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Friday, December 2, 2022

Your vacation home: Use it or lose it

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Casa Flor de Mayo in La Ermita is a Remixto-managed property.
Casa Flor de Mayo in La Ermita is a Remixto-managed property.

This is the final installment of a three part series on vacation home ownership, excerpted from the upcoming book “Vacation Rental Success in Mexico” by Stanley Kahng, founder of Remixto, a Yucatán Expat Life partner. Read part 1 and part 2.

Offering your vacation home up to vacationers isn’t just about earning rental income. Stanley Kahng of Remixto explains why tenants are good for your home.

Like you, your vacation rental house benefits from a little occasional exercise.

Without someone living in your home on a semi-regular basis, your home can start seeing issues. In tropical parts of México, or where construction practices are not of the highest standard, this can happen surprisingly quickly.

What can go wrong?

Closed up, your house can become stuffy and damp. Humidity, a big concern in tropical or coastal areas will attack your paintwork and walls, your furnishings and encourage mold and mildew. Without regular use, rust and corrosion will accumulate in your plumbing, and things will start to seize up.  

Free of human inhabitants, other creatures will take up residence in your home. Ants and insects will move in. Ants can eat your wiring while other insects and animals can nest in your soft furnishings.  

However, the biggest problem of all is that without someone in your home daily, is that there is no one to catch problems when they occur. While a good property manager will catch a lot, their occasional inspection will not catch the leaky roof that is dripping on to your kitchen appliances unless they happen to be in your home on the day your roof springs a leak. Left unattended, these problems can escalate and lead to costly repairs.

Casa Mérida in Santiago is managed by Remixto.
Casa Mérida in Santiago is managed by Remixto.

Guests are good for your home

With regular use, the systems in your home will be exercised with the frequency for which they were designed. Water will flow, air will circulate and things won’t seize up.

This is one big benefit of having regular vacation rental guests. While it’s true they’ll surely break things now and then, their presence will ensure it remains an unwelcome home for various other pests who would otherwise move right in.

Also, if something is broken, your guests will surely tell you about it so you can get it fixed. If there is a strange noise coming from the AC unit in the bedroom, your guests will let you know and you can get it repaired before it fails. If there is a leak in the roof somewhere, your guests will spot it and tell you all about it. This will save you more money than you’ll ever spend fixing something they broke.

You guests are the best people to find these problems. It is unfortunate that they are in this position, but in a fully furnished home with many appliances and systems, things do break periodically and it’s good to know someone is there to catch the issues.

Casa la Hacienda, restored by architects Salvador Reyes Rios and Josefina Larrain Lagos, is managed by Remixto's for its owners.
Casa la Hacienda, restored by architects Salvador Reyes Rios and Josefina Larrain Lagos, is managed by Remixto’s for its owners.

Get it fixed before you arrive

A lot of people with weekend homes complain that they spend their whole time each weekend repairing and maintaining the very home they have bought to allow them to relax during their weekend. With a regular workout, and a good friend or property manager armed with a detailed maintenance plan, you’ll be able to use your vacation home for what it was truly intended. Your own vacation!

Maintain early and often

Guests smell neglect a mile away. It doesn’t take long before a little wear and tear starts to send guests elsewhere, especially with so many beautiful newly renovated homes coming on the market. Suddenly your home has less rental income coming in just when the repair bills start to mount.

Your maintenance plan starts immediately after you take possession or soon after you finish the renovation.  Many owners wait and as regular maintenance builds up, it starts to become overwhelming or expensive. 

Maintenance is preventive and it doesn’t work if you do it after the damage is done. Create a plan to ensure that your home is regularly inspected and the preventive maintenance is attended to.  Each year, invest a small sum of rental profits in capital improvements to slowly build the amenities or features of your home.  As the home improves, so do the rental rates, the occupancy, and the overall profit.  This ever improving cycle of betterment is the way your rental home should work, and it all starts with regular upkeep.

kahngmugExcerpted from the upcoming book “Vacation Rental Success in Mexico” by Stanley Kahng, founder of Remixto

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