As the Ocean City, N.J., rental season winds down, it's the time of year where people interested in owning a property that can generate income for them in the summer months are on the search.
It has been a strong year for rentals. If anything, the late-July to mid-August months have been so packed that it's almost impossible to give those who try to make last-minute plans for a week in town a decent option or two. So, if you plan on being an attentive owner with a clean property, you are going to succeed at filling your rental schedule.
That said, there are certain things renters seek more than others. And if I were asked, 'Dennis, if there was one thing you consider the best amenity that will guarantee a full calendar at top rates, what would it be?' this is what my response would be:
Make your property pet-friendly.
The demand for pet-friendly properties this summer has been outrageously high, and it gets higher and higher as each year passes.
Just last week I received a call for a pet-friendly property in the boardwalk area, and we have a very nice 4-bedroom property that I thought would work well for the first week of July. It's a good thing that client called when he did. I checked with the owner, and that week was the last week in July she had remaining for 2017. Already, seven weeks for next year are booked. I hurriedly called a client who rented a couple of early weeks this season and made sure they realized how fast it was booking. They are reserving the place for two more weeks. So that's nine weeks out of the 14 summer weeks for this property in 2017, and this summer isn't even over!
When I spoke to the owner, she told me this is the fifth year she has rented her place as a pet-friendly, and two things stood out about her experience: 1) she fills not only her summer, but gets September booked up as well, and 2) in 5 years, with 70-plus weeks of renters, she has never -- NEVER -- had a pet-related incident in the house.
If you think about it, it makes sense. After all, if a family wants to bring its dog or cat with it to the shore, odds are strong that 1) the pet is well-behaved & well-trained, and 2) the pet owners are very conscientious about keeping the property clean and their animals out of a circumstance where they would do damage to the place.
Not only is the pet-friendly inventory of rental properties lagging behind the demand, too many of the pet-friendly properties are older, dated properties that owners make pet-friendly because the quality of the furnishings aren't very high. And that's a shame, because pet owners are after quality properties and will pay a premium for the option of not having a dog-sitter or kennel taking care of their pooch.
Here's another perk: Oftentimes those seeking to bring their pets desire multiple weeks in a property -- even the entire summer -- which can make filling your schedule easier and cut down on turnover and results in less weeks a cleaning service is needed to prepare the property for the next renter.
So, if you asked me for the wisest move if you are thinking about purchasing or converting your property into a rental condo, consider making it pet-friendly. If it's a quality house & priced properly, you'll get that calendar filled lightning-quick.