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A rental home can be a great investment and a fantastic source of revenue for home owners. However, if you want your rental property to stand out, do some travel preparation before renters arrive to ensure your home shines.

About 1 billion Americans fly every year. They have to do a lot of travel preparation before those trips, including finding the perfect place to stay while they are on vacation. You can also do some travel preparation to ensure your home stands out when you want to offer it as a rental property.

Here are 7 easy things you can do as travel preparation before leaving your home and opening it up to renters. You don’t need to try to tackle every single thing on this list. However, this might be a handy way for you to get started improving your rental property.

No matter how you go about improving your rental home, you should think carefully about your goals and long-term plans. Consider the area where the home is located and the type of renters you tend to attract. You can tailor these tips to the specifics of your situation by considering your travel preparation and home improvements carefully.

1. Offer Free Amenities

If you have a rental property, you should offer some free amenities to your guests. These days, there are certain amenities people simply expect to get for free. This includes things like wifi. Having to pay for wifi while staying at your property would be a huge turn off for most guests. Make sure you have an open wifi network and make the login information readily accessible for your guests.

Other free amenities can be great for helping you stand out among a slew of similar rental properties in your area. This could be something as simple as free coffee or tea in the morning. People love their morning rituals. Help them wake up to a good morning by stocking up on coffee and tea as part of your travel preparation before leaving town and renting out your home.

Other free amenities could be things like streaming services, board games, DVDs and books or local maps and guidebooks. If you want to go the extra mile, you could offer a complementary welcome basket that has things like candy, coffee, wine or even postcards. This is a cute and personal touch for your rental home.

When you are doing your own travel preparation, also consider these areas of your rental home: the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and outdoor areas. Different amenities will be appropriate for different areas.

For example, if you have in-unit laundry, you can mention that as an amenity. For outdoor areas, you can talk about outdoor furniture, pools, hot tubs, outdoor toys, bikes, beach supplies and parking spaces.

Don’t be shy about talking up every room in your rental home. If you have pet-friendly amenities mention those! If you offer free toiletries, make sure to include those in the description of the rental home.

2. Make a Great First Impression

No matter how nice your amenities are, no one will see them if they’re put off by the outside of your home. First impressions matter, especially if people are checking out your rental property online and looking at picture on the internet. Make sure the outside of your home is neat and attractive so renters want to learn more about what’s inside.

You can start making a good impression before people even enter your home. If you can offer car service for guests coming from the airport, you will help them with their travel preparation. Removing the stress of figuring out transportation can make a huge difference to your guests. If you can’t offer car service, you can still offer guides to public transportation options and taxi services to make travel preparation easier for visitors to the area.

Once guests reach your home, one of the first things they will see is the lawn. While doing your travel preparation, consider hiring a commercial landscaper to help you get your lawn and outdoor areas in tip top shape. A neat, well-kept lawn signals to guests that your home will also be neat, comfortable and clean.

3. Install Additional Features

Go the extra mile with your travel preparation by installing additional features in your home. You don’t need to stick with just what’s expected. You can try out some new and interesting things. However, sticking with the basics is never going to steer you wrong. Some combination of both will likely help set your home apart.

One interesting and different home feature is residential lifts. These make your home more accessible for people with disabilities or movement challenges. Depending on the types of guests you tend to get, a residential lift can be the thing that makes or breaks a guest’s decision to stay at your home.

However, you shouldn’t overlook basic repairs and installations. When you are doing your travel preparation and getting your home ready, make sure everything is in working order. This means things like ovens, dish washers, laundry machines, water heaters and all the rest.

It’s an unfortunate fact that the things we rely on in our homes will wear down and break over time. It would be especially unfortunate if those break downs happened while guests were renting the home though. For example, if you suspect your water heater is nearing the end of its lifetime, look into new water heater installation to ensure your guests won’t wake up to a flooded house one day. This not only inconveniences them, but also could destroy parts of your home and cost you tons of money.

4. Make Necessary Repairs

This brings up the subject of necessary repairs. Make sure you do all necessary repairs during your travel preparation. You don’t want to put these off until they’re too late.

Repairs will include more than just the water heater. No matter what time of year it is, make sure you do things like AC repair to ensure everything is in working order.

