When it’s time to move, selling your home is not always the best option. If you live in a popular area and you have money stashed away for a down payment, you can easily turn your current home into a vacation rental and supplement your income. It takes work, however, and you may need to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to ensure that it’s ready for an influx of guests. It starts with identifying your area’s rental potential.

You don’t have to be located in the most popular vacation spot in your town, but you should at least make sure there is enough demand to make it worth your while. This can take some legwork. A good place to start is by looking for rental listings on VRBO or AirBnB.com. You can also try searching for attractions near your home to see how many visitors these locations host each year. The Tellus Science Museum, for example, has drawn in approximately one million visitors — approximately 100,000 annually – since it opened in 2019.

Now we’re ready

Once you identify the rental potential of your property, you want to clean it out, leaving only the furniture and accessories that will remain. It’s probably best to hire a maid service for both the initial cleaning and to keep things spotless in between guests. Keep in mind that the cleanliness of your rental plays a significant role in how it is viewed by the public. Even a stray hair in the bathtub or a dishwasher full of dirty cups can result in a negative review of your property.

You will further need to pay attention to the condition of your home. Unless it’s a hundred-year-old estate with its original features intact, you may need to renovate a few areas to appeal to vacationers. Since Georgia’s weather is mild most of the year, this should include landscaping features that add to the entertainment value of the exterior. A backyard fire pit is a great addition and one that Freshome notes makes outdoor gatherings possible throughout the year. Inside, make a point to fix all of the little broken things you have learned to ignore, such as squeaky doors and missing knobs on the kitchen cabinets.

Also, if needed, paint the interior, though, again, you may want to bring in a contractor if you’re uncomfortable painting or simply don’t want to go through all of the necessary steps you need to complete before you begin. While you’re at it, change out the window dressings to create an open, bright, and airy feel, and consider swapping carpet for tile, which is usually fairly cheap to install in a warmer climate, and is much easier to keep clean than carpet.

Decor does it

Now it is time to add the finishing touches to your rental. Each room should be outfitted with the essentials your visitors will need to feel right at home. In the bedroom, this means a comfortable mattress, plenty of pillows, and a television. The main living area should feature a sofa and chairs to seat the maximum number of guests allowed in your home. An extra set of linens and ample bath towels should also be provided, along with a hair dryer in the bathroom. At least one set of quality dishes – preferably break-resistant – coffee mugs, glasses, and an assortment of small appliances, including a toaster and coffee maker, are a must for the kitchen. Once these items are in place, add a few pieces to lend to the feel of the home. If you are near the water, for example, lake house decor never goes out of style. You can take inspiration from this casual chic lake house featured in Southern Living.

More than anything, you must provide your guests with a five-star experience. Customer service is one area where you cannot fall short. But before you service your guests, you have to draw them in. The above tips can help you attract your fair share of visitors to the sultry southern suburbs. 

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.