How Can You Benefit From Guest Ready Inspections?

Owning and caring for a vacation rental property is a large investment in time and resources. That’s why smart property owners invest in some form of property management arrangement to oversee care of the property between guests. But, are you getting the most effective care for your investment with simple housekeeping and key services? How could you benefit from guest ready inspections for your vacation properties?

What is a Guest Ready Inspection?

Guest ready inspections are the premier level of property management service. The inspection is designed to ensure that your property is handled with the utmost care. Between guests, the inspection guarantees property security, cleaning, maintenance, functionality, and staging are all completed in a timely and satisfactory manner. Here’s how it works:

Within 24 hours after guests check out, a member of your local BBO management team drops by the property for a quick walk-through to check for any obvious problems, deficiencies, or damage. After this preliminary check, housekeeping is summoned to complete the between-guest cleaning checklist for your particular property.

After housekeeping is completed, a member of your local BBO management team performs a thorough guest ready inspection that consists of the following:

  • Ensure adequate cleaning has been performed according to the owner’s housekeeping checklist
  • Inspect for damages and missing items, following the owner’s property/items cataloging
  • Check safety/security measures, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, windows, are operational and locks are re-keyed (if part of the between-guest setup plans established by the owner)
  • Light staging following owner’s staging notes as a guide
  • Ensure wifi, lights, sound system, televisions, TV remotes, hot tub, gaming systems, etc. are fully functional with adequate batteries in all remotes
  • Provide documented inspection notes including any necessary photos and cataloging that is automatically sent to the property owner

This comprehensive report, complete with necessary photographs, provides important documentation concerning the care of your property and any deficiencies that need to be addressed. When guest ready inspections are completed, your vacation property is ready for new guests to enjoy.

How Can Guest Ready Inspections Help Me?

If you wonder why such an extensive service is necessary, consider how things work without such an inspection. Property management and housekeeping often become unequal partners in completing only a few of the items on the above inspection list. Too often, housekeeping is asked or expected to handle property management duties (“Could you check the lights….etc.”). These extra duties fall outside their normal scope of service and are unfair.

Moreover, housekeeping is not accustomed to billing for such extra services, therefore they handle issues for which they are not compensated. This leads to unhappy cleaning services and incomplete property and staging. Cleaning services are not happy, property management isn’t happy, and property owners end up with lower guest ratings from items left undone.

A guest ready inspection between every new guest ensures that every item is fully ready for every guest. Nothing is overlooked and every detail is in order. In addition, your property is cared for, cataloged, and regularly inspected to minimize damages and loss.

While between-guest housekeeping and regular deep cleaning are important investments in the care of your property, guest ready inspections represent the top tier of vacation rental investment maintenance. Guest ready inspections are the most important service we offer, and although each come at a slight additional cost, the long-term value investment into your property is incalculable.

BBO – Your Property Management Team

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your guests will enjoy a fully cleaned and prepared vacation rental and your property investment is protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area, including guest ready inspections.


BBO Property Management vs. Traditional Property Management

With all the options available today in vacation property management, you may assume that all management companies are the same. If so, you would be wrong. Book by Owner is a pioneer in professional property management and guest services. Our promise, “You book the guest, we do the rest” accurately describes our service to you.

What makes BBO property management different from traditional property management? There are several vital advantages to having BBO as your property management team. Let’s explore a bit about each one.

Fee-based Service

Book by Owner pioneered fee-based resort property management and continues to lead the industry. We provide professional, reliable management services to you and your guests 24/7/365 without the steep commission costs of traditional property management programs. This fee remains the same, no matter how many bookings you have.

We provide:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • 24/7 guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installation and programming of keyless entry locks
  • Secure access for guests and service partners

No surprise costs and no percentage commissions. Ever.

24-7-365 Property Management

One of the main concerns of guests who book vacation rental properties is whether or not there will be an emergency contact available if something goes wrong. BBO is available 24/7/365 to assist your guests before their arrival, during their stay, and even after they depart. And we mean 365 days of the year, even on weekends and holidays.

