Whether you want to make some extra cash a few times a year or get some use from a secondary property, more and more people are turning their homes into vacation rentals. And let’s face it, those of us here in the Dover area have some beautiful scenery and history to draw in visitors. Sites like Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb make it pretty straightforward to get your property listed online, manage a rental calendar, and accept bookings. It gives you the power to control when you rent out your property, how much you charge, and so on — no more dealing with a property management company necessary. With the flexibility offered, options for running a vacation rental become nearly endless. But, before you dive into the vacation rental business, you’ll need to consider a few measures to get the property prepared.

Ease Of Access

One of the biggest hurdles to running a vacation rental is figuring out how to give your renters access to the property without adversely affecting safety. The downside to ditching property management companies is that you no longer have a person checking identification, doling out the keys, and collecting them at the end of the rental period. There’s always the option of a lock box to hold the house keys, but once someone has the code, there isn’t anything stopping them from coming back and accessing the keys at any time. This also limits your control over check-ins and check out times if you’ll be out of the area.

Instead of relying on a management company or lock boxes, we recommend making an easy change and getting rid of the keys entirely! Just replace your deadbolt with a keyless entry system. This style of lock isn’t just for businesses anymore. It’s a keypad-controlled deadbolt that requires the correct sequence of numbers to disengage the lock, and now, trustworthy companies like Schlage make residential options that match most styles of door hardware.

Keyless entry systems allow you to maintain access to the property, even from thousands of miles away. Most modern options connect wirelessly to the Internet. With that connectivity, your keyless entry system can generate emails or text messages to notify you when someone enters the code and opens the door. It also gives you the option to set multiple codes and change those codes without needing to physically access the lock, so you can delete a code after each guest checks out. Just ask your local locksmith to come install the lock, and you can manage the rest from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Prepare For Nosiness

When you rent out a property as a vacation rental, the big draw is that it allows travelers to enjoy the benefits of being at home while on the road. So one big change you’ll want to make is to prepare for people living in your property as if it was their own. They’ll inevitably poke through cupboards and drawers, dig through closets, and use anything left around the house. If this property is not your full-time residence, it should be pretty easy to clear out your personal belongings and memorabilia so it can’t be damaged. If you’re planning to rent your primary home out on an occasional basis, however, you’ll want to make it easy to lock away things you don’t want renters getting into.

Your local locksmith can install locks on closet doors or rooms that you want to close off to visitors. There are smaller keyless entry options that provide a similar level of security so nosy guests can’t get into the spaces you don’t want them to access. However, for your really valuable things, you should also invest in a safe to lock things up even more securely. Here at Pro-Lock & Safe, we’re happy to help set up your safe, service it, or even crack an older safe if you have one you can’t access.

Make Durability Upgrades

The other thing you’ll want to consider is making upgrades around the home to make things more durable. Vacation rental guests will be about as hard as your home as people are on rental cars, which is to say that they won’t be intentionally destructive, but they may not treat the furnishings as carefully as you would. It’s a good idea to set up the kitchen with cookware, utensils, and dinnerware that are sturdy but not overly expensive. We also recommend getting dishware and glasses that are simple enough that they can be easily replaceable as they get worn or broken.

The other big area to update is bedding and linens. When it comes to vacation rental guests, you’ll need to think a bit like a hotel, which means washing more than just the sheets. Blankets and comforters or duvet covers will need to be washed more frequently than you’d wash them normally, so choose options that will fit in the washer and dryer and hold up to frequent washing. It’s also a good idea to go with bleachable linens, especially for washcloths and towels, so makeup stains or other stubborn stains can be bleached away in the wash.


Get Extra Security Conscious

The keyless entry locks are a good start to keeping your vacation home secure. But if security is a major concern for you, it may be worth investing in a home security system as well. A home security system is a great option especially when the property will sit empty for stretches, even if it’s only a few days at a time. Vacation rentals can be more appealing targets for would-be burglars since the people coming and going will always be changing. A security system is a good way to ensure you get notice of anyone entering the property outside of scheduled rental times, and it will give you a way to contact the authorities in the event of a break in. Talk to your local locksmith about setting up a home security system, video cameras, and so on. We can typically customize security systems to the needs of the property and your wishes.


Setting Up For Success

Turning a property into a vacation rental can be a lucrative option, but it’s best to go in with some heavy levels of preparation before you welcome your first guests. Whether you want to rekey the locks, set up a master key system, install new keyless entry locks, or add a full security system to your home, the 24-hour locksmith team at Pro-Lock & Safe can help you set up a secure but easy to manage vacation rental. Contact us today to get started!