Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Vacation Rentals: A Pretty Good Deal And a Lot of Work

I must admit that I should have put my home on the market last October right after I got laid off. The market was slowing down but it hadn't stalled yet, not like now. But I didn't want to sell back then. I wanted to try renting my house as a short term vacation rental. I advertised with homeaway.com, completed all of the legal chores, insurance, changing my home designation to "rental", even filing for a business license and submitting sales tax for the city and state. I handled the inquiries, answered the phone calls and emails, sent the contracts, cleaned and stocked the house and programmed the locks for each guest. It was tiring and when the tourist season was over I changed everything back to owner-occupied, put the house up for sale, and waited.

And still I wait. The schools went back in session today. I always thought that my best chance to sell would be before school resumed. Yesterday I got a call from a couple in Idaho who want to rent my house for a week at the end of September. If they decide to stay at my house I will earn enough rent from their weeks stay to cover a mortgage payment for October. That is exciting. I will finaly be able to put a little bit of money in the bank again.

I am disappointed that I have to put my dream of selling my home and changing careers on hold for a few more years. The bright side is that I should have more money saved and more home equity by the time I am able to sell my home. That will increase my chances of success since I will have a bigger cushion to fall back on. Perhaps I am not ready to make the leap yet.

So, for all of you who haven't looked in to vacation rentals, they are (often) private owners who rent out their furnished homes for close to the price of a hotel. It can be very economical for a large family or group especially off-season. I rent out my 4 bedroom house for $600 a week on the off-season and $900 during the peak time. It sleeps 7 people. I wish my house had a pool. Maybe I should buy a hot tub. Now, now, I am supposed to be saving money not buying hot tubs.

I hope I have a good group of renter-guests like I did last year except for that one group that smoked cigars in the house and left piles of trash. I could have done without that experience.

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