June 15, 2023

From Pandemic Struggle to Success: Expert Tips to Boost Your Rental Income

As a seasoned real estate professional with a passion for systems and automation, Robert Nunez has made a name for himself as the president and founder of Co Host Expert Company . His company provides property owners nationwide with "Real Peace of Mind Passive Income" through corporate and short-term rental management services. With over 60 listings on Furnished Finder, Robert is an expert in streamlining processes, increasing markups, and adding value to the bottom line. Having successfully navigated the pandemic, Robert shares his expertise on how to reduce risks, market short-term rentals, and generate a significant amount of passive income while decreasing expenses.

Due to his employment and upbringing in the real estate and travel industries, Robert has spent the majority of his adult life involved in the mid- and short-term rental industries. In his previous role, he assisted in setting up travel accommodations for professionals and celebrities. He claims that his success in that line of work came from developing relationships with his clients rather than from a deal or contract made in the office. His guiding principle is still the same today: develop relationships with your clients, learn what they want and how to close the deal specifically for them, and then go above and beyond to completely impress them.

Traditional long-term landlords are now turning to Robert because his company helps them make the same amount of money or even more than they do now without having to worry about evictions, damage, or rent not getting paid. Robert works with landlords in the short-term rental market to improve their bottom line by streamlining their processes, adding value, and increasing markups. His team seeks ways to increase revenue while decreasing expenses, which adds up to a significant amount of money at the end of the year.

He learned these lessons firsthand during the pandemic, when several of his under construction units were unable to progress. He still had mortgages on them, but the lack of progress on these projects was eating away at the profit from the rest of his portfolio. As a result, he needed to examine his portfolio carefully, cut costs, eliminate waste, and find value add-ons to keep his business afloat.

Having weathered the pandemic's storm, Robert advises other landlords who are concerned about an impending recession to stay informed about what is going on in the world and in real estate but to avoid operating from a fearful mindset, which often comes about from consuming too much TV news.

Reducing Risk

For landlords in the mid-term rental niche, reducing risk is essential to protecting themselves from potential financial losses. One important step to take is to ensure that the property is adequately insured. Liability insurance is a must-have for short-term rental hosts as it protects against claims for bodily injury or property damage caused by guests. Landlords should also require renters to have renter's insurance, which covers their personal belongings in case of theft or damage. Additionally, hosts should establish clear guidelines for their guests to follow and ensure that their property meets safety standards. It is also a good idea to conduct regular inspections to identify potential hazards or issues before they become bigger problems.

To further reduce risks, Robert is a big fan of the services offered by SuperHog.com. SuperHog provides a number of risk-mitigation services, including guest screening and identity verification. Robert uses these services to ensure that only responsible guests who meet his criteria are permitted to stay on his property.

In addition to guest screening and identity verification, SuperHog also offers an option for guests to choose either a non-refundable Damage Waiver or a refundable Damage Deposit for their upcoming stay. This is an excellent way for Robert to protect himself financially. The Damage Waiver requires guests to pay a non-refundable fee (much lower than a deposit payment) to waive their liability for accidental damage up to a set amount. It is designed to help build an additional pot of money that can be used to cover small damages. This way, if any damage occurs, Robert can rest assured that he will be covered financially. Alternatively, guests can choose to pay a refundable Damage Deposit, which acts as a security deposit. This deposit is refunded to the guest after their stay, provided no damage occurs.

Marketing

Robert says that many landlords get most of their bookings through online travel agency (OTA) platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, etc., which he thinks isn't the best way to do things. He suggests that landlords get leads from more than one place. Having your properties listed on Furnished Finder is a big one, but he also suggests reaching out to places that bring travelers to your city, like convention centers and sports arenas, to find out what events will be happening over the next year. Then, reach out to the event organizers to let them know you have housing in the area and may be willing to offer a better rate if they book directly with you instead of through an OTA.

Marketing is an important part of running a short- and mid-term rental business that does well. There are many ways to market your business. One smart move is to leave marketing materials in your unit that encourage guests to book their next stay directly with you. By doing this, you can build a loyal customer base and reduce your reliance on third-party booking platforms, which often charge high fees.

To entice guests to book directly with you, you must provide them with something of value. One way to accomplish this is to leave a party platter for the big game or a care package tailored to their interests. If a guest is staying in your unit for a convention, for example, you could leave them a care package containing snacks, water, and a map of the convention center. This kind act shows guests that you value their business and are willing to go the extra mile to make their stay comfortable and enjoyable. Aside from leaving marketing materials and offering incentives, make it simple for guests to book directly with you. Provide clear booking instructions and a simple and secure online booking process. Consider providing a discount or special offer to returning guests to entice them to book with you again.

Calendar

With so many properties to manage, Robert turns to Hostfully to handle the calendar for each one. Hostfully is a property management system (PMS) that has grown in popularity among landlords. One of Hostfully's key features is the ability to sync calendars across all of the online travel agencies (OTAs) where a host is listed. This is a critical function because it ensures that hosts never have double bookings or missed opportunities. The syncing process is automatic and seamless, so hosts don't have to worry about manually updating their calendars across multiple platforms. Hostfully pulls availability data from each OTA and updates the host's calendar in real time, ensuring that all listings are accurate and up to date.

