I don’t have a second home for the same reason I don’t have a second husband. I can barely keep up with what I have. But I have many friends who are more capable than I am, including my friend Avril. Avril, along with her only husband, Bill, as far as I know, owns her second home on the ski slopes, which she rents out for about 120 days a year. Year.
Avril emailed me after reading my column on tableware replacement. After nearly 30 years of regular use, I was running out of forks.
“Fork is the first thing going to a rental house,” she said in an email.
“Do people steal your forks?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s not all!” she said.
Out of curiosity, I called her to find out what else people who rent villas have to contend with. This is a really advanced issue.
“I had this dream of decorating a vacation for me and my family,” Avril said of her 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, loft cabin in Big Bear Lake, California. Owned for nearly 25 years. “But Bill taught me a long time ago to get rid of my mind. Once I detached my emotions, I was fine.”
Now, Avril and Bill Wood are no newcomers to real estate. They own dozens of rental properties in several states, lived in and furnished by others. But that is very different from renting a vacation home that you furnish and sometimes live in. The latter situation applies closer to home.
“Why can’t I be emotional about my home?” I asked.
“I’m not putting my heart and soul into it anymore,” she said. “That way, I don’t get upset if something goes missing.” It can also be decorated with a price.
“I don’t spend money on the place like I used to. Replenishment depends on the territory, so I learned a cheap shortcut.”
Here are some of the lessons learned:
• Plan your wear and tear. Blankets, TV remotes, pots and pans, they go, she said. Budget for that. “Every time I visit the cabin, I inspect the plates and wine glasses for what’s missing and then immediately go to her dollar store,” she said. “I was kind and stocked the kitchen with buggies and tinfoil, but no one ever replaced them.” stored in the bin.
• Be prepared for mysterious disappearances. For her, it’s a bedspread. “It’s the strangest thing,” she said. “Either the renter takes it, or the cleaner takes it to the laundry and never returns it. I never know. She stopped buying nice down-filled duvets and now Buy bedspreads online at Eddie Bauer at discounted prices.
• Use a management company. The Woods live nearly two hours away, so they have a property manager oversee their rental arrangements. The management company will take care of leasing agreements, keys, cleaners and minor repairs. As such, they receive 35% of the rental fee. Woods gets the rest. The company also offers some protection. Recently, when a tenant bought a new vacuum cleaner, the management company tracked down the culprit and dealt with it.
• Prevents wear. Avril used to buy a decorative area rug to lay over the wooden floors in her entryway and living area, but now uses a large black rubber mat. “Lots of snowy muddy boots walking around here in the winter and wet sand kids that were in the lake in the summer. Ruined the carpet,” she said. It’s not pretty, but the rubber mat is durable, protects the wooden floor, and is non-slip and safe. Additionally, she chose well-made furniture upholstered in durable fabrics.
• Put the bed in the box. Where there are three or more bedrooms, she said, add the beds together. Decent mattresses cost her between $1,000 and $3,000 and are bulky to carry around. Here’s her solution: A compressed mattress makes shipping easier. She puts the new mattress on top of the existing box her springs to save money.
• Be prepared for redeployment. “I just don’t understand why renters would come to my house and think they could redecorate it,” she said. “They don’t just decide that the plates and bowls are on the other side of the kitchen. They move the furniture.” Another person carried a heavy double dresser from upstairs bedroom to upstairs bedroom. Both parties left the furniture where it was moved. Perhaps the strangest change was that one tenant took a small appetizer plate from the cupboard and hung it on the wall. People have nerves.
Marni Jameson, “What to do with everything you own to leave the legacy you want”, “Downsizing the family home – what to keep and what to let go”, “Downsizing a blended home” He is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including Sizing. – When two households become one household. Contact her at marnijameson.com.