There are so many things to think about when preparing vacation homes to be rented out. You already know how to stock your home with basics like linens and cookware, decorate stylishly, and add enticing amenities, but what do you need to take away? As Christine Karpinski, author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, points out, “Anything you leave will be considered fair game for renters to use.” Before they arrive, think about the items you want to remove from your vacation rental home for your own privacy and peace of mind. Don’t forget these items:
You may or may not decide to leave computers in the home. A computer for your renters’ use could be an attractive amenity, though you could also offer WiFi service and encourage your renters to bring their own laptops or tablets. Whatever you decide, make sure you don’t leave any sensitive files behind. Have all of your own files, passwords, and other sensitive information professionally wiped off of any computer equipment you leave in the home.
Personal or business information
Don’t forget to take physical, paper files with you, too. Clear out office drawers, the drawer in the kitchen by the phone, and any other collections of important papers. Don’t leave behind anything with your personal or business information on it. Those papers are just useless clutter for honest renters, and a potential privacy problem for you.
Heirlooms, sentimental items, or anything irreplaceable
If you and your family have been using this vacation home for a long time, chances are you’ve collected some sentimental items, like the seashell collage your children made here when they were young, the quilt your aunt made for you, that jigsaw puzzle your family worked on together years ago. Things like this won’t be as meaningful to your renters, and may make them feel less at home. More importantly, even with the best renters, things can get lost and accidents can happen. Don’t leave anything in your vacation rental home that can’t be easily replaced.
It seems like a no-brainer, but many new vacation rental owners forget to take their own toothbrushes, used bars of soap, and half-full shampoo bottles out of the bathroom before the first renters arrive. Also remember to clean out the refrigerator. You may or may not decide to leave some staple food items, like sugar and coffee, in the kitchen for your renters to use. Just remember that anything you leave behind will be seen as theirs to use.
Before your first renters arrive, take an inventory of everything you’ve decided to leave there for their use. That way, you’ll never have to wonder how many plates you had, or whether that pillowcase disappeared before or after their stay. An inventory will also make it easier for you or your property manager to restock for the next renters.