Common Questions about Vacation Rental Homes
The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) are designed for guests and for owners or potential owners
- How do I book a home?
- You can either make a booking directly on this website by using the "check availability box" to the left. Or you can call our office at 435-313-5143 and we will be glad to help you.
- Is booking online secure?
- We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order. We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our payment gateway providers database. It will only be accessible by those authorized with special rights to such systems. They are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.
- Can I bring my pet with me?
- As much as we love and care for our pets, none of our homes are pet friendly. The resorts have association policies prohibiting pets unless the pet personally belongs to the unit owner. We know what an inconvenience this can be and we can recommend local kennels who will care for your pet while you stay with us.
- What are the benefits of a vacation home rental?
- Our vacation homes are stocked in such a way that you always feel like you are coming "home" to your "2nd home" rather than returning to a small hotel room. Our homes have full kitchens, with some homes having game rooms, hot tubs and BBQ grills. You will be able to enjoy a full service home while you are on vacation rather than a small, cramped hotel room.
Depending on your need, we find families love vacation rentals because they can get their entire family together in one home rather than splitting them up over several hotel rooms with parents splitting up to watch over the kids. Families can shop local and fix meals in a full kitchen stocked with pots, pans, dishes and silverware rather than have to eat out every meal which can be costly.
We cater to family reunions where each family rents their own unit size, 1, 2, 3 bedroom or larger (depending on family size) and they all share in resort amenities together.
We also cater to large golf groups where it's easy for the group to gather together in a full size living room, watch TV, play games, or just fit all into the same room comfortably, relax and chat. It's an entirely different feeling than trying to crowd everyone into a small hotel room.
- Home Owner FAQ
- My 2nd Home makes renting out your vacation rental easy, but we understand that home owners have a lot of questions. We try to be as clear and informative as possible so we've put together a list of the most asked questions we get!
- What does My 2nd Home do for Vacation Rental Owners?
- We manage every aspect of keeping your vacation rental booked and ready for guests and owners to enjoy. Our goal is to enable you to make the most revenue from your rental without having to do any of the busy work involved with managing it. That means we do everything from taking photos, writing descriptions, and marketing it to potential guests as well as managing logistics like reservations, calendars, guest communications, payments, check-in and check-out, housekeeping which includes a start-up set of amenities, light upkeep, regular home inspections, and dispatching emergency maintenance. We also manage your vendors for regular maintenance, biannual deep cleaning, improvements, and emergencies. We provide state of the art WiFi door locks to ensure optimal security for your home. We make sure home owners can sleep well at night knowing their rental is being taken care of and generating the most revenue possible.
- What do you charge for this service?
- My 2nd Home provides several different types of management options in order to suit your needs. They range from full management for nightly rentals, to lease options, to marketing only options, and even management for those who do not wish to have their home as a vacation rental. The following is a breakdown of what we offer.
The most popular. This allows you to share in the reward of the busiest seasons, presenting the highest earning potential for your property. Under full management, you worry about nothing. Housekeeping, amenities, security, maintenance, calendars, customer service, marketing, professional photos, EVERYTHING is taken care of for you! We provide professionally laundered linens, state of the art Wifi locks, and you may reserve a personal stay in your home at any time without restrictions. We guarantee your vacation home will always feel as if you’ve never left. All this is offered for only 30% of the nightly rental income.
Flat Rate Management
Our flat rate management offers the benefits of Full Management while removing the risk of low revenue during slow seasons. Some would rather know exactly how much rent they’ll receive every month rather than being at the mercy of the vacation market. We accomplish this by paying you a flat monthly rate for your property. We do not pay top rental market dollar for this option, but then again, we do not leave your home needing more work than when we signed the lease. We only lease properties which are fully furnished with quality furnishings and are in good condition.
We assume you would like to occasionally use this property as a vacation home, so when you would like to stay at your property, let us know in advance and we will block out the calendar and prorate our rate based on usage and the season. Simple.
We list your rental on hundreds of booking sites across the web, such as Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, Booking.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and many more. Not only that, but we manage all the calendars and guests as well. Our calendars integrate seamlessly to eliminate the risk of double-booking. We routinely show up at or near the top of search results and ads run by Airbnb and others. If you are listed through us, we will make sure your rental gets noticed and booked. This service is offered for only 10% of nightly rental income!
(Note: This option is also available for those who wish to become a property manager in their area without the financial overhead of starting their own business. Call us for opportunities to manage vacation rentals in your area!)