We’ll take that call when guests or service partners:

  • Can’t log into the wifi
  • Can’t find the light switch to the hot-tub area
  • Need access or have questions
  • Arrival plans change
  • Need directions
  • Want local recommendations
  • Have a complaint

Local Franchise Owners

Our local offices are owned and operated by a local franchisee who has a vested interest in providing excellent guest services and property management. These local entrepreneurs are our front-line personnel to handle guests and service partners alike. Other national companies have quickly realized how difficult it is to hire and retain local managers — we are local business owners; so we can adapt to the unique needs of each town.

These are the folks who show up when you need a real person to handle:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • Complete guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installing and programming keyless entry locks
  • Providing secure access for guests and service partners

In addition, our innovative access control solutions and web-based property inspection system will instantly update you on the condition and security of your property.

Corporate Support

BBO is also available 24/7/365 to assist our franchise owners. In addition to being your ever-ready partner, we also provide regular updates from the vacation rental industry to keep you informed on the newest advances in technology, latest marketing strategies, and vacation rental best practices.

We provide:

  • Exclusive Territory
  • Low Cost to Enter
  • Low Overhead
  • Year-round, Recurring Revenue
  • Training & Support
  • Proven Processes & Proprietary Software
  • National Partners, Suppliers, and Advertising
  • Additional Income Streams
  • Exit Strategy (When you’re ready to sell your business)

BBO Property Management – The Right Solution for You

Enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a local, professional partner caring for your home and your guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing on all the services available in your resort area. Interested in opening your own BBO location? Visit our franchising page for more information.


Great Property Management – Even on Christmas Day

It’s Christmas Day and your vacation rental is filled with a large, happy family celebrating the holiday together. After numerous conversations, cooking a vast meal, and plenty of coffee and holiday drinks, some guests decide to try out a new gift – a cappuccino machine. Upon plugging in the machine and turning it on, the unexpected happens – several other electrical devices suddenly die, including some lights. The property management arrangements you have in place will now prove their value or utterly fail. Which will it be?

DIY Vacation Rental Management

There are some property owners who choose to manage all their property management issues themselves. Cleanings between guests, lawn care, pool and hot tub care, routine maintenance, dealing with clients, and any emergency phone calls are all handled by the owners. This can work for property owners who perhaps own several properties in the same locale, and live nearby. All their time can be devoted to managing and maintaining their vacation rental homes.

Unfortunately, most property owners do not live close to their properties. And those who do may not have all the equipment, essential tools, or skills to perform their own maintenance. Or the time to do so. And who wants to be bothered with emergencies late at night, on weekends, or on major holidays?

Common Property Management Services

Other vacation property owners choose to contract management services with a property management firm. Most of these firms handle common rental property tasks like cleaning, routine maintenance, lawn care, and dealing with emergencies for a percentage of the overall property rental fee. This is great for property owners who live some distance away and cannot handle these chores themselves, but it is quite expensive, often 30 – 50 percent of the rental income.  

Reliable Guest Services from BBO

With Book by Owner as your property management service, you get great vacation rental property management on weekends and throughout the holidays, even if issues arise on Christmas or New Year’s Day. BBO guarantees professional, reliable management services available to you and your guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, all for a set monthly fee and without the costly commissions of other property management firms.

In the scenario at the beginning of this article, the local BBO franchisee was a simple phone call away and was able to guide a guest to the main electrical box and walk them through the steps of resetting a breaker to restore power to the outlets and lights in question. They were also able to advise the guest on the best place to plug in their new machine in order to not overload a particular electrical circuit.

BBO’s prompt and efficient service was appreciated by the guests and was reflected in the guest review. How would that emergency have been handled under your current vacation property management arrangement? For more information about our 24/7/365 quality property management services, contact BBO online or call us at 877-218-0139.


Top 5 Things to Prepare Your Vacation Rental Property for the Season

Seasonal changes are great opportunities for updates, upgrades, and regular maintenance on your vacation rental property. After all, effective property management means maintaining a top-level property that attracts and satisfies clients all through the year. But what exactly is needed to adequately prepare rental property for the season? Here’s a handy checklist of items that should and must be done to prepare your rental property for seasonal changes.

