Renting out your cottage? Your guide to listing it

Renting out your cottage or vacation home when you're not using it can be a great way to generate extra income.

If your property is simply sitting there unused, you may be wondering how to get started. Posting an ad online instantly puts your home or cottage rental in front of potential renters. But not all ads are created equal, so here’s a guide to crafting an ad that attracts your ideal renter and helps you rent it out sooner:

Who is your ideal renter

Before you put together your ad, think about who you want to rent to. Long-term renters are less hassle, and you can conduct a thorough interview with potential renters to choose the best applicant. Once long-term renters move in, there’s little work you need to do apart from general maintenance and collecting rent. These renters also are likely to be able to bring along their own linens, dishes and even furniture if you want to rent your property unfurnished.

Short-term vacation rentals on the other hand can bring in much more income, as you can charge more for per day or per week rentals than for a long-term cottage rental. They tend to take quite a bit more work to accommodate though, as you must be prepared to review and be in touch with new renters on an ongoing basis. You will also need to clean the cottage or home after each rental ends, to keep it bright and fresh for the next renter.

What to include in your ad

When you are ready to write your ad, the first thing to do is potential renters a clear description of the home. List how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are, the maximum occupancy, and how long the minimum stay period is. Include whether it comes furnished or not. If it is furnished, make a list of everything that comes with it, from basic furniture, to linens, dishes and more.

For short-term rentals, it is generally assumed that utilities are covered, but it is a good idea to always state whether they are, and what they are. Renters may be curious whether your property has laundry facilities, WiFi, parking spaces, air conditioning, cable television or other value-adding features. Finally, don’t make your ad sound too dry and technical! Fill your description with engaging language and a friendly tone that draws your ideal renter in and lets them feel that they’ve found the right home or holiday rental for them.

Making your photos stand out

A photo is worth a thousand words, and nowhere is this more true than with cabin or beach house rentals. Take a photo of each of the rooms, especially the bedrooms and main living area. If you can, use a wide-angle lens as this is ideal to capture the most of the space, but even a smartphone camera will work well. Take photos during the day, when natural light is bright, and supplement the light with accent lamps rather than overhead lighting, to give photos more depth.

Take a few photos of the outside of the home and the view, as well as any outdoor features like a dock, patio or beachfront. If you have a great-looking property and are planning to do short term rentals, it can even be worth it to hire a professional photographer to get some great shots.

If you keep your ideal renter in mind as you craft a friendly, thorough description and include high-quality photos, your vacation rental ad is sure to stand out. Enjoy turning your second home into a source of income!