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Jan 20 2015

Living In Your Vacation Rental

24286-1The other day, I got a call from a homeowner who is considering renting out her home but living in the attached in-law apartment.  “Will renters be turned off by this?” she asked.  I told her that there are others who successfully rent their homes while living on or very near the premises.  In some cases, the owner lives in an apartment over the garage, an adjacent cottage, or even in a basement apartment.

Here’s my advice on the subject:

  • Always be up front with the prospective tenant.  Make the setup abundantly clear, both in your listing and during your initial conversation. Approach it as a convenience rather than a nuisance.  For example, “I live in an apartment over the garage, so although I will give you complete privacy, I’m there if you need me for anything.”  Be sure that you include this information in your lease and draw attention to it again in the cover letter that you send to the tenant. You can’t be sure that they will have heard you or that they will be passing this information on to other members of their party.  Plus, you will have it in writing so they can’t say you never told them.
  • Price your home accordingly.  You may not be able to garner the same rent as you could for a home that is completely private.
  • Be sure that you come through on your promise to grant them privacy.  We have heard of several cases where the homeowner was somewhat obtrusive (yes, even “nosey”), to the extent that the tenants felt that they were being spied on.
  • Being on the premises has its advantages.  You can welcome incoming tenants with fresh flowers or freshly baked bread or similar gifts.  Because you will be meeting them in person, you’re much more likely to establish a friendly relationship than if you lived elsewhere and had only had phone conversations with them.  Take advantage of that personal connection, and you may find that your guests will become annual visitors!

Do you have any personal experience in renting out your home while living in part of it?

Living In Your Vacation Rental
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About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created WeNeedaVacation.com in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for WeNeedaVacation.com, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan

2 comments

  1. Bruce Hartwell

    My wife and I considered renting out our home, as we were going to stay in our in law apartment over the garage.
    we decided against it, for several of the reasons you spoke of.
    The renters would probably feel as if every motion was being observed.
    We, as owners, would have a hard time overlooking every motion we saw.
    The stress level, is not worth the extra income, at this time.

    1. Joan Talmadge

      I agree, Bruce. Some homeowners are perfectly comfortable watching the comings and goings of their renters, but living in or near the home you rent is not for everyone.

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