Repair and Maintenance Projects

Regular repair and maintenance are key to maintaining a well-ordered and attractive rental property. Steady use contributes to eventual wear and breakage, not to mention the occasional accident. Quarterly seasonal checkups can reveal loose towel racks, leaky faucets, and worn traffic areas that need touch-up painting. Sticky or loose doors need fixed, as well as stiff or faulty locks. A quick, professional inspection between guests will find issues that need immediate attention, but can also just note items that could be addressed when more time allows.   

Larger items should also be inspected for wear or breakage, such as loose joints or trim on furniture, or loose or broken fixtures. Loose boards or railing should be repaired, and any nails or fasteners sticking up or otherwise presenting a safety hazard should be repaired. Check all light fixtures for loose or visible wiring and replace any blown light bulbs. Loose carpet or rugs should be secured to prevent falls, as well as loose or broken steps or decking.

Boiler / HVAC / Fireplace Service

Seasonal changes usually mean an increase in heating or air conditioning usage. Schedule a service professional to check and provide any necessary maintenance or updates to your boiler / HVAC equipment at least quarterly. Regular cleaning and checkups prevent most serious issues from happening by surprise, and saves larger, emergency repair costs at inopportune times. In some areas boilers must be inspected by a licensed professional each year, but it is still the responsibility of the Owner (or their Manager) to arrange the service and provide access to the home.

If your rental property has a functioning fireplace, have it checked and cleaned at least before each cold weather season, if not more often. Professional service can check for proper ventilation, safe sealing, and note any small issues that can be repaired for less cost than major repairs. If your property has a gas fireplace, seasonal checks to ensure proper ventilation is a must. Fireplaces can be a great amenity, or a great liability, depending on the care you provide for them.

It’s a good idea to check all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors twice each year.  It is recommended to change batteries when clocks are changed for daylight-savings.

Deep Cleaning

Regular traffic and use accumulates dirt and grime. Quick cleanings between renters is a good practice, but a seasonal deep cleaning is a must to keep properties looking fresh and new. Carpet is probably the most used item in any property, and one of the quickest to show dirt and wear. Quarterly or bi-annual professional carpet cleaning will keep them looking and feeling plush and new. Furniture and fixtures also need regular cleaning and polishing to maintain their new appearance and to extend their useful lifetime.

Little things matter in a rental property, especially if they are notably clean. Window sills, trim, door frames, cabinets, appliances, electronics, and entertainment equipment all attract their share of dust and dirt. Regular attention to these and other hot spots tell clients you are serious about providing them a clean, safe, and exceptional vacation home away from home.

Deck / Porch Staining or Painting

Decks and porches must withstand the wear and tear of the elements as well as regular use by clientele. Consequently, they may show wear and need more than what would be considered normal upkeep. Keep them looking new to ensure the first impression of your property – that you only get one chance to make – is always positive and inviting.

Regular coatings with weather- and wear-resistant stain or paint can protect your investment while keeping porches and decks attractive. Heavy traffic also shows on these areas, so regular maintenance is a must to keep a fresh, new look for guests. While doing this yourself is possible, coating professionals have the equipment and experience to handle this chore in a snap.

Inventory Property

Items break, become worn, get knocked about, or just walk away in the rental property business. It’s a fact. A seasonal inventory of items inside and outside the property allows you to keep track of what is being used and what needs replacement. Keep a checklist of all kitchen, bathroom, game room, poolside, and other amenities, as well as the furniture and items in each room.

Restock broken or worn plates, glasses, cups, cooking utensils, and worn or inoperative appliances. Game or entertainment systems require functional accessories with fresh batteries. Bedding, linens, and towels should be replaced when missing or at the first sign of overuse. Worn or damaged furniture or other items should be repaired or replaced as needed. Any missing items should be accounted for, and retrieved or replaced.

Property Management is a Big Job!

What are some other items needing attention to prepare your rental property for the season? An experienced and professional property management company like Book by Owner (BBO) can assist you with creating a list for your property and getting the help you need. After all, the joy of owning a vacation rental property is providing a first-class experience for clients and earning a steady residual income, not becoming overwhelmed with details. That’s where a property management service can be your best asset. Let BBO take the planning and execution of your seasonal property checklist off your mind. Call 970.305.3166 or go online for a quote today.

