All the reasons I didn’t want to rent our cottage. What changed?

If you are anything like me, you don’t like sharing your personal space and especially your bed! I know, I feel the same way. I was quite surprised to hear other people had the same concerns as me. We heard this from a few people at the Cottage Show in November as people stopped by our booth. Knowing how lucrative cottage rentals can be (which we will cover in future blogs) and how helpful the income would be to cover off repairs, mortgage payments and upgrades I needed to get serious about what my concerns were and how I could get around those concerns.

I really had a few items that were causing me pause in our ability to rent out our cottage. These concerns were (1) I wanted to use it in the summer too (2) I didn’t like the idea of ppl sharing my bed (3) Did I have to put away everything “personal” before I rent (4) I don’t want my place damaged and the neighbours upset. So how did I wrap my head around these issues and what can you do to if you have the same concerns?

How was I going to find reasonable solutions for these concerns and give me peace of mind? First decision was to make a lockable “owners closet”. This way I could put things that I didn’t want to bring back and forth but didn’t want to “share” with renters in a closet and lock then up for safe keeping. Some of the items would include be my own pillows, bedding, electronics, liquor, clothing and toiletries to name a few. This allowed me to have my own personal belongings at the cottage for when I was there and not have to share them with renters. Voila, I now have my own bedding and pillows and don’t have concerns with sharing my bed anymore ( crazy because we travel all over and use hotel beds which are shared beds….I know I see that the bed issue is a bit irrational!!!)

Having the “owners closet” also helps to answer if everything needs to be out away when we rent. The thought of having to pack up a cottage every time it is rented seemed a bit overwhelming. Having an “owners closet” allows me to put anything that I really cherish or is important to me away. I don’t have a cottage full of knick knacks. But that said, we leave everything out for our guests to enjoy. Magazines, books, games, outdoor chairs and yes the odd photo is left out for our guests to enjoy as much as we enjoy them. One thing we do not leave out (unless it is a family member or friend renting from us) is opened food in the refrigerator or cupboards. Family will use them but most people if they do not know the people there prior would typically throw it out. So, we either take it home or out it into the “owners closet”.

The other trick to minimize the amount of packing up and emptying the “owners closet” we block times that we want the place for ourselves and then rent out the rest. This allows us to enjoy our time and not have to pack and unpack each time we come up or leave. For example, the summer is the easiest time to rent and generally gets the highest rents. With the key weeks mid June to mid Sept. we would not take a week each month. Instead we may take come back mid August and enjoy the cottage so that way we unpack once.

The final concern and one that is a very important and legitimate concern is how to prevent damage and upsetting your neighbours. The last thing I want is to either get a call from my neighbours that our renters are causing issues with our fellow cottagers or a call from our cleaners that there was damage. Accident happen and I am fully understanding of that. Damaging other peoples property intentionally is not acceptable. So, how do we avoid getting these calls? First we let our neighbours know that we are renting our cottage so that they are aware. We also let them know to please let us or SVR know if there are any issues but that we do not anticipate any problems. How can I say this with confidence? Because we use a rental company to handle our rentals. SVR has a great track record for vetting guests at their rentals to ensure they do not have issues with neighbours or damage. They assisted us with ideas such as outdoor camera’s so we know how many ppl are at the cottage and don’t need to worry about parties. They have a high degree of repeat renters and a very low complaint and damage complaints. Doing it yourself is very hard to properly vet the guests the way they should be so minimize your risks.

With the help of a rental company such as SVR, I was able to get the comfort I needed to move forward with renting our place. They helped to arrange our rental calendar to minimize the impact on us as owners while maximizing our rental income. They provided feedback to help us set up an Owners closet to store our personal belongings and outdoor cameras for our own peace of mind. They also did a walk through to provide feedback on the cottage and how to set it up best for renting. If you had the same concerns I did, I would highly suggest speaking to SVR or checking out other rental companies for their help in resolving your concerns.

Happy cottaging!