sep 18, 2007 03:05 PM #23
Rainer
71,677
Rita Taylor
None - Sanford, NC
Sanford NC Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Sanford North Carolina

Joanne,

This is a fantastic post for those with a second vacation home.  Your home buyers in Summit County are lucky to have an agent who knows which questions to ask. 

Sep 18, 2007 09:54 PM #24
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor
Thanks Rita, I like the additions a couple of people have made to it too.
Sep 18, 2007 09:58 PM #25
Rainer
234,245
Susie Roscoe
Signature Realty Associates - Brandon, FL
Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL
This is a terrific resource for investors or rental property!  Great work...I'll bookmark this for later!
Sep 19, 2007 05:35 AM #26
Rainmaker
506,756
Ann Heitland
RE/MAX Peak Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff Real Estate - Associate Broker, GRI, CRS
Great list! Fees -- "in addition to" half the income??  Maybe I am in the wrong business.
Sep 19, 2007 10:15 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!
Great post, Joanne and very informative.
Sep 19, 2007 05:12 PM #28
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor

Susie, the questions to ask will vary somewhat, but many will be basic to any area. 

Ann, Copper Mountain had so many complaints about being nickle and dimed that they just changed their structure, but there are still fees in addition to the 50%! 

Gary, I am glad you liked it; thanks for stopping by.

Sep 20, 2007 11:18 PM #29
Rainmaker
49,505
Chrissy Harrison
Referral Only Realty - Longmont, CO

This is great information. When I have a client looking in the mountains, I know where we'll start - with you!

Sep 21, 2007 12:32 PM #30
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor
Thanks Chrissy, and I have a wonderful Realtor contact in Longmont too! 
Sep 22, 2007 01:04 AM #31
Rainer
18,934
Julie Olsen
Equity Real Estate Luxury Group - Park City, UT
Your Park City & Deer Valley Real Estate Expert
What a great post I will have to link to it.  It is great advice for second home owners. 
Oct 20, 2007 04:38 PM #32
Rainer
83,563
Joanne Hanson
Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate - Frisco, CO
Summit County, Colorado Realtor
I also have it on my outside blog too Julie!  I am glad you liked it.  Thanks!
Oct 20, 2007 04:41 PM #33
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the scissors to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainer
83,563

Joanne Hanson

Summit County, Colorado Realtor
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tshirt to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information