Summer in the Hamptons! A destination for countless people who are willing to lay down hefty sums of money to stake their claim for a little slice of East End heaven. Many year-round residents have jumped on the bandwagon and are renting their homes for the summer to help make ends meet or just as a means to get out town for the season. Second homebuyers have realized that they can afford to purchase their Hamptons dream home much sooner if they make money by renting it seasonally. Savvy investors are renting out their properties for all or part of the summer. And so the phenomenon of Summer Rentals began.
If you are a year round resident who has already rented their home for the summer, you are probably getting ready to turn over the keys to your home to virtual strangers. This may be the same home where family photos have adorned the walls, children’s school art was stuck on the fridge and there was a worn spot by the fireplace where the dog always sleeps. If your house is rented already, it’s likely you have remedied all of these things, and now your home most likely looks more like a Bed and Breakfast then its former self. This is step one to get it rented. Step two is prepping your home in such a way as to avoid any potential disasters, to make the renters’ stay more pleasurable and to be able to seamlessly transition back to your own home after Labor Day.
A good place to start preparing is to designate a closet or an area in your basement that can be locked or is inaccessible to your renters. This is where you can place any family heirlooms and small personal or fragile items. Remember, all of your closets and dresser drawers need to be empty of your clothing, too, so you can store them here. By accomplishing this, you can be confident that your great grandma’s collection of Hummels will remain safe and intact in your absence. I also like the idea of purchasing separate, light, summer linens and towels for your tenants. Ensure your “locked space” has enough room for your personal linens, clothing and fragile sentimental items as well.
Your tenants will need an Emergency Contact List sheet. This is where you will list the phone numbers and contact information for LIPA, the oil burner company, the electrician, the plumber, the fire department, the police, hospital and anyone else they may need to reach. Prearrange the maintenance for your pool and landscaping before you leave and add their contact information as well. It’s also helpful to provide some basic directions on how to operate TVs, DVD players and stereos and describe any peculiar quirks your home may have for your tenants. While you’re working on that list, don’t forget to add the phone number for cable, and check to see if the Internet is password protected.
There is always the possibility that tenants will sit on your sofa in their wet bathing suits or put a glass of wine down on your antique dresser – they are in vacation mode after all. You can prepare for this possibility, as well. Place wicker or summery looking trays on furniture to hold drinks and catch spilled candle wax. Place runners on tables and dressers. Slipcovers are an affordable way to make your upholstery light and summery as well as being removable and washable.
Precautions to safeguard this major investment, which is also your home, are important, but remember there will be wear and tear and there’s no way around that. If you’ve done all the above you’ll be in good shape. For anything beyond normal wear and tear you have your security deposit and, of course, the income you’ve just made from renting your house. Some people even allocate a percentage of the rental income to some sort of upgrade on their home, a new flat screen TV, a paint job or landscaping. This will not only make your home a more attractive rental for next season, but it’s a nice perk for you too.