Non-Rental Property Management
Some homeowners don’t need their 2nd home to earn money, but want peace of mind for their 2nd home miles away from their primary residence. For those who fall into this category, we offer monthly inspections and reports. This helps you avoid mishaps while you’re gone, such as flood damage, mold, dry gaskets, low batteries, air filters, etc. Extra services we offer include housekeeping and maintenance services for those who wish to come back to their 2nd home and find it like-new and ready to go. This service starts at $49 month.
Try us for a year, let us prove our value to you and we’re sure you’ll continue but if you decide not to, there are no strings attached!
- How easy is it to get started?
- Getting started is easy. We can activate homes that are existing vacation rentals as quickly as a few days if everything is ready to go. Our contract has no start-up fees. Normal activation for a new property includes shooting new photos, putting together detailed listings, setting pricing, activating advertising on the main internet channels and beginning to take reservations, all in as little as a few weeks! This can take longer given a home owner's schedule, or if a home is in the process of being converted from a residence or long-term rental. We have trained vacation rental photographers on staff and also use several other local photographers. The fact is that guests want to see great photos and we want to make sure your home looks fantastic online! In addition you will be required to obtain a business license through the city or county, depending on your units location, as it is required of all vacation rental properties. We will help walk you through this process.
- Can you help me convert to a vacation rental?
- Yes, we will help in any way we can. Whether it is helping you secure a short-term license if necessary, to meeting movers, utility companies, advising on furnishings, etc. We can have a My 2nd Home representative help guide you quickly and smoothly through the process.
- What kind of contract do I need to sign?
- Our contract is straight forward and we believe it should not have any unnecessary clauses. We ask that you give us a year to establish a rental history, but the contract includes a 30 day out clause for any reason, and if you are not happy with the service you can leave with a month's notice. We will be sending a copy of our agreement for your review.
- Do I have to commit to a certain amount of availability?
- No, however we do require that all homes that wish to use My 2nd Home are year-round rentals. There is no problem with an owner, friends or family using a rental for weeks at a time, however if you plan to only make it available occasionally then your home probably is not right for our program. We also reserve the right to cancel a homeowner agreement if the home is predominantly unavailable for bookings.
- Does my home need to be of a certain quality or size?
- To some degree yes. While My 2nd Home does not work exclusively with luxury properties, we do focus on upper-end rentals in desirable locations. This could be a studio apartment, a high-end condo or town home in a vacation destination, a cabin or mansion, or it could be a great standard home like most of us live in as long as it's located in an area zoned for vacation rentals.
Some cities have enacted restrictions on nightly rentals and we can help you determine if your home is located within a restricted area, or if nightly rental is a possibility for your property.
We will look at every home and let you know if we feel it will make a good rental.
- Is there anything I am required to have at my home?
- Yes there is! Guests expect a fully-functioning home when they arrive complete with furniture, appliances, cookware, glasses, silverware, internet, TV, etc. as well as a standard supply of bed linens, bath and hand towels and typical consumables like light-bulbs and batteries. We will work with you to make sure that you have everything in place. Internet connections are required at every home as well as TV including satellite or cable. Nicely decorated homes tend to command higher rental revenues and we always encourage owners to have a home that shows well. A good test of whether or not you need to have something in your rental is to put yourself in a guest’s shoes… If you were staying somewhere for a week long period of time, what would you expect to have in that rental home… that is what we aim to provide to guests for their stay.
- How do you set pricing for my rental?
- Many owners tend to pay attention to the "per-night" rental rate rather than focusing on "occupancy" which will bring greater revenue. The pricing of a unit is complicated and many factors drive the nightly rate up and down on a regular basis. The next section will explain how this process works.
Owners often ask how pricing is set for each rental, and why the "Total Rent" amount on booking notification emails sometimes looks a little strange. First, we set an initial price for each unit for each day of week, and time of the year. Midweek days might get set at one price, weekends at another, holidays and peak periods may be set higher, and off-season prices could be set lower. We set these initial prices based on several factors like input from each owner, characteristics of the home (size, amenities, location, recent remodels, etc.), and comparable home prices in the area.
- How do you advertise my rental and do I need to pay for this?
