Anyone who has ever owned vacation rental property for a reasonable amount of time, especially in the bright sun and high humidity of Florida, is well aware that maintenance is a thing, and as the old adage says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, it is even more meaningful as a host. Small things, due to the wear and tear that occurs with our properties, can quickly escalate into major problems.
The whole concept of preventative maintenance is something that we can often easily overlook. Be it for cost reasons (it’s a $5 repair, it can wait), or for time reasons (it’s a quick fix, but I have to be somewhere), we hope to get back to it, but since it was minor, we forget. And before you know it, that little $5 problem that would have taken 5 minutes is now a big problem that has caused you to issue a refund, risked a low rating, and will now cost more and take more time to cure.
Below are 5 simple things you can do to avoid bigger problems and/or unhappy guests in your Florida vacation rental property:
1. Not being proactive about maintenance
It’s called preventative maintenance for a reason. You’re doing maintenance now to avoid a bigger problem later. One of the biggest places I see this here in central Florida is with our HVAC systems. Simple things like changing filters at proper intervals, or using a wet/dry vac to make sure the condensate line is clear can help avoid the dreaded 9pm on a Friday night call in 96° heat with 100% humidity saying the AC isn’t working. This should be applied to all systems. Plumbing: keep watch on drains to avoid backups, and if applicable, treating your septic system to avoid clogs. Regularly check all things that get used and abused on a regular basis. Pools: keep them clean and balanced. Lights switches, light bulbs, refrigerators, even TV remotes. A few minutes and a few dollars is all it takes. And don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke/CO detectors!
2. Not having a hard key/spare key
Hard keys can get misplaced. Electronic locks can malfunction. It happens. But are you prepared for when it does? A simple realtor’s lockbox and a copy of the key can be an absolute lifesaver. Place the lockbox in an inconspicuous location and rest easy knowing that when it’s needed (which at some point it will), it’s right there.
3. Not having someone to handle maintenance
I’m not saying you need to hire a full time handyman, especially if you only have one or two properties to maintain, but it’s helpful to have access to one. Maybe you’re the owner who likes to do your own maintenance. Maybe you prefer to have someone else do that kind of work. What you don’t want to end up in is a situation where something is broken and you can’t get it fixed. Having access to someone who can jump in and make a quick fix before the next guest arrives is worth far more than an unhappy guest.
4. Not looking at the property through the guests’ eyes
As you walk through the property, be it for a maintenance inspection, or for another reason, look at the property as if it was you staying there on vacation. Things that annoy you may certainly annoy a guest. And once a guest sees something they don’t like, they will look for everything they don’t like, even subconsciously. So look for the little things that aren’t perfect, and while you’re there, just take care of it.
5. Not taking any of this advice
These simple and cost-effective steps will help you avoid inevitable maintenance issues with your Florida vacation rental property. Listen to your properties, and especially listen to guest feedback. You have the opportunity to prevent some situations that would cause a guest to be less than satisfied, it just makes sense to do it right.
It’s that easy.