At many of the places where we’ve stayed, the owners have asked: Is everything is OK; are we missing anything; are there any problems? After many a week-long rental, we have developed a list of most everything we would like to see in a rental unit. We offer these comments to landlords with the hope they will find some ideas to make their property more efficient and comfortable for future guests.
The first piece of advice we would like to offer to someone thinking about doing short term rentals is to simply spend a week there yourself. Actually pack a suitcase and essentials you want for the duration, move in, and unpack your stuff into the dressers, closets and shelves. Buy groceries, put them in the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator, cook a few meals there. See what works and what doesn’t, what is functional or missing or just in the way.
Do not over-decorate! Putting lots of decor on the countertops, tables, beds, toilet, and elsewhere removes usable space that the tenants need. Do not pile decorative pillows on the bed unless there is plenty of room to store those pillows while using the bed.
If you have a nice new thick mattress and feel you must cover it in plastic, get a thick cushy mattress pad to cover up the plastic. Otherwise, put a blanket over the plastic and then a mattress pad and fitted sheet over that. Plastic makes the bed hot and uncomfortable and the sheets slide around and bunch up.
Toss out the leftovers! Clear everything out of the kitchen and bathroom that is not is in a factory sealed container. If the container is open, the product may be contaminated, past expiration date, or even spoiled. You don’t know how the product has been handled, so get rid of it. Open coffee and tea and spices are probably OK, but use small containers so there is lots of turnover and it stays fresh. If your coffee maker is Keurig style, either provide a few K-cups or a refillable cup that works. Nobody likes that terrible surprise when they find they can’t make coffee in the morning.
Take good photos. We want to know all about your property before we commit to spending a lot of money for a week’s stay. Is the bed large enough for two? Where is the TV in relationship to the living room furniture? Is it furnished simply or is it cluttered with knick knacks? Does the kitchen have enough counter space to prepare a simple meal? Is there room for us to sit at the table and eat? Is there a dishwasher? Washer and dryer? What floor is it on? Are there stairs to climb or an elevator? Is there a yard or patio and, if so, are there chairs, a table, BBQ?
If the rental is comfortable and easy to use for a week, you will have happy travelers who take care of your place – and write glowing reviews. If the reviews are bad, all you are going to get are short-term renters who just need a cheap place to crash during a rowdy weekend and you are going to wind up doing a LOT of maintenance.
The following lists desirable items by area.
Inside the entry door, a mat to wipe feet and to store shoes
Coat hooks or rack near entry, if no closet
Basics (at least 4 of each for each guest, preferably more)
Dishes (microwavable) – dinner plates, salad plates, cereal bowls
Silverware – forks, spoons large and small, knives
Glasses – juice and beverage sizes
Cups – large, sturdy coffee mugs
Tools and supplies
Cookware (preferably teflon or non-stick for easy cleaning)
Frying pans – small and large
Pots – small and large
Cooking spatulas, ladles, and spoons
Knives – chef, paring, steak
Can opener, bottle opener, wine opener
Small and large mixing bowls (think popcorn, too)
Coffee maker, filters, coffee (at least a starter supply)
Dish drying rack and mat to put it on
Paper towels, plastic wrap, wax paper, aluminum foil
Paper towel holder
Hand towels, dish towels
Dish soap, hand soap
Scrubbing pads (sponges only if new with each rental)
Cleaning product for the countertops
Wastebasket with bags to line it
If there is a dishwasher, supply soap for it
Ice maker or at least 2 ice cube trays for full-sized cubes
Nice to have
Measuring cups and spoons
Colander or strainer
Placemats and coasters
Basic condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayo, hot sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and creamer in little packets that don’t spoil or need refrigeration.
Salt and pepper shakers
Some basic spices
If there is a grill:
Grill scraper, tongs
Charcoal and lighter fluid or butane
Towels – bath and hand (at least 2 for each guest)
Towel bars with room for the towels to hang and dry, within reach of shower
Bath mat for floor
Slip guard (decals or mat) for bathtub / shower
Hand soap, bath soap, shampoo and conditioner (preferably unscented)
Toilet paper (decent quality!)
Wastebasket with bags to line it
Hooks for robes or clothing
Clothesline for wet bathing suits if there is a pool or beach
Comfortable seating for every guest
End tables on both ends of sofas and/or next to chairs
Coffee table – sturdy enough to use as a footrest if there are none
TV with signal source (at least an antenna), placed in front of seating
Comfortable beds (If bed is for two, leave open space on both sides)
Fitted sheet, top sheet, light blanket, medium blanket, mattress pad
Extra blankets for winter
Night stands with reading lamps on both sides of Queen or larger
Closet space for hanging clothing
Dresser drawers for folded clothing, socks, etc.
Medium firm pillows and pillow cases with washable pillow protectors (not plastic)
Clock with easy to use alarm
Room darkening window coverings
Lots of hangers in the closet – minimum of 6 per guest
Wireless internet access for laptops is necessary, may be a deal breaker without it.
Keep wifi passwords easy enough to log in using an iPhone virtual keyboard.
Post wifi server name and password so it is easy to find. Include in instructions.
Instructions for trash disposal and recycling, including which day to put out cans.
Check in / check out instructions and times
If washer and dryer on-site, provide non-scented detergents and dryer sheets
Instructions on parking
Instructions on mail delivery or nearest Post Office
List of TV channels if there is not a channel guide on the TV
Emergency numbers / emails
Owners’ closet for your personal storage and supplies. Do not leave your stuff out.