Your Property Should Have It’s Own Bank Account. Why? This makes it easier to track your income and expenses throughout the year and at tax time.
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance. Why? We all know that you usually must insure your Topsail property against hazards such as fire, wind or flood. But another important insurance is liability insurance. This helps to protect you if someone was injured at the property while renting it. Lewis Realty requires this type of insurance on any property we manage. It just makes sense in the litigious world we live and work in.
LLC Or Not? We feel LLCs may provide another hurdle to protect your other assets if there was a liability issue on your Topsail vacation property. It also may provide you with some tax incentives. Be sure to check with your attorney and accountant before taking the plunge though. They know your current situation and can make sure it is a better fit.
Writeoffs. Adding to the recommendation of having a bank account just for the vacation rental property you can utilize this account to track your expenses. Taking in account that rental property usually generates passive income you can leverage many of the expenses you encounter with the property to help decrease the overall gross thus saving money at tax time. Another footnote is that passive income does not count against Social Security. So if you are planning or are receiving social security, a vacation rental property can provide a great additional source of income. Again please talk to your accountant!
Upgrades and Repairs. If it comes time to replace the roof, siding or windows take the time to explore all the different kinds of products and installations out there. For example, most metal roofs last 50 years. They also perform better in the winds we receive here at Topsail. They are more some what more expense than a traditional shingle roof but once you calculate the cost of repairs and loss of income in a failure a metal roof looks attractive. There are also different types of siding and windows for the coastal environment to explore. Also don’t forget that there are small items like outside light fixtures that corrode in the salt here on the island. When changing them out – go composite.
Flooring. Nothing hurts your feelings more than coming to your vacation property on Topsail and seeing a stain on the carpet. Many times the stains will reappear in a few weeks after spot treatment. Beat the chance for stains and wear & tear by looking at other floor products like tile or LVT. LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile offer many colors with some even looking like wood. The flooring itself usually shows no wear and tear and is waterproof. This keeps your Topsail vacation property looking it’s best thus keeping a consistent income.
Safety First. – Make sure your property is as safe as possible for your guests. For example, it is now required when changing a defective smoke detector you must use a new one with a 10 year battery. We assist our owners in keeping up with new laws or ways to help ensure safety like our annual deck inspections.
Make Sure You Have Professional Photography. Most every guest starts online. Competition is stiff. Make sure your property stands out with the best possible photography available. We handle this for all our owners. We have trained staff photographers that utilize wide angle lens and HDR (High Dynamic Resolution) to make sure the guests see the beautiful room and view through the windows.
Use Rental Agreements. All of our guests sign the same vacation rental agreement written in accordance with the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act that protects both the vacation rental owners and the guests.
Pay your Accommodations Tax. Onslow and Pender County charge a percentage on the base rent of vacation rentals. This tax must be paid and filed correctly or it will result in an avalanche of tax burden. We collect these taxes and report to the counties for all our owners to give you peace of mind.
Televisions and Technology. This day of age guests expect televisions (flat panel HD Smart TVs) in each bedroom and living area. Ideally you will have cable to all of these as many guests have not cut the cord and stream only. It is also a neccessity to have a fast, stable wifi connection for the guests to utilize with the growing number of wifi enabled devices.
Just Think Like A Guest. The vacation rental world is driven on reviews. When updating, upgrading or making changes in your property think about what the guest would want. It is not a bad idea to go a bit overboard with this thinking. It will help to ensure you get plenty of good reviews which in turn increase your bottom line.
You can also read more tips online with this article we found:
*Written by Jon Crosby and posted on travel.hostfully.com in July 2017*