Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine

Vacation Rental Maintenance Checklist

May 17, 2017 | Comment

Every spring break, while Virginia is bursting into bloom and people are getting out their shorts, we pile into the car with boxes of supplies and luggage and start the 12 hour drive to Maine. When we get there, it’s often raining and there’s almost always snow on the ground. It’s not exactly the average person’s dream spring break getaway, but it’s our chance to do vacation rental maintenance on our home, which has seen many guests since our last visit at the end of the previous summer.

Why do we insist on spending a week at our vacation rental each  year during what is commonly referred to as “Mud Season?”

Well, beyond the fact that we love seeing friends we’ve missed since August and visiting restaurants we haven’t gotten to eat in since last summer, there’s checking up on our house. While we certainly could hire our wonderful cleaning service to do a deep cleaning, there are some things only the owner can really take care of. Namely, you’ve got to walk in with the eyes of someone who left the house months before, and start spotting things that are not quite right.

Grout gets dirty.

Silverware goes  missing.

People manage to splash unidentifiable substances above the kitchen cabinets.

Railings need repainting and stair risers need magic erasers.

Tables need resealing.

Our cleaning service is wonderful, but it’s important to understand that turnover service is its own animal. The focus each time is on a set of routine tasks that involve basic cleaning and often has to be completed very quickly, such as dusting, mopping, and bed-making. We’re lucky, because our cleaning service will even problem solve if we have burnt-out bulbs or unusual stains or scents in the house. These folks are truly the reason we are able to succeed in every season.

Consider, though, that if you do not live nearby, your cleaning service sees the house even more consistently than you do – even more than once a week in busy rental periods. Even with a keen eye, they may not notice a gradual darkening of floor grout or a slow disappearance of small spoons from the silverware drawer. They are not authorized to replace scratched nonstick pans. It’s just not their job to do any of this unless you specifically ask them (and pay them) to do it. Vacation rental maintenance is your job, even if it means that you take the care to delegate it to someone else.

If you want your vacation rental to appear fresh and bright to each new guest, you have to care for these pesky details, because wear and tear and the general dulling of your shiny house add up. We believe that taking the trouble to maintain these details makes the difference between an acceptable guest experience and a great one.

Here’s a starter list of vacation rental maintenance items to check on each Spring. You’ll want to add your own!

Vacation Rental Maintenance Check

Vacation rental maintenance means clean stairs
  • Stairs are painted (if applicable) and in good condition
  • Baseboards are clear of any dusty accumulations
  • Mat inside the door is in good condition
  • Walls are free of scuff marks and mysterious stains
  • Windows are reasonably clean inside and out
  • Curtains are not dusty
  • Light bulbs all work and extras are restocked and readily available
  • Batteries in door lock (if applicable) and smoke detectors are fresh
  • Grout is clean in tiled rooms
  • Areas under beds and sofas and in corners of closets are vacuumed and dust-free

Kitchen Maintenance

  • Silverware is abundant (weirdly, small spoons really vanish) and rust-free
  • Wine glasses are abundant (these are the first to break)
  • Dish soap and sponges are restocked for guest use
  • Dishwasher is clean inside
  • Cabinets are wiped  out
    Vacation rental maintenance means resealing tables

    Our favorite table seal: Bulls Eye Shellac

  • Cookware is in good condition (pans often need replacing)
  • Dishes and cups are all organized well in the cabinets (these tend to move)
  • Shelf-stable goods in the cabinet are unexpired and useful

Furniture Maintenance

Entertainment Items

Vacation Rental Maintenance

Don’t you hate it when someone doesn’t return your hammer? Get those toys organized!

  • Toys are organized and clean in toy chests
  • Toy containers are clean and vacuumed
  • Loose puzzle pieces are returned to their boxes
  • Books and games are stacked in correct places

Linen Care

  • Mattress pads and pillows are thoroughly washed
  • Guest bedding is checked for holes and tears and replaced as needed
  • Towels and wash cloths with tatty edges and stains are discarded
  • Washer and dryer are wiped out (those corners can get cruddy!)

Guest Information Center

  • Guest welcome book is up to date and accurate
  • Stand with menus and brochures is cleaned out and organized

Vacation rental maintenance includes washing pillow coversEvery year, our vacation rental maintenance week flies by and we find that there are a few outstanding items we can’t quite finish, but a lot of refreshing happens in those seven days, and we once again say “we really can’t skip coming in the spring.”
So what if you can’t do this yourself one year…or every year? My recommendation is simply to hire your cleaning service and/or caretaker to cover this list for you. Give them the time to check on these items and they’ll approach the house with fresh eyes, no doubt!

One of these days, we’re going somewhere tropical for spring break. Just…maybe not next year. We’ll be headed to Maine with a fresh supply of small spoons and wine glasses!

For more helpful ideas about making your vacation rental both beautiful and easy to maintain, check out our posts on Furnishing and Decorating your vacation rental.

To see more of what we do each April and during our summer visits, follow us on Instagram!

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