How To Rent Vacation by Owner
  • Book Reviews

    Midwest Book Review, June 2005

    Featuring more than $800 worth of coupons, How To Rent Vacation Properties By Owner is the no-nonsense guide to realizing one’s dream of owning, furnishing, and renting out a vacation home – without emptying one’s bank account! How To Rent Vacation Properties By Owner explores the advantages and disadvantages of a wide variety of means for financing one’s vacation home, how to select the right vacation home for one’s needs, how to choose renters wisely (insisting on a minimum age of 25 and no college students allowed can reduce the likelihood of one’s property getting trashed from a party-school style bash) and take reservations, solving problems when one is renting (from damage to theft to cleanliness issues, cancellations, complaints or even the unfortunate necessity of evictions), and much more. How To Rent Vacation Properties By Owner is a business-savvy, informative, practical guide and an absolute “must-read” for anyone with a serious interest in renting out their property as a source of profitable income.

    Stars10 star winner!, August 17, 2004

    We have various family members who now own vacation homes or second properties in Hawaii, France, Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, here in California and along Hoods Canal in western Washington, and one thing they all worried about was what would happen if the wrong people rented their properties. And since I got the book in June I have had to fight to read it, since so many of my family and friends would see it on my table and would grab it and rave about it.

    This is the first (literally) book I (and my family and friends) have found that tackles all the hard questions, worries and various ‘what ifs’ on the subject.

    Beginning with the ‘before’ you buy questions, which is something I know a lot of people never really give much thought to, since many assume renting it out during off season etc will be a breeze. I especially liked the chapter dealing with ‘why self management makes sense’ since this is an issue I know something about. How many prospective rental owners know that a management company who handles rentals for clients can take 30% or more as a commission? Or that using a rental manager doesn’t assure your property will be safe, or repaired in a timely way without gouging your bank account?

    The author deals extensively with the how to of finding clients to rent your property, including which websites are the best and what to have on your website as well. This includes good and accurate digital photos of all the rooms, yard, as well as links so people can see how close they are to stores, beaches, rivers etc, that would be a draw as well as a drawback. A place may look nice on the website but how many owners show photos of the neighborhood so that clients can see that its safe and clean?

    The author covers how to screen clients, pet clauses, smoking, and party issues and issues of liability in general. Will you use PayPal, credit cards, checks etc? What about the phone in the property and the agreement on use and charges? This is why I like the call anywhere in the country one fee programs phone providers now offer. If you have DishNetwork will there be an extra fee for use or will that be included in the rental fee?

    Will you provide bed linens and basic kitchen items? What about those few people whom you can never please? How will you handle them and how should you, legally? These are also covered in-depth.

    Does the state where the rental property is require you to pay state or local taxes like some hotel, motels charge a fee or tax for? These are all things you need to think about before you even buy a vacation rental.

    The back two ‘chapters’ or index’s offer a lot of Internet sites for valuable information that makes the price of the book worth every penny.

    Ms. Hrib Karpinski deserves a lot of thanks for finally writing a book that is easy to read and understand as well as recommendations of those she trusts who might provide the reader with even more information.

    And I am buying a copy for my local library as well! Also check out her website by the same name

    StarsThinking of buying or renting a property? This is THE book, August 7, 2004

    Author Karpinski wrote me that one reader wrote to her saying “My first renter wrote me a nice note about how much fun they had and how they want to rent it again next year. Then she says, “Friday as I sat down to eat lunch, I heard a crack before the chair broke and I fell to the ground.”

    Just though you would like to know how true your words are. Thanks! Now I’m re-reading your book to see what else I snubbed my nose at the first time around.”

    That’s the point of “How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner.” There is detail, detail, detail, and you’d better read this with, well, to mix metaphors, a fine-toothed comb. Not only is the advice to furnish with STURDY chairs in there, but other wisdom that can save you, the vacation landlord, time and money and heartache. Have you considered a condo versus a free-standing property? What about maintenance, what about distance from the property? Are you going to be able to handle that or will you need someone to help you? Don’t forget, a condo has maintenance included in a fee, usually. That fee may look large at closing, but later on…

    What about the 20% down payment usually required by lenders? Turns out that, too, can be borrowed. PMI, mortgages, lending, this is also covered.

    How do you advertise to get the best results? What needs to be in that ad? Where do you advertise?

    I can’t go into all the detail here, but chapters include finance, self-management, advertising including photos and description writing, pricing, organization techniques, tax collection and payment, key management, problems such as major damage, minor depredations, theft, cancellation and complaints.

    If you plan to rent a property, this is an absolutely essential book, written by someone with first-hand experience and an eye for detail. Get it.

    StarsHow to Rent vacation properties/ a must have, July 24, 2004

    This is one of the most informative, easy to read books that I have read in a long time. Christine gives you the building blocks to start your own vacation rental by owner business. Thank you Thank you Thank you

    StarsHow to Rent, July 19, 2004

    A totally engrossing book! A definite ‘must -have’ for any would-be renter.

    Hunter Melville

    StarsPractical Advice for Overcoming Your Mental Hurdles!, July 7, 2004

    If you haven’t ever owned and rented out a vacation or second home, you probably have the same concerns that I have: How will I find renters? Will people destroy the property? Will people sue me? How will I get the toilet unclogged at 4 a.m. from a distance? How will I avoid having a terrible negative cash flow? How much time will this really take? Am I turning myself into a minimum wage slave?

