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While we normally take this page to talk to the guests that may be considering renting our Stay In Cocoa Beach vacation escapes, today, we thought we would take a few minutes to share a little advice with the investors who are contemplating purchasing a short-term rental property, perhaps for the first time. Short-term rentals, also known as vacation properties, can be the best way to make a good investment if you know all the things you should do, or they can be a drain on bank accounts and future retirement plans simply because you aren’t sure of what you should avoid. Stay In Cocoa Beach has been in the vacation property management business for a long time, and over the years we have learned more than a few things about the dos and don’ts of short-term rentals, and this guide to Cocoa Beach short term rentals is designed to explore the 10 things you shouldn’t do as a short-term rental owner.

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10. Don’t Pay Too Much

This may sound excessively simple, but we are often surprised at how many investors do not know the vacation rental market. The idea is to make money, to be able to use the rental money you take in for paying off the mortgage and hopefully have some left over for repairs, maintenance, and for saving. Additionally, even if the price sounds right, the ratio of rooms in the space to the rental fees that can be charged is important, and sometimes, even though the price sounds right, too few rooms can lead to far lower rental fees, negating the deal you thought you found. Doing your research can help eliminate this issue as well, and even though house prices right now are skyrocketing, making it a little more difficult to find a good deal, we can reassure you that there are some deals still to be found and remind you that property investment is a long term game to be played. You may not make as much in the early days of ownership, but rents are constantly changing and that can change sooner than you thought.

Plan a visit to Cocoa Beach, FL

9. Don’t Forget to Explore the Neighborhood

In beach towns, it is always a bummer when you buy a home with views of the beach, only to discover six months down the line that the open lot in front of your home is being built upon and those views will suddenly be blocked. The loss of the view can seriously impact the money you make, and with a little research before buying, this situation can mostly be avoided, but this isn’t the only problem the neighborhood of your potential rental can cause. Neighbors that don’t understand the importance of taking care of their homes can make guests hesitant to choose your rental, even if yours is pristine and modern. Concert halls, wedding venues, and bars with loud music can make it difficult for guests to sleep, and although it won’t be immediately apparent, eventually renters will scroll right past your listing to ones located in quieter neighborhoods. Doing your research is actually the number one item on our list of all the things short-term rental owners SHOULD be doing.

8. Don’t Skimp on Modern Conveniences

Today’s travelers are a discerning bunch, no longer willing to accept anything that doesn’t enhance their vacation experience, and as such, they expect more from their vacation homes in Cocoa Beach, FL. They want microwaves, coffee makers, and blenders in the kitchens, they expect air conditioning and ceiling fans in warmer climates, and they require fireplaces (or woodburning stoves) in colder ones. The old tube televisions should be replaced with super-sized Smart televisions, preferably ones from the last couple of years, and if you can afford it, steam showers are an amenity that encourage guests to choose your home or condo. Kitchens and baths should be completely updated with stone countertops, high-end appliances, and fixtures, if you have the room, a bar with a mini fridge or wine refrigerator is always appreciated. And with the advent of technology, keyless entry makes check-in easier than ever, something that today’s travelers appreciate and that can be included under the amenities tab of your listing. Pet-friendly Cocoa Beach rentals are also another convenience that pet lovers will appreciate.

a kitchen inside a Cocoa Beach rental

7. Don’t Forget the Importance of Cleanliness

Guests can tell, even from listing photos, if the owner cares enough to provide a clean rental, and if your tub has mold in the grout, the porcelain sink is stained and chipped, and the sofa shows stains, we can promise that your open nights will be more plentiful than the ones in which your property is booked. Long gone are the days of travelers accepting questionable cleaning practices, and after the pandemic, they are more aware of the importance of sanitation than ever before.

If you can’t clean it yourself (and you probably don’t want to), property management companies understand the importance of cleanliness and include cleaning crews as a part of their services. Cleaning the property before and after each guest will actually help increase the profits you make, making guests realize that you care about their health and wellbeing, not just about how much money you can bring in at the end of the day.

