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Owner FAQ

What makes a successful vacation rental?

There are many factors that drive performance: the size and quality of your home as well as its location play a major role in what you can charge per night as well as how frequently it will book. As an owner, you can make your home more desirable by offering a private hot tub and accepting dogs – but this not mandatory. It's your choice. In general we find the following:

  1. The ability to sleep more people has the biggest impact. Sleeping 10 plus people is ideal. Smaller homes and condos struggle unless they are on the lake or close to a ski resort.
  2. Newer homes with modern appliances and amenities are preferred.
  3. Homes located in resort areas and second home areas are preferred.
  4. Homes with a hot tub are requested 40% more than homes without a hot tub
  5. Homes that accept dogs are requested 30% more than homes that do not.
  6. Homes that continue to vacation rent do better each year as the home develops its own clientele.

What kind of rentals do you manage?

We do all three types of rentals for residential property: Short Term Vacation Rental, Ski Leases and Long Term residential rentals. We can do a combination of Vacation Rentals in the spring summer and fall and ski lease your property in the winder. Sorry, we do not do commercial leases.
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Does my property have to be brand new?

No, but your property's systems have to work flawlessly all the time. If you are accommodating 10 or 12 people, the water heater must be able to provide enough hot water. The appliances must be reliable. The heating systems must work perfectly. The wireless internet connection and entertainment systems must be easy to use. Think about all of the little things that are not working well in your own home and you can quickly see that those little things would be unacceptable to a guest if they are paying money to rent your property.
If you have not had a home inspection since you purchased your property, it's a good idea to get one done and fix everything on the list. We can help you coordinate this and help you get the property up to vacation rental standard. If your house systems are 20 to 30 years old, it's probably time to invest in a new water heater, a more efficient furnace, or more efficient appliances. It's no fun for anyone when one of these systems fail and a guest is in residence! If your house systems are failing continually, we may have to stop renting your property to protect everyone, you, the guest and PRG

Do I have to do anything?

As the owner of the "hotel" you do have an obligation to make sure that your house systems work flawlessly. Focus on maintenance issues when you come up to stay at your property and take care of any problems that you notice. Call us for maintenance and get help or suggestions from our maintenance staff. We have two excellent handymen who are great at fixing problems at reasonable rates ($40 per hour) which can be deducted from your proceeds and are tax deductable. Instead of spending time cleaning your property, (we can do that for you), spend time making sure everything works perfectly. Change out any light bulbs that aren't working. Make sure your wireless internet and entertainment systems are working. Fix that garage door opener, sharpen those kitchen knives, replace the batteries in the remotes, get an extra full propane tank for the BBQ – stuff like that goes a long way to having repeat guests.

How much money can I make vacation renting my home?

This depends on many factors including how frequently you use your property. In general, we find that the smaller condos can net $10K to $30K per year, depending on their location. The average lakefront home can net $90K to $120K per year. An average home in Tahoe Donner can net $25K to $40K per year. A luxury Squaw Valley home can net as much as $100K per year.

When do I get paid?

We collect the full amount of the reservation from the guest 60 days prior to their stay. We have a no-cancellation policy when they make their original booking and we do not disperse the guest's funds until they have completed their stay at your property. We aggregate the previous months completed rentals into one statement and submit your proceeds to you directly into your bank account via ACH transfer by the 15th of the following month.

Do I have to make my home available all the time?

No. You can block whatever time you would like for your family and friends. You can even use the home during major holidays if you like. Unlike other firms we do not impose any restrictions in this regard.

You have booked the property but I need those dates for my family. Can you move the guest to another property?

Sorry, we can never move guests to another property for any reason other than inhabitability. Guests spend a lot of time researching and planning their vacation and it's difficult to find similar properties that meet their requirements that are also available for their dates. The solution is to block out any time for your friends and family well in advance using your online account.

Can I live in my property and then move out when you get a booking for me?

Sorry, we cannot vacation rent primary homes. The reason is that primary residences are so filled with personal belongings; there is no room for guest to place their stuff. The fridge has to be free of perishables, the closets empty, the drawers free of owner's belongings, the garage able to park two cars. You get the idea.

