Vacation, Short Term & Outage Rentals in Lake Anna
Dockside Rentals Vacation, Short Term & Outage Rentals in Lake Anna
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The most common question is what we do for our commission. You would be surprised to learn all the aspects of vacation rental:
- Maintaining an updated website
- Advertising in Lake Anna publications such as the Lake Anna Visitors Guide, Connections
- Talking with potential tenants about homes in our program
- Meeting with owners (usually on a Saturday or Sunday) to inspect their homes and offer advice as to sleeping size, rates, etc.
- Taking a detailed inventory of each house as to bed size and amenities
- Discuss with owners the advertising and virtual tour options that are available
- Regularly taking pictures and updating them onto our website
- Having keys made
- Providing magnets for each home with the home’s address and phone number
- Providing key fobs for keys to each home with our address in case they are lost
- Taking potential tenants to see homes prior to them making their reservation
- Handling the reservation which includes sending them leases and tracking the return of signed leases.
- Collecting the money in a timely manner
- Changing/cancellations of reservations per tenant’s requirements
- Putting together check-in packages that include a map, house information and a list of departure items that need to be done.
- Check-in tenants and giving them a run down on the home they are renting
- Providing tenants with information about local restaurants, grocery stores, and where to take their garbage
- Providing 24-7 support for tenants with an 800 number so that they can call with emergencies such as lock-outs, air conditioning problems. We even get calls for directions.
- Enforcing house/subdivision rules
- Checking-out the tenants and getting feedback through a survey or conversation
- Setting up the cleaning staff to clean right after a tenant leaves and before the next one comes in
- Setting up House Inspectors to check behind guest and cleaners. Do minor repairs if necessary Check for damages immediately to include taking pictures
- Paying the cleaning staff weekly
- Working with owners/tenants on damages to the property for repair and compensation
- Inspecting the homes for damage when necessary (includes taking pictures)
- Following up with tenants with letters outlining deductions taken from their security deposit
- Returning tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of their date of departure
- Paying the owners monthly
- Replacing propane tanks as necessary
- Answering on the average 15 calls a day from tenants about their accommodations, their security deposit and a host of other questions.
- Responding to an average of 20 e-mails a day from tenants, owners and vendors
- Inspecting the house at least twice a year and more often if necessary
- Arranging appointments for vendors to access the house to do maintenance
- Paying vendors for services
- Providing services to the owner such as virtual tours, pest control maintenance, and HVAC maintenance.
- Paying state and local sales tax monthly/quarterly as required by law
- Providing owners with 1099’s at the end of the year
- Notifying owners of impending North Anna outages.
- Receiving numerous calls from outage workers and arranging their accommodations as well as their rates.
- Collecting money from the workers (about 35) weekly.
- Keeping up with the latest trends in the Vacation rental market
- Rental office is open 5 days a week in the off season and seven days a week during the summer
Lake Anna Vacation Homes – What the Vacationers want!
Over the years, we have accumulated a great amount of information regarding the wants and needs of our guests, the durability of various items, the “Lake Anna Style” and how all these influence the marketability of your rental home. We have conferred with similar vacation rental companies along the East Coast and attended seminars on the topic of furnishing vacation homes. Although our properties at Dockside Realty are diverse in style and size, there are many common threads that attract the attention of our guests. We hope the information below will help you either plan your new home or furnish your existing home in order to achieve maximum rental potential.
Recent trends suggest that guests are looking for a vacation property that offers amenities, décor and ambiance either equal to or better than their own living situation. Outdated furnishings and décor, dark and somber interiors and stark white and sparsely decorated walls tend to have a negative affect on the number of reservations booked. The wish list of our guests includes:
- Extended cable or satellite with at least 2 receivers
- Large screen TV’s in all sitting areas
- TVs in all bedrooms
- Multiple VCRs and DVDs
- Bookshelf style CD system on each floor
- Internet Service
- Pool Table (or some other type of game table)
- Picnic table plus lounge chairs
- Outdoor activities such as horseshoes, basketball hoop, etc.