- Once you are established with My 2nd Home, we watch the performance of your unit and make frequent pricing adjustments. The key is to monitor and adjust pricing up or down based on actual market demand. This is where My 2nd Home excels - we monitor conversion rates of your rental at initial pricing and adjust up or down according to how well the rental is booking. It is an ongoing process that is always a top priority. We do everything we can to maximize the revenue.
Here are just a few examples of the many ways we adjust your pricing to make you more rental income:
- If your home is booking more quickly for comparable times of year than other homes in your area - this may be an indicator we set your price too low, and we may adjust the price up.
- If your unit has last minute availability, and has openings within the next two weeks, we may apply different levels of discounts to try and get that last-minute traveler who is used to getting a last minute discount deal.
- If we notice large periods of time that are farther in advance that have lower than expected occupancy, we may adjust the price down. As occupancy fills in, we may adjust the price back up.
There are several other ways we make changes, and a lot of different places we look for data. At My 2nd Home we monitor the market availability calendars on sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. We use pricing reports from AirDNA and LiveRez, and benchmark every home's inquiry and reservation volumes against historical numbers and comparable homes. All of these changes can result in the "Total Rent" number being different than the initial pricing set for your rental. We have a former General Manager of a 5 star resort on staff who along with our team is constantly adjusting rates up or down based on market conditions and our goal is to maximize your rental income.
- We list your home everywhere we think guests are looking for rentals! We start by putting you on the My 2nd Home Vacation Rentals website, but we know that most consumers shop on the big consumer travel sites. In addition to our own site, we automatically get your property onto the major HomeAway sites (Homeaway.com, VRBO, Expedia and Vacationrentals.com to name a few), and we list your property on optional sites like Tripadvisor, Flipkey, Airbnb.com, and Booking.com and hundreds more worldwide. We also synchronize your availability calendar so every site shows the right rates and availability all of the time. Each site has a slightly different business model, but in general most have a combination of a small commission billed against the total revenues paid and a fee that gets charged to the guest. Of course all bookings on the My 2nd Home website have no additional costs to the rental rate associated with them.
- What if I already have listed my home on those sites?
- Many owners have already created listings. We will work with you to migrate them over to our managed account and we will go through them to professionally rewrite the listing if necessary, to add or improve the photos and to configure the listing to synchronize the pricing and calendar across all of the many sites we plan on listing your rental.
- How do guests pay you?
- We use credit card processing through our LiveRez reservation system which uses Vacation Rent Payments as the processor. Travelers overwhelmingly prefer to pay with credit cards for transactions rather than send cash - it is safer, easier, and more secure. We can also take eCheck but prefer to use credit cards. Credit card companies do charge for their service, we charge the guest a typical service fee of 5% to cover these fees.
- How do guests interact with My 2nd Home?
- We have several ways for guests to communicate with us. Firstly we are an onsite management company for all of Washington County, Utah. Other areas under My 2nd Home banner have local managers which can provide any and all of our services.
We can also be reached through our website: my2ndhomevacay.com
Or by email: [email protected]
And we have people ready to answer the phone/text around the cloc: 435-313-3075
Our LiveRez system allows guests and owners to login, see their reservation information, get unlock codes for their rental, see directions, nearby restaurants, points of interest, and much more.
- How do you enable online bookings?
- We use LiveRez Software which was exclusively built for the vacation rental market – it is a very secure and reliable management solution for professional managers. It was designed very well for enabling all aspects of bookings and payments.
- How do you deal with advanced deposits?
- We accept all major credit cards, and charge a deposit of 50% of the total rental upon booking, with the full payment due 30 days prior to check-in. The deposit amount is fully refundable due to cancellation up to 30 days prior to check-in. After this cancellation period expires, all payments are non-refundable.
- When do I get paid for reservations?
- We pay owners once a month. Expect to receive an owner statement via email, and a bank check for your rental income via mail shortly after the end of each month. This statement and deposit will cover all guests that check-out during that month. If you have a guest crossing over one month to the next, the payment for that reservation falls in the month they check-out.
- What if I already had bookings made on my property?
- No problem, My 2nd Home will charge a reduced rate of 20% if you would like us to manage those guests (i.e. additional collections, customer service, check-ins, check-outs, scheduling cleaning, etc.). We will work with you to get all the details we need and we will fully manage these bookings for you just like any booking we made. We will need to collect the cleaning fee from the owner as well as taxes to remit assuming those amounts have already been paid. If not, we can collect on any amounts outstanding as well. If you wish to manage the guest, we will block those bookings off in our calendar and no charges will apply.
