Managing your own seasonal rental can be quite rewarding and profitable. Understanding the best and most trusted methods of financial transactions will improve your business and reduce risk. With clear and concise policies for payment your snowbird renters will appreciate the transparency. Just showing empathy toward the stresses of finding the perfect seasonal rental will go a long way in establishing good rapport.
Even before you accept money transactions be sure to send them a copy of all your terms and contracts for them to review. If possible have them sign and return the rental agreement checklist at least 2 weeks prior to their arrival. Be sure to keep these records organized for future reference.
Once your seasonal renters understand your seasonal rental management policies you can begin accepting payments. The following list explains the most common and effective ways to accept rent.
1. Personal checks may be accepted. They are a good method because you can trace the check back to the tenants address to make sure it corresponds with where they said they were from. When accepting payment from a personal check be sure to receive it two weeks prior to the guest’s arrival. This will allow time for the check to clear.
2. Credit card payments are the most popular payment method among vacationers. Seasonal property managers can easily accept payment from credit cards by setting up a merchant account at www.paypal.com. This service is secure and instant. You can process payments, refunds, and bank transfers for just a small percentage fee. Accepting credit cards will add legitimacy to your business and it will enable you to do business with foreign markets.
3. Bank to bank wire transfers are another method to receive money for your seasonal rental. Transferring money this way requires you to give the potential tenant your bank account and routing number. This method is traceable since you are working through banks, but the process is time consuming and thus not the ideal option.
Payment methods to avoid:
1. Untraceable wire transfers should be avoided because it lacks the security of bank transactions. Using western Union and other services may lead to fraud.
2. Cash should not be accepted through the mail as a form of securing the rental because anyone could open the envelope and the loss would be untraceable. Cash may be accepted of course if you are able to meet in person to show the rental.
3. Cashier’s checks and money orders are not the best way to accept money for rent. The process of acquiring a money order is a hassle for potential seasonal renters and this form of payment is often used by scammers.
These tips for accepting payment will make your business easier to run and more convenient for your snowbird guests. For more seasonal rental management tips read our next article How to Set Pricing Rates for Your Seasonal Rental Home.