7 Annual Maintenance Musts to Keep Your Vacation Rental Fresh

I recently took a trip to the mainland, with the primary purpose of checking in on our vacation rental. My goal is to ensure we continue to receive 5-star ratings. With a wonderful manager and house cleaner, it has stayed in great condition. However, often with little time between bookings and constant turnover, it’s a difficult task! Here are 7 things I did my rental and would recommend for an annual “check up.”

Vacation rental bathroom

Fresh white towels and clean, de-cluttered cabinets are must for your vacation rental.

Organize Cabinets and Closets

No matter how great your inventory checklists are and how thorough your cleaners are, some things need a little adjustment. I personally love label-makers to help create order in cabinets and drawers. Guests do not remember where things belong. But I wiped them all down, took out anything that did not belong (people leave behind “gifts” too), and got them back in order. We also went through all of the toy bins and board games and threw out things that were missing pieces and obsolete.

Touch Up Paint

This is definitely something to hire out if you have slower times during the year. But if not, you need to carve time in at least 1-2 times a year to do this. Fresh paint goes such a long way. Touch up trim around windows, baseboards, and walls. It will look like new again!

Clean Roof and Wash Windows

Preserve the appearance of your home and prolong the lifespan of the roof by giving it an annual cleaning. I had asked my landscaper to do this and he blew it off with his blower, which removed leaves and debris, but did not do the trick for stubborn moss. I jumped on the roof with a stiff bristle brush broom and swept vigorously. I placed a tarp on the ground at one end of the roof and pushed all the dislodged moss over the edge onto the tarp. It worked brilliantly. I felt so empowered to tackle this job myself, and the view from the roof was amazing. I might’ve done some rooftop yoga while I was up there too. Crystal clear windows also make the house feel more welcoming and guests can enjoy the view. If you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself, hire a professional 1-2 times a year at least.

Bedding and Rug Refresh

In my opinion, there is nothing more important than having a sparkling clean home and wonderful bedding. In our case, I felt after a year in service with a swarm of guests, a bedding and rug refresh was warranted. I shopped the clearance section at Target and Homegoods, and it turned out great. I also bought several extra rugs to replace existing ones so the house cleaners can quickly replace dirty rugs with a fresh set while they launder the other rugs. Since I am not emotionally invested in the design elements, quick updates are fun and easy.

Handbook Update

I checked our handbook and noticed some of the pages didn’t look so great anymore. I also made a few amendments to our original rules and procedures that make it a little easier on our house cleaners. For example, we found that with back-to-back reservations, we need to have check-out by 10am and check-in at 4pm. Originally we had 11am and 3pm. The size of the vacation rental will impact how long it takes to clean. It used to really bug me to not be able to check into a room or house until 4pm, but now I understand why.

Fresh Signage

Our home is at the end of a private road, so having a sign with a directional arrow at the top of the driveway really helps our guests navigate to the house. We also have created a few signs to be placed around the house that we learned would be helpful, such as “check-out procedures,” “please store kayaks upside down,” and a sign asking guests to not push barbecue up against the window since it has broken twice in one year. You can also create helpful signs for your guests, such as wi-fi passwords and instructions for using the tv.

Check-In with Neighbors

Our house is in a residential neighborhood and we have great neighbors who we want to be respectful of and maintain relationships with. In addition to bringing them small gifts from Hawai’i, we just had some face time where we could hear any input they had and receive any suggestions. Ultimately, we want their blessing and don’t want to make our business venture an inconvenience. It was great to catch up, and we feel that they are really helping us look out for our home as well.

It was a whirlwind trip. Not really a vacation to be exact, but still, full of good people and fresh memories of our home away from home. It was a risk initially to put our house into the vacation rental pool, but I would say the gamble has paid off so far, and we are happy with our decision.

If you would like to talk story about owning a vacation rental on Hawai’i, call me! Aloha!

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Yvonne Ahearn

July 5, 2018

What a cute place! I’ll have to remember to contact you re this if we ever get out that way. Aloha


July 5, 2018

Very good points to keep in mind. My personal favourite is the annual linen/bedding rug refresh!


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