The opportunity to build a home that you intend to use as a vacation rental in Charleston SC can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. And, although it may be a little more time consuming, starting at the building stage to design your home for the purposes of a vacation rental can be very advantageous in the long run. There are a number of things to consider when building a vacation home as an investment – and savvy, well thought out choices will enable you to maximize your revenue potential while ensuring happy guests along the way.
Naturally, this home may also be a place that you use as a vacation getaway for yourself, but ultimately the revenue will come from those who rent. For that reason, perhaps the best way to begin is to look through the eyes of a vacationer and consider the reasons why they choose to book a vacation home over a hotel. And then, ensuring that the property meets the needs of guests is vital to guarantee a profitable investment. So first you need to ask yourself, “why do guests book a vacation rental?”
- Ability to share space
Optimizing the shared space is crucial in building a vacation rental. Large open living, dining and kitchen areas are the preferred choice for most. No one wants to be stuck on meal prep duty in the kitchen while everyone else is in a separate room, and the purpose of renting a home instead of a hotel is to ensure that everyone is together. The common living areas should ideally be where you focus on the unique selling point that will get your house rented. Top of the range appliances, high end finishes, plenty of seating space in the living area, bar top dining, and a place to eat as a group are all things considered by renters.
- Maximize occupancy potential
It is safe to say that there are very few occasions when we rent homes under the maximum occupancy limit. If it’s a 3-bedroom home, we will have 6 guests, an 8-bedroom home, we will have 16 guests, so on and so forth. People favor getting the most bang for their buck when it comes to renting a vacation home. Maximizing the amount of “heads in beds” is a good thing to consider, however, groups of people tend to also like their own bathroom space. Couples don’t want to share bathrooms, neither do 10 girls want to share 2 bathrooms. Bedrooms and bathrooms need not be big, but trying to keep to a rule of 1:1 would be highly recommended.
- Time spent outside
Charleston SC is known for its great weather year-round, so having usable outside space is paramount. For a downtown residence, a wide porch or a small fenced-in, hardscaped yard would suffice. For a beach rental, outside space should be a big bulk of the investment. Oceanfront properties are turnkey, as the beach does the hard work for you. Your investment up-front, and for maintenance, will be higher on the beach so do consider off-beach property with ample amenities as an alternative.
For homes that are off-beach, pools, rooftop decks, and verandas all create space desired by groups of guests. Pools need not be vast or expensive – a small 10×10 pool can be as little as $25,000 or so, rising to $50,000 for bigger family pools and landscaping. Salt pools will be easier to run than traditional chemically treated ones with chlorine so its good to consider your options. Pools can provide a huge upturn in potential revenue and are not as common as you may think. Factor in additional run-costs with a pool including insurance and routine maintenance, but the revenue increase can certainly out weigh that. Covered outside dining and a space for a grill are also good things to consider and are very attractive to renters. We have lost guests in the past due to a lack of an outside grill so trying to tick all the boxes is a good idea!
- Cooking in house
We are frequently asked about our amenities for cooking, particularly when it comes to holidays or people that stay at our properties for more than a few days. Having a full kitchen is ideal. Again, there is a difference between size and location. Small, downtown units are usually rented for shorter periods of time so having enough kitchen space and amenities to make breakfast is enough, and the opportunities for eating out are often the main draw for downtown vacationers. For rentals over 3 bedrooms, having a larger kitchen and optimal cooking space is key. Large countertops for dining, plenty of kitchen amenities, solid appliances and if you’re going to the beach, plastic cups and ice makers are also incredibly useful!
Once the hard work of the build is finalized, the next big task is to make sure that you have the right furniture in place. Furniture, both inside and out, should be attractive to the eye, photograph well, easy to clean, comfortable and durable. Comfort is a huge reason guests choose to stay in a vacation rental over a hotel so don’t overlook the details that make a house welcoming and comfortable.
Luxury Simplified, by design, is structured in a way that we have integrated entities that deal with all aspects of building or buying a vacation rental – from purchase to construction, renovation, interior design and property management. We’re here to help at any step of the way, so have a look at what Luxury Simplified Retreats can do for you…