5 Tips for Staging a Rental Property

Your rental property benefits no one when sitting empty. Renting your property quickly and in advance requires certain important factors, and among the most vital is staging. Property staging involves making a positive and powerful first impression. Ideally, you want to show prospective tenants a clean, attractive, desirable home that is better than other local or comparable properties. Effective property staging can lead to full bookings and steady rental income.

5 Tips for Effective Property Staging

Property owners and managers all have their own opinions regarding the best ways to stage a property. Out of all the favorite touches and mods we have encountered, the following are the top 5 tips to stage your rental property for steady return bookings.

  • Highlight Bathrooms and Kitchens

Make sure bathrooms and kitchens appear full and luxurious. These are generally the most heavily-used rooms in any home, and the same is true of rental properties. All bathrooms and kitchens should be well lit and clean. Counter tops should be free of clutter, but include some staged items to suggest ways tenants could use the space. White bathroom towels contrast nicely with furnishings and project an aura of cleanliness. Provide matching hand towels in the kitchen and consider seasonal place settings at the kitchen or dining room table. Tables and chairs should be durable, easy to clean, and in good taste.

  • Pay Attention to the Surroundings

The surroundings of your property should dictate your decor. Seaside dwellings should reflect a sailing, oceanside motif. Mountainous settings should be rustic, homey, and focus on the panorama of nature’s surrounding beauty. If your property is located near a local lake or attraction, be sure to highlight that fact in your staging items and amenities. Renters most often choose a getaway location first, then seek out a suitable rental. If your property identifies in a pleasing way with the local ambiance and attractions, it will stand out among all the choices available.

  • Allow Staging to Match the Seasons

Paying attention to the seasons when property staging is an important step that is too often overlooked. Seasonal decor helps your property blend into its natural surroundings and gives it a homey, welcoming feeling. Most people shuffle their home decorating to reflect seasonal changes, so doing the same with your rental property adds that extra touch of attractiveness. In addition, refer to the above in conjunction with this tip. The seasons are reflected differently in different surroundings.

  • Attractive, Durable, and Comfortable Bedding

Rest and relaxation are prime reasons for any getaway, and attractive, comfortable bedding is essential. Use attractive linens and pillows to create an inviting atmosphere. If at all possible, provide excellent mattresses and bed frames. Convenient end tables should match the room and be sturdy and usable.  Additionally, an extra set of bedding in the closet is always a good way to demonstrate that you want renters to have everything they need for a great stay. A good night’s rest can often be the difference between a one-time renter and a repeat client. If you must skimp anywhere, don’t let it be in the bedroom.

  • Showcase Special Amenities

Amenities provide that special hook that can attract a steady stream of renters. Consequently, you should showcase any special features of your property. Pools, spas, game rooms, a food caddy, home entertainment systems and the like should demand special attention. Such areas should appear pleasant, functional, and uncluttered. Consider special small extras to accompany such perks, like game equipment, comfy chairs, swim toys or inflatables, and the like. Furnishings should be usable, durable, and tastefully arranged for optimum use of the space.

Here’s an Extra Tip: Don’t use personal items of great sentimental value in your property staging. Accidents can happen and things get broken. Or even stolen. Fewer items means fewer things to list and check after each rental. The same goes for very expensive items. Personal items and pictures should also be eliminated. You want renters to feel at home, but not as if they are intruding on your home.

Property staging is not necessarily a cheap endeavor, but a few hundred dollars on the front end could mean extra thousands in continued and repeat rentals. To ensure the best result, contract with a property management company like Book By Owner (BBO). We have the experience and understanding to properly stage your property and maximize your ability to rent at a premium price. Call 970.305.3166 or contact us online today.

Top Keyless Entry Locks! (What to look for in a lock?)


Top Keyless Entry Locks! (What to look for in a lock?)

Keyless entry locks, or “smart locks,” are an easy way to increase the security of your home or rental property. Allow access for a service technician without leaving instructions for a hidden key. Use changing codes or passkeys to allow rental guests limited-time access. Allow family or friends into your home to feed the fish or check the pipes. And, no more fumbling for keys while standing in the rain or cold. Some smart locks can sense your approach and immediately grant you access.

