Ryan is from The Furies Cleaning and Linen Rentals based in Wellfleet. Every spring The Furies performs hundreds of Spring Cleanings and over the course of the summer cleans numerous second homes and vacation properties on Cape Cod. The Furies have been serving both property owners and tenants for over 30 years, giving us a unique perspective on how to build and maintain successful relationships.
This is the second part of our two part guide to preparing your house for vacation renters in the spring. [Part one is available here] and covers the initial preparation. This one focuses on best practices.
After you have taken care of the basics as covered in Part 1 and have ensured that your property is in good condition to greet your summertime renters, what else should you do?
One of the best ways to make a positive impression on the vacationers renting your house is to provide them with information about both the local area and your house in a clear and orderly fashion. There should be a designated location near the main entry for these materials. This can include various guidebooks, brochures, and maps. Additional information could include a map of the area, trail guides, theater & museum guides, beach pass information, trash disposal instructions, and the typical schedule for the landscaper and trash pick-up. Clearly post check-in and check-out times, and include a checklist of what the tenants should do prior to their departure.
You can create a kind of manual for your house with important information and frequently asked questions about the property and area. The answers and suggestions you make here can be very helpful to your renters. The more questions you can answer here, the fewer frustrations they will face and the better their stay will be. This is a great way to create a positive impression. Some homeowners use a decorative binder for their house manual, others provide a hardback book custom printed (this has become inexpensive within the last few years). A hardbound book can also serve as a guestbook where you can provide pages for renters to sign and leave comments. This is a simple way to establish a connection between your property and your renters, making them more likely to return to your house. You could also create an electronic copy that can be sent to someone via email when they are inquiring about the property or making a booking.
Some houses are served by town sewer lines, but many have septic systems. If your house has its own septic system, make sure you explain what this means to your tenants. Explain what can and cannot go down the toilet and if only septic safe toilet paper should be used. We recommend doing this in your house manual and also to post laminated signs next to the toilets. It is also a good idea to post a similar sign near the kitchen sink explaining that foods cannot be washed down the sink. Regardless of whether you have a septic system or a sewer connection, make sure that your house has a plunger and drain opener in a child safe location just in case.
The Furies recommends that you stock your house with basic cleaning supplies for your renters to use, and it is best to find a child safe location for these items. This lets them take care of small messes on their own, and over the course of the summer your house will be left in better condition. If any part of your house requires a special product for cleaning or treatment, such as marble tiles, this should be clearly indicated to your renters.
Items that you should provide include a vacuum cleaner, some spare vacuum bags, a broom and dustpan, and your preferred cleaners for glass, carpets, bathrooms and kitchens; trash can liners, laundry detergent, dish soap and dishwasher detergent, as well as individually wrapped sponges, a dish rack, and a laundry basket. Also do not forget to check in with your Cape Cod house cleaners from time to time to ensure that everything is going smoothly. It only takes a few minutes! Clear communication is the foundation to any successful relationship.
One issue that has only recently become a concern is in regards to in-home security systems. Many modern security systems include interior cameras. These absolutely must be turned off prior to your renters taking up occupancy in your house. If they are on while the house is rented, it could be considered a criminal offense in Massachusetts. Also, put yourself in their place: how would you feel about being recorded in a home you have rented especially without your knowledge? When someone rents a house, there is an expectation of privacy, and it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to ensure that these expectations are met.
Finally, you should think about how linens such as sheets and towels are handled at your property. The Furies provides linen rentals from Dennis to Truro. Many renters cannot bring the amount of linens required for a large house. Some homeowners and many tenants make use of our linen rental services with doorstep delivery and pick up 7 days a week. It is a convenient option to recommend to your renters.