I decided to write this blog with this topic because we are literally neck deep in to our 3rd purchase and renovation! I get that statement above ALL THE TIME! Then I get the other half of that, "what's it like?"
Now, There's 2 kinds of condo owners. The first kind of owner is the "absent owner". They buy it, keep what's in there, hire a management company, and call it good. They count on what's in there, what the management company does and the management company sets their prices and charge the owners a 20% fee for each stay, which they sometimes pass along to guests. They have no say in how their condo is ran, no say in rules, no say in linens etc. There's not necessarily anything wrong with this, but you can definitely tell the difference in rentals.
The second kind of owners are the "Hands On Owners". This is us lol. We buy a place and then do complete make overs! We go through the kitchen and see what's currently there, what needs to be replaced, what additional items someone may need to cook dinners, breakfast, etc. Most of the time, everything needs to be replaced. So that means, new pots and pans, silverware, baking supplies, mixing bowls, cooking utensils. We research the market, shop comps, price our condos based on the quality that you will be receiving and based on surrounding similar condos. We hire our own housekeeper, this can be a make it or break it for a condo owner, if your housekeeper is bad, you're going to lose a lot of guests and not get good referrals AND not get any repeat guests! We supply all of our own linens, and towels! This means we have to own at least 2 of EVERYTHING! For a condo that sleeps 6 we have to have at least 24 bath towels! Then there's the research on bath towels, wash cloths, and hand towels. Are they soft? Are they heavy? Do they dry quickly? We replace all the mattresses in the condos too! Then, because we learned the hard way, we get rid of the metal bed frame and make our own wooden frames that will hold up! New couches - don't even get me started on couches! My mom and I have been researching couches for the last WEEK! What combo will work? What's comfortable? We need a traditional pull out couch, we would like extra seating, it can't be too light of a color because it shows EVERYTHING! What material will hold up best? Does it clean well? Then you think you found something then it's too big for the space! UGH lol! The details for just getting a condo up and running properly are overwhelming to most people!
Each time we go down to the condo there is work to do! From deep cleaning, to touch up paint, to bringing new towels and wash cloths to keep things fresh. We are always doing things. This is me shampooing our rug from the bunk room because someone spilled something on it. Side note - indoor/outdoor rugs are AMAZING for beach rentals lol! We keep a REALLY good vacuum at the condo that does a great job at picking up sand, and the sand we have is so sugar fine, it's all over lol. We stayed at a rental in Orange Beach one year that didn't even have a broom for us to use, I felt horrible with how much sand we left in there!
Then this is us in the middle of deep cleaning, which also means pulling out the fridge and stove, and then replacing the dishwasher because it was making noise and we didn't want it to go out on any of our guests! We take a couple days almost each time we go down to do some sort of work. The only time I don't think I did ANYTHING was this fall. But at that, I'm pretty sure the door still got cleaned and locks got fixed too lol. Our amazing housekeeper has a lot of responsibility on her as well, each check out she has a list to check and then we have extra's of items just in case something gets broken, that way the next guest can have the proper amount of things like plates.
Knowing the local laws, Alabama ADA laws and then the business laws are all extremely necessary! I was lucky and know some of the national laws due to being in the apartment industry as long as I was. It also helped me when writing up our rental contract and rules for our condos too. Doing you're homework on these things will save you a nasty lawsuit as well.
If you're not afraid to do A LOT OF HARD work and spend A LOT of money, then the pros definitely outweigh the cons. There's truly nothing better than to share the experience of a beautiful beach town with hundreds of families. And to share the experience of the beach with someone for the first time!