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Vacation Rental Owners – Property Manager or Self Manage, Which?

Questions To Ask A Property Manager Before Signing Up

Property manager or Self manage – Which?

Once you’ve decided to rent out your holiday property then you might think it all ends with that decision. Or perhaps you’re thinking that you’ve at last found a property in a perfect location and all you need to do is open the doors, start receiving guests and watch all that money roll in! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that’s how easy it was.

Reality of Property Management

In reality, you’re at the beginning of your adventure into property management. And this is just the starting point. From here on in there’s a lot more to consider.

After all, that’s probably why you’re reading this because you’re starting to realise that there’s more to this whole managing gig than meets the eye and you want to know what options you have. Or maybe you’ve done your research and you’re at a cross roads thinking about whether to self manage your property yourself or retain the services of a property management company or property manager?

Either way, you’re in the right place! Here we look at the two options and questions you should ask a property manager, should you choose that option.

Self-managing Your Property

The obvious option is to self-manage your property. Owners are often tempted to self-manage because it saves on property manager fees and many go this route to begin with. And, if you choose to go this route, be aware that you’ll be taking on a lot of responsibilities.

To start with, managing your vacation property rental yourself means:

  • onboarding and maintaining your listings across every channel
  • marketing and promoting your property
  • keeping your booking calendar up-to-date
  • coordinating with cleaners – or cleaning the property yourself
  • keeping up with any maintenance issues that arise
  • communicating with incoming guests and inquirers
  • and that’s just the tip of the iceberg

HomeAway study revealed that vacation rental owners who run their own businesses devote around 10 hours per week to the business (this is an average only). 

Of course, if you have the time and energy and want to manage your property on your own, it is totally doable (probably with a little help from your friends or family). Plus there are many software applications available to help you keep everything in order and running smoothly.

Vacation Rental Property Manager

You then have the option of finding a vacation rental property management company or a property manager. With the rapid increase of properties emerging in the vacation rental industry, there are many managers and companies coming out of the woodwork. This in itself opens up a whole different can of worms. And here we simply focus on how you choose the right company/manager for you?

Ask Property Managers Lots Of Questions

The key is to do your own research then ask a whole lot of questions until you completely understand what’s happening.

At the end of the day, we would say that what you do will boil down to personal preference and budget, and yet there are some obvious questions you should ask, no matter who you are talking to.

So, that’s why we’ve put together these 6 questions for you to ask a vacation rental property manager or management company when discussing their services. These will give you a great starting point to have you turn your holiday home into a rental income source.

Authentic Villa Mediterranea, Jelsa

1. What does the company do for their management fee?

There are many different services that can be provided, ranging from only booking services for a fee through to full service and everything in between. Make sure before you go in that you get clear on how involved you want to be in the management process. This will determine the services you actually need. And always make sure to compare apples with apples when comparing services.

Golden Leaf Properties:

This really depends on what we are doing for our clients, and, I will answer this based on our full property management package.  Here we take entirely over the marketing of your property and communications with your guests.  This ensures that your vacation rental is generating revenue, that guests are aware of everything and all of their questions are answered before the guests arrive. 

For your home, we insure everything is ready upon our guest’s arrival.  We make sure the property is clean and disinfected. All linen and towels are set out. Household items are restocked (toilet paper, hand soap…) and any special welcome has been prepared. 

We also make sure that everything is in working order and/or you, the owner, is aware of anything that needs attention.  While we can provide small maintenance tasks free of charge, when we have to call in a professional this is at the owners cost. 

Once the guests have arrived, we make sure to get them checked in, showing them around the property, registering them with the local authorities and making sure that they know we are there to support them for the duration of their stay. 

If guests are staying for an extended period, we make frequent checks in order to insure pool maintenance (if you have one), make sure the guests are happy and that your home is being well treated. We also make sure to do those small things that make a big difference, like throw out the trash or recommend restaurants and activities to our mutual guests”. 

2. Where does the company advertise your property?

Want to keep your rental booked and bringing in the bacon? Then, investing in marketing and advertising is crucial. Make sure they have the right social media strategy, a website, and are using partnerships and advertising outlets as marketing options.

