Welcome Advice from Renters for Rentals

Discussion in 'Rentals - Vacation' started by Paula, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. Rather B Paddlin

    Rather B Paddlin Beach Lover

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    I am not bashing renters either. 90% of the guests are incredible. The other 10% are incredible in another way. With out them, I could not own my home; so utimately I am thankful that they help pay the mortgage for our dream house.
     
  2. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

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    That's so disappointing. :sosad: I mean, I never steal a robe at the Ritz-Carlton, so why should someone take laundry detergent from a property that costs 10 times as much as one night at the Ritz?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
  3. sunsetdunes

    sunsetdunes Beach Lover

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    When people are rushing to pack, they often mistakenly take things that don't belong to them, even if they are marked. One of my friends who was staying at my house accidentally took a bunch of our towels home thinking they were hers. (And yes, they were marked.) Of course, she told me right away when she found out. Obviously, she didn't intend to do it.

    I just give the renters the benefit of the doubt and don't put out more supplies than I care to have disappear.
     
  4. beachma

    beachma Beach Lover

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    We started vacationing in Seagrove in 1990...since then we've been down to the area 22 times! We've rented 16 different units...so I've a little rental experience and have learned through the years that there are somethings we never leave home without!

    We always bring down our own beach chairs, umbrella's, boogie boards, rafts, beach toys, beach towels, bocci....They get loaded on the top of our vehicle in a giant luggage bag...

    Games, books, video tapes....I've been known to plow through 3 or 4 novels in weeks stay! The kids always had their "favorite" games and videos that had to come with us and it's become "tradition"! No trip to Florida would be complete without 25 games of Scattergories, an UNO marathon...a Trivial Pursuit game that turns into slap-stick comedy after 3 hours of "i knew that, i knew that, I KNEW THAT why didn't you give the answer I told you!" (We play as teams... :bang: )

    A box of kitchen essentials...at least 2 cutco knives, garlic press, mini food chopper, small containers of spices, old bay, etc., ziploc bags, cheap storage containers...EXTRA TRASH BAGS...I've even been known to drag down a crock pot!

    We're fortunate enough that we can drive down. It's a 12 hour trip, but obviously for those that have to fly in...bringing all of the above down would be a bit of stretch on an airplane! We may look like the Beverly Hillbillies by the time we're loaded up and pull out of our driveway...but we're prepared! What's really hillarious are the times we've gotten in too early to check-in, so we decide to do our grocery shopping while we wait...then try to load a weeks worth of groceries in on top of everything else.... :laughing1

    We've never had a bad or disappointing experience in our years of renting...but I do have a few suggestions just for the sake of throwing in my 2-cents worth!

    Glass-top tables are scarey with 3 little boys running around! We never had a bad incident...But, if there was a glass topped coffee table...we always moved it into the master bedroom just for safety. Glass dining tables are a real trip to keep clean...oh my! I go through lots of Windex & paper towels because "smudgy" glass is pretty gross to eat on. I think if a unit has glass furniture it should be MANDATORY to provide Windex and a case of paper towels with the rental!

    Along with moving out glass tables...I always removed the "knicknacs"...and returned them to their rightful spots as we were leaving. Somehow a glass/ceramic fish sculpture on top of a glass-topped coffee table just spells DISASTER!

    Many of the units we've stayed in didn't provide a vacuum cleaner or broom...I finally learned that I could call the rental agency and ask for one and they would bring one in for the week. A broom is a MUST for keeping the tracked in sand under control...

    I love the idea of having cleaning supplies available...it seems like the rental companies could offer a "cleaning care package" for a slight fee...It just seems like it would be to their benefit. Making those trips to Publix/Winn Dixie are painful enough when you're feeding a crew of boys...I have learned that Dollar General has great prices on cleaning supplies and it's not NEARLY as painful as Super Walmart...We avoid Super Walmart like the plague!

    Units that have lots of carpeting...especially in rooms with exit doors should provide rugs/mats inside and out to catch water and sand. We always rinse coming up from the beach...but you still pick up more sand on the trip to your unit. We always try to remove our shoes...but I hate stepping right onto the carpet from outside knowing that we're tracking in sand, water, etc.

