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Get Your Vacation Rental Ready For The New Year

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone.

This is the best time to create a list, for yourself (if you live locally) or for your property management company, of all the things to do to get you ready for your rental to run smoothly for the upcoming year.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your short-term rental or vacation rental is in tip-top shape for your guests to enjoy.

Take Inventory and Replace What Is Needed

Bedroom and Bathroom Linens

No one wants to use a stained towel or sleep on worn bedsheets. Good quality linens are very important to your guests and will result in better reviews. Take the time to inspect all your linen supplies and order new linens when your existing linens begin to look worn. We use a fantastic linen supply company with a great reputation. Whenever we need new sheets, towels, or washcloths, we simply contact them and they ship them straight to the rental property! How easy is that?

Consider supplying special makeup washcloths and towels for your guests. This keeps your bath towels and washcloths from getting makeup stains. It also helps your cleaning crew and property manager with a quick turnaround.

Kitchen Items

One advantage for your guests when booking a short-term or vacation rental is having a well swell-stocked kitchen. Just like the bed and bath linens, kitchen items are used often and receive a lot of wear and tear. Don’t forget to inspect your kitchen linens for cooking and food stains.

Be sure to inspect your pots and pans, bakeware, and small kitchen appliances and see what needs to be replaced due to scratches, broken handles, and other wear. Also, take an inventory of your dishes, silverware, cutlery, utensils, and glassware. Refresh what is chipped, cracked, broken, or missing. It is important to offer a full set of each of these items.

Stock-Up On The Amenities That You Provide

The items you'll be replacing most often will be bathroom amenities like soap and toilet paper, and the supplies for your coffee station, including creamer, sugar, coffee, and K-cups. Consider stocking up on these items at a wholesale club like Sam's or Costco. Don't forget -- they can deliver these items to your property, too!

If you provide a welcome gift to your guests, make sure you keep these items stocked as well. Welcome gifts add an extra layer of hospitality, especially since most guests arrive later in the day or evening. We always include a selection of edible items like crackers, popcorn, trail mix, cookies, and water. Other small additions include travel-sized hand lotion, local attraction guides, and a small candle. Not only does this make a great first impression, but it also guarantees great reviews!

Pro-Tip: Assemble several welcome gifts ahead of time for quick and easy turn-over for your property manager or cleaning crew.

Review Your Cleaning Process and Make Any Necessary Updates

Cleaning Supplies

The best insight on your cleaning supplies is from your cleaning crew or property manager. Ask them which products they use and recommend, and keep those items stocked. Ideally, you should take stock quarterly but the first of the year is a perfect time to start the process if you don't do it already!

Add to your cleaning supply list any new products and replace what is needed. Be sure to inventory other items like vacuum bags, HVAC filters, and any other cleaning tools that are needed.

Deep Cleaning

Have your cleaning crew do a very thorough deep cleaning. Be sure to dust baseboards, blinds, ceiling fans, and windows and window sills. Get the carpets and rugs professionally cleaned. Use a power washer to clean your outdoor surfaces and furniture, and refresh your tile grout. We recommend a product like Maipei's Grout Refresh.

Be sure to clean out and deep clean your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, and fireplace. Be sure that these items are cleaned regularly and deep cleaned annually.

Outdoor items such as grills and fire pits (both propane and wood-burning), should be cleaned and serviced regularly. Be sure all grill tools are in good condition and replace them if necessary. Also, ensure that there is a replacement tank available.

Routine Maintenance

Hire A Professional To Service Your Appliances and HVAC

Making sure your HVAC system and appliances are in good working order is critical. No one wants to stay in a rental property and deal with cooling or heating problems or with issues with major kitchen appliances. Do your research for yearly maintenance contracts with local professionals.

Change Your Filters and Batteries

Change your water filters and batteries for appliances like your refrigerator and ice makers. Be sure your smoke detectors have new batteries as well as your TV remotes and any door-locking system that requires batteries. Add these batteries to your list of supplies to have on hand during the year.

Review Your Annual Agreements and Insurance Policies

Property Management Agreement

These agreements are usually yearly. Be sure to make any changes and updates then execute your agreement.

Insurance Liability Agreements

This is usually an annual policy. Speak with your insurance agent and verify that everything is up to date.

Review Your Online Listing

Whether you manage your own property or use a property management company, review your listing and make any updates or deletions to your pictures, descriptions, property, and local amenities. This is a good time to also update your guest book if needed.

Consider Using a Professional Accountant

Accountants are valuable when determining tax deductions and tax rules. Remember, this is a business -- not a hobby -- and maximizing your income and expenses will help you run a successful business.

Plan Your Upcoming Property Upgrades

Think about what would make things easier for everyone. Consider upgrades that would make your property easier to maintain, and provide a better guest experience.

A few enhancements that we highly recommend are keyless entry systems, smart thermostats, irrigation systems, and mosquito-repellent devices.

Be sure to regularly read your listing's reviews and take note of anything that can be improved. Many upgrades are tax deductible, so it may be beneficial to consult with your account or tax advisor to maximize your savings.


If you are exploring investing in a vacation rental property, we can help you maximize your investment and improve your returns! We are experts in the industry of vacation rental design. The experts at Vacation Rental Designers can advise you on where to spend, where to splurge and how to find the right property management company for your needs. We know the keys to a beautiful -- and profitable -- vacation rental property. To schedule a consultation, call us at (281) 547-8276, message us through our website, or send an email to

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