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15 Aug 2023
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Property Management

Whether you're a new homeowner or a veteran who's been renting on the Outer Banks for decades, there are some common mistakes that can sometimes lose you money on your vacation rental investment. Owning a vacation property on the Outer Banks is a rewarding experience and be extremely lucrative, especially during the summer months. But to keep you stressing less while the five-star reviews pile in, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. We're going to take a look at some of the most common mistakes that property owners sometimes make when starting their vacation rental business for the first time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Not Considering Laws & Regulations
  • Underinsuring Your Property
  • Not Investing in Amenities
  • Not Replacing Broken Amenities
  • Charging the Wrong Price
  • Expecting to Fill Bookings Year Round
  • Not Filling a Niche/Theme
  • Not Keeping Your Listing Up-To-Date

Here at Seaside Vacations, we want your vacation rental business