Owners Blog

Scammers

After advertising for several months we finally got our first scammer. Luckily I saw the scam a mile away and was able to enjoy toying with the poor sap. It started as most internet/CraigsList scams. We received a horribly written email asking to stay at our house for a week. Unfortunately the dates they selected we’re not available. I was surprised when I received a response back asking me to quote any week. At this point I knew it was a scam however I wanted a scam trophy  So I quoted the scammer the next available week. Within minutes I received a message back asking for my address so they could mail me a check. I gave them my PO Box and Paypal instructions in case they wanted to pay quicker. I received another message indicating they needed a street address in order to ensure the check was received. I informed him that I only had a PO Box. At this point in the scam my wife was irritated by all the messages and wanted me to stop. So I sent a message indicating that I knew it was a scam and I was bored. Surprisingly he responded with a message saying he was trying to protect his image. Soon after that message I added the scammer to my block list.

The following work day I came home to a FedEx package at the door. I order quite a bit from Amazon so I wasn’t terribly surprised to see another package. However inside the package was a check made out to me for $1200 more than the quote I sent the scammer. The front of the check looked incredibly fake. There were no security measures, no color at all, and had obviously been printed at someones house.

Since that encounter I have received several more emails from scammers. What I’ve found is they always ask about a specific date range in the initial email but follow up with something along the lines of any other week. Who plans a vacation around the house they are trying to rent?!

 


Furnishing

Furnishing a vacation rental was an interesting process for us. We started making a list of large items we needed based on what we were leaving at the house when we move. I then budgeted $1000 per room which I knew would be a challenge. Our list included buying 3 bedroom sets, most of the kitchen items, and some decorations. I searched craigslist for several weeks looking for bedroom sets and found someone near by selling a queen bedroom set. After speaking with the owner, Lois, we got lucky and ended finding a vacation rental owner that was selling their entire house.

We walked through each room and made a list of items we wanted to buy. Lois was extremely helpful walking us through her house and what she learned while she had her vacation rental. Here is a list of what we bought and a rough price we paid:

Queen Bedroom set $500
2 Twin Beds $100
Dresser $100
End Table $50
Antique Sewing Machine $100
Antique Painting $100
BBQ $75
Chair $100
Bar Stools $100
Coffee Maker $50
Dishes $100
Pots/Pans $50
Kitchen Accessories $50
Decorations $100

We’re planning to leave our living room furniture, dining room set, and the master bedroom set since it fits the house well. Other than that we bought enough furniture from Lois to fill in 90% of the remaining furniture. We did all of this for nearly $1500 and came under budget by $1500.

Without this find I doubt we would have been able to find everything used on craigslist alone. We would have been forced to buy new items and would have gone over our budget by 3 or 4 times our original estimate.


Introduction

headshotWelcome to the Flagstaff Meadows Retreat owners blog. I decided to start this blog to share my experience as a first time Vacation Rental owner/manager. Let’s start with my a little information about me. My name is Cory and I currently work as a Software Engineer for a medical device manufacture in Northern Arizona. I spent many years reading other blogs, home away community, and countless articles about the industry.

I started researching vacation rentals about 5 years ago. I liked the idea of having a second home with some income coming in but also having the ability to use it when it was empty. Originally I had planned to buy a small condo in Tucson, AZ near the University of Arizona to take advantage of the warm winters, gem show, and spring training. My wife however had other plans.

We ended up deciding to rent our current residence out and moving to another house. Anyone familiar with buying a second home at this point will realize that it is extremely difficult to buy a second home. Currently the requirement is you have to qualify for a new home loan while covering 100% of the current homes mortgage payments. There is a way around this requirement and that is to show 1-2 years of tax returns with a rental property. My wife and I are new to the rental world so this wasn’t an option for us.

Our plan is to rent a house near the school our kids will be going for 18 months until we can show rental income on our tax return. I’ve had many conversations regarding our decision. Most people think we’re crazy to rent our house and then rent someone else’s house. I have to agree from the outside it does sound like an odd decision.

Next on the list of blog entries will be furnishing and then advertising.