- Multiple master bedroom suites
- As many bathrooms as possible
- All king and queen beds
- Bowed shower curtain rods
- Lighting levels that allow a guest to read from any seating location in the unit
Although your vacation home is a reflection of your lifestyle and dreams, there are certain features which should cater to your guests. We encourage each owner to refresh, renovate and redecorate their vacation home on a regular basis to keep guests coming back year after year.
Furnishing a vacation rental property is not just about aesthetics. It is important to select products that are durable and appropriate for our lake location and for our climate.
The Great Room or Living Room
- Minimum of one sofa and 1-2 upholstered chairs or additional sofa; furniture should coordinate in color and style. Upholstery must be unfaded and free of stains and tears. Space considerations should determine the appropriate amount of furniture for comfortable seating for the maximum occupancy of the property is necessary.
- In regard to sofas, we do not recommend the overstuffed pillow backs that are attached. The seams of this style easily rip when stressed. Also, cargo or crate furniture is not recommended as it gives your room an outdated look.
- If your property is a pet friendly property, select upholstery fabric that pet hair does not cling to.
- Avoid solid colors and light colored upholstery fabric if you have a pet friendly home
- Sofa beds are not usually recommended for the great room unless this is the only living area (i.e. some townhouses or small properties); mattresses on sofa beds should be at least 4 inches
- One coffee table and coordinating end tables.
- Tables should be hardwood. We do not recommend glass or wrought iron tables. Laminated particleboard or pressed wood is not durable and is not recommended.
- All drawers should have sturdy glide operating mechanism.
- A 3-way table lamp for each end table. Table lamps are necessary for task lighting and are in addition to track lighting or recessed cans. Avoid wall-mounted lamps in the living area. Lamps should be tall enough to aid people in reading. We do not recommend glass lamps or glass lamp shades. Plastic coverings should be removed from lamp shades as they present a fire hazards. In small rooms, two lamps are acceptable.
- Berber-like synthetic carpets with an adequate pad
- Carpet should be designed for high traffic
- Carpets should be cleaned at least twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall or just before winter
- Hardwood floors with area rugs – rugs must have pads underneath to prevent movement
- Fireproof hearth rug if there is a wood burning fireplace
All window coverings should compliment the style of the décor and should operate smoothly.
We do not recommend vertical blinds or Venetian blinds as they are not durable.
- If the room has a sleeper sofa, all windows must be covered
- If there is no sleeper sofa, we recommend valance treatments that complement the décor
- Use satin, eggshell or another washable finish
- Use rich earth tones; colored walls reflect more warmth on the Visual Tours and make the room more welcoming
- We do not recommend wall paper
- 25” or larger, cable ready or satellite TV with remote control in smaller properties; larger homes should invest in a 30” or larger
- DVD /Blueray
- Bookshelf stereo system with CD player and AM/FM receiver.
- Each property should have a minimum of 2 TVs; however, we recommend a large screen TV in each living area/ gathering area
- Wifi has become a requirement for renters. If possible provide some kind of internet.
- Wood basket
- Fireproof hearth rug
- Fireplace screen; we recommend tempered glass for glass enclosures.
- Iron grate to hold burning logs and a grate that fits inside the fireplace
- Hardwood tables and chairs of quality. Be aware that less expensive chairs, although they may look like higher quality chairs are not durable and will not hold up to extensive use.
- We do not recommend upholstered chair seats
- Seating required for the number of guests the property can accommodate. Seating may be supplemented with bar stools at a breakfast bar if space constraints require it
- Dining set should coordinate with the living room furnishings
- Hard-wired chandelier or other high quality lighting fixture centered above the table. The lighting fixture should coordinate in style with the other furnishings in the room. Avoid fancy overly decorative chandeliers because of cleaning difficulties.