- Why do you do commission-based pricing?
- Commission-based pricing is the industry-standard for vacation rental property management firms. That does not necessarily mean it is the only answer - but we believe that it perfectly aligns our incentives with our homeowners. We only make money when our owners make money, and the only way to increase our revenue is to help owners increase theirs. We believe this is why the commission model has worked and is so well established in the industry.
- What kind of reporting do I get on my unit?
- You will receive a monthly statement from us which details out how much rental revenue you earned, including details on how much tax we collected and we will pay on your behalf, as well as any charges that you have incurred during the month (for example if you want it cleaned for your own stay, or if you had us install a new TV, etc.)
- Do I have to handle paying any lodging/transient taxes?
- No, My 2nd Home handles that for you. We collect the taxes, put them into our owner escrow-style account, and remit on your behalf. Each reservation has taxes added to the amount of the rental - so when you see a rental dollar amount, you can rest assured that we have collected and will remit tax on top of that - you do not need to send us extra money to pay taxes nor do you need to file with your lodging authority. We will give you our sales tax number to put on your business application so the state can contact us for transient tax information.
- What about cleaning fees?
- Guests pay us directly for cleaning fees, and we pay our cleaners. There is nothing you need to do to schedule them or pay for them. If you wish to have your home cleaned while you, a family member, or friend are using it, just let us know and we will clean it and run it on the applicable credit card. We have hired and trained the best housekeepers to keep your property in top condition. Also included in the rate will be biannual deep cleaning, maintenance, light bulb replacement, remote control batteries, smoke detector batteries, air filters, items typically charged to the owner. My 2nd Home does not collect service fees for housekeeping. All monies collected go back into the units to keep them presentable for guests.
- Do I need to provide linens or do my own laundry?
- No, provide all linens such as sheets, pillow cases, bath towels, pool towels, bath mats, hand towels, washcloths, and kitchen towels. We outsource our linen through ALSCO in order to ensure clean, fresh, and germ-free linens. Their boilers can wash the linens at a much higher heat than the units washer/dryer which helps kill bacteria.
- Do I need to provide all the amenities every time a guest stays, such as soap, paper towels, and toilet paper?
- No, you don’t need to worry about it, My 2nd Home makes sure homes remained stocked. We require our vacation rental homes come with an initial set of amenities so when guests arrive, they don’t need to head straight to a market. That set includes a couple rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, a roll of paper towels, small sizes of soap, shampoo, and conditioner, and dish soap in the kitchen. My 2nd Home purchases hotel amenities in bulk and restocks these for every stay rather than have an owner manage and maintain.
- What if I want to do some decorating on my own?
- We love it when owners stay involved with decorating and improving their home. Just make sure to check that the home is not booked and you can easily access it whenever you want! We do ask that you choose a design theme while decorating and keep in mind that thrift store/second-hand is not a design theme.
- What happens if there is an emergency? Who does the guest call?
- The guest always calls My 2nd Home. The guest actually never knows the name of the owner for privacy reasons. We take the call and dispatch our staff, or the appropriate licensed vendor. We are willing to pay the licensed vendor and then put the bill onto your home owner statement taking out of the revenue owed to you during the month, or we can have the service bill you directly. My 2nd Home does not charge any additional fees for these types of emergency jobs.
- How do you deal with noisy guests?
- We require renters to have at least one adult/parent staying in the home, and we have a strict policy of evicting them upon any sign of noise, partying, or over-occupancy. We want people to enjoy themselves, however we do not tolerate abuse at the properties and contractually have heavy measures in place to evict and charge additional fees. If we receive multiple noise complaints about a guest, we will call the police and if necessary, remove the guest from the property for the remainder of the stay.
- Do owners have to allow pets?
- No, that is up to each individual owner. Most of the resort associations where we manage do not allow pets unless the pet belongs to the unit owner. We do charge guests an additional non-refundable $100 rent per stay ($200 for 3+ bedroom homes) for pets to ensure that an owner’s home is fully cleaned and any damage caused by the pet gets billed to the guest. Please do make note that we are not able to prohibit service animals.
- Are there any other regular services I should have scheduled?
- My 2nd Home recommends having a local, licensed HVAC service plan in place that regularly services your air conditioning and heating appliances.
We also recommend a regular pest-control service. Most HOA's will pay for exterior pest control, but it is up to you to provide interior pest control.
