The smart guide to vacation rental maintenance

How to take care of a vacation home


There’s a reason why some vacation rental guests are quick to point out small flaws—like a loose doorknob, a leaky faucet, or a flickering lightbulb—even during an otherwise flawless stay. It’s because details matter.

Maintaining your home consistently can make the difference between getting a good guest review and a mediocre one. It can help you save time and money by avoiding costly repairs (or at least catch damage early before things get worse). And, most importantly, it can help drive a steady flow of bookings.

Travelers want vacation rentals that are well designed and well kept, inside and out. Here’s how to stay on top of your vacation home’s maintenance to keep it in prime condition all year long.

Start with a thorough inspection

Prevention is the primary goal here. Whether you purchased your vacation home yesterday or 20 years ago, now’s the time for an in-depth walkthrough. Tour your property with a discerning eye, similar to how a home inspector would. The key is to catch things early before they become a massive (and expensive) headache. Check for any pest or water damage. Look for cracks in the walls and examine your roof. Test your outlets for any outages and faucets for any plumbing issues. Don’t overlook your home’s exterior—overgrown trees and encroaching roots can cause major damage down the road.

bright white kitchen with backsplash on fire island

Prioritize the essentials

Faulty toaster? Small fix. Heater broken on a cold winter night? A huge deal that can potentially ruin a guest’s entire vacation. So pay special attention to the big mechanical systems that can have a big impact (and cost a lot to replace), like your air conditioner, furnace, and ventilation systems. Regularly swap out the filters and perform checks to make sure they’re functioning properly.

Same goes for any safety equipment, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries at least once a year or according to the manufacturer. Check that your fire extinguisher is available, visible, and in working order.

Invest in smart home gadgets

With smart home tech, you can keep an eye on your vacation home, even if you live miles away. Think beyond the traditional security cameras. There are now devices that will sound the alarm when they detect potential home maintenance issues, such as when pipes are about to freeze (before they burst) or your HVAC system breaks down.

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

Keep appliances and electronics in optimal condition

All the appliances in your vacation home—from the washing machine to the oven—require regular maintenance to keep them working properly. For instance, refrigerator coils need to be cleaned and dryer exhaust vents need to be checked for blockages. Taking preventative measures like these (on a consistent schedule) will help keep your appliances efficient, instead of making them work harder than they should or breaking down entirely.

Your electronics need some love, too. These include TVs, video game consoles, stereos, smart speakers, and internet routers and modems. If the TV doesn’t work or the WiFi goes down because of an old modem, you’ll be sure to hear about it (whether your guests text you in the middle of the night or include the details in their review).

Fortunately, Vacasa housekeepers do more than clean. They conduct thorough checks every time they’re in a home to ensure the next guests have a seamless experience. For example, they double check that TVs and appliances are working, set out the remote controls, and even test WiFi speeds.

steamy hot tub with snow covered mountain views

Schedule regular check-ups

Don’t wait for a guest to tell you something is broken or missing. Be proactive and perform routine checks and maintenance. It’s the best way to get ahead of any potential issues at your vacation home. Jot down dates in your calendar as reminders to take care of certain tasks, such as cleaning out gutters, maintaining the caulk on your windows, or trimming trees and bushes. At Vacasa, we perform maintenance checks on our homes, in addition to preparing homes in certain markets for seasonal conditions.

Don’t overlook vacation rental yard maintenance

Exposed to the elements all year long, your home’s outdoor areas can start looking disheveled pretty quickly—especially without routine cleanups. This can include garden care (trimming trees and bushes, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds), plus maintaining whatever outdoor amenities you offer (decks, balcony furniture, pools). For example, check on your pool’s filtration systems and inspect the water often to make sure it’s always in optimal condition.

As part of their cleaning routine at each home, Vacasa housekeepers will check on the outdoor barbecue, making sure it’s scrubbed and has sufficient propane. And if a home has a hot tub, they’ll set the water temperature so it’s ready for guests to dip right in.

lush tropical vegetation surrounds vacation home

Prepare for the seasons

Some vacation homes require even more maintenance based on extreme seasonal changes where they’re located. Beach houses could be exposed to potential thunderstorms and strong winds during hurricane season. Meanwhile, mountain cabins can be subject to freezing temps and snow in the winter. Preparing a vacation home for winter conditions can mean checking the roof, protecting outdoor furniture, draining the water from your pipes, and insulating your home properly.

Assemble a vacation rental maintenance team

No one expects you to know how to clean your pool, inspect your pipes, and check the roof yourself. Whether you live across town or across the country from your vacation home, hiring the right people to work on the right things is one of the best ways to take care of your property. Find vendors you can trust, then put them on speed dial. You’ll never know when you’ll need to call in a local arborist to inspect a tree in your backyard or an HVAC technician when the heat stops working mid-winter.

The better solution: lean on a trusted local property manager

If you work with Vacasa to manage your vacation home, we come ready with a vetted Rolodex of vendors and maintenance services in every market—from landscapers to plumbers. Our local teams will most often set up any appointments, work with the vendors directly, and handle any paperwork and follow-up.

Performing regular maintenance on your vacation home will save you from making costly repairs in the future, plus ensure that guests only experience your home in its prime condition. Follow this guide to help with your home’s upkeep throughout the year.

lights twinkle on this cabin in gatlinburg at night

Vacation rental maintenance FAQ

Homeowners are generally responsible for paying for any repairs. Vacasa, like many full-service vacation rental property managers, will first let the owner know what needs to be fixed, then get the homeowner’s permission before proceeding. We’ll then line up a vetted vendor, coordinate any logistics, handle any paperwork, and bill the homeowner for the cost afterward or have owners pay the vendor directly.

Possibly. All vacation homes will experience wear and tear over the years. Money you spend on maintaining or repairing your property—like replacing missing washing machine parts or repairing a broken refrigerator—may be tax deductible. See what other vacation rental expenses can be written off at tax time. Most importantly, work with a tax professional for your specific situation.

The major difference between maintenance and repairs is when they occur. Maintenance refers to preventing damage and preserving the condition of your home—all done ahead of time. Examples include cleaning the hot tubs and pools, changing filters in your ventilation systems, and clearing out your gutters to prevent clogs. Repairs are made after something is already broken, is damaged, or has stopped working entirely.

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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.