This feature is especially helpful for hosts who list their properties on multiple OTAs because it removes the need to constantly check and update calendars on each platform. This not only saves time and effort, but it also makes it less likely that mistakes will happen when calendars are updated by hand. Hostfully, in addition to syncing calendars, provides a number of other features that can help hosts manage their short-term rental business more efficiently. Tools for automated messaging, channel management, and pricing optimization are included. With these and other features, Hostfully has become a popular choice among hosts seeking a comprehensive and dependable PMS solution.

Furnishing Strategy

Remember that someone is paying for your space, so how you furnish and decorate it is critical. Finding the right balance between pleasing aesthetics and dependable durability can be difficult at times. What matters is that landlords go out of their way to make their properties worthy of being reviewed by tenants and shared and recommended among coworkers and friends. Robert mentioned that when he first started, he thought his rentals were well furnished. When he looks back at photos of his first units, he is struck by how much they resemble a frat house. Time and experience have shaped his properties into notable rentals. He advises other landlords not to worry about making their properties perfect on the first try, as their decorating and furnishing skills will develop over time, but to make an effort and take care regardless of their experience.

His method for furnishing an apartment is to start with one piece of art or furniture and build everything else around it. An eye-catching painting of a flamenco dancer, for example, will then influence the theme of everything else. The painting's pops of color make their way into the accent pillows, while the painting's subdued colors may influence the bedding, sofa, and so on.

Ikea, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, and boutique shops are some of his favorite places to buy furniture.

The significance of how cleaners prepare beds is frequently overlooked. Robert issued a challenge to his cleaners, offering a $50 prize to the person who could create the most appealing bed setup. Some created towel animals, while others added decorative flowers, intricate pillow arrangements, and ribbons on the comforter—a lot of work that resulted in his now-standard expectation of how a bed should look before a new tenant arrives.

Managing Cleaners

Training and empowering your cleaners to take on more and more responsibilities in your business is critical to running a successful mid-term rental business. Begin training one of your cleaners to be your right-hand man. Begin by appointing them as your pre-inspection manager, in charge of ensuring that each unit meets your standards before the guest arrives. They will also be in charge of replenishment. As you add more units, they will take on the role of guest communication manager, while another cleaner will take over as pre-inspection manager. As your company grows, you'll need to continue filling these roles; otherwise, you'll be working in your company rather than on it.

Every time you prevent someone from working for you and taking on more responsibilities, you are preventing them from receiving their blessings. That position you're afraid to fill because you think you can do it yourself will eventually burn you out.

If you're too busy working in your business, cleaning, fixing light bulbs, etc., you're not teaching anyone how to run the business in your absence, you're not grooming anyone to take on leadership roles and handle more responsibility, and you're preventing the development of any sense of ownership mentality. All of this contributes to a decrease in the retention of your high-quality employees.

Handling Damages

When your pre-inspection manager discovers damage, have them follow the procedure you've laid out for them. This could mean filing a claim with one of your OTA platforms or with your own insurance policy. However, Robert notes that he only follows up on about 60% of his damage claims because he has already obtained a security/damage deposit to cover these unforeseen events. He generally does not pursue the guest for compensation because he has already been compensated by the security deposit, and it will leave a negative impression on his guest.

Utility Bills

As the cost of electricity and heating/air conditioning continues to rise, Robert offsets these costs with a small utility stipend, which helps to keep costs down; however, if a bill increases by 35% of the previous bill, the cost will be deducted from their security deposit. Guests realize that their use of gas, electricity, and water is limited and that they must be responsible. For example, even though the monthly bill is $300, he rarely charges guests more than $100 for utilities. However, if the next bill is $450, he will deduct the $150 difference from their security deposit.

Pricing of Units

Dynamic pricing software tools are great for short-term rentals, but for mid-term rentals, specifically direct booked rentals, Robert aims for a 20% price reduction simply because guests will not be paying the OTA fees. However, doing your own research and looking at what comparable units are selling for should also play a role.

HOAs and Short-Term Rental Restrictions

Just because a property has a homeowners' association does not necessarily mean it cannot be rented out. Most HOAs do not want short-term rentals, but many are unaware of the opportunity that mid-term rentals provide. Contact them ahead of time and inquire about the terms on which they are willing to let you rent out the property. Most people are unaware that there is such a thing as mid-term rentals. Simply explain what you want to do and why you'll treat their property better than the average renter because your business and reputation depend on it.

Final Tip

One of the most important aspects of getting the most out of Furnished Finder is making communication a priority.

Communication is very important for landlords. Make sure that when a lead comes in, you or someone on your team responds as soon as possible. Let potential renters know that you value their request and their time. Robert says that when he talks to leads, they often tell him that they are surprised that none of the other properties are answering their messages. Keep in mind that Furnished Finder can find people who are interested in your property, but it is up to the landlord to talk to those people and close the deal.

If you have more than one property in the same city, your first response to a potential tenant should be to thank them for their interest, tell them if the property is available, and then give them links to your other properties. They're already on the hook; all you have to do is reel them in. Don't let them go back into the sea of other landlords who might be able to get their business.

Know that if someone contacts a landlord, they probably already know a lot about your property. They like the pictures and the price, and if they're traveling with a spouse, coworker, or someone else, that other person has probably already given your property a tentative thumbs up. You probably won't have to do a lot of "selling." So be sure to follow up on every lead.

If someone would like to reach out to Robert, head over to LivingQuarters.net, CoHostExpert.com, or
Robertin@cohostexpert.com.

If you'd like to see some of Robert's properties, head over to his Furnished Finder profile page.

Listen to the Podcast here

www.furnishedfinder.com

Author : FF Team