Facts for Vacation Home Owners

How do we know if our home qualifies for the rental program?
We would arrange for a meeting at the property.  Then we would ask you a few questions of what your needs are and goals or outcome you are looking for. If everything is within our system, we will start the process to have the property ready and advertised for the rental program very quickly. 
Does my home need to be of a certain quality or size?
To some degree, yes. While VHMAzores does not work only with luxury properties, we do focus on good quality family homes in the desirable locations. This could be a high-end studio apartment, or it could be a home like most of us lives in. We will look at every home and let you know if we feel it will make a good rental. Contact us to check if your home is qualified.

How Long Have You Been Involved in the Local Vacation Property Market?
When you consider a property manager or rental management services your first question should address their knowledge of the local market. VHMAzores had purchased and manage several years in the long term market in Canada. In 2005, we started research in the Azores vacation home market and by 2006 we had purchased a large property prepared with holiday houses for the tourist coming to Sao Miguel. We have been managing private home owner´s properties since 2008.
What does Vacation Home Management do for owners?
We manage every aspect of keeping your vacation rental booked and ready for guests and owners to enjoy. Our goal is to enable you to make the most revenue from your rental without having to do any of the busy work involved with managing it. That means we do everything from taking photos, writing descriptions, and marketing it to potential guests as well as managing logistics like reservations, payments, check-in and check- out, housekeeping, light upkeep, and dispatching emergency maintenance. We can also manage handymen for regular maintenance, improvements, and emergencies. We make sure home owners can sleep well at night knowing their rental is being taken care of and generating the most revenue possible.
Will we as owners be able to stay at the property for our vacation?
Yes most definitely.  However, if your goal is to maximize sales, our recommendation is to utilize the property during the low season.
Do I have to commit to a certain amount of availability?
No, however we do require that all homes that wish to use VHMAzores are year-round rentals. There is no problem with an owner, friends or family using a rental for couple weeks at a time, however if you plan to only make it available occasionally then your home probably is not right for our program. We also reserve the right to cancel a homeowner agreement if the home is predominantly unavailable for bookings.

How easy is it to get started?
Getting started is easy and risk-free. We can activate homes that are existing vacation rentals as quickly if everything is ready to go. Normal activation includes shooting new photos, putting together detailed listings, setting pricing, activating advertising on the main internet channels and beginning to take reservations - all in as little as a few weeks! This can take longer given a home owner's schedule, or if a home is in the process of being converted from a residence or long-term rental.
Can you help me convert to a vacation rental?
Yes, we will help in any way we can. If necessary, we can arrange and purchase items for decorating the rental or give you direction to how to do the licensing process, meet with construction workers, etc.

Is there anything I am required to have at my home?
Yes there is! Guests expect a fully-functioning home when they arrive complete with furniture, appliances, cookware, glasses, silverware, internet, TV, etc. as well as a standard supply of bed linens, bath and hand towels and typical consumables like light-bulbs and batteries. We will work with you to make sure that you have everything in place. Internet connections are required at every home. Nicely decorated homes tend to command higher rentals and we always encourage owners to have a home that shows well. A good test of whether or not you need to have something in your rental is to put yourself in a guest’s shoes… If you were staying somewhere for a week long period of time, what would you expect to have in that rental home… that is what we aim to provide to guests for their stay.

How do you set pricing for my rental?
Owners often ask how pricing is set for each rental, and why the "Total Rent" amount on booking notification emails sometimes looks a little strange. First, we set an initial price for each unit for each day of week, and time of the year.  Low, mid and high seasons are set as initial prices based on factors like characteristics of the home (size, amenities, location, recent remodels, etc.). Once in the program, we watch the performance of your unit and make frequent pricing adjustments.  No pricing is ever set perfectly the first time - the key is to monitor and adjust pricing up or down based on actual market demand. This is where VHMAzores excels - we monitor rates of your rental at initial pricing and adjust up or down according to how well the rental is booking. It is an ongoing process that is always a top priority. The more money our owners make, the more we make - so we try and do everything we can to maximize the revenue.

How do you advertise my rental and do I need to pay for this?
We list your home by putting you on the VHMAzores website, but we know that most consumers shop on the big consumer travel sites.  In addition to our own site, we automatically get your property onto TripAdvisor site and we list your property on roughly 20 other websites.  We believe no other property manager markets more than VHMAzores - after all if we do not book up your home we do not make any money on it either!  Each site has a slightly different business model, but in general most have a combination of a small commission or a subscription fee to the owner.  

What if I already have listed my home on those sites?
Many owners have already created listings. We will work with you to move them over to our managed account and we will go through them to professionally rewrite the listing if necessary, to add or improve the photos and to configure the listing to match the pricing and calendars across all of the many sites we plan on listing your rental.

