The Furies, cleaning Cape Cod homes for over three decades, shares the best practices to satisfy rental guests and maximize the value of your Cape Cod rental property.
As Winter fades, our cleaning teams jump into Spring Cleaning mode attending to the customized needs of our customers to clean their second homes and vacation properties on Cape Cod. We’d like to take this opportunity to share our insights on the best practices to satisfy rental guests and maintain the value of your property. We have years of experience dealing with property owners, renters, real estate agents, and of course, the properties themselves.
Cape Cod homeowners who rent their homes need to ensure that their property is in good condition to greet summertime renters. Preparing your property will maximize renter satisfaction, rental potential, and return tenants next year. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make a good one. Making the proper preparations in the spring will pay dividends in the future. Let’s focus on what is needed to prepare a property for renters.
1 ~ First impressions
To ensure that your renter has a successful start to their Cape Cod vacation there are a few things to remember:
- Some tenants arrive after dark, and it is important that your house is clearly identifiable. If your house sits back from the road, it should have a sign at the start of the driveway as well as numbers on the house itself.
- Make sure that your house’s street numbers are clearly visible and easily seen from the road.
- If needed, clear your driveway and parking area of brush and low hanging tree limbs. An overgrown driveway can badly scratch a vehicle.
- If you have outdoor walkways, steps, porches, or decks, check them for algae. Algae can pose a significant safety hazard as it can get slippery when wet. These areas should be power-washed to prevent potential injuries. The Furies can arrange power-washing for your property.
- We recommend using a single key for all the doors on your house or install a doorknob with a punch code. Separate keys for different doors can cause confusion and frustration.
- Have a motion activated outdoor light.
2 ~ Make sure all the utilities are turned on & tested: Water, Electric, Cable, Septic, etc.
We recommend having all utilities turned on at least two weeks before the spring cleaning. This allows service people ample time to deal with any unexpected problems before the cleaning. It’s critical to ensure that all of your property’s utilities are working correctly before tackling your other key responsibilities.
3 ~ It’s a connected world.
These days it is expected for your house to have Wi-Fi and preferably high-speed internet access. If your property currently does not have Wi-Fi or internet access call your service provider to arrange this. If you have a slow internet connection, consider upgrading it. Make sure your listings indicate that the property has Wi-Fi & internet access as this is a key consideration for many vacationers.
4 ~ Do a visual inspection of the property before the spring cleaning.
Check the properties’ exterior, interior, and yard for any damage which may have incurred during the off-season. It is important to identify issues that need to be addressed early so that you can find someone to do the needed repairs. In the late spring, many Cape Cod service people (plumbers, electricians, etc.) are booking a month in advance. Also, check for evidence of mice. If you have had someone performing a property watch, this person should be checking for mice or other obvious issues when they visit the property. If significant evidence of mice is found, contact an exterminator as soon as possible and ask them to assess the extent of the infestation (whether it is active or dormant) and if it is necessary to have your insurance company look at your property. Unfortunately, every year The Furies encounters a few homes that have been severely damaged by rodents, some of which require significant structural repair. Houses near wetlands have a higher risk of mice. If your property has a history of mice issues, you should consider establishing a scheduled service with an experienced exterminator.
If you updated kitchen appliances, furniture, or had any construction in the house, we strongly recommend post-construction cleaning from The Furies. We emphasize a deep cleaning to rid the home of sawdust, dirt, and grime that is the unavoidable result interior construction.
6 ~ Spring Cleaning
Any home that has not been occupied in the off-season is not ready for guests without a cleaning. A professional spring cleaning by The Furies is an in-depth effort to remove dust, cobwebs, and dead bugs that have accumulated. All rooms need to be vacuumed, washed, & dusted. Kitchens need to be disinfected and scrubbed. Cabinet interiors need to be cleaned, exposed dishes washed, window trims scrubbed, ovens shined. Spring cleanings can be tailored to your individual needs. After a spring cleaning is the best time to stage your house and update the photos for your listing.