How Do Smart Locks Work?

Smart locks allow users access via a variety of methods or combinations of methods. Some options interact with your home’s security system through your home WiFi network. Lock your home via phone app from your bed or even over the internet while on vacation. Other options use programmable passcodes to grant access. Only approved users possess the passcode to gain access. Some options operate via Bluetooth connection through a software application on a smart device such as a cell phone or tablet. When authorized users approach, the signal from their smart device or key fob activates the lock, granting access.

Each type of smart lock has its own application that allows the user to control various options. These can range from simple programmable keypads to biometric sensors to granting access to specific people at specific times and days. Some can even monitor who comes and goes from the home during specific times.

Why Should I Consider Installing a Keyless Entry Lock?

The most compelling reason for installing keyless entry locks is improved security. No more worry about thieves “jimmying” the pins in a traditional keyed lock to gain silent entry to your home or property. Most smart locks don’t use keys; and the options that do allow a traditional key for entry are not easily defeated like traditional locks.

Moreover, double-sided keyless entry locks prevent access from both directions except for authorized users. This gives property managers an extra layer of security for access to swimming pools, busy streets, or other dangerous areas without proper supervision.

Another reason for installing keyless entry locks is convenient control of access. Because keyless locks use a pin code or digital passkey, codes can be changed online or at the lock itself and can even be programmed for a set time limit. No more meeting to switch keys with incoming or outgoing guests, or to grant access to contractors or service personnel.

Yet another reason to install keyless smart locks on your home or property is that it prevents annoying lock-outs. No more losing or forgetting keys. Family members or guests gain access via a simple security code. Property managers can grant access remotely if guests forget the access code.

Buyer Beware:

Keyless locks are a great idea, however you still need to do your own research and exercise caution. All locks have issues  that you need to take into consideration.

  • Some HOAs do not allow keyless entries because they want to control access through “old-school” metal keys.
  • Some locks are not good in wet, cold or seacoast environments.
  • Some locks have buttons that stick.
  • Some locks have monthly access web user fees.
  • Some codes are very long which create user errors.
  • Some systems don’t allow specific dates and times for over 30 days.
  • Some suppliers have long lead times and hard-to-find parts.
  • Some locks don’t hold up well to heavy usage.
  • Some locks consume batteries quickly and can leave a guest locked out.

We recommend you contact an expert such as a resort management company like us, Book By Owner (BBO), to help you decide. They have years of insight and experience dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly of locks. Just click the following link to email them: “Help save me from making a bad lock decision.”

What are some of the top keyless entry locks on the market?

  1. One of the top smart locks is a programmable model that also provides access monitoring like the RemoteLock 6i Mortise with WiFi from LockState. Lock or unlock your door remotely over the internet and receive text alerts when access codes are used. Know who enters your property and when. New codes can be created and issued or deleted from your computer or phone and you can even create temporary codes for guests. This model works with Airbnb Host Assist to automatically generate guest codes.
  2. The Yale Z-Wave Real Living Electronic Touch Screen Deadbolt is a great example of a model that allows great flexibility with traditional keyed, keypad, WiFi, or mesh network access options. The lock holds up to 250 user-generated codes and also allows keyed access. Activate with the touchpad or via smart devices. This model also integrates with a number of home automation and home security systems.
  3. The Samsung Digital Door Lock is a good mid-range smart lock that offers increased security and ease of access and affordability. It can be unlocked with a passcode, RF card, fingerprint (with the top tier model), smart tag, or a conventional key. For added security, users can select two options (passcode plus fingerprint authentication) for access. The door locks automatically when users leave.
  4. Our fourth pick is a remote keyless entry lock that looks like a traditional keyed deadbolt. The Kwikset Kevo uses both Bluetooth and RFID technology so users can gain access to home or property with a smartphone or keyfob. This model is iOS and Android compatible and no internet access is required. Users can create and share an unlimited number of guest ekeys.
  5. A basic keyless entry system like the Lockitron Bolt fits over the existing deadbolt lock behind your door, making it simple to install. The lock can be opened by signal from an authorized smartphone. Additional options can be added to integrate WiFi access. This is perhaps the simplest and most affordable option to upgrade your basic deadbolt lock to keyless entry.