If you would like us to set these up for you, no problem. The bills for the service are set up in your name and are sent directly to you.
- I'm uncomfortable giving out keys to strangers - how do you keep my home safe?
- My 2nd Home uses a very specific type of WiFi, digitally-coded lock specifically designed for lodging that is known to be the gold standard in the vacation rental industry. They are expensive - but we cover the cost and they are worth it. They are proven to be reliable, secure and stand-up to harsh outdoor environments.
Guests are issued their own temporary code which activates at 4pm on the day of arrival, and deactivates at 11am on the day of departure. They are very secure with all codes expiring upon check-out. This eliminates early check-in and check-out without permission.
Even cleaners and vendors can be issued one-time or date and time-specific codes. What this means is that your home is secure, and easy for the right people to access at the right time. Unlike many other managers, we do not cut corners by using cheaper, less reliable and less secure locks where codes are rarely changed, and we never hand out keys to anyone.
- How do I get into my home?
- Each lock comes with the ability to have several master codes set for it at any given time. As an owner you have a master code and can access the property whenever you want. (We recommend you keep this code private and do not offer it to family or friends. We can issue them a temporary code each time they stay)
If for some reason you wish to access while a renter is in the property, please check with us first. Generally we like to avoid disturbing the tenants but understand there may be times when this needs to be done.
- How do you handle security deposits and damage?
- Research at LiveRez shows guests are far less likely to book a rental if a security deposit is required. LiveRez itself has taken steps to eliminate them and this has become a trend in the industry. LiveRez expects large adoption of this and My 2nd Home wants to take advantage of this trend. My 2nd Home recommends each guest to purchase a minimum $3,000 damage waiver. This enables owners to rest assured damage is covered, however owners should expect that from time-to-time normal wear-and-tear will happen outside the policy. A standard in the property management industry is to withhold 4% of gross rents to cover the costs of small items, however My 2nd Home does not do this. Owners should expect every now and then they might have to replace a fork or knife, do some touch-up painting, replace a sink or shower fixture, etc. All homes experience periodic maintenance. Guests do sign a contract committing to paying for damage via their credit card on file, and there are strict policies when additional cleaning is needed as well.
Often we are asked what types of things are replaced under this policy. Generally a good rule of thumb is that well-maintained, durable items in good working condition that are damaged as a result of a guest’s actions are covered. The damage waiver is not a guarantee that nothing will ever be broken or stop working in your home. It is intended to be replace broken or damaged items that resulted from a guest making a mistake.
Everything from small appliances, to plumbing fixtures, furniture and electronics eventually wear-out. If a guest drops a blender and it smashes on the floor, the damage protection kicks in! But if a guests is using a blender that is several years old and it just stops working, it is not replaced as part of the damage waiver. If a rug is dirty from regular foot traffic, it is not replaced as part of the damage waiver. If a guest spills an entire bottle of red wine on a rug, the damage waiver kicks in. If a guests sits down on an inexpensive couch and a leg breaks off, it is generally not their fault. If a guest spills pasta sauce all over it, then the damage waiver applies.
The damage waiver applies to most furniture as well, however it does not apply to things like fragile antique seating or dining tables, inexpensive plastic seating, furniture that is clearly old, worn, visibly weak or rusted. These are all items we highly recommend removing from a home for safety purposes. And while we love inexpensive furniture from Ikea or other discount stores, it is known not to be very durable. The damage waiver does not apply to furniture that is not designed to hold up to regular guest use, particularly MDF or plastic.
- What if I want to stay there, how do I book for myself, friends or family?
- You can just call us and we will book the unit for you, or you can view your availability and book online through our Owner Net portal. There is obviously no charge for booking your own unit and we even schedule cleaning when you leave so it is ready for the next guest. The cleaning for your personal use will be charged against future revenues unless other arrangements are made.
Bookings for friends and family members will need to have housekeeping paid for in advance unless previous arrangements have been made.
Some of our owners insist on cleaning after themselves. This is fine, and we can make arrangements to train you to clean to our standards, pay for linens, or put ours aside and use your own. We will work with you however fits your needs.
Our housekeepers will clean or inspect the home after each stay to ensure a perfect unit every time for your guests.
- Owning a vacation rental can be fun and exciting. We take the stress of managing the day-to-day affairs of your vacation rental unit so you can sit back and relax, knowing your investment is in safe hands.
Ty & Pam Isham