Your guide to success in short-term rentals

The Destin-area rental market is an active one year-round, as Destin and surrounding communities are in-demand places to visit. A growing number of tourists are looking into staying in a vacation rental, opting for the comforts of home as opposed to taking their chances with a hotel. If you’re thinking of converting your home into a short-term vacation rental, here’s how to do it right:

1. Notify your mortgage and insurance companies. Some loan programs (like FHA) require that the owner occupy all or part of the home for a specified period of time, so you’ll want to check with your mortgage company before making any decisions.

You’ll also want to make sure you contact your insurance provider and inform them of your intention to rent your property. Short-term rental activities may not be covered under your existing homeowner’s insurance policy, so this is an important step. You’ll also want to make sure you’re following any local, state and/or federal rules and regulations required of landlords. (Some municipalities do not allow short-term rentals.)

And lastly, you’ll want to make sure you comply with any tax-related rules that apply to landlords. If you rent out your house for more than 14 days a year, you’re a landlord in the eyes of the IRS. That means you have to report your rental income. But it also means you can deduct rental expenses. Good bookkeeping is a must, so come tax time it’s a breeze. If you don’t want to take on this burden yourself, consider outsourcing it.

2. Make sure it’s clean. No one wants to stay in an unkempt home. Short-term vacation rentals must be thoroughly and professionally cleaned and sanitized before the first visit and after each stay. If you don’t keep your rental property clean and well-maintained, it’s going to be bad for your reputation. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.

3. Spruce up the landscaping. The overall look of a vacation rental property is critical. It can make all the difference in getting business and glowing reviews. Plus, it sets the tone for what people can expect on the inside. How does your property look when someone arrives for the first time? First impressions of things like the front door, pathways, flower beds and lawn/landscaping really do matter and can make a mark.

4. Check all safety features. It probably goes without saying to ensure that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and other safety features, such as motion-activated outdoor lighting, are operating as intended. Pay close attention to any tripping hazards or other possible safety issues that could cause injuries (and possible lawsuits).

5. Include welcoming materials in your home. It’s all about the special touches. For instance, a guide to local amenities, a small gift or a ‘thank you’ note from the landlord are sure to make a positive impression. You’ll want to include in a guide to dining, attractions and events in and around Destin, Crystal Beach, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Sandestin, Grayton Beach, Seaside, Seagrove and Rosemary Beach.

6. Enlist the help of a (local) expert. With PMI Destin-30A, vacation property owners benefit from knowing someone is in their corner, working hard to protect their investment and maximize their income. We know the area and pride ourselves on being hyper-local vacation rental experts. We specialize in the communities of:

  • Destin
  • Crystal Beach
  • Miramar Beach
  • Santa Rosa Beach
  • 30A, Sandestin
  • Grayton Beach
  • Seaside
  • Seagrove
  • Rosemary Beach

Managing your vacation rental shouldn’t be a second (full-time) job. PMI Destin-30A works with leading vendors to bring you the most exceptional services in the industry. In turn, you can rest easier knowing we’re here to help you protect and maximize the investment in your NW Florida rental property.