Do they have partnerships with leading global companies to provide high visibility for your property to your target market? Are there additional fees to be a featured property for added marketing visibility.

Golden Leaf Properties:

We advertise your property on the world’s biggest OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) including booking.com, Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia and TripAdvisor. If your home qualifies we also use specialty platforms such as Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

We maintain our own direct booking website and make sure your property is present on Google. We also have partner agencies both nationally and internationally that promote properties directly on to their own websites. 

Adding to all of this and keeping up with the digital age, we actively feature properties over a range of social media and digital marketing platforms to ensure your property is in front of prospective guests continually, while providing relevant content to build and strengthen long term relationships.

3. What other types of vacation rentals do they manage?

This is important because a company that doesn’t focus on rentals that fit the uniqueness of your vacation home may not fit your rental goals. Depending on your market, there could be a variety of rental options that are the right fit. Dig a little deeper to ensure there is a fit with your property.

Golden Leaf Properties:

We work with unique, luxury and upscale accommodation:

Unique Accommodation

– a property that stands out from the crowd because of its location, décor or wow effect. 

Luxury Accommodation

– just that, luxury 5-star villas, homes and apartments that offer their guests top quality furnishings, fitting and services.  The property may not be certified 5-star accommodation, but it must meet and/or exceed the expectations of our guests.

Upscale Accommodation

– carefully decorated, well-equipped homes, villas or apartments where the same design flows through the entire property providing quality furniture and fittings. 

Chrysanta Apartments, Split Promenade

4. What’s the estimated occupancy rate for your property?

Many talk about occupancy rates and this requires a lot of data. While it’s helpful, it’s not always accurate. Taking into account that as all short-term rental hosts know, COVID-19 has had a massive impact on short-term rental markets around the world. So, while current projections can be given, the true impact for 2021/22 have yet to be seen.

Golden Leaf Properties:

This really depends on the location.  In a good urban setting such as Split’s Diocletian palace, Dubrovnik city centre, and places like Hvar Town, occupancy can be extended to six months, if not more. 

In other places, the tourist season can be limited due to factors such as school holidays or even when the first Bura (North wind) blows.  Island and seaside locations can have anywhere from a 10-14 week season while the rural areas have seen an extended season with more visitors over winter, especially virtual nomads and other’s who can work from anywhere. 

5. How is information and reports shared for your property?

You will want to get updates on the status of your bookings, any changes to the market and company along with reports on income for your vacation rental property. Find out how the company is going to keep you updated and ask them for report examples to ensure you understand what they are reporting on and why it is important.

Golden Leaf Properties:

All of our clients (if they choose) receive an owner’s online dashboard with private log-in details, where they can track their property calendar, reservations, invoices, guests and booking statistics whenever they choose. We also provide our owners with a native mobile application so their calendar and reservation details are always at their fingertips.

6. Do they have references?

Ask for references of both current and former clients and call them. Jump on google and look for reviews. Challenge them about any information you find, a bad review is not necessarily a bad thing for you. Don’t make assumptions based on hearsay and one-sided truths.

Golden Leaf Properties:

Both guests and owners can read reviews left from our guests on the big OTA (Online Travel Agencies) including booking.com, Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia etc.  We are in the process of extending reviews and testimonials on our own website for easy reference, and we think that finding testimonials and references on other sites provides that extra layer of credibility. 

Keep Asking Property Managers Questions

While this is just a start, always remember it’s important to ask any and all questions you have when hiring a property manager. You want to find the best candidate for you and your property, and with these questions to begin with, we’re hopeful that you’ll do just that.

Question For You

And if you’re in Croatia looking for an amazing property management team, you’re definitely on the right track starting here.

Golden Leaf Property's Property Management Team
Golden Leaf Properties Team

We are also proud to offer our premium home owners the exclusive opportunity to showcase their property on the Homes & Villas By Marriott International platform, making it available to over 140 million Bonvoy global members. Eligibility for this exclusive opportunity, is by application only.

Our philosophy is that  we should only make money if you do, so we don’t charge any fixed or hidden fees and work only on commission.  Joining is free, so here’s a question for you, what are you waiting for?

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