    Our next trip down is scheduled for August 13 - 20th. We're heartsick about what has happened to the beaches because of Dennis. Our 3 little boys are now grown men...but the highlight of our year is still our family vacation to Seagrove! We have a daughter-in-law and grandson that come now...

    We've had many priceless experiences and memories to cherish in all our trips...but most of all it's that our kids have become just as attached as we did and are creating a whole new generation of memories with their children...
    How priceless is that! :wub:

    Thank you Seagrove...see ya in a few weeks...!
     
  5. Rather B Paddlin

    Rather B Paddlin Beach Lover

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    Great Advice. I dread the shopping trip also. There is a service out of Destin that will deliver your groceries to your unit the day you get there. I just spoke to the guy yesterday, he seemed real nice. I believe it is called Beach Butler. Just a thought. Enjoy your visit. If you ever need another place to stay send us a message. We provide all the items you bring with exception of beach towels. We even have that crock pot.......

    RBP
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2005
  6. sunsetdunes

    sunsetdunes Beach Lover

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    We always keep books, games, videos, spices, coolers, plenty of storage containers, and even a crockpot at our house. We don't worry about them disappearing...it makes the renters happy and costs us very little. Renters always comment how well-equipped our house is, and nothing has disappeared yet.

    Janet



     
  7. dusty

    dusty Beach Lover

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    LOL, Beachma, you sound like me! When we have had 'girls week' at the beach some of my friends laugh as I trot out my rubbermaid containers with all that stuff, but they are happy when no one has to buy new spices!

    Now we divide up who brings what: laundry detergent, fabric softener, dw pellets, dawn, trash bags [those extra stretchy ones that don't get easily pierced :), press n seal, storage bags, paper towels, kleenex, tp, cayenne pepper, old bay, etc., etc. I bring towels, my own pillow, cd's, videos, books, magazines (we create a 'library' on one of the tables in the main room), Scrabble, cards, beach bag and mini cooler; next time I may add a crock pot after reading your list :) and some of the good recipes on this site. That's why a dolly for unloading would be helpful :) ! As we have gotten older we find we take fewer clothes and more 'stuff' :) .
     
  8. sunsetdunes

    sunsetdunes Beach Lover

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    There is just one problem with both suggestions from an owner's point of view. If we automatically leave out cleaning supplies, your children might find them before you do. Having your 2-year-old drink the Windex thinking it is KoolAde would probably prompt a lawsuit against the owner.

    We keep chemicals in a locked cabinet. If the renter needs something, they can call us and we'll tell them how to unlock it. (It's a combination lock.)

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

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    This is a really interesting and helpful discussion. We have found that the nicer the home is kept, the better renters will treat it. This has been emphasized by our housekeeper, who cleans many rental homes. We have left some family photos on inaccessible walls and other personal items to convey that this is our home, not a hotel. We do not leave clutter items, just functional items such as coasters for the tables and some travel guides of the area in the living area. We do leave instructions on how to operate the digital cable tv, which requires either Einstein or an 8-yr. old to decipher. Here are some ideas that we think are nice and which we might expect to see when WE RENT YOUR HOME ELSEWHERE!

    (1) Clean, clean, clean...with as little clutter as possible.

    (2) Something in each room that will make a person smile when they come into the room. These are simple things: a beachy picture or pillows, stuffed animals in children's rooms, framed photo collages of your beach, or amusing and inexpensive but tasteful art.

    (3) Good cooking pots (Reverewear is perfect.); good knives in a wooden block, with a sharpener tool; a good wooden chopping block heavy enough that it stays in place (discourages cuts on formica counters); two coffeemakers with gold filters (not paper); a drawer filled with instructions for all the appliances (especially your stove and microwave); nice sturdy set of stonewear with enough pieces that people can have a nice dinner party (We go to Bed Bath & Behond and buy their white bistroware and leave additional sets in our owners' closet for the housekeeper to replace as we inevitably lose a piece here and there.); and a large set of nice wineglasses. (Yes, yes...they get broken. But a dozen costs $10 at the above store and how much are your renters paying? Be sure you buy the size that will fit into the dishwasher so the globes aren't broken off from the stems.) Other nice or unique things to provide: one of those heavy gravity hand juicers, two blenders, two toasters, a small version of a food processor, an oyster shucker or guillotine, a panini maker and/or Forman grill, a good tea kettle, lots of wooden spoons, BBQ utensils.