6. Don’t Take the Listing Pictures Yourself

Unless you are a professional photographer, avoid taking your own pictures of the property you have purchased. The pictures on the listing are what should grab the attention of potential renters, showing off your property in its best light, and cell phone pics, no matter how updated your phone is, are not capable of doing that. Shadows hide important details, colors come out looking strange, and seeing the photographer in the mirror of the bathroom is always off putting and a sign of a property that is unprofessionally managed. There are even social media sites that make it their job to find the worst pictures, and no short-term rental owner wants to find themselves highlighted on those sites! Professional photographers understand the ins and outs of property photography and their crisp and clear shots will definitely be the attention grabbers you need, showing your rental in its best light.

Cocoa Beach vacation home with a pool

5. Don’t Forget the Upgrades

Luxury amenities attract higher rents, and game rooms, swimming pools, and Cocoa Beach vacation homes with hot tubs can increase your rental intake exponentially. Obviously, if your short-term rental is a condo, you won’t be able to add swimming pools or hot tubs, but if the community the condo is located in offers both, guests will be eager to pay more. Inside the home, wood floors add style, stone counters add elegance, and name-brand appliances last longer as well as showing guests that you pay attention to ALL the details. Do a little research beforehand, reading home magazines or watching home improvement shows on television to determine what is popular and what is not. For example, carpeted rooms are often looked at as dirty, no matter how carefully they are cleaned, so opt for wood, laminate, or tile floors instead. And remember, adding upgrades and amenities isn’t a one and done event; the longer you own your specific property, the more likely you will need to repeat the process, thereby making your property appealing to new groups of travelers.

4. Don’t Use Up Too Many Nights for Yourself or for Family

Most investors purchase properties in areas where they would like to vacation themselves, and while we do expect that you will want to stay there at least a week or so out of the year, if you take up too many nights during prime vacation season, you are eating up your own profits. Additionally, it is always fun to be considered the generous family member, letting your relatives stay there rent free, but remember, this is a business and every night you or family occupy the space, you are possibly turning away renters who are willing to pay full price and your profits will dwindle. At the beginning of each year, sit down with your vacation property management company, and determine what would be the best times to visit with the minimal amount of interruption to business. If you are flexible, you can always take advantage of last minute vacancies, stepping in when travelers are forced to step away, and not lose any revenue that wouldn’t have been lost anyway.

Cleaning a counter with cleaning spray

3. Don’t Make the Guests Do All the Cleaning

Somewhere along the line, giving guests a long list of chores that need to be done became the norm, even as there have been no lessening of the cleaning fees. It is understandable that you want and need this home to stay in top shape, but remember, they are the guests, not your cleaning crew. It is fine to ask them to put dirty linens in the laundry rooms, to empty trash, or even to make sure the dishes are clean, even if all they do is load and run the dishwasher, but beyond that, it is your responsibility to keep it clean. We have seen instances where required “chores” include mopping floors, cleaning toilets, and vacuuming and if we were renting Cocoa Beach vacation rentals for our own families, we would keep scrolling. Additionally, if you are willing to risk increasing your business and are going to insist on a little more than the basics for your guests, do not expect your guests to accept paying large cleaning fees.

2. Don’t Forget the Advertising

In 2023, it was reported that there are millions of short-term rentals available to people all over the world, with nearly two million of those properties being managed by vacation property management services in the US alone. Now obviously, all of those rentals won’t be located in your specific area, but some areas, more specifically, places with beaches or theme parks such as Cocoa Beach and Orlando, are going to have higher than average competition. This means that every day you own your short-term rental property you need to continue to find new ways to get it seen and SEO work does the job, making it their business to get your property in front of as many people as possible, and successful vacation property management companies know this, helping to build relationships with your current guests as well, seeking repeat business. There are multiple methods of advertising, and to be successful, owners will need to participate in as many methods as possible. The numbers can be scary, but if done right, your property will continue to bring you profit for as long as you own it.

1. Don’t Forget to Choose the Right Vacation Property Management Company

The perfect short-term rental for you may not be in your neighborhood, it may not even be in your state, but that doesn’t mean you should pass it by. Vacation property management Companies can be your best friend, taking care of all the details while you rest easy every night, knowing, especially when you choose Stay In Cocoa Beach, everything that can be done to keep your business running smoothly IS being done. Even if you are lucky enough to live in the same town, neighborhood, or condo building as your investment, it is still wiser to hire a company to manage than to deal with everything yourself. Do you really want to take middle-of-the-night phone calls when storms send limbs through windows, and do you need your short-term tenants knowing that they can knock on your door whenever they think they have a problem? Of course, you don’t, and that is why not choosing a vacation property management company is the number one item on our list of what not to do!

