You’ve likely seen them while researching where to stay on your own vacations or while checking out your competition—those old, aging vacation rentals in desperate need of a revamp. Maybe all they needed was a fresh coat of paint and a few new pieces of furniture. Or, perhaps a full overhaul. Either way, if the owners of those homes continue to ignore the signs (and their bad reviews), eventually they’ll lose out on bookings and rental income to newer, more up-to-date vacation rentals.
Now, think of your own vacation home. Is it time to make some upgrades? The good news is that upgrading and renovating do not have to be daunting. Here are some tips to keep the process as stress-free as possible.
There’s plenty at stake if you don’t upgrade your vacation rental property over time. The more serious issue is losing bookings and rental income to your competitors. But, why should you invest the time and energy into renovating? Turns out, renovations can reap some big benefits, including:
While a majority of vacation home improvements and upgrades are not tax deductible expenses, the Section 179 deduction may allow homeowners to write off items such as roofs, security systems, fire alarms, and HVAC units.
Most travelers would agree. They would sooner book a vacation rental with an up-to-date aesthetic and newer amenities over an older property with fluorescent lighting, ratty carpets, and a box TV. Upgrades and renovations really come down to keeping up with the preferences of today’s travelers so you can remain competitive.
Not only can an upgraded vacation home attract more guests, but it can also command a higher rate—helping you reach your full rental potential. Guests are generally willing to pay more to stay in a vacation home with a kitchen outfitted with granite countertops, shiny new appliances, and a new chrome faucet over one with poor lighting, dingy old counters, and linoleum flooring.
Details matter. Yes, guests will notice how uncomfortable your 15-year-old sofa is. How moldy your shower head looks. And, how the coffee maker has seen better days. What’s worse—they’ll be quick to comment on those things in their review. Keep a close eye on any vacation rental repairs or upgrades that need to be done to get 5-star reviews on Airbnb and Vrbo.
Does your vacation home only need small, simple improvements? You can easily fit those in without disturbing guests. For bigger renovations, your home will likely have to remain vacant to get everything done. Schedule those large upgrades during your slow season, when you get the least amount of bookings.
(Once you’re done making your improvements, here are tips to getting more bookings during that low season).
The possibilities for vacation rental upgrades are endless. Should you rip out the carpet, then install heated flooring? Or, simply get new area rugs? Convert your current tub into a walk-in shower or just replace your bathroom faucets and showerhead? To help you narrow down your options, here are some things to think about.
One thing is certain—renovations and upgrades can be a significant investment. Set a budget ahead of time so you can veto pricey options immediately. Don’t forget—oftentimes small changes can still make an impact, like repainting cabinets a new color and replacing metal hardware. The key is being smart with the money you have and getting the most out of every dollar.
Ask yourself these questions:
Your vacation home will host guests of all ages (and perhaps even pets, if you allow it). So stick to furniture, fixtures, and materials that can hold up well to wear and tear and don’t have to be replaced as often. For instance, the Vacasa interior design team recommends hardwood frames, Sunbrella® upholstery for couches and sofas, and POLYWOOD® lumber for outdoor furniture.
Think about how new additions will have to be cleaned after each stay. For instance, high-pile or shag rugs are more difficult to run vacuums through, while hardwood flooring (along with machine-washable rugs) would be much easier and more efficient to clean.
Who is booking your home the most? Families who travel with children and dog in tow? Couples looking for some privacy and relaxation? Think of the improvements that can help you get even more bookings from these types of guests and help you stand out from the competition.
Renovations and upgrades don’t have to be big. You can start small, with one room even, and go from there. It could help to first map out which areas of your vacation home need improving the most. Need help deciding? In general, vacation rental bathrooms and kitchens are where you’re likely to see the best return on investment.
Let’s break down some of the more common upgrades and renovations that can help add value to your vacation home, boost bookings, and inspire 5-star reviews:
Today’s guests appreciate a state-of-the-art kitchen. If you’re going to update room-by-room, start with this one.
Making your bathroom feel like a spa experience doesn’t necessarily require a complete, expensive overhaul. Here are some simple moves you can make to transform your bathroom from feeling blasé to brand new.
It takes more than just a bed to turn a bedroom into a luxe retreat worth booking. Even the smallest of details matter. Here are some ways to revamp your bedroom experience for your guests:
Your living room is your vacation home’s centerpiece that ties your entire home together. Making these improvements can help elevate your guest experience:
To consistently boost your bookings and stand out from your competition, you’ll need to keep your vacation rental—and its amenities and appliances—up-to-date. Set your budget, then use these tips to make improvements in your vacation home, whether it’s a full home renovation or just a single room.
Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.
If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.
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 Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); 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, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; 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.