    (4) We replace our bathroom throw rugs every year so they look fresh and fluffy. Commercial washing over one summer makes them look tired and frayed. Again, shop the sale times at bath shops or dept. stores. Same with Tupperware (or other equivalent). Count on an entire set to disappear over a rental season. An entire new set is $20 or less, so just replace it.

    (5) We keep a big collection of stuffed cuddly sea creatures in our bunk room, as little kids can get scared being in a room on a separate floor from their parents. Do we lose one occasionally? Of course, but this is seldom. Get larger animals so that parents take note if Billy is attempting to take Nemo home. But so what if he does...$12 to replace him and you've made a kid happy. You can find these on several Web sites at very good prices.

    (6) Make sure your outdoor furniture is sturdy and comfortable, then have it power washed occasionally so it is clean. Cushions are nice, but they usually end up in the pool or on the beach, so we no longer bother.

    (7) We ask guests to tell us in the guest book or through the management company about things that would make their stay more enjoyable or convenient. They have offered some great ideas, many of them very functional. Ask them to tell you how they slept, sometimes the only way you know that a bed is overdue for replacement. Bad beds are the kiss of death if you expect people to return.

    (8) Accept that you are going to have a certain amount of wear and tear and even missing items over a rental season. Don't let it make you crazy. Is it really worth two hours of grouch time to bemoan a missing piece of silverware, stuffed animal or Tupperware? The expense of replacement is minimal and we are getting some pretty healthy rents for these properties. It gives me a good excuse to to take a tax-deductible shopping trip one afternoon when I'm down there and a reason to support the local businesses.

    (9) Develop a rapport with your renters so they want to return year afer year. We want our visitors to think of our house as their own house at Grayton Beach, with rare exception. (And yes, you can count on about one exception each year.) Send them a holiday card with your favorite snapshot of the house or the beaches. We are delighted when our visitors respond with a nice note or even photos of their family reunions at the house. The end result is having your house fully booked from one summer to the next with these folks, a reliable fan club.

    (10) Remember that it is a beach house. It's a good idea for both owners and visitors to have nothing in the house that could not be replaced or that you would mind losing. When Ivan was coming ashore, I asked a family member to remove four items from our house and only one of those items went back afterwards. Made the storm watch for Dennis much more bearable. At the end of the day, it's all just "stuff."

    We learn something new every year about being owners and absentee landlords. The one thing that never changes is the devotion that people have to this area. It is really astonishing. Our visitors have a true sense of stewardship towards our beaches. We hope that never changes, because the beaches and the spirit of the place is the enduring quality, not the houses. :welcome: + :wub:
     
  10. beachma

    beachma Beach Lover

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    What a great idea...keeping cleaning essentials in a locked cabinet w/combination for the adults to have access to...
     
  11. amylouky

    amylouky Beach Lover

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    I agree.. that would be wonderful. It drives me crazy paying for a whole box/bottle of detergents or cleaners that I'll probably use 1/10 of. I never take them home, because we have a 12 hour drive, and our trunk is usually PACKED. And I know that some of the rental agencies throw away leftovers.. it's a shame that it all goes to waste.

    Just as an aside, I think the property owners at SoWal are the BEST IN THE WORLD, for the most part. We went to Oak Island a few years ago, and the rentals were truly disgusting. One had probably 100 dead bugs on the ugly bare tile floor. We spent our first day there cleaning the place. Also, apparently it's very common there to not provide LINENS for the rental.. our day also included a trip to Wal-Mart to buy towels and sheets. Yuck. We will NOT be going back there..


    By the way, Beachma.. looks like we'll be there the same week. See you on the beach!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  12. dusty

    dusty Beach Lover

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    Donna, you are a gem! Great list (and I was surprised to see 'two' of many items on it :), and your tenth comment was the best.

    It reminds me of when a sibling was bringing some really young ones to my parents at Christmas time and I tried to help prep my parents by asking them to only put wooden/non breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree so little hands would not break anything or get hurt by some things, and to put up all the lovely breakables in the living room that no one would even miss during the holiday rush. After Christmas my parents were glad I had reminded them to do these things as there were a lot less "NO, NO, don't touch" comments flying throughout the visit.
     
