Flooded with city dwellers chasing staycations and tourists checking out prospective property purchases, the Muskoka area has been unusually active this season.

Capitalizing on this renewed interest, many residents are moving into the rental market but making that leap can be intimidating. Getting your home ready for guests needn’t be a hassle, however. With a bit of advance preparation, you can earn your extra income worry-free while introducing newcomers to the beauty of the Muskokas.

7 tips to prepare for renting

1. Check the rules

Before opening your door to renters, check your local bylaws. Most Muskoka areas allow short-term rentals but have their own protocol around how they’re managed. 

For example, the Town of Huntsville operates a Short-Term Rental Accommodation program that requires property owners to get a licence if they want to rent for 28 days or less. And last year Gravenhurst announced it would be implementing a similar program.

2. Think about how you’re marketing your property, and to whom

Experienced renters know that there are various ways to rent your property so don’t fall into the trap of heading straight for AirBnB. 

Home exchanges provide a more formal alternative. These are generally longer-term stays so property owners have a chance to develop a relationship with their renters and both parties tend to be more forgiving. 

It’s important to consider beforehand who you want in your property, and what they might need. If you’re renting to a family, is your home kid-friendly? Are you willing to accept pets? Do your renters need any special accommodations e.g for a disability? Find out beforehand so everyone knows where they stand.

3. Clear your clutter

Once your rental is booked it’s time to get busy! Start by moving all personal items and other clutter to a storage unit or your primary residence if there’s room. This not only makes it easier for renters to unpack and settle in, it also minimizes the risk of them damaging your belongings.

4. Clean up!

Don’t forget to clean up before guests arrive. It sounds obvious but many property owners forget this step or do a hurried wipe over visible surfaces and call it a day. 

Invest in a professional cleaning service to make sure everything’s as clean as possible and your renters will appreciate the extra attention to detail – especially given the recent pandemic.

5. Leave a guide for your renters

Every house is different, with its own quirks and oddities. You can’t expect your renters to automatically know how everything works so spell it out for them. 

Leave clear instructions on your utilities – covering water, heat, internet, TV, and anything else people need to know when living in your space. 

Creating a guide for renters is also a great opportunity to go the extra mile. You may want to include a section on local amenities, sharing your knowledge as a local so they can quickly get to know the area. Little touches like this will help you attract repeat business.

6. Troubleshoot in advance

If you’ve been procrastinating on any repairs, now’s the time to tackle those jobs. Renters will expect everything in your home to work properly and shouldn’t be put in the position of having to call someone for a repair job or, worse, attempt their own DIY fix.

Operate from the principle of ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong’ and cast a critical eye over your home before opening it up to guests.

7. Don’t forget the exterior

Your renters aren’t coming to the Muskokas to sit inside all day. Expect them to make full use of the entire property. 

This means the exterior has to be as sparkling clean as the interior. Wash off any decking, mow the grass, pick up the leaves, clean the hot tub, and don’t forget to warn your renters of any potential hazards like a steep drop to the water or a deep pond. 

If you’re thinking about renting, you want your cottage to look its best. The experienced team at Muskoka Window and Door Centre can help you tackle any repairs or renovations, providing professional service, quality products, and post-project customer support. Contact us today to see how we can transform your property!