Locks are a big decision and can cause a major headache with the wrong selection. BBO would be happy to provide you advice to ensure you’re making the right choice. Reach out to BBO before you make this important decision.

Smart Home Technology: Worth the Investment?

Smart home technology is convenient and undeniably cool – but is it worth the investment?

While for some, futuristic homes conjure images of George Jetson, for others integrating smart technology into the home just makes sense in light of current trends.

For owners of rental and/or resort properties, smart home technology offers some unique benefits. By and large, most property owners live an inconvenient distance away from their property location. Therefore, the ability to maintain hands-on control of access and other features make smart technology extremely attractive.  

Pros and Cons of Smart Home Technology

Home automation and smart technology contribute mightily to a home’s convenience, security, and comfort. Here are some positive and negative aspects of home automation and smart technology:


  • Save Money – Smart homes on average are 30% cheaper to operate than conventional homes. This is realized savings due to better water, temperature, and lighting management.
  • Easy to Use – Smart technology is designed with the end-user in mind. Systems are simple to understand and use. No special training or manuals are required.
  • Convenience – Self-managing appliances, automated lighting, and integrated sound help make life easy. Time saved from small things adds up and allows more time for more valuable pursuits or added relaxation.
  • Security – Door sensors can immediately inform you if a door is opened while no one is home. Keyless entry systems allow for greater security when properties are placed with vacation rental management companies. Some systems can alert you to visitors at the door and you can even speak with them remotely.


  • Expense – Smart technology is more expensive than conventional options, from replacement parts to installation costs.
  • Reliability – Electronic signals can sometimes confuse your smart home systems. Hardwired systems are more reliable, but they are very costly.
  • Online vulnerability –  Smart home technology is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Systems can be hacked, passwords stolen, and control lost.

What are the Costs of Smart Home Technology?

Most home automation experts estimate the cost of smart home technology to fall between 1-5% of the total price of the home. Obviously, systems can cost substantially more or quite less, depending on the options chosen. No two smart homes are alike. Different property owners have different needs and preferences.

While most homeowners and property owners can install plug-in systems, professional installations, as in the case of hard-wired systems, average $85 per hour. Hard-wired systems are more difficult to hack and are more reliable, but require a battery backup.Wireless systems are cheaper and easy to install, but if you lose network service, access is lost.

Here are some common costs associated with smart technology installation:

  • Lighting or door lock controls – $40-$500
  • Wireless network systems – $300-$500
  • Cloud automation – $150-$300
  • Monthly service fees – $35-$75 per month
  • Activation fees – $200-$500 (including equipment)
  • Hard-wired installation – $3000-$15,000 (depending on equipment)

Smart Home Technology and Property Management

For resort property owners, protecting your rental property with smart technology can be a wise investment. Existing properties can be upgraded with smart technology to add security and added amenities while new properties can feature smart systems integrated throughout. As with any investment, the benefits must be considered in light of the cost.  

Here are some suggested areas of focus to benefit rental properties:

  1. Smart Lighting – This is a more easily installed option, even on older properties, and provides added security and energy savings. Settings can be controlled wirelessly or by motion sensor, or a combination of both. Estimated cost: $50-$300.
  2. Smart Thermostats – Increase energy savings and comfort by keeping temperatures at an optimal, reasonable temperature, both when the property is occupied or unoccupied. Estimated cost: $50-$250.
  3. Smart Security Systems –  These systems can include everything from security cameras that can be viewed remotely to automated lighting, automated secure entry, and alarms. Some property management companies require a keyless entry system for each property they manage. It is seen as one of the biggest returns on investment based on your time and money. Estimated cost: $200-$600.
  4. Smart Tech – Smart TVs and integrated sound may not save money but the added amenities can help earn some. Also, smart appliances can save on water and electricity as well as adjust power levels to usage patterns or owner programming. Estimated cost: $500-$5000 (depending on appliance choices).