How to Rent Out a Vacation Home: Professional vs. Self-Managed

how to rent out vacation home

Vacation home rentals have gained immense popularity in recent years as more and more homeowners realize this revenue opportunity for secondary properties or vacation homes.

If you own a secondary property, renting it out as a vacation home when you’re not using it can be a great way to earn some extra passive income — regardless of whether you bought the property as an investment or as a place to stay while on vacation. 

In this post, we take a closer look into the process of renting out a vacation home to give you a better understanding of how you can maximize your profits. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Preparing Your Vacation Home for Rental

Before you list your vacation home on a rental website, it’s crucial for you to ensure that it looks attractive to vacation-goers. For starters, it’s always a good idea to ensure that your property meets the legal and safety requirements for vacation rentals in your jurisdiction. 

If it’s been some time since you last visited the property – or if you’ve just bought the property – you should take the time to physically visit the property for an inspection. From there, perform any necessary maintenance, repairs and upgrades to ensure that the property is in tip-top condition.

A good way to determine whether a property would attract guests is simply by asking yourself if you’d be willing to pay to rent the property yourself. If your answer is no, then chances are that the property needs a little more sprucing up!

Step 2: Creating a Rental Listing

You can either rent out your vacation home on a popular short-term rental website such as Airbnb, or you can do so with a custom-built website of your own. Whatever you choose, be sure to take flattering pictures of your property to showcase to potential guests. You can even consider engaging a professional photographer to help you feature your vacation rental in the best light. 

When creating your listing, you will also need to determine various administrative details, such as the rent you want to charge as well as any rental policies you might want to impose — such as policies regarding refunds, cancellations and deposit.

You should also write a compelling description of your property, highlighting its key features and perks, including nearby amenities and attractions. 

Step 3: Managing Bookings and Guests

Part of the job of renting out your vacation home is screening potential guests before accepting their bookings to ensure that you only rent your vacation home to responsible and respectful individuals.

Such guests are likely to take better care of your property, which may help you save on repair and maintenance costs. You’ll also need to keep track of all your income and expenses for tax purposes.

Additionally, throughout the duration of each booking, you’ll also need to provide customer service to your guests. This can entail giving guests recommendations on the best attractions and places to visit in the area, as well as answering any inquiries guests may have regarding their booking – such as potential extensions to their stay.

After each guest leaves, you can also ask them for their feedback on their stay and ask them to leave a review for your vacation home rental.

Step 4: Cleaning and Maintaining Your Vacation Home

After every rental ends, you will need to conduct the necessary cleaning and maintenance in preparation for the next rental.

Depending on the size of your property, you might also want to entrust this task to professional cleaners. It is important to establish a regular cleaning schedule and ensure that your vacation home is spick and span before each new guest arrives. A clean property can give new guests a good first impression, which can be beneficial to your long-term success.

At the same time, remember to perform any essential maintenance tasks – such as replacing or repairing broken appliances in the home.

If your vacation home is in need of more extensive repairs or maintenance, then it might be a good idea for you to take the property off the market for a few days or weeks and avoid accepting bookings during this period. 

The Alternative: Property Management Services

Renting out your vacation home is no easy feat, and it often requires a lot of time, effort and commitment if you want to be successful. For a more hands-off experience, it might be worth considering hiring a property management company to manage your vacation home. 

Property management companies specialize providing property management services in exchange for a commission, helping your turn your property into a source of passive income.

Some of the many advantages that professional property management services can have over self-management include: 


Professional property managers who have been in the industry for a long time typically have greater familiarity with the vacation rental market. They’ll be able to leverage this familiarity and expertise to maximize the profits that your vacation home generates.

Even after taking a cut of the profits, you might still earn more than if you had opted for self-management.


When you engage a property management company, you entrust every aspect of your vacation home’s rental to them.

This means that you won’t ever have to deal directly with guests, maintenance issues or payments, which can significantly save time and hassle. 


Property management companies typically have well-established marketing channels that they use to promote all the properties under their charge.

This means your vacation home would enjoy greater exposure compared to if you were to market or promote it on your own. 

Rent Out Your Vacation Home with Sky High Cabins

If you own a vacation home in Big Bear, California, let us help you turn it into a source of passive income. Sky High Cabins is a leading provider of property management services with a well-established presence in Big Bear.

When you entrust your vacation rental to us, you can leverage on the knowledge, experience and expertise of our full-time professional property managers.

If you prefer to manage your vacation home rental on your own, we also provide some services to self-managing rental owners as well  — so don’t hesitate to contact us today to find out how we can help you maximize the revenue you earn from your vacation rental.

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