Performing a Property Audit
Carrying out a thorough property audit before you start renting, and then annually thereafter can unearth all sorts of deficiencies that you might not have thought of, and indeed may not feel are worth worrying about, either in terms of cost or time and effort. Remember that this is supposed to be a hyper-critical exercise so it’s probably best not to do it on a lovely warm day when the sun is sparkling on the water, the happy sound of children playing fills the air, and the barbecue is sending out wafts of mouth-watering aromas. Instead, carry out a systematic analysis on a cool, cloudy day, when your judgement won’t be distorted or swayed by the beauty of the surroundings.
When completing the thorough audit of your vacation home it helps if you disassociate yourself from being the property owner and put yourself in the role of a hyper-critical guest arriving at the cottage for the first time. Tour the property with notepad in hand, be ultra-critical and just imagine yourself as a Bree Van De Kamp (of Desperate Housewives fame), checking every corner, drawer, window frame and toilet bowl with a perfectionist’s eye. When you have guests paying a substantial rate to stay, they deserve to be treated in a respectful way. That means a pristine presentation, even in an older property.
In addition, you can guarantee that renters will explore your property, inside and out. They will open all drawers and cupboards that are not locked or sealed. They will look under beds and behind furniture. They’ll read anything you have left – except (possibly) the Welcome Book! By the time your guests have been in residence for a week, they will have missed nothing.
This isn’t intended to dissuade you from renting your property; it is a simple truth that we are a curious species and put in a new place, we generally want to check out the territory, establish our boundaries and mark it as our own – even for a temporary period.
In general, everything is likely to be returned to its rightful state by the time you arrive to do your check and changeover so you may never know. But, given the strong likelihood that no nook has been left unexplored, and no cranny has escaped investigation, it really is worth making absolutely sure your guests won't find anything you would not wish to find yourself.
Doing an audit at the start of the rental season may uncover a few things that are certain to be spotted by your eagle-eyed guests. The following should help ensure you miss nothing: