You’re considering buying an investment property to use as a vacation rental home but the rental performance numbers and ROI (return on investment) just aren’t where they need to be. There could be many factors affecting the return.

If a property is being used as a vacation rental but also a second home for the owners, the rental income will be less than if that home were available year round to rent. Many property management companies will offer you a “rental projection”. This will show you what the property could possibly make if it were available more often. This of course, increases your ROI.

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Outer Banks Paradise

In a resort environment, owners should consider adding a pool and/or hot tub to their rental home. You’re thinking, really? Spend that much money for a pool or spa? Yes. You can dramatically increase your weekly rentals by having options for families that are staying at the beach and perhaps the waves are too rough and the beach has been red flagged. Or, if you have small children that need to be closer to home more during the day, a pool is the perfect option.

Update. Update. Update. I see so many homes that are “rental machines”. There is nothing wrong with that BUT you CAN increase the value of the vacation by simply updating your home. The cheapest way is of course to paint. Start there. A fresh coat of paint makes EVERYTHING look better. If you have the time, do it yourself. Anyone can paint with the right materials and some patience. It’s worth every second of your time.


Does the home have 20 year old appliances? Believe it or not, a lot of homes do. Spend the money to upgrade. You don’t need top of the line, but people look at a home that has been updated and it makes them feel comfortable, at ease, and want to stay at YOUR house again for their next vacation. Repeat renters are what drive your rental income. If you can show a history of renters coming back year after year, this tells potential buyers, if you ever decide to sell, that your home is special, that they had such a great time and felt so comfortable in your home that they are thinking a year in advance!

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Make it a BEACH home. When people go to the mountains they want to stay in a cabin decorated that way. When people stay at the beach they want to FEEL like they’re at the beach. Paint rooms in beach colors. Use bedding with seashells, sea horses, or a blue or coral color. Pick driftwood pieces to complement the beach theme. Find an old surf board and hang it on the wall. There are many ways you can create a beach atmosphere for little costs.

Do annual maintenance! This is so important. Homes in a beach environment, salt in the air, heavy winds, can take a toll on your home. Perform preventative maintenance to avoid costly repairs in the future. You can look at a house and see if it’s been taken care of and so will renters. Remember first impressions are everything, even for a rental property.

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