How to Rent Your Vacation Home During the Off-Season

Like many people, you probably bought your vacation home for two reasons: to have a place to go on vacation and to make you some money during the busy season. So why are you letting it sit empty during the offseason?

Everyone loves a deal

Admit it. When you get a big deal you love bragging about it to your friends. Well, your renters are no different. Think about lowering your rental rates during the offseason and then advertise your great deal. If you’re working with a property manager, just be careful that you can still pay their fees with your reduced rate. Discuss options with the property manager, too, because they often work on a percentage basis and may be able to recommend pricing for the offseason.

Reduce minimum stay

Most people take longer vacations during the summer. The kids are out of school, work has slowed down a little bit, and people are ready to relax. But in the winter, people might just be looking for a weekend getaway to recharge. If you aren't willing to go all in on this one, considering offering a reduced minimum stay as a last minute option.

Increase advertising

An oceanfront beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina probably practically rents itself during the summer. But during the winter, people aren’t thinking as much about going to the beach, so it might stand empty for an entire month. But who doesn't love an oyster roast in any of those delightful "r" months of winter? So, try keeping your rental property visible by increasing your advertising. And don’t just stop at traditional newspapers and vacation websites. Look into some more unconventional methods like Airbnb and VRBO.

Stay in touch

If you’re keeping contact information for past renters, try reaching out to them with special deals for the offseason. They’ve already stayed at your house and, hopefully, had a good experience. A personalized deal will also make them feel like a VIP--and who doesn’t like that?

Plan around an event

What big events are going on during the offseason? Is your second home close to a big college or professional sports team? Market your house as a place to stay during the big game. Throw in a pair of tickets while you’re at it. It’ll make the whole experience a lot easier and more relaxing for your renters.

Keep them coming back

If you’ve ever traveled with a small child--or even a pet for that matter--you know how much stuff they need to go anywhere. Renters are going to expect you have some essentials in the kitchen, but why not go the extra mile and provide things like a high chair, crib, and even a dog bed? Knowing that your home is kid and pet-friendly can be the deciding factor when someone’s choosing a vacation home. Even if it’s not why they decided to come, it’ll be a big reason why people keep coming back.

Have you successfully rented a home in the offseason? How did you do it?