You don’t need to remodel your entire home to improve it as a rental property. Making repairs isn’t about buying a whole kitchen of brand new appliances. Replacing appliances in certain areas of your home is more than sufficient and can save you a bunch of money over completely redoing a kitchen or bedroom.

Simple solutions are often best when you want to upgrade your rental home. Focus on areas like the bedrooms and bathrooms, as these are what renters will also be focusing on. Something as simple as getting new bedding or repainting the walls can be a fantastic upgrade for these rooms that don’t cost you a ton of money.

In fact, remodeling tends to produce a pretty bad return on investment. You will get barely more than a 57% return on investment if you remodel, whereas just replacing things in the home can have more than a 60% return on investment.

When thinking about travel preparation and renting out your home, think about the areas that can have the biggest impact for a potential renter and focus on those. By being thoughtful and having a strong plan, you can save money while still upgrading your home so it is more appealing to renters.

No matter what you decide, it’s always important that you don’t skip on making repairs. People will notice if you put off necessary repairs too long. Something as simple as a leaky faucet can give a renter a bad overall impression of your home. Even if you do fix the faucet later, that renter will always have that negative opinion of your property and they may pass that on to other potential renters via word of mouth.

Keeping things in good repair can pay dividends when renters talk up your property to their friends and family. They may also leave good reviews that mention how spotless and up to date everything in the home was. Don’t overlook even the simple repairs. They mean a lot to renters.

5. Offer Security

Security isn’t usually part of people’s travel preparation, but when people are on vacation they do want to feel safe and secure. You can facilitate this by mentioning any security you already have in place at your residence.

If you have a security system at your home, you should definitely mention this to renters. For many, this will be a deciding factor that makes them feel at ease when they are on their vacation. But even if that is not a concern for renters, they may need to be able to disable the security system to enter and leave the home.

As a home owner, a security system is never a bad idea. Whether you rent out your home all the time or live there part of the year, a security system can help prevent break ins. Security systems can help protect jewelry, cash, electronics and other valuable goods inside the home, as well as your guests’ property.

But a security system is not the only means of making your property feel more secure when you do travel preparation. You could also look into homeowner association management companies. These are different from what you may think of as HOAs. HOA management companies are hired by to enforce policies and handle day-to-day operations in a community.

There are many homeowner association management companies out there, so if your community is thinking about hiring one, consult with your neighbors. Figure out what your priorities are and find a company that can help with those things, as well as with things like maps, newsletters and contact lists.

6. Think About Activities

When people are doing travel preparation to plan their vacations, they aren’t just thinking about the place where they’ll stay. So you shouldn’t either.

Think about the fun activities and attractions in your area and let your renters know! They want to have the most fun they can while on vacation. You know the area around your home better than they do. Leverage that knowledge to help renters find fun things to do in the area around you.

Some great activities to let people know about includes things like festivals, farmers markets and local events. You can also mention movie theaters, outdoor attractions, local tourist destinations and great restaurants and bars.

But you don’t need to stick with just what’s expected. When people do travel preparation, they think about their entire lives, not just the time they will spend away from home. For example, people who have experienced rapid weight loss don’t want to lose that progress just because they’re on vacation. Also mention things like gyms and group exercise classes when you are talking about local activities.

7. Worry About the Details and Time of Year

All of the above advice can change a lot depending on the time of year. Think about peak times for rentals in your area. Maybe you will get most of your visitors in summer. If that’s the case, you will want to really be on top of AC repair. Or maybe you will get most of visitors in winter. This makes things like up to date plumbing especially important.

You can also tailor activities to the time of year. This is partly about knowing your area and the type of travel preparation people would need to do in order to rent your home. If you are near a ski resort, that could be a major deciding factor for a renter. Offering maps and guides for the ski resort could sway a guest trying to decide where to stay during their vacation.

Be Specific and Have Goals

Being specific in your travel preparation can mean your rental property is as appealing as possible when you open it up to visitors. Know your region, know your renters and know your home. Tailor your repairs, upgrades, amenities and activity suggestions to the specifics of your home and area.

And remember: You don’t need to do anything fancy or huge to make your home appealing. Simple upgrades and basic repairs can actually mean a lot to renters. Take a look at your property and figure out what you need to prioritize so you can be as efficient as possible in preparing your home for renters.

When in doubt, start small and simple. Do what you can easily accomplish first and let the larger projects come later.

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