7 ~ Steam cleaning
Depending on your house’s layout, you may need to have carpets and upholstery cleaned. Hydro-Power Carpet and Upholstery Steam Cleaning is part of The Furies Team. We use an eco-friendly hot water extraction method to remove deep dirt, bacteria, pet stains, and odors. This approach dramatically improves the look and feel of carpets, area rugs, and upholstery.
8 ~ Window washing
We typically recommend having windows cleaned after pollen season so guests can clearly see the surrounding beauty of Cape Cod. The Furies can arrange for window-washing.
9 ~ Home guests will benefit from information about the House & surrounding area
One of the best ways to give Cape Cod vacationers renting your house a positive impression is to provide them with clear, useful information about the local area and the house. Information can include:
- Guidebooks, brochures, maps of the area, trail guides, theater & museum guides, beach pass information, helpful websites, and a tide chart.
- Trash disposal and recycling instructions and trash pick-up times.
- Days the landscaper is expected
- Clearly posted check-in and check-out times including a checklist of what the tenants should do before their departure.
- A manual for your house with relevant information and frequently asked questions about the property and area. The FAQs you provide can be very helpful to your renters and there will be fewer questions for you to answer directly. This is an excellent opportunity to create a positive impression.
- Some homeowners use a decorative binder for their house manual; others will use a hardbound book custom printed. This book can also serve as a guestbook where you provide pages for renters to sign and leave comments. Doing this helps to establish a connection between your property and your tenants making them more likely to return to your house in the future.
- Included in your house manual should be specific instructions on your home’s septic system, what cannot be flushed, cannot go down the kitchen drain, etc. Post laminated signs next to the toilets & the kitchen sink. Be sure that your house has a plunger and drain opener in a child safe location.
- Include the contact information for your service providers within this manual.
10 ~ Supplies for guests
The Furies recommends that you stock your Cape Cod rental house with basic cleaning supplies in a child safe location for your renters to use. This allows your renters to take care of small messes on their own. Over the course of the summer, your property will be left in better condition if you supply these provisions.
- If any part of your house requires a specific product for cleaning or treatment, such as marble tiles, this should be clearly indicated to both your renters and cleaning service.
- You should provide a vacuum cleaner, spare vacuum bags, a broom & dustpan, trash can liners, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and your preferred cleaners for glass, carpets, bathrooms, and kitchens. Also individually wrapped sponges, a dish rack, and a laundry basket.
- The Furies Team can clean your house after each guest with our change-over service.
11 ~ Keys and Service Provider access
Your service providers (The Furies, electrician, plumber, etc.) should have current copies of your keys or use a keypad. If you have a locked section of your house used for personal storage (a closet, cabinet, etc.), this needs to be indicated to your renters. If your house is near the water, the salt air can cause corrosion or blow sand into the locks, making them difficult to open. Houses in an exposed location should have their locks cleaned and lubricated on a bi-annual basis. Keys that have been copied multiple times also present an issue. These keys require extra finessing or may not work, and are a source of frustration. In this case, have a locksmith re-key the locks and cut several new keys for your house. Regardless, locks should be re-keyed on a semi-regular basis for security. Make sure these new keys are distributed to the people who need them.
12 ~ Home Security
There have been advances in home security systems, and this has resulted in new concerns for guests and homeowners. Many modern security systems include interior cameras. Many also have the capability of capturing sound. These systems should be turned off before your renters occupy in your house. Security cameras that are on while there are tenants in the house could be considered a criminal offense in Massachusetts. There is also an expectation of privacy when someone rents a house; it is your responsibility as a homeowner to ensure that these expectations are met.
13 ~ Towels and Linens
You should have a plan to manage how linens, sheets, and towels are handled at your property. Many renters cannot bring the amount of linens required for a large house. Some homeowners and many tenants make use of The Furies Linen Rentals with doorstep delivery and pick up seven days a week. Linen rentals are a convenient option to recommend to your renters. The Furies provides linen rentals from Dennis to Truro.
14 ~ Photos
Your photos need to be current. If you have made changes to the house, do not use photos from before these changes were made. All photos need to reflect the present condition of your property accurately. Include pictures of the interior and exterior spaces. As a rule, photos should be of high quality. Do not use low-resolution photos or ones taken in low light conditions.
We welcome your comments & look forward to servicing your needs.