    Relax! Ms. Christine Hrib Karpinski answers all those and many other questions you didn’t know enough to ask. She also provides details of how she does everything efficiently and relatively painlessly.

    Further, she gives you good advice on how to decide what property to buy, how much to charge, who to rent to, where to advertise, how to write the copy and even how to create great photographs for a Web site. In fact, both the marketing and the administrative details she provides are outstanding. My only suggestion is that you have an attorney in the state where your property is check out the forms she suggests (or obtain the standard forms used by landlords in that state).

    The only area where the book doesn’t cover a related subject in detail is in the tax advantages. If she does another edition of this book, I suggest that she have a c.p.a. write up a section on that point. As a result, the book makes it seem like you will make less than you actually will.

    Her focus is on long-term ownership and rental, but she also points out how you can make substantial short-term gains. The section on the current mortgage options is excellent.

    Even if you decide not to buy a vacation home and rent it, I suggest that you read the book for advice that will be valuable to you as a potential tenant of such properties. You can more than save the price of the book in that context.

    I recommend that you do the work she describes for setting rental prices and marketing a property BEFORE you purchase a home.

    Good luck!

    StarsBest Vacation Rental Book I’ve ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!, June 26, 2004

    If you currently own or are thinking of investing in a Vacation rental this book is a must have. My husband & I are in the middle of building our dream home. Christine’s book answered all the questions I had & then some about renting our vacation home. This book is very easy reading. In fact I found it very difficult to put down. It is a book I think I’ll refer to over & over again. Get clicking & buy this book! You won’t be sorry!!!!

    StarsFor some, an invaluable source of information and counsel, June 14, 2004

    Obviously, the value of this book will be determined entirely by its relevance to a specific reader who is now thinking about buying (or who now owns) a vacation rental property and needs expert advice on HOW to manage, furnish, maintain, and promote that investment. I have never owned such a property but have rented several over the years. Some were rented directly from their owner; others were rented through an agency engaged by their owner. The comments which follow are based on the premise that I have decided to purchase a second home. Let’s say it is located where there are two peak seasons, summer (swimming, boating, golf, tennis, etc.) and winter (skiing, skating, snow boarding, etc.) My objective is to maximize rental income from it during both seasons. These are some of the questions I need to answer:

    1. Where and how to begin?

    2. How should I finance it?

    3. Which numbers need to be crunched?

    4. How to determine which property is the right place for me?.

    5. Should I have a management company handle everything, use a management partnership program, or self-manage the property? Why?

    6. Which are the most effective strategies, tactics, and resources for marketing my rental property?

    7. What about financial terms and conditions (e.g. pricing)?

    8. Which criteria to use when selecting renters?

    9. What is the best system for processing reservations?

    10. Which are the most common problems? How to solve each?

    Karpinski addresses these and other critically important questions throughout 18 carefully-organized and well-written chapters, followed by seven appendices in which she provides forms (e.g. rental rules and regulations), identifies most helpful Web sites, explains special discounts, identifies vacation exchange Web sites, lists state sales tax offices, refers her reader to learning centers throughout the U.S. (e.g. to improve computer skills), and concludes with an annotated list of individuals and companies she highly recommends.

    If you are thinking about purchasing a vacation rental property or if you now own one and are dissatisfied with its ROI, this book will be invaluable. However, with all due respect to Karpinski, I think it would be foolish to rely on only one source of information and counsel. Once again I am reminded of Derek Bok’s response when outraged parents of Harvard students complained about a tuition increase: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Deciding whether or not to purchase a vacation property obviously requires rigorous and extensive due diligence. In my opinion, a careful reading and then (yes) re-reading of Karpinski’s book is essential to that process. That said, check out other sources on the same subject, including books offered by Amazon which have received the highest ratings by readers. This book will also be helpful to current owners who have hired a management company or participate in a management partnership program. In Chapter 5, Karpinski explains why self-management “is the only way to maximize your income on your vacation property.” For many current owners, that may well be true but only IF they are willing to invest the time and energy self-management requires.

    StarsExcellent information source for vacation property owners, May 25, 2004

    As a vacation rental owner myself, I found this book to be full of solid information. I had purchased other books in the past, but they didn’t address all the issues of ownership. In fact, this was the first book I had read that emphasized not using a property manager. This book outlines chapter-by-chapter how to take reservations, get deposits and payments, how to handle keys, choose good renters, deal with problems, how to find cleaning and maintenance people, etc. How to Rent Vacation Properties By Owner is easy to read and understand–I finished it in a day. There are lots of helpful tips and owner stories, but the references and resources in the back of the book are what sets this book apart. There are web sites for all 50 states tax departments, dozens of vacation rental sites to advertise on, special offers and more. The author has clearly done her homework so you don’t have to. Worth every penny.

Christine photoFor nearly 15 years, Christine Karpinski has had one focus: the vacation rental industry. She’s an author, speaker, podcast host and expert in the field. Christine's full bio »

How to Rent by Owner

As Seen On:

The Wall Street