When do I get paid for reservations?
We currently pay owners once a month. Expect to receive an owner statement and a deposit to your bank account within about seven days after the end each month. This statement and deposit will cover all guests that check-out during that month. If you have a guest crossing over one month to the next, the payment for that reservation falls in the month they check-out.

Do you submit reports to Portugal statistics or do we?
VHMAzores will submit guest information to the proper authorities, usually a few days after the guests leave the property.
What if I already had bookings made on my property?
No problem, VHMAzores can arrange for the change over with ease to the owner etc). We will work with you to get all the details we need and we will fully manage these bookings for you just like any booking we made. We may need to collect the cleaning fee from the owner as well as taxes to remit assuming those amounts have already been paid. If not, we can collect on any amounts outstanding as well.
Why do you do commission-based pricing?
Commission-based pricing is the industry-standard for vacation rental property management firms. That does not necessarily mean it is the only answer - but we believe that it perfectly aligns our incentives with our homeowners. We only make money when our owners make money, and the only way to increase our revenue is to help owners increase theirs. We believe this is why the commission model has worked and is so well established in the industry.

What kind of reporting do I get on my unit?
Initially you will get a monthly statement from us that details out how much rental revenue you earned, as well as any charges that you have incurred during the month (for example if you want it cleaned for your own stay, or if you had us purchase or repair a TV, etc.)
Do we pay cleaning fees after guests leave?
Guests pay us directly for cleaning fees, and we pay the cleaners. There is nothing you need to do to schedule them or pay for them. If you or a family member or friends are using your home we will clean it and bill you for it as part of your monthly statement.
Do I need to provide you with a cleaning lady?
If you have a lady you are used to working with, then we may utilize them for your rental. In general, we have cleaners who have proven to be fast, flexible, and reliable. So if you do not have a regular cleaner we will have one ready to go.
Do I need to do my own laundry even if I do not rent my property and it is just for my family?
Yes, our cleaning fees cover only monthly maintenance service for owners to keep house in good condition between visits. Between our guests, if time permits, we will either do it on-site or bring it to a laundry facility as a back-up for an extra cost as listed in the agreement.
Do I need to provide all the amenities every time a guest has stayed, like soap, toilet paper, etc?
No, you don’t need to worry about it. As self catered home, VHMAzores makes sure homes have the first day with supplie.s We require our vacation rental homes come with an initial set of amenities so when guests arrive, they don’t need to head straight to a market. VHMAzores buys hotel amenities in bulk and restocks these for every stay.
What if I want to do some decorating on my own?
We love it when owners stay involved with decorating and improving their home. However, we know what decor makes a good rental vacation home. Therefore prior to decorating, it would be in your best interests to seek our advise.
What happens if there is an unexpected repair? Who does the guest call?
The guest always calls VHMAzores. The guest actually never knows the name of the owner for privacy reasons. We take the call and arrange the appropriate handyman. We pay the handyman and then put the bill onto your home owner statement taking out of the revenue owed to you during the month - that way you don't have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for anything unless it happens to be a major repair.
How do you deal with noisy guests?
Luckily we have screened the renter well before making the reservation complete. We require renters to be at least 25 years old, and we have a strict policy of evicting them upon any sign of noise, partying, or over-occupancy. Parties do happen and we want people to enjoy themselves, however we do not tolerate abuse at the properties and have measures in place to evict and charge additional fees. If we receive multiple noise complaints about a guest, we will send over the police and attempt to remove the guest from the property for the remainder of the stay.
Do owners have to allow pets or allow renters to smoke inside the house?
No! In fact, we find the houses rent much better if the guests know we do not accept these conditions.  
How is regular maintenance of the property kept up?
VHMAzores provides guest servicing and management, and property management to owners, but VHMAzores is not a maintenance company.  Our employees are not trained contractors or repair people.  We handle reservations management, guest support, regular housekeeping scheduling and inspections, arrange qualified maintenance personnel, etc.  During inspections we will perform simple maintenance like changing remote control batteries or light bulbs for lamp fixtures or ceilings if spares are available on site.
Who takes care of the exterior of the property, garden,etc.?
We are happy to schedule a regular maintenance using the gardeners we have available to work with us. We recommend that all owners have necessary equipment available to complete the job with our gardeners.  However, we can use our equipment with the gardener at a higher cost. If you would like us to arrange recurring services for you.  The bills for the service are charged directly to you.
What if I want to stay there, how do I book for myself, friends or family?
You can check availability for your dates with calendar and contact us by phone or email us to make the reservation.just call us and we will book the unit for you, or you can view calendar availability. We bill you on your owner statement for the cleaning.
What do you charge for the management service?
For only managing and maintaining the property for the owners use, we have a monthly fee. We will discuss this prior to signing the agreement to work together.
For rental programs we have a small fee until we have a rental month and our commission rates for our property manager services range from 25% to 50% depending on the services required, type of home and marketing.  

Try it for a year, let us prove our value to you and we’re sure you’ll continue but if you decide not to, there are no strings attached.