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The Pro’s and Con’s of Self Managing Your Florida Vacation Rental

August 6th, 2021

Whether you own a beach home on 30A, a villa in Destin, or a condo in Panama City Beach, there are a lot of things to take into consideration before putting your vacation rental on a rental market. Does your unit need to be updated with newer furniture? Do the electronics need to be updated? Fresh paint? The list goes on. You will also need to determine if you will hire a professional management company or manage your vacation rental yourself. Self-management has its pros and cons and is not for everyone. Vacation rental listing websites like Flipkey provide a lot of self management tools for your vacation rental, but they don’t mention the daily tasks that come with the management of a property. To help you determine if you want to manage your property yourself or hire a professional management company, consider this list of Pro’s and Con’s of Self Management.

Pros of Self-Management

Managing the property yourself can save you commission fees. Some management companies charge as much as 40% commission to manage your vacation rental.

You have complete control of who enters your property.

Cons of Self-Management

You must find and manage your own housekeeping team. – A professional management company will inspect after a unit has been cleaned to make sure the housekeepers are cleaning the property to your guests expectations. Nothing turns a rental sour quicker that an uncleaned unit.

You have to have a good list of contacts for maintenance and repairs. When the A/C goes out, or the garbage disposal gets jammed, who will you call? Most management companies have on staff maintenance and a list of preferred service providers to take care of issues quickly to minimize disruption to your guests vacation.

You must make yourself available after hours for air conditioning issues or guests locked out of condo (etc). The phone rings at 2:00 AM to discover the guest left the key in the condo before they left for a night out on the town. How will you get them into the property? A management company will have after hours attendants that can issue new codes or retrieve existing codes to help guests get back into the property.

You will spend a great deal of time doing marketing. Do you have a website for your property? Where will you market your property? Who is answering your rental inquiry emails while you are at work or spending time with your family? Do you want to answer calls concerning your property and the proximity of restaurants or shopping? A professional management company does all of that for you with professional marketing, websites, and knowledgeable, professional customer service.

Execution of rental contracts via fax or email. Your rental contract must be written to ensure the safety of your guests as well as the safety of others and to protect your investment. Will you hire an attorney to write your rental agreement? Will you collect these via mail or email? How will you enforce the terms if a guest violates them? A management company will execute all rental agreements electronically at time of booking and have already done the leg work of crafting a rental agreement that allows you to rest knowing these things have already been taken care of.

You will have to collect rent payments. Accepting rental deposits by check gets dicey sometimes especially when a guest books a stay 5 days prior to arrival. Will you mail a key before you receive a check and have given it time to clear? You could set up a merchant account to accept credit card payments over the phone but you will also have to pay monthly fees and a percentage of each transaction to do so. Also, if you collect damage deposits, you will have to refund those after you verify there was no damage to your property. A professional management company already has a merchant account and can receive timely payment prior to allowing access to your investment.

You will have to do your own evictions if a guest becomes unruly. There are many factors involved in doing a legal eviction if a guest becomes unruly or violates occupancy or age restrictions. A professional management company knows the ins and outs of this process and will take care of these issues for you.

You will have to pay your monthly taxes. It’s a time consuming process and one that must be done monthly to ensure you are legally renting your property. Depending on where your property is, there could also be local tourism taxes that must be accounted for. Failure to know all of the required taxes could cost you money in the long run.

You will have to obtain your own license to rent out your property. This one is also very important. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations requires all transient rentals to be licensed under Section 509. A professional management company will take care of licensing your property for legal transient vacation rentals.

Managing your own property is very time consuming. Managing a vacation rental is not a hobby, it is a part time job at its least demanding time, and a full time job during peak seasons. Take a look at your existing schedule and ask yourself if you can take on additional responsibility right now.