Here are the most commonly asked questions we get from owners coming onto our program.
- How much will I make on my property?
That depends on many factors, some of which are beyond your control. You have already done a great job of acquiring and furnishing your beautiful property. When you chose Emerald Beach Properties as your professional management company, we help you set rental rates based on the season, location, size of your property and its ranking to yield the best possible revenue for your property. We constantly analyze current market conditions and adjust rates to maximize rentals. We adjust rates on the fly as needed and offer specials designed to keep your property rented.
When you are enjoying your property yourself or if you allow others to stay at no charge, you will not be generating revenue for your property. For maximum revenue generation, we advise you to avoid using the property for personal/family/friends during peak rental seasons, as this will reduce the property’s revenues during the time when you can charge the most for rentals.
We recommend minimum rental periods that vary from season to season to maximize revenue. For example, during the busiest summer season, we strongly recommend a 7-day minimum, Saturday to Saturday only. These minimums are based on past experience in the local market. You have the flexibility to follow our recommendations or set up your own minimums.
External factors like weather, the economy, government regulations, etc. can affect rental revenues. For example, if we have a heavy hurricane season it is possible to lose one or more weeks of rentals due to evacuation orders or damage done by a storm. Property related factors such as failure of an HVAC system during the hottest or coldest months of the year can rob you of rental weeks, too. Condo complex related factors such as major external renovations may cause loss of revenue.
- How will Emerald Beach Properties market my property to potential guests?
Your property is featured on its own listing on EmeraldBeachProperties.com. We actively work to improve our search engine rankings and generate traffic to our website through on line advertising.
We use social media to promote your property. Our Facebook page is very active with frequent posts for individual properties, groups of properties, promotions for events with which we partner and fun items that our audience enjoys reading about. We run weekly Facebook Ads to generate traffic for the Facebook page and for our website as well. Your property will have its own Pinterest board on Emerald Beach Properties. We also use Google+ & Twitter to promote properties.
We manage your VRBO listing by providing drop dead gorgeous photos and descriptions for you at no additional charge. We actively solicit guest reviews and continuously update headlines to maintain make sure your ad has everything it needs to meet VRBO’s “best match” criteria. We keep up to date on VRBO’s constantly changing requirements to make sure your ad is well positioned and gets the attention it deserves. We respond to VRBO inquiries very quickly and make use of their “Book Now” button to increase bookings.
We partner with local events, groups and activities such as Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, Spring Jam, www.visitpanamacitybeach.com and others to extend our reach to bring in more bookings year round.
We use additional distribution channels such as FlipKey, Trip Advisor and Craig’s List, etc. to market your properties to an even wider audience. These on line travel agent channels are particularly useful during our “off season.”
- Can I use my property any time I want?
Yes! It’s your home away from home so, you absolutely should use it whenever you want. We do request that you let us know well in advance of your planned visits so we can block the property for you and avoid any conflicts with bookings. If you are making a last minute trip and your property is already booked, we can usually move the guest to another property to make yours available for you (except for during the busy Summer season when we are fully booked). As a last resort, we would refund the guest and assist them with finding other accommodations. For maximum rental returns, we strongly recommend that you avoid using your property during peak seasons like Memorial Day through Labor Day. These are the times when the rates are highest and will give you the best returns.
- How do you handle housekeeping?
Emerald Beach Properties operates our own housekeeping department. We maintain 100% control over training, execution and inspection of housekeeping for all the properties we manage. Our linens are professionally laundered in a state of the art laundry facility. We never do laundry in your property. That means that your housekeepers have more time in your property to focus on the job at hand. We inspect each property after it is cleaned when a guest leaves and again before the next guest arrives. Each guest pays for an end of stay cleaning which covers cleaning and laundry for sheets and towels.
- How do you handle maintenance?
We are available 24/7/365 for our owners and guests. We ask that guests submit maintenance requests during regular business hours unless there is a leak or major system malfunction. We offer a minor maintenance plan covering month-to-month preventative maintenance and the most common maintenance issues that come up during a guest stay. For repair and maintenance tasks outside that plan, we offer hourly services at competitive rates.
We recommend that each owner enroll in a semi-annual maintenance plan for their HVAC unit through a professional local contractor. This gives access to immediate service when there are HVAC issues that are beyond what our techs can handle. These maintenance plans keep your HVAC system running and help you identify issues before they cause a break down which can result in the loss of a rental.
- Will my property have extra wear and tear from guests?
