11 Oct 2023
The Invaluable Role of Your Property Manager in the Off Season
As summer ends and the cooler months of fall and winter approach, coastal vacation rental property owners face unique challenges and opportunities. The serenity of the end of the year can bring about joy with its festivals and holidays. However, the end of the year also causes concern for owners looking to safeguard their investment properties from the elements. Here, we'll explore some of the essential services provided by professional property managers during the fall and winter seasons.
Maintenance & Upkeep
The transition from summer to the fall and winter presents a range of maintenance challenges. Professional property managers like Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., REALTORS® (MRA) play a crucial role in ensuring that properties remain in top condition, despite the change in temperatures, conditions, and seasonal demands. They accomplish this by offering key maintenance programs and services.
Fall and winter call for different landscaping needs like leaf removal, pruning, and preparing any outdoor plants for colder temperatures. While landscapers will not necessarily need to mow your lawn on a regular basis, consistent landscaping is vital in maintaining your lawn through the off season. Not only will you benefit from a well-manicured appearance all year long, preparations for the following spring and summer will be easier and hopefully more cost-effective in the long run.
Unlike other areas of the state, the coastal region of North Carolina is highly prone to severe weather during the fall and winter seasons. Most notably, hurricane season extends through November 30; yet, Brunswick County sees its fair share of heavy rains and high winds even outside of a tropical storm or hurricane situation. Property managers are well versed in storm preparedness to include securing outdoor furniture, windows, and doors, and collaborating with in-house maintenance staff and a network of outside vendors to assess and repair any potential vulnerabilities or damages.
During the summer months, air conditioning units are functioning at an all-time high, especially when the summer features record-breaking heat waves like the one experienced in 2023. As temperatures drop, inspecting your HVAC system is vital in maintaining functionality and the system’s best health after a hard summer. Functional heating systems become essential for owners’ and guests’ comfort and safety during the fall and winter as the temperatures drop. Property managers arrange regular HVAC inspections to prevent unexpected breakdowns. In addition, at MRA, services like seasonal and year-round filter changes and smart thermostats also help monitor the status of your system on a consistent, regular basis to help pre-empt any potential issues or problems.
While the southeast tends to avoid snowfall during the winter season, it does turn considerably colder in the fall and winter. Temperatures drop considerably and icy conditions are possible. Frozen pipes and water damage are considerable threats during this time. Professional managers provide owners with invaluable preventative maintenance services like routine winterization. At MRA, the property management department works closely with area plumbers to winterize properties and to address any plumbing issues on a proactive basis. Depending upon owner preference, the manager can provide full winterization, limited winterization (outside water shut-off), or no winterization at all.
Enhancement & Renovations
For coastal destinations like the Southport-Oak Island area, the fall and winter season present a unique opportunity for owners to start renovations and/or upgrades to their vacation homes. Rental traffic usually slows and many owners often limit the availability of their properties to the public. During this time, professional property managers can assist owners with the renovations process.
Identifying Improvement Areas
Many property owners rely on the “boots-on-the-ground” work of professional property managers for routine oversight of their properties. Owners rely on property managers to convey any issues that need to be addressed. Simultaneously, property managers help owners by identifying improvement opportunities which would boost the property’s value and make it more attractive to potential renters.
Once improvement areas or problems are identified, professional property managers serve as an owner’s project manager. From obtaining quotes to overseeing the renovations process, property managers can manage the entire process to ensure that work is completed on time, within budget, and do not interfere with any guest bookings. In addition, the management team can then schedule any construction cleans to make sure the property is rental ready!
Decor & Furnishings
Some property managers will offer advice and assistance in redecorating or modifying the look of the decor/furnishings of a home with the purpose of providing a cozy ambiance for your rental guests. From limiting the number of knick knacks and novelties to make it an easier clean for housekeepers following guest stays to coordinating annual carpet and upholstery cleanings through an annual program, your professional property manager will help enhance your property to extend the life of your furnishings and the home, and to make it a more attractive option of the rental market.
Guest & Revenue Management
Demand for vacation rentals along the southeast coast shifts during the fall and winter months. Guests are looking for cozy getaways and holiday retreats, some often staying for months at a time. Property managers, accustomed to the seasonal trends of the market, continue to diligently handle bookings and guest management to maximize occupancy and revenue for property owners.
Whether a static pricing table or a technology like dynamic pricing is used to establish rates, professional property managers analyze market data, historical trends, demand and other factors to devise competitive pricing strategies that attract guests in any season, including the off-peak seasons of fall and winter. As opposed to making risky decisions on the pricing of your home, a professional property manager will enact rates to optimize your bookings and will monitor and adjust them as needed to ride the wave of supply and demand.
Guests of your property expect seamless experiences, no matter the time of year. They expect someone to address issues, answer questions, and assist them as they navigate the booking process, through the entirety of their stay, and following departure. Property managers offer round-the-clock guest support, resolve issues promptly, and ensure that your guests have memorable stays. They encourage guest feedback to help inform owners, and they entice guest loyalty to your rental.
Marketing & Promotion
Through targeted marketing campaigns and outreach, property managers showcase the allure of the coastal destination during any season of the year. The vast network of potential guests reachable by the professional manager paired with the collective number of loyal guests returning each year then becomes the network of each individual property owner. Highlighting unique experiences like fishing in the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, attending the Southport or Oak Island fall markets, kayaking the Davis Canal, and more, attracts vacationers seeking the seasonal delight of the area.
Reap the Benefits this Fall and Winter with MRA Management
As fall and winter embrace the coastal area, professional property managers play an invaluable role in ensuring that property owners reap the benefits of their investment while safeguarding their properties from seasonal challenges. From property maintenance and guest management to safety and security measures, these experts, like those at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., REALTORS® streamline operations, enhance guest experiences, and contribute to the overall success of your rental property even during the colder months. Property owners who entrust their coastal retreats to professional property managers like MRA can rest assured that their investments are in capable hands while looking forward to the prosperous season ahead.