A living room inside a Cocoa Beach rental

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See the Difference Immediately

If you have already purchased your property and are finding it difficult to navigate the vacation rental market, following these tips can be a game changer. We at Stay In Cocoa Beach are invested in making you a success. Contact us today for more information to find out all we can do for you.

With its sunshine, beautiful beaches, and nearby attractions such as Disney & the Kennedy Space Center, there are few places with more for visitors to see and do. The strong year-round demand for vacation accommodation is what has made the Space Coast a great place to invest in as well. While owning and managing can sound like a dream for many, the day-to-day work needed to offer guests amazing experiences and keep a property in tip-top condition should not be underestimated. From regular repairs to late-night guest inquiries to regulation and unexpected issues, it doesn’t take long for vacation property owners to see all that’s involved in property management services. That’s where the team at Stay In Cocoa Beach can partner with you to maximize your stress-free return on investment.

Over 20 Years of Moving Forward

For over 20 years, Stay In Cocoa Beach has been a family-owned and operated business focused on providing Space Coast visitors with outstanding stays at high-quality vacation properties. As property owners ourselves, we understand all that goes into managing and maintaining your real estate investment. At the same time, we saw an opportunity in a market that was underserved; to bring the Stay In Cocoa Beach philosophy and way of doing things to other owners who have a similar mindset of providing guests with high-quality accommodations.

What Cocoa Beach Property Management Services Offer

Our team is excited to partner with select area owners who are aligned in our vision of providing guests with great stays. We also believe that by having happy guests, owners benefit from higher rents and can sleep well at night knowing visitors are getting what they expect and more when they choose to stay at your property.

Partnering with Stay In Cocoa Beach means you can leverage our on-the-ground local presence, size and reputation. Our interests are aligned directly with yours. We earn a percentage of the rent you earn and do not nickel and dime our partners. We do well when your unit rents well. Period.

We work with current and prospective owners to optimize their property to make it as attractive to guests in order to maximize their return on investment. We take care of getting the property ready to rent; from staging and photography, through to marketing, pricing, listing and registration.

We offer our owners a number of important benefits that all work to increase your profits and return on investment. Examples include our marketing program. We list your property across all major booking sites including Airbnb, VRBO, Marriott Homes & Villas, Booking.com, Hotels.com & Expedia. Your property also benefits from being listed on our website (www.stayincocoabeach.com), which is a leading site for visitors to the area seeking high-quality vacation rentals from a trusted source. Our website is a critical differentiator, and we encourage you to visit it yourself. In addition, we leverage social media, spend heavily on Google advertising, and can promote your property to our online mailing lists with tens of thousands of subscribers. At the end of the day when you partner with us, your property is going to get outstanding exposure.

Our local on-the-ground guest service and repair teams are a huge asset and a major differentiator. By having friendly, reliable, and trustworthy experts who are available 365 days a year, we can handle any guest, repair or another issue that could arise. We also have a rigorous preventive maintenance plan that gets performed regularly to ensure your property is kept in pristine condition. We even operate our own laundromat to provide hotel-quality linens & towels, ensure cleanliness and reduce the wear & tear on your appliances. No other operator on the Space Coast has the scale to be able to offer this.

We utilize advanced pricing algorithms that adjust dynamically to make sure your property is priced correctly every day of the year. This can substantially increase your revenue and we take care of it all without you having to lift a finger. Owners can also log into their online portal at any point and see how their property is doing in real-time and book time off for personal use.

We fundamentally believe in providing a great product and service to the thousands of people who visit the Space Coast each year and happily welcome back many returning visitors. We encourage you to check our business and guest reviews for yourself. You will see why we have grown to be the leading owner and manager of premium vacation properties on the Space Coast.

Reach Out Today

Whether you are a current property owner looking to maximize your stress free return on investment, or considering buying an investment property, feel free to reach out to learn more by calling (321) 830-8063, or dropping by our office at 5300 Ocean Beach Blvd in Cocoa Beach. Click here to read more about our Cocoa Beach property management services!