In the travel industry, vacation rental means renting out a furnished apartment or a house through a rental agent temporarily as a hotel alternative. It is a popular travel option in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, and in recent years has increased in popularity across the globe. Others refer to vacation rental as villa rentals or self-catering rentals in Europe.
Vacation rentals can be a condominium, a single family-style home or a townhome that is fully furnished. The trend now is for a vacation rental to offer more amenities and more space, fully-equipped kitchens, home entertainment systems, electronic games and areas for sports. More rentals are located near the beach.
A client arranges to rent the rental property for a designated period of time through a rental agent or a broker. Some rent on a nightly basis; others arrange to stay for a week. Normally a renter does not deal directly with the property owner but rather through a vacation rental management company that a property owner contracts with to manage the business. The company takes charge of marketing the rental property, handle reservations, billing, guest check-in, and housekeeping, much like the amenities provided by a hotel. The exception is that the renter experiences family living in a local setting and they can do their own cooking and shopping. The renter can also save as the rates are lower, they do not have to give tips, pay service charges and other taxes normally tacked in when staying in a hotel.
A real estate agent, aside from selling real estate properties can also engage in managing and renting and leasing commercial and residential properties on behalf of owners/clients. If you want a career in real estate (in general), here are the steps you have to take:
- If you live in the United States, you need a license to become a realtor. It is illegal to work as a real estate agent without a real estate license. You must at least be a high school graduate, 18 years old and must pass a State-administered written examination to get a license.
- Most US states will require you to have completed between 30 and 90 hours of classroom instructions. Check with the real estate licensing commission to verify the licensing requirements in your state.
- You must be either sponsored by a broker or affiliated with a broker when taking your licensure exam. You should check the requirement defined by your state for this as the length of time that you are working under a licensed broker varies from state to state.
- Enroll in a trade school or a college for a certificate program in real estate. You can also opt for a course in finance, marketing and accounting, business administration, economics as well as English.
- Aside from academic qualification you should also have a pleasant personality and always appear neatly. You should also display good judgment, honesty, trustworthiness and enthusiasm and plenty of people service. Customer service is very important in this business.
- You should have a good memory for faces and names, well organized, with keen attention to detail as well as knowledgeable in the business process. You should know the vacation property you are handling. You should be able to discuss all the amenities available, the terms of the contract, payment and cancellation policies, the rates and taxes as well as provide a general knowledge of the area and environs.
- Learn everything you can about the vacation property, the owners and the community. Compile comments from previous renters and make suggestions to the property owners about improvements. If the vacation rental is not in your state, you need to know about rental permit applications, designation of a local contact person and the certification you have to provide as their agent (such as the Vacation Home Rental Agent’s Acknowledgment and Certification).
- Get connected to a good mentor. Most of your experience and knowledge will come from being exposed to the field. Keep yourself updated. And learn marketing and advertising techniques.
As you are in charge of renting the property, bear in mind that you are on call in case of emergency. You may also be required to work in the evenings and during weekends as you need to ensure that the renter's stay is as pleasant, enjoyable and memorable as possible.