Do I need property management if I will be renting my house out to vacationers?
No but Yes.
Unless you like to be woken up in the middle of the night being asked how to work the washing machine or where are the extra batteries to the TV remotes or being told the neighbors are a little loud can you let them know we are trying to sleep or you are told the toilet keeps running and you need to call your plumber. We strongly suggest to let a property manager handle it.
Which Property Management Company Should I use?
It depends where you buy, there are over 200 property management companies near Disney and many of them focus in certain areas or subdivisions. We have a list of property managers we think put their owners first we'll share with you.
What are the Best Rental Areas?
Based on Rental Requests we get from Mickey Homes Rentals the 34747 area code in Kissimmee is the best for short term rentals. The reason is because it’s the closest allowed vacation rental area to Disney ( there is only an estimated 12 mile radius in all of the Orlando area that allows vacation short term rentals ) 34747 has the most Shopping and Restaurants a short distance away from the homes. Note the closer the house is to Disney the nightly rental rate gets higher, the % of occupancy gets higher and the sales prices for homes are higher as well.
There are around 20 brand new vacation communities and resorts being built with only 7 we highly recommend because of location, pricing, floor plans, amenities and verbiage built into their by-laws that won't hurt future re-sale values. The other 13 new communities and resorts have verbiage built into their by-laws we feel will harm re-sale values in the future. We have seen it in passed communities, not to worry we will make sure you know which ones they are. The new resort homes we recommend have Open Floor Plans, State of the art club houses, lazy rivers, water slides and are detailed to what today's vacationers want.
What rents better?
Based on the rental side of our website pool homes are more in demand. This doesn’t mean town houses or condos don't rent well it’s what we see based on how we market our website. We've sold a lot of townhouses and condos to owners who do very well, they simply chose the right property manager who focuses on that segmant of the market. We can help what ever you choose.
How can I increase my rentals?
Add color to the interior, get rid of the tube TVs, even better upgrade to a Smart TV at least for the living room for internet based programming like NETFLIX & Amazon. Offer a gaming system like X-BOX or PS2-4 or Wii. Convert the garage into a games room or make it a theatre room. Theme the kids bedrooms, the local Walmart and Target carry a wide range of Disney Charachters bedding, wall stickers and lamp shades. Once you have the home the way you like it hire a pro- photographer to take pictures for you because it will make a world of difference when renters shop on-line. Get involved, buy at least 1 VRBO or Homeaway account ($350 a year) to obtain your own bookings and make sure you or a family member answers email booking requests promptly. On your VRBO or Homeaway accounts be very detailed what your house offers in verbiage, if your home has a South Facing Pool make sure it’s written, if it has Games Room tell everyone what’s in it to detail such as you have a pool table, table tennis, air hockey table right down to the electronic dart board if you have one. If you are offering 600 count thread sheets in the Master Suite make sure you write about it. If one of the kids rooms is a Princess room and the other is a Star Wars room let them know. Don't over price your nightly rental rate, if you take our advice and deck your house out with all of the above make sure you list it at the market rate for that neighborhood, just because yours is nicer than everyone elses home in the neighborhood if you're priced competitively yours will rent out more than the others. Always remember the house next to you or across the street is your competition, those owners may be cordial when they see you but they want your rentals. Don't undervalue your house by taking an extremely low booking unless it's longer term than normal during the slow period. Remember everyone wants to negotiate, have a firm # in your head or written down you will go down to and stick to it as best you can. Based on a lot of our owners experience if someone makes an insultingly low offer don't even reply, just let them go or refer them to the neighbor across the street you don't like.
What do Renters want?
If they like nice things they will pay and appreciate everything above. The exception to this rule are the bargain hunters/ motel 6 type renters. These folks are strictly looking for the best bang for the buck, they don't care where the house is located, if you have a games room or a south facing pool. They just want a base to sleep and eat when they are not at the parks. Not to say that part of the market isn't profitable, there are older neighborhoods further from Disney with simpler houses to buy to attract that segmant of renters and do well. It's one or the other.
How do I know my property manager is doing their job well?
It’s a gut feeling all owners have, pay attention, check in with them monthly so they know you are paying attention. If your property manager doesn't pick up their phone it usually means they are busy (their job is a hard one) but if they never pick up your phone call or you don’t get call you back shortly after ( 4 hours unless it is late at night ) you leaving them a message to call you simply ask them why? They probably have a good reason ( can't stress it enough their job is hard ) but if not and it continues we suggest interviewing someone else, we can help.
What signs do I look for to know to stay or leave my property manager?
Not picking up or returning your phone calls in a timely manner. Continuous renters complaining about cleanliness or management rudeness. Your utility bills going up but no income coming in for the same month with no explanation. Trust your gut feeling and remember their job is very hard full of negativity from owners and guests. They may have a good reason ( again I stress their job is hard ) but if they don't and your gut tells you to move on than interview someone else because they may have taken on too many properties. With over 200 PMs near Disney you'll find one that will appreciate your business and return phone calls.
