The 3 Secrets to Running a Profitable Vacation Rental

This article was written by my friend Susie Wilson. Find out more about her at

Do you want to earn money from your home? Maybe you want to take a bite out of your mortgage payment, subsidize a vacation home, or find a better use for your granny flat than storing dusty boxes. Or, if you’re like some real estate investors, you’re eyeing short-term rentals as a lucrative alternative to the traditional rental property.

Whatever your reason, you need to thoroughly understand what makes a vacation rental stand out in order to see profits from your property. Here’s what you need to do if you want to succeed in the short-term rental business.

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Starting Out

After deciding on starting your own investment property business, the next step is to form a legal business entity with your local government. An LLC is recommended because of its flexibility and protection of personal assets. Fortunately, Texas LLC formation can easily be taken care of by a formation service.

Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, you’ll need to get your EIN from the IRS and set up a business bank account to separate your personal and business finances. Keep in mind the rent prices of your competitors so you can charge accordingly and turn a profit.

Invest in Home Improvements

Travelers choose vacation rentals because they want a home-like experience. However, their standards for vacation rentals are higher than at home. Noisy fridges, slow-draining showers, and faded carpets are a no-go if you want to attract high-paying guests to your property.

When upgrading your property, focus on improvements that add aesthetic appeal and durability:

● Install engineered hardwood or luxury vinyl plank flooring.

● Replace aging appliances with black or stainless steel models.

● Repaint walls in a finish that’s easy to clean.

● Furnish living spaces with stain-resistant upholstery.

Vacation rentals are a great opportunity to play with design choices, but avoid going overboard. Create a neutral base, then add color with throw pillows, area rugs, and large art pieces. Avoid decorating with lots of trinkets and knick-knacks; guests don’t want to worry about breaking your stuff, and you don’t want to worry about cleaning around small objects.

Supply the Right Amenities

Which amenities actually pay off when it comes to the guest experience? Luckily for homeowners, the biggest impact comes from inexpensive touches like a fully stocked coffee bar, luxury linens, and TV streaming services.

These are other amenities guests have come to expect:

● Air conditioning

● Free parking

● Keyless entry

● WiFi

● TV

● Cookware

● Toiletries

● Cleaning supplies

● Local maps and guides

If you really want to impress guests — and you do, because that means good reviews and repeat visits — add these amenities to your listing:


● Washer and dryer

● Iron and ironing board

● Full-length mirrors

● Cooking oils and spices

● Snacks and beverages

● Outdoor living space

● Hot tub or spa

● Recreation equipment

Of course, if you live far away from your vacation rental property, it can be a little difficult to stay on top of these tasks. Fortunately, that’s where property managers come into play. A property manager can offer around-the-clock support and professional cleaning, which means you can rest easy knowing that your property is cared for even if you live hundreds of miles away.

As you prepare your short-term rental for its first guests, keep in mind that you’re running a business. While it’s important to cater to the guest experience, you also need to keep an eye on your profit margins. By purchasing the right property and only investing in improvements you’re sure will pay off, you can make your vacation rental property as profitable as it is popular.

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