My property is for sale, can you vacation rent it for me while it's on the market?

Yes, if you list your property with Pullen Realty Group we can keep vacation renting it for you. The challenge in renting your home while it's for sale is that the new buyer must agree to accept any future reservations that have been booked as a condition of the sale. Guests are investing time and money planning their vacation and cannot be moved simply because the new buyer does not want to rent the property. We've found that this requirement is rarely communicated to a new buyer if it's listed with an agent outside of our firm. The other challenge is coordinating potential showings while guests are in residence. We have to obtain the guest's permission to allow a showing and again this can be difficult if to control if the property is listed with another agent.

Can I rent my home and attain a positive cash flow?

Possibly, most homes in Tahoe do not cash flow unless you owe very little on the property. The income from vacation renting will help you maintain and upgrade your home and cover the utilities, insurance and taxes and HOA costs.

Is their additional liability when renting my property?

Yes, when you rent your property you are essentially entering into the hotel / hospitality business. You should consult with your insurance broker and upgrade your insurance policy to a landlord protector policy or short term rental policy. We do make every guest group sign an agreement which provides you with some protection, but accidents can happen and you should be protected with the right coverage. Pullen Rental Group is fully licensed and insured with liability coverage but also needs to be named as additional insured on your policy to mitigate our significantly bigger exposure.

What if a guest damages or "trashes" my property?

It's rare that a guest group "Trashes" a house intentionally. We've had 4 incidents of this kind over 2,000 reservations and in each case the property was cleaned up and fixed. The vast majority of damage is completely accidental. Think about the odd accidents that you've had in your own home from time. The same thing can happen when guests rent your property. The good news is that we make each guest purchase a damage insurance policy that provides up to $1,500 or $3,000 in accidental damage coverage. We are one of the few firms to provide this coverage and as a result, we've become pretty good at resolving damage. Our owners are very happy with the results If they do cause intentional damage we charge their credit card plus breach of contract penalties per our rental agreement. Sometimes the guests do not cause damage but leave the property with a lot of extra cleanup. We simply charge their card to compensate our cleaners for the extra time needed to bring the property back to vacation rental standard and then flag those guest's in our system so that we do not rent to them again.

Do you screen guests for me?

It is impossible to screen vacation rental guests by listening to them on the phone and is also a potentially illegal practice. As a licensed Real Estate brokerage we must abide by Fair Housing Laws and ADA laws. Any firm that claims to be able to screen guests from after a phone call is not telling the truth. We do conduct a credit report check and criminal background check for the main tenant for a ski lease and for all tenants who intend to live in a long term rental with a lease of 1 year or more. We cannot do this for vacation rentals.

After my family uses the property to I have to have it cleaned?

Yes. After you depart, we may have a paying guest arriving the same day! If you can leave your property spotlessly clean with clean kitchen/bathrooms, washed linens and vacuumed floors every time you depart, then you do not have to have your home cleaned by our teams after you use it. However, most of our owners are too busy to spend hours cleaning their home to hotel standard, They are here to enjoy life in the mountain with their family and time is precious to them so they leave the cleaning up to us. They use our cleaners to get their home ready for the next guests. We work with you to set a fixed cleaning budget for what we call an "Owner Clean" and that amount is deducted from your rental proceeds every time you stay. If you have friends staying at the property, they are known as "Owner Guests" and we clean after their departure with a vacation rental clean as well.

What does Pullen Rental Group do for me?