When looking at a property manager’s contract what should I look for?
We recommend not signing a contract for over a year at a time.
We recommend not to sign if they’ve written and not willing to take it out of their contract you have to use them strictly for all your home repairs, upgrades or replacement of furniture and appliances. Your property manager should be the first choice but you should be able to shop them, if they are more than 20% higher than a reliable outside source we feel you're paying too much.
We recommend not to sign if they state you have to use them to sell your home in the future ( a classic mistake for owners because it's convenient to list the house with people you know, but ask yourself how motivated would your property manager be selling the house that gives him or her a regular monthly income?) Remember us saying their job as a property manager is hard above, when would they have the time to market your house for sale properly and what experience do they have selling homes.
We recommend not to sign if they won’t allow you to obtain bookings yourself.
We recommend not to sign if they won’t allow you to take outside source bookings (like what we offer) because in our opinion they are not looking out for your bottom line.
We recommend not to sign if they have blackout dates so you can’t use your home or able to obtain rentals yourself for those dates.
We don't recommend guaranteed rental programs.
If in their contracts they have written they have the right to use your house 1 - 2 weeks a year rental free ask them to cross that out and initial it. You should get paid for every guests that stay at your home.
Do I have a choice for contractors when repairs or replacements need to be done on my home or do I have to use my property manager’s contractors?
We recommend not signing with a property manager who objects to you shopping them. If the interview went well and they have such verbiage written in their contract ask them to cross it out. We haven’t read all of our approved property manager contracts but if it was written in we feel confident they would cross such items off to remain in good standings with us and our clients.
Does my home have to be registered for vacation rentals? Yes Who does it? Usually your property manager will but you can. How much? It is $450 for the first year and $50 a year to renew it each year after. Do they inspect my home for rental approval? No, your home will be ready to rent as soon as the application with check goes into the mailbox. There are County inspectors that might check on a home randomly to make sure it is up to code, the code is simple, it must be clean, must have emergency lighting, locks on the doors, utilities on, must have a door alarm to all exits to the pool area or a child proof fence around the pool for pool home rentals.
Who pays the rooms and board tax?
If your property manager obtained the rental they will collect the tax from the renter and pay it for you, if you take a booking yourself you will collect the tax from the renter and may pay the tax yourself or send the tax money to your property manager to have them pay it.
If I live outside the Country who will do my income taxes for the home?
Your property manager will have an accountant on file, foreign national buyers will need to apply for a tax id ( ITIN#) while in the process of buying the home, it’s simple and usually it’s an accountant that will set it up for you. We can recommend one as well, we work with several accountants.
Who will pay my utilities?
It depends, if you’re an owner who will be hands off than for a small fee your property manager will pay them for you under a limited power of attorney. If you are hands on person you may choose to pay them yourself because anything can be paid online these Days.
Can I put in my own rental bookings?
Yes if you choose the right property manager who allows it.
What is the average amount of weeks I can expect my home to be rented?
The magic question, it depends ....how do you like that answer?
It depends on what you buy, where you buy it, the condition of the home, what the home has to offer, how you dress the home up, if it’s in a resort or not and how involved you the owner will be in renting it. It’s safe to say a clean updated 4 bedroom pool home rental in a non-gated well known rental community with no owner participation should achieve 16 – 20 weeks a year. For owners who wish to participate in obtaining rentals themselves plus taking what the property managers bring in and what 3rd party sources ( like us and other sources) you could do over 50% occupancy. We have many owners who own multiple rental homes averaging 70% + occupancy each year, these owners are savy marketers knowing what renters want and they flaunt it to keep their occupancy high. We can help.
What time of year is the best rental period?
Summer is the steadiest rental time of the year because schools are out. Christmas and Easter provide the highest income for its 4 week period. We recommend taking the higher than normal income at Christmas and Easter instead of standing in lines for hours at the parks.
What is the best time of year for owners to use the home?
January, 3rd & 4th week of May, September and the 2nd week of December.
What is the slowest time of the year?
September, this is the month you give deals to your relatives and neighbors as it is still very hot in Orlando. January and February are great times for owners to come because the weather is comfortable and it's not a busy time at the parks with little wait in the ride lines.
How safe is the short term rental area?
Very safe, the crime one sees on the evening news is in Downtown Orlando North East of Universal Studios or about 30 -45 minutes away from the short term rental area near Disney.
What if I don't want to rent my 2nd home out?
We offer a simple caretaking service starting at $60 a month. Simple because we stop at your home every 5 -9 Days, walk through the home, take a random picture every visit usually getting owners excited for their next vacation. We have trusted pool guy, lawn care guy, cleaners and service providers you would get at our cost because we don't take anything off of the top.
Who will I call to be my Real Estate Buyer's Agent?
Alan LaFrance of course, you put up with his mis-spellings and typos this far. 407-492-7254