This morning, I woke up to a payment of $3,500. Of course, not every day is payday, but when they happen a few times a month, it makes for a happy checking account. Just a few years ago, owning a vacation rental wasn't easy.
The decor you choose for your vacation rental and the furnishings you select show your respect and an eagerness to please your guests. If you throw some tired furniture into the house and have scuffed white walls, you’re not going to get the quality of inquiries and bookings that someone who has put thought and attention into their homes gets.
Mornings are lazy in Fiji. The slim thread of light in between the insulated curtains finally wakes me, just in time for breakfast at about 10 a.m. I slip into a bathing suit, tie a sarong on, and I'm ready for the day. The smiling maids, Rozy and Reshmi, greet me as I come down from the master suite—dubbed the Penthouse by past guests. Before me is a feast. Omelets, fresh fruit, an Indian delicacy or two, and a pile of toast, served up with coffee and fresh juice.
When I wake up in my vacation rental home in Fiji, and pull back the curtains to see blue waters...picturesque islands...my private pool...the hanging bed...I know I made a great decision buying this place. I get to spend two weeks a year chilling out here...snorkeling every day, just a short walk down my private stairs. It's like swimming in an aquarium. The coral is so pristine and healthy.
When I fell in love with the Pacific island of Fiji in 1999, my mom, who's a steady, smart person, implored me to reconsider building a vacation rental in such a distant locale.
With vacation rentals, location is everything. Except for the little luxuries, like upgraded kitchens, a water feature (or three) or a luxurious master suite.
I talk to a lot of people who are considering renting their second home out to vacationers. Some of them already have a home, sitting empty most of the year.
I could never have afforded my tropical-island property if I didn't use it to earn. And earn it does...I bring in between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. If you rent your second home part of the year, it can pay for itself. In fact, it may even make you a healthy profit. But you need to know how to successfully market your overseas dream pad to vacationers.
You may remember a time, as recently as a decade ago, where vacation rentals were simply in beach areas. If you were like me, you got a huge catalog each spring, in full color, with a tiny photo of each house, and a cryptic description: "2bd/2bath Between the roads, onsite parking, rooftop view."
While I have a second home overseas, I’m certainly never going to be featured in “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”—even though people may have put me in that category. How can I afford a luxurious home on a tropical island without a millionaire’s bank account?