As I write this column I am stuck at home and have been for the past five days due to the snow and freezing temperatures that have invaded our beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. But as I sit and look out of the window at the snow covered trees, see pictures of the lake frozen over and finally see the sun shining, I am reminded that spring is right around the corner. The vacation rental season will be upon us before we know it!
Due to Covid19 shutdowns in other areas, we had our best year ever in the history of our company and if early bookings are any indication, then this year is shaping up to be similar to last year. Currently we are up 99% in future bookings over the same time last year (keep in mind we were getting more cancellations than reservations) and we are up 57% in future bookings when compared to 2019.
With that in mind you need to be ready for your guests who will be arriving starting in May. Each year to properly prepare for the upcoming season we have all of our properties “spring cleaned” and go over preventive maintenance items, including having the HVAC inspected as well as sinks, toilets, outlets, docks, etc. We have found that it is more cost effective to “prevent” maintenance items than it is to “react” to maintenance issues.
For instance, changing out an old flapper in your toilet tank for $5.00 prior to the season can save you $50.00 or more during the season when the guest cannot sleep due to a running toilet. Probably the most important item to ensure is in good working order is your HVAC system. A spring inspection by a professional company can tell if you are low on coolant, have a leak or other possible issues that will be less expensive to fix before the season starts than later with a guest in house. One of our owners was told during this inspection that he needed a new HVAC system. He thought he could get one more year out of it. The week before July 4th weekend, it completely died. He lost two rentals totaling around $5000.00 waiting for the new system to be installed. Had he replaced it in the spring that lost money would have covered most of his new system.
The spring is also a good time to clean all those areas of the home or condo that you cannot clean between every guest during the busiest times. We pull out the beds and clean under them, flip the mattresses, clean the baseboards, the utility rooms, ceiling fans, kitchen cabinets, etc. All those places that don’t get cleaned as often as you would like during the summer months.
Russell Burdette is the owner/broker of Your Lake Vacation, a professional vacation rental management company at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1986. If you would like more info on renting your home or condo as a vacation rental, please call 573-365-3367 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.