How to Upgrade Your Second Home to Maximize ROI

Taking steps to enhance your second home can lead to a long list of benefits. In addition to increasing the value of the place, guests will likely appreciate the touches and leave great reviews. Furthermore, offering these extra accommodations may allow you to charge a higher rate for your place.

When deciding where to start, you’ll want to consider both comfort and cost. “I try to create a home away from home,” explains Rochelle Peachey of I Love Your Accent, who has upgraded her vacation rental in Florida. “There’s nothing better than when someone speaks highly of you and is a repeat guest.”

Follow these strategies to boost the overall value of your home, delight guests, and increase the rental rate.

  1. Upgrade your outdoor living space.

When asked which features motivated them to book a vacation home, 82 percent of travelers responded that stunning views were a key attraction, according to TripAdvisor’s 2016 Vacation Rental Survey. A private pool, outdoor grill and hot tub were also among the top five responses.

Adding a deck can give visitors a place to take in the scenery and relax outdoors. If your place already has a deck, you’ll want to have it cleaned and restained each year. To further enhance the area, consider adding a gazebo, outdoor kitchen, custom roof, or extra lighting for evening entertainment.

  1. Make Wi-Fi a breeze.

If the Internet connection to your place tends to be slow, check options available to upgrade the Wi-Fi.

While a slow Internet connection can potentially lead to poor reviews, having a fast, continuous connection will likely leave an impression with visitors. You’ll also be able to mention this feature when renting the space and attract guests who want to stay connected to family and friends during their stay. A smooth connection will appeal to business travelers as well.

  1. Revamp the kitchen.

A minor kitchen remodel has a high ROI, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.

“Upgrading to a gourmet’s delight restaurant-style kitchen is a sure-fire way to ensure your vacation rental remains full – even if the guests aren’t big on cooking they’ll appreciate the aesthetics,” explains luxury design expert Charmaine Wynter.  

Start by repainting or replacing cabinets and making sure countertops are in top-notch condition.

Then, to take the room up a level, consider creating a large wall of windows. Guests will be able to enjoy the view while cooking or dining.

For extra perks, think about putting in dual fuel appliances such as a gas convection oven and adding a built-in fridge. Making a walk-in pantry that has plenty of space to showcase dry goods can serve as a mini market to visitors and be eye-appealing as well.

  1. Add spa-like features to the bathroom.

A bathroom remodel can bring a return of 65.7 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine.

To entice guests and create a new level of comfort, consider putting in a spa bath, suggests Wynter. This could involve a simple bath and shower system with a rain head, hand-held shower and four body jets. If you’re looking for a high-end project, try a shower system complete with a sauna, steam room and hot tub.

While guests will likely notice this addition and comment on it, you may also be able to increase the nightly rate, since it will allow visitors the chance to enjoy resort-like amenities during their stay.

  1. Include luxe touches.

“I added a Nespresso machine to our vacation rental in Florida,” notes Peachey. “People love it – we have had so many positive comments about it.”

Peachey also invested in top quality pillows. “Guests say they are amazing and like what you get at a 5-star hotel,” she explains.

Dimmer switches, new lamps, high-end soaps, and thick towels are additional details that can have an ample return when it comes to guests’ satisfaction.

If you want to replace furniture, “get the most solid furnishings you can find,” advises artist and designer Pablo Solomon. “While delicate antiques and mid-century modern show pieces are great, guests can be rough on your stuff.”

For couches, look for stain resistant fabrics and high quality cushions. When it comes to beds, think about the home’s design. If you cater to families with children, you might opt to invest in bunk beds or sturdy single beds in some bedrooms. Adults will likely appreciate queen and king-sized beds in their rooms.

As you make changes, avoid trends in design that may change quickly. Thinking about what you like to have, and making it available, can lead to guests who return again and again to enjoy the comforts they find at your place.


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