  13. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I'm so enjoying this thread! It is useful to us as property owners who like to rent our places to guests and "surprise and delight" our guests. It's always great to walk in the door of a rental and be truly pleased -- to feel like you got even more than you expected. I really liked the post about having something fun in each room.

    As for detergent, we always get some detergent at the supermarket when we're there and we go for Purex -- very cheap and Consumer Reports rate them as a "best buy". I thought about leaving stuffed toys but was afraid they'd get dirty and people wouldn't want their kids using dirty stuffed toys, but then realized that we could get stuffed toys that are washable in the machine so families know they can just through anything in the washing machine if they're concerned. And the plastic toys can go in the dishwasher. I think as much as possible should be easily washable by guests -- from bed covers, throw blankets, toys, etc. That way, they don't have to worry much and the places can easily be kept really clean and fresh.

    Again, please keep these ideas coming! Thanks.
     
  14. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I'd like to get this thread up and running again. The suggestions people gave so far were great (I just went out and got great knives for our rental, based on the advice in this thread -- we already do a lot of the other stuff). We'll also leave instructions on how to work the tv, dvd, etc. since that can be confusing and sometimes things need to be restarted after electricity goes off after a storm. Any other advice?

    I've even thought of leaving a high chair and stroller for families with children (we really love families staying at our places since we have families of our own and know how tricky it can be to find places that are aware of special needs of families on vacation). Would having a high chair and stroller matter much or would that just clutter up the place for people who don't have young children?

    What else makes rentals great for families with children?
     
  15. beachma

    beachma Beach Lover

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    YES!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!! We come down with our kids...3 sons, daughter-in-law, fiance...Grandson. Grandson is only 17 months old and has already been down 3 times...4th time coming a week from tomorrow. Since he's been coming with us we've packed an all-terrain stroller...high chair...porta crib...In addition to the usual beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, luggage...etc, etc....Having some of the basic child items available would be soooooo helpful! This time he's a little too big for the big stroller...we would love to bring his Red-Ryder wagon that's equipped with "seatbelts and juice box holders"...but we don't think we can fit it on top of the Blazer :roll: ! I know a Red-Ryder Wagon is pushing it ;-) ...but some of the basics would definitely be a help for anyone bringing young children along.

    P.S. If anyone in the Seagrove/Grayton area has one of those wagon's they'd be willing to loan/rent for a week...give me a holler...they really are worth their weight in gold!!! :lol:
     
  16. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Is all that stuff considered "the basics"? :dunno: :lol:
     
  17. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

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    After reading this thread, the hostess in me was excited about providing our guests with extras to make their visits more enjoyable, at no extra cost to them. Then when we arrived at our home this week after just two sets of guests since our last visit, we found damage, missing items, and just a general disrespect for our property. I am so nauseated about it that my hospitality juices have stopped flowing. I am so disillusioned.
     
  18. ktmeadows

    ktmeadows Beach Fanatic

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    I feel your pain. We tried leaving "extras" and while it might have been great for the first few guests, by the time we got down there a few weeks later, much of the "extras" were gone or destroyed. The one thing that we're still scratching our heads over (and the one thing I enjoyed to read most when we came back down to stay at our place) was the fact that we can't seem to keep a guest book for any length of time. At first it was just scribbling on the pages, etc. Then it was torn-out pages. Finally, the last time we went down right after we had a two-month rental move out, the entire guest book was gone. I used to look forward to reading guest comments and suggestions...they were so helpful. I've given up trying to keep a guest book out. Go figure! :dunno:
     
  19. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    That is strange. You could understand someone messing up an entry and wanting to take out a page maybe.

    I'll bet kids tear them up, or use them for coloring books, or somehow they get ruined, or tossed accidentally.
     
  20. ktmeadows

    ktmeadows Beach Fanatic

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    That's been pretty much my guess too. Maybe the parents decided to just toss it out rather than leave a book full of scribblings.

    Maybe it would help if I left a few coloring books and/or pads of paper for the kids. I might give it a try. I really enjoyed having a guest book out.
     

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