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, at this time only our cabins 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.
- Home Owner FAQ
- My 2nd Home in partnership with Green Valley Resort 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 both marketing only management or full service property management for a percentage of rental revenue. The percentage depends on the level of management your home requires, but this commission based system ensures that we will work hard to book your property and keep it booked, because if you don't make money, we don't either.
Marketing only management usually runs in the 15% of rental revenue bracket. We offer marketing through multiple agencies such as Home Away, VRBO, AIirbnb, Booking.com, Kayak, Expedia, Tripadvisor and up to 300 more worldwide, We manage the calendars for each of these marketing companies to ensure there are no double or triple bookings. When you sign with us, we will arrange for professional pictures to be taken of your rental unit and come up with a marketing strategy to attract bookings right away. If you choose this option, you will be responsible to ensure your property is in good repair and in rentable condition. You will be responsible for housekeeping and maintenance and removing all cleaners, paint, tools, and broken furniture or anything which can harm children and guests.
We als offer full property management services for between 30 to 40% of rental revenues, depending on the age of your rental and how much work it will take us to get it to become a rentable unit. Typically older properties need the most work, therefore taking most of our time as we assist with new flooring, kitchen appliances, TV's, window blinds, etc. which can be upgraded easily enough, but when done without professional advice is often upgraded with the only pocketbook in mind and not usually with longevity added to the process. We help to advise you about updates to your rental unit which will keep both the pocketbook and the quality of items purchased in mind. Our years spent in the hospitality industry gives us an edge in this area compared to other management companies which come from a real estate background rather than hospitality.
New properties typically don't take as much of our personal time since we already have a baseline to work with including new flooring, furniture, kitchenware, appliances, water heaters, etc. Don't misunderstand, new units still take regular inspections and preventative maintenance to keep the baseline, but we can do this for between 30 to 35% of rental revenue. (Each unit must be evaluated before exact percentages can be agreed upon)
Included with our full service management is our housekeeping and preventative maintenance and quality control team. Most management companies offer housekeeping services, but utterly fail when it comes to preventative maintenance and quality control. (Believe me, we've seen it) We believe in protecting your investment to ensure both you and your guests have a quality experience every time.
Our full service management also includes the marketing service mentioned above with our marketing only management. We do everything we can to keep your property booked and in good condition to be booked again and again without looking like it's been booked again and again. Again, we only make money if you make money, so its in our best interest to keep your property in top notch condition and booked as often as possible.
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. Each photographer is required to have similar professional quality real-estate wide-angle lens, professional tripods and flashes to ensure that the photos look great. 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.
- 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. It 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 only with luxury properties, we do focus on upper-end rentals in desirable locations. This could be a high-end condo or town home in a vacation destination or it could be a great home like most of us live in located in an area zoned for vacation rentals. 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?
- 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, and Vacationrentals.com to name a few), and we list your property on roughly 14 other optional sites like Tripadvisor, Flipkey, Airbnb.com, and Booking.com. 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 to the owner and a fee that gets charged to the guest. Of course all bookings on the My 2nd Home website have no additional cost 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 Las Palmas, Estancia, The Residences, Sports Village and The Lofts owners with an office located in the Clubhouse at Green Valley Resort. We can also be reached through our website, by email, and we have people ready to answer the phone around the clock. Our LiveRez system allows guests and owners to login, see their reservation information, get unlock codes for their rental, see directions, nearby restaurants and a lot 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 and a direct deposit to your bank account within eight business days after the end 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 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.
- 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 partnered with a local 3rd party housekeeping service who is licensed, bonded, and insured. The housekeeping fees will necessarily be higher than Las Palmas owners have become accustomed to paying, but the fees are in-line with current market rates. Also included in the rate will be biannual deep cleaning, maintenance, and carpet shampoo, 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 do my own laundry?
- No, our cleaning fees cover laundry service for linens with every clean. 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 (unless you really want us to tell them). We take the call and dispatch the appropriate handyman. We are willing to pay the handyman 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 be at least 25 years old, and we have a strict policy of evicting them upon any sign of noise, partying, or over-occupancy. Parties do happen and 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 send over the police and attempt to 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 provides guest servicing and management, and property management to owners, but My 2nd Home is not a maintenance company. Our employees are not trained contractors or repair people. We handle a 24/7 call center, reservations management, guest support, regular housekeeping scheduling and inspections, dispatch of qualified maintenance personnel, monitor internet up-time, indoor temperature when equipped, pool temps when equipped, maintain electronic locks, etc. During inspections we will restock consumable items like soap, toilet paper, shampoo, and even perform simple maintenance like changing filters, remote control batteries or light bulbs for lamp fixtures or ceilings 8’ or lower in height
My 2nd Home recommends having a local, licensed HVAC service plan in place that regularly services your air conditioning and heating appliances as well as changes your air filters. Plans run anywhere from $15/month on up depending on how often you need your filters changed and how large your home is. We also require a regular interior pest-control service in southern markets, and twice-yearly window washing. 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 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. They are very secure with all codes expiring upon check-out. Even cleaners and handymen 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 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. 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. Bookings for friends and family members will need to have housekeeping paid for in advance unless previous arrangements have been made. We insist our housekeepers clean 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