- Dimmer switch (rheostat) recommended for the light fixture
- Other accent furniture pieces such as a buffet or serving table are encouraged if space permits
The kitchen should reflect current decorating styles ad color schemes and have newer appliances and quality equipment. Adequate cabinet storage for groceries and counter workspace is essential. As in your own home, the kitchen tends to be a gathering spot. Most guests eat the majority of their meals in the house. Consequently, your guests rank the kitchen very high in importance.
Cabinets and Counter tops
- Cabinets should be a contemporary style and in good condition and unmarred
- Drawers must operate smoothly
- Counter tops should be laminate, solid surface material (i.e. Corian) or granite.
- We recommend that cutting boards be be purchased and set on top of the counter.
- Frost-free refrigerator with ice maker
- 2 full size refrigerators for 6 bedroom houses and larger
- All appliances should be the same color
- Self cleaning range (all must have 4 burners)
- Appliances should be rust-free; clean and in good working condition
- All kitchen work areas should have adequate lighting. Ceiling light fixtures and under-cabinet lighting should be contemporary fixtures that provide bright illumination.
- Lighting options include recessed canisters, track lighting and ceiling fixtures
Kitchen Floor Coverings
- Hardwood or tile flooring is preferable. We do not recommend carpeting in the kitchen
House wares (Dishes, Glasses, Flatware, and Cookware)
- All house wares should be matching patterns
- We recommend that all purchases be made in an open stock pattern so that as dishes and glassware become chipped or broken, they can be easily replaced. We recommend that initially, you purchase extra above and beyond what is required and leave in your owner’s closet
- The kitchen inventory is based on the occupancy of your home and is very specific.
Dishes and Serving Dishes
- Dishes should be made of porcelain or stoneware and be microwavable safe
- Place setting should include dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl, and mug
- Five piece place settings should be medium weight, matching and good quality (purchase extra set and keep in owner’s closet)
- Flatware tray for storage
- Set of steak knives
- Should be matching set
- Purchase one or two extra sets and keep in owner’s closet
- We strongly recommend stainless steel products such as Revere Ware or Faberware. Even better is All Clad and Calphalon as they stand up to heavy use. Purchase the proper utensils
- All cookware and bakeware should be rust-free.
Small appliances and miscellaneous items
- Kitchen fire extinguisher mounted on the wall near the stove. This should be replaced regularly as indicated in the instructions.
- A coffee maker, blender, crock pot, griddle etc.
- Semi-gloss paint is recommended
- Comfort and convenience are very important. It is suggested that you stay in each bedroom overnight to test the mattresses, pillows, closet space, and lighting.
- Multiple master bedroom suites (bedroom with an adjoining bathroom that only opens into the bedroom) are very popular. If you are building, it is recommended that you include as many master bedroom suites as possible.
- King and queen beds are recommended because of our dual market.
- Baby equipment is accepted (cribs, port cribs or high chairs) as long as the tenants are made known to keep it sanitary and clean
- A Firm, superior grade mattress and matching box spring with an attached frame and headboard is a must
- Headboards are required and must be securely fastened to the frame.
- A coordinating dresser, armoire or good quality shelf system in the closet, mirror and 2 coordinating night stands
- There should be one lamp on the dresser and one on each night stand. They should be of appropriate height for reading. We do not recommend glass lamps and/or glass lamp shades as they may break
- Furniture should be hardwood. We do not recommend laminated particleboard or pressed wood as it is not durable.
- All drawers should have a sturdy glide operating mechanism
- Bed coverings should coordinate with the room décor. We do not recommend plain colors as they tend to show stains easily. The backing of bedspreads and comforters should be made of cotton or polyester/cotton blend. Avoid the “bed in a bag” quality as these will tend to lower the quality of the room.
