If there’s one thing Heather H. and her husband, Jim, enjoy, it’s a little peace and quiet.
Their pursuit of a slower pace of life brought them to Fayston, Vermont, and inspired them to purchase a condo there about a decade ago.
“My husband's from Vermont, so it's a familiar area in a lot of ways,” she tells us. “I really enjoy spending time at the pool and just reading a book. We have a wonderful set of neighbors here as well, and they're all great fun to hang out with. It's a nice community to be a part of.”
Heather loves the time she gets to enjoy their place in the picturesque mountains. And with a busy working life and active real estate investments to manage, any break from the hustle is welcome.
But that’s the thing: with an already hectic schedule, how can Heather actually relax at her dream getaway when it’s also a busy vacation rental?
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Average winter 2021 occupancy
Average summer 2021 occupancy
Heather soon found herself asking a similar question after she and her husband opened their home to guests.
“We purchased this place with an eye to renting. But at the time, Airbnb wasn't a thing, so we rented it on our own for a while,” she recalls.
They found that marketing and caring for a vacation rental from over three hours away was tough. Then, one day, a letter from a new type of vacation rental manager arrived in the mail.
“The letter said it was local management—that was really important to us. We saved the letter, brought it up to the house, talked about it, and then decided to check Vacasa out,” she says.
As an experienced property manager and real estate investor herself, Heather was intrigued but apprehensive.
“We've done a lot of work on our house,” she says. “My biggest reservation about signing up with Vacasa was that I didn't want my home to feel like somebody else's when I came back.”
“And that’s the thing that makes me the happiest about being a Vacasa homeowner: it still feels like it's my home.”
Heather was impressed with Vacasa’s integrated local and digital management services, but what has really solidified her relationship with Vacasa was a commitment to care, just as she’d do it.
“One of the biggest concerns was making sure our home was cleaned properly between visitors, because I wouldn't be the one to manage it and wouldn't be able to check on it,” she tells us. “That was a really different approach for me. And every single time we've come up here, it's been wonderful—the cleaning staff is amazing.”
“Everything is done almost exactly the way I would have left it myself. That's what makes me feel like I'm in my own house,” she continues. “The local staff know our home, they know us, they know how to get a hold of us. They're consistent in the way they offer help, and I think they give us just as much help as we want. It really feels like a team.”
Vacasa has also helped Heather unlock her home’s potential in ways she and her husband couldn’t possibly have done themselves.
“When we were renting it on our own, we were only able to do it sporadically. Now it's booked all the time. I have to think well in advance when I want to come up here myself, because if I don't reserve time, someone’s going to book it,” she explains.
From a technological standpoint, she’s also thrilled that Vacasa has thrust their home onto the cutting edge of vacation rental marketing. And the payoff has been impressive.
“The thing that made me ultimately sign up with Vacasa was learning about how a Matterport camera captures the whole home, and how optimized technology helps us get fully booked at the highest possible rate, depending on what’s going on in the area,” she says.
“So, we've been able to make some improvements here that we weren't anticipating,” she continues. “And because of our rental income, we've almost paid off our mortgage on this home.”
But it’s not all about the bottom line, as Heather would say.
“We love our place so much, and we really felt bad that it was just sitting with nobody enjoying it,” she explains. “Working with Vacasa has really shown us that our place is being loved by as many people as possible. So, the benefits are financial, but they're more meaningful, too.”
Especially recently, Heather and Jim have found a new appreciation for what it means to share a space they love with people who, like them, are looking for a break.
“We both work from home, and home has been a very confined place over the last number of months,” she says. “It's wonderful to have a space where we can relax and let it all fade into the background, and just spend some quiet time without the usual interruptions of daily life.”
“We've gotten some thank-you gifts and things like that from people who have visited here,” she continues. “I love reading the reviews—it's a nice affirmation to know that people have had a really pleasant time in my home.”
But ever the entrepreneur, Heather has been looking for new opportunities to mix business with pleasure. And now, as she’s searching for new properties to invest in, she asks herself two questions: What’s the weather like, and is Vacasa there to manage for us?
The opinions and experiences in this article represent the author’s viewpoint and do not necessarily reflect Vacasa policies.
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