So you have done it. After weeks, months or maybe even years of debate you have decided to jump into the investment property swimming pool and you aren’t quite sure what is in the water. You know the numbers based on your dealings with your Outer Banks Blue Sales agent who has shown you the long and steady historical gain of owning property at the OBX, and the decision was obvious. Congratulations on being an Outer Banks property owner!
The house you have purchased needs some work, but you have plans to make improvements and put it in a vacation rental company’s pool of properties (Outer Banks Blue we hope) to help with the bottom line on the investment.
Over the years I have encouraged vacation rental property owners to keep in mind how lucky they are to have a place to use themselves 9 months of the year to enjoy with their family, but the fact is you have opened up a business on the Outer Banks and you need to approach the ownership of your property in just that manner. What will help my property stand out and gain repeat clientele? What should I do with décor and equipping the house for my future guests? In short, what is your why? Why your property?!
I was reading an article recently in the Miami Herald where a designer gave some great advice when it comes to décor of your vacation rental property. “Consider a design that reflects the area where your vacation property is. Keep the décor universal and look at it as an investment. This is not a place for fine art, irreplaceable family items or things like bearskin rugs or antlers.”
Amen sister! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a property and seen family heirlooms, high end art, or furniture that the owner would be upset if someone spilled something on. As a property owner of a vacation rental you have to get used to the term “cost of doing business” when it comes to décor and guest experience.
Here are some other practical tips that I can pass along from 3 decades of managing properties on the OBX regarding equipping your property:
Rental Property Furnishings
You want furniture to be practical and durable (Cargo or This End Up furniture is neither). With that said you also should think of style. You want top dollar for your vacation rental, and just as I said you should not put items in that you get attached to, that doesn’t mean going the cheap route. Today’s guests know when you cut corners and put inferior items in place. Be sure you have enough seats for the amount of people your property sleeps, and don’t overcrowd rooms. There are lots of flooring options, but the latest durable and practical products do not involve carpet. Think LVT (Luxury vinyl tile that looks just like hardwood), tile or hardwoods. Costs have come down, and you don’t have to worry about a spilled glass of punch. Another thing to consider is “solution-dyed fabrics” popularly known as Sunbrealla fabrics. They hold up incredibly well inside and out.
I can’t tell you how many times I go into a property and see potentially great views marred by either plastic vertical blinds (seemingly always with two or three slats missing) or ornate complex pull string/chain draperies on the sliding glass doors. Keep it simple, but practical here too. Large curtain rod with wooden loops holding fabric drapes are the way to go. No strings to get tangled, no plastic blinds to break and fall out, and no instructions needed.
The local health departments on the Outer Banks have a renewed emphasis on enforcing permitted sleeping capacity over the past couple of years (two people per bedroom unless your septic permit says otherwise). No double bunk beds is the rule if you have a septic tank. Don’t overload your house as it will directly impact the wear and tear on everything else.
There are lots more design and décor tips that we can share on this. Be on the lookout for our next article on what items bring the biggest return on your investment.
Until then….all the best from the beach!
Contributed by Tim Cafferty, President of Outer Banks Blue.