- If using a comforter instead of a bedspread, the bed should have a coordinating bed skirt made of sturdy heavyweight fabric. Quality dust ruffles have a cotton fabric for under the mattress that is less likely to tear. All bedding should be free of stains, fading and tears.
- A mattress pad is required for all beds. It is recommended to purchase a higher quality one as they are frequently laundered. These should be replaced when torn or stained.
- There should be an appropriate number of pillows for each bed. Pillows should be in excellent, puffy condition. Hypo allergenic pillows are more widely accepted but top quality properties now offer some down pillows as well. Cotton, zippered coverings are recommended for all pillows so they can be laundered if needed.
- One blanket for each bed. These should be replaced regularly when stained or torn
- If your bedding includes pillow shams, you should have additional pillows for the shams so guests do not have to remove pillows from shams in order to sleep.
- An extra blanket and pillow in the closet is recommended
- Walls painted; use color; satin or other eggshell paint
- Walls should have quality framed and matted prints or other artwork
- Walls should be clean and free of marks
- Tab curtains with heavy duty rods
- Avoid Venetian blinds or verticals
- All window coverings should compliment the room décor
Other Bedroom Accessories
- Digital alarm clock/radio
- Plastic or wooden clothes hangers. Avoid metal hangers
- 19” or larger television with remote (can be wall mounted)
- Showers in bathrooms are sufficient; however, must have at least one tub per house to bath small children.
- Soaking tub or jetted tub in the master suite is suggested.
- Tile tub and shower enclosures present a top quality appearance. All shower enclosures and tubs should be free of stains and mildew.
- Shower curtains should be made of a washable fabric and have a liner underneath. The liners should be replaced frequently.
- Vanity cabinets should be a contemporary style and unmarred. Drawers should operate smoothly.
- Storage area for guest’s toiletries is essential.
- Wall mounted mirror should be free of chips and flaking.
- Toilet seats should be clean and in good condition and the same color as the commode.
- Minimum of 2 sturdy towel bars and a hook on the back of the door
- Light fixtures should be functional, rust-free and clean.
- Use tile or vinyl in the bathroom. Area rugs are fine but need to be changed when becomes unsanitary or discolored or faded. Avoid floor coverings that could cause guests to slip when the surface is wet.
- Vent covers should be rust-free.
- Walls should be painted with semi-gloss.
- Drapes, wood blinds, good quality pleated shades, Roman shades, plantation shutters and tab curtains are all acceptable options for window coverings. Metal blinds, plastic blinds, and vertical blinds are not as durable and should be avoided.
- Valances add a finishing touch to window treatments.
- Artwork should be professionally matted and framed. Consider the size of the wall when arranging pictures; a grouping of medium sized pictures or a large picture on more expansive walls. Pictures should be hung at eye level. The wall accessories are very noticeable in the 3D Virtual Tours.
- All sleeping rooms and bathrooms should have window coverings. Great rooms with cathedral style windows do not need to be covered. Ground level windows should be covered.
- There should be no peeling paint, broken window screens or other signs of damage.
- Decking should not have loose boards or railings. All railings inside and outside of the house must be to code so small children can not slip through. Decking should be power-washed at least once a year.
- Grills should be clean and functional. Replace any that show rust. Heavy plastic covers made for grills are suggested. Make sure to provide BBQ tools and a brush to clean the grill.
- No arcade-style games in the property unless you have a maintenance service agreement. Games must be in working order at all times. These games are not covered by POM.
- Dockside requires all items in the house to be in working order. If they are not, they must be removed or repaired.
- If you wish to have glass tops made to protect your furniture, you should contact your nearest store.
“Vacation rentals need to stay competitive and remodeling and upgrading the furnishings is one way to accomplish that… The Internet has changed the rules of the game. Guests research the various vacation options before making a commitment. They want to see photos of the interiors of the property they are planning to rent. If they can find newer and nicer properties that have been recently updated then that could tip the scales in favor of the better property.” -RRS Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 4