If you choose to rent your vacation home, it will be used more often that if only you and your family were using it. So, plan for additional wear and tear on your furniture and other home items. Remember that our guests are on vacation and sometimes this leads to even more wear and tear. We screen guests to be sure they meet minimum rental requirements and we require payment of a damage waiver fee and/or cash damage deposit backed up by a credit card authorization to cover additional damages. This does not cover wear and tear so replacement of worn, broken or missing items should be included as part of your annual budget for the property.
- What happens in case of emergency?
If there is a medical emergency, guests are instructed to call 911. Each guest is provided with the phone number of security for the complex. We have staff on call 24/7/365 for emergency calls.
- Do you pre-screen the people who rent my property?
Yes, we communicate personally with each guest that rents your property. Most complexes have rules restricting the age of the primary renter and you are free to set additional restrictions. We screen for the number of guests occupying the property. The Panama City Beach Fire Department specifies a maximum occupancy for every property. We adhere to their rules when renting your property. We do not rent your property to more people than the number for which we provide beds because the Fire Marshall does not allow rollaway beds or air mattresses in condos.
- How do you decide which property to offer a particular guest?
When a guest contacts us, they usually request a specific property and that is the property we offer them for rental. We make every effort to place the guest in the original property they contacted us about. If it is not available, we offer other similar units that are on our program. Where clients have multiple units on the program, we attempt to place guests in similar units owned by the same client. There is no rotation system.
- What about insurance?
It’s important to be prepared and educated on how to protect yourself should any legal issues arise. From property damage to injuries that occur on your property, make sure you are buttoned up on the legal side of things. We recommend that you carry full insurance on your property that covers injuries to guests. Emerald Beach Properties is fully licensed, bonded and insured as a vacation property management company but that only covers our Company and our employees.
- Why shouldn’t I rent it myself?
Renting vacation property is a more complicated, time consuming business than most people realize.
If you handle the rental of your vacation home on your own it will probably end up feeling like a second job. Answering inquiries, setting prices, booking reservations, sending out and completing contracts with guests, taking payments, sending out key codes or keys, arranging for parking permits and wristbands, checking guests in, collecting payments not sent on time, arranging for housekeeping, doing maintenance, updating the property, answering guest problems during their stay, refunding security deposits, paying taxes on rentals, photographing the property, promoting the property, maintaining your VRBO and other listings and so it goes on and on.
Governmental rules and regulations seem to grow each year. Emerald Beach Properties takes care of keeping up with these ever changing details to make sure there are no issues with the local authorities that would prevent you from renting your property. We take care of all sales tax filings, issue monthly statements detailing revenues and expenses, issue a monthly payment for rental proceeds and issue a 1099 at the end of each year for purposes of filing your income tax returns.
It is hard to keep up with the local market even if you live close by. We are involved in this market on a daily basis and keeps up to date on changes that need to be made to provide the best possible income from your property by optimizing listings, advertising and rates. If you’re not looking to make that much of a commitment of your time and energy, let us manage your property for you. We can help you successfully rent your property and achieve your goals. We will give you peace of mind and help you enjoy your vacation home for what it was originally intended, a place of rest and relaxation. We provide the best in worry free ownership.
- What about beach chairs and other paid amenities?
We DO NOT recommend pre-paying for beach chairs or other paid amenities for guest use due to the steep increases we have seen for these in recent seasons. The continuous increase in the amount charged for these items makes it difficult to recover the costs associated without raising the rental rates to cover them. In the past we have learned that, since we do not directly control these amenities, that we can’t guarantee their availability for our guests.
- How do you handle linens?
Emerald Beach Properties believes that everything the guest touches should be clean and fresh. We use our superior linen as a marketing tool in all advertising to set our company apart from other management companies. That means clean, soft 1200 thread count sheets, makeup removal towels, fluffy bath towels and kitchen towels in all the properties we manage. Each property on our program joins the linen pool and pays a start-up fee and annual replenishment fee. Guests pay a housekeeping fee with each rental that covers the laundering and ironing of the linens. Over time, linens do wear out so, that is why there is an annual fee to replace torn, stained and worn out linens.
- Why doesn’t EBP offer a guaranteed revenue amount?
We have found that each owner has different goals for their property. Some owners want to maximize the rental of their property and never want to use the property themselves. Others want to use their property often and during peak rental periods. Some owners don’t rent to winter guests and others don’t rent to spring breakers. Our program is customized to meet the needs of each individual owner and their property. Guaranteeing a set amount of annual revenue would not allow us to offer this flexibility to our clients.