We take care of the following for you:

  1. We will help you prepare your property for rental.
  2. Once ready, we can take up to 24 professional pictures of your property and surrounding amenities.
  3. We upload your property's listing to 12 vacation rental websites that have a track record of performance including VRBO. We coordinate pricing and the booking calendar schedule automatically with these sites.
  4. Our reservation team rapidly responds to inquiries every day of the year from 8 am to 9 pm and presents your property to potential guests.
  5. We collect money via credit card or check over the phone and keep it safe in a non-interest bearing, bonded, trust account.
  6. We make the guest agree to a rental agreement that sets the terms and conditions for the rental and protects you and your property.
  7. We collect the mandatory TOT tax from the guest and submit this to the county monthly.
  8. We pre-check your property prior to arrival to make sure all systems are working prior to guest arrival.
  9. For luxury properties, we conduct a meet and greet with the guests to explain property systems and any property rules and procedures.
  10. We coordinate a vacation rental clean the day of departure with one of 7 cleaning subcontractors.
  11. We post check your property after it has been cleaned.
  12. We field any guest problem calls on your behalf and resolve them to the best of our ability.
  13. We coordinate repairs caused by guest damage from the guest's damage insurance policy.
  14. We ask the guest to provide us with a nice review if they enjoyed their stay and post this review on our website so that future guests can see unbiased reviews.
  15. We aggregate your income and expenses on a monthly statement and send you your proceeds directly into you bank account via ACH transfer.
  16. 1We record your monthly statements in your online account which also allows you to book time whenever you like. Expenses on your statement are easily tracked and can be deducted. (Check with your accountant)
  17. At the end of the day, we put more money in your pocket, reduce your liability exposure and save you hours of valuable time!

What makes you different from your competition?

We have a team of talented full time employees with years of experience in the vacation rental industry. You will have a dedicated owner services representative, a dedicated team of reservationists, and an effective accounting department watching out for you. Smaller firms struggle to cover the incoming phone calls and keep up with the myriad of issues that occur during peak seasons.

  1. We operate the most advanced, state of the art rental management system used by large resort operators. Great systems are critical to achieving performance in this business.
  2. Our website allows guests the ability to book your property online at any time, but also makes them comply with our rental agreement processes at the same time.
  3. Compared to the big resort management firms, we charge less.
  4. We provide damage insurance as a more effective solution to mitigate guest damage. Insurance greatly reduces conflict between guest/owner over damage.
  5. We are a virtual firm, meaning our employees can operate anywhere. All of our systems are web based and we use IP telephony to route calls. When it's a big snow day, and the power is out, we are still operational.
  6. We are excellent internet marketers and can get more inquiries per dollar spent than any other company.
  7. We have a structured discount program for guests which reward them if they lengthen their stay. This reduces vacancy and puts more money in your pocket.
  8. Most importantly, our owners net more money and have told us that their properties are doing better than ever.
  9. We are fully licensed in California and Nevada to process vacation rentals and hold rental monies and deposits. It requires a Real Estate Brokers license to do this and there are strict rules in the management of funds held in Trust. Our trust account is bonded. Most of our competitors are licensed, but some are not. Pullen Rental Group is licensed, insured and bonded.

A lot of owners do this themselves using VRBO don't they?

Yes, with mixed results. The owners who do well are usually retired or do not work full time. They work very hard at renting their property. It can take up to 15 VRBO inquiries before you can get one booking and that's if you respond instantly! If you are like most owners, you're probably too busy and cannot devote the time to respond immediately to calls and emails which occur at all hours of the day. We list all of our owner's properties on VRBO and we know how to maximize its capabilities. We have many owners who have tried to rent their property themselves on VRBO and have come to us for help. After switching to our program, they've found that they made more money and worked far less by letting the full time professionals at Pullen Rental Group do the job.

Are there any upfront fees or expenses?

Yes, we charge a $400 annual marketing fee which helps us defer our up front, marketing costs which cost well over $1,300 per listing for our company. We also require a $400 maintenance reserve which allows us to complete small repairs and cleaning if there is no rent to cover these expenses in the off season.

How do you market my property?

Pullen Realty Group is a master of internet marketing and we publish our properties on many different types of vacation rental websites to get the maximum amount of reach. We get your property listed as high as possible on sites like VRBO, HomeAway.com and VacationRentals.com. Our own site draws over 5,000 unique monthly visitors. In addition to these main sites we publish your property on other websites including: Flipkey, TripAdvisor, RentExpert, USAResortRentals.com, FindRentals.com, RedAwning, PackLate, VacationRoost, LeisureLink and we are adding more every year. Many of these sites are not available at all to individual Home owners.