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Vacation Home Listing Mistakes to Avoid

Listing your Howard County vacation rental property on your own can be quite complex if you have never officially advertised a vacant property before.  Some property owners may believe they can handle things on their own—they are amateur photographers and know a bit about advertising when it comes to listing vacation homes on platforms such as Instagram, HomeAway, and Flipkey.
However, the key to advertising your vacation rental home is making the listing stand out.

If you do what every other property owner is doing, which means taking pictures, describing your property, and throwing the listing up on any number of available websites, chances are your vacation home listing will get lost in the flood of others that look exactly the same.

Today we are going to look at some vacation home listing mistakes to avoid so that your rental property does not sit on the market for any longer than necessary.


Steer Clear of These Common Mistakes

Here are some of the worst mistakes you can make as a vacation rental property owner when it comes to listing your property as available for rent.


1. Failing to Check the Background of Photographs

quality-photographs-vacation-home-rental-howard-county-marylandHave you ever seen a rental property advertised online, and noticed that the bathroom image contains an accidental selfie of the photographer?

As silly as this sounds, it happens a lot more than one might expect—especially if you have not enlisted the help of a Howard County property management company to help with the professional photographing of your vacation home.

Make sure you check all four corners of your shot before snapping the picture when in a room that contains mirrors.  This way, anything out of the ordinary, including yourself in the mirror, is caught before taking the picture.

Overall poor image quality is also something you should avoid at all costs.  According to HubSpot’s study on buyer behavior, “67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is ‘very important’ in selecting and purchasing a product.”

The same applies to your vacation rental.  Here are some tips for avoiding poor images for your vacation listing:

  • Tempting as it may be, do not use your cellphone
  • Use as many images as your listing will allow
  • Do not include a watermark or logo on photos
  • Focus on the key points/areas in each room
  • Watch your use of the flash—usually natural light works better
  • Do not over-edit your images with saturation, filters, and special effects

Images are what potential tenants will initially be drawn to when browsing Howard County rental listings.  So make the pictures count, even if that requires you investing in a professional photographer.


2. Depending on Pictures Alone

We discussed above that consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they have access to a high-quality image of the product they are looking to buy.  And, while this is certainly true, you cannot forgo a quality description of your rental property just because you have stunning pictures.

Help your potential tenants visualize what your property looks like via your description.  In fact, try writing a description for your property as though those that come across your listing can see your property’s images.  This forces you to be thorough, informative, and unique when it comes to describing your property.  Aiming to snag the first high-quality tenant that comes across your listing is the key to getting your vacant rental filled.


3. Reusing Previous Listing Descriptions

update-howard-county-vacation-property-listing-annuallyIf you know anything about SEO and Google search results (which you may or may not), you will know that Google does not like duplicate content.  If you are ready to list your vacation home as available for the summer, just as you did last summer, it is in your best interest to start fresh and re-do the entire listing.

Creating a new listing each time your vacation property is up for lease will get you better rankings in popular search engine results.  This means more people will have easy access to your listing’s content and the chances you will find a quality tenant quickly increase drastically.

Here are some great key points to keep in mind when writing your vacation property description:

  • Highlight the property’s selling points right from the start
  • Describe the home first, location second
  • Be very detailed—include measurements, square footage, room counts, etc.
  • List each room’s amenities
  • Describe the rental’s purpose and durability—is it designed for kids, couples, family reunions, etc.?

In addition, try to add some emotional content into each listing you create.  People tend to lean on their emotions when it comes to making purchases.  This same idea can apply to those looking for a summer vacation rental home.  Make your potential tenants feel what it would be like to live there for the summer and encourage them to lease your property.


4. Selling it For More Than It’s Worth

Everyone wants to believe that their vacation rental property is fabulous.  And, while it very well may be, you had better be able to back up all of your listing’s claims when it comes time to let your tenant physically reside in your “Hollywood-style luxury home, just minutes away from all of the best dining, shopping, and entertainment in the city”.

Here are some useful tips:

  • Never inflate the details of your rental
  • Accurately describe the location and the distance from nearby amenities
  • Use honest and true adjectives
  • Do not make claims you cannot back up

When writing your Howard County vacation property listing, make sure you will be able to meet the expectations you set in the listing; your tenants deserve to know the truth.


5. Not Updating Your Rental’s Calendar

update-howard-county-rental-home-calendarIf you have the type of Howard County rental property that books multiple tenants yearly, it is crucial you maintain an up-to-date calendar year-round for potential tenants to reference when looking to lease your rental property.

This concept is most important if you allow online booking of your property.  Without a properly-maintained calendar, you run the risk of overbooking tenants.  In addition, word will get out that you are a poor quality property owner and your rental’s business will suffer because of it.  Never underestimate the power of a disgruntled tenant and a poor review.

You should also include lease rates for the entire calendar year.  People sometimes book their vacations up to a year in advance and not catering to this can cost you a lot in terms of potential tenants.


If you are going to have trouble keeping up on your vacation rental’s calendar, and do not want to pay a monthly subscription to have some software or online company handle it for you, consider enlisting the help of your local Howard County property management company.

Managing your own Howard County vacation rental can be an overwhelming task.  There is a lot to do, and it often has to be completed on a regular basis since vacation properties tend to have a higher turnaround than a traditional rental property.

Contacting Bay Management Group to help you with your vacation property management needs is one of the best ways to avoid the frustration and time commitments a Howard County vacation property has.  In fact, Bay Management Group can take care of everything property and tenant-related for the lowest monthly management fee in all of Maryland.

Contact us today to stop fretting about your vacation listing and everything else that goes into managing a vacation property.  With Bay Management Group, you can invest your time in something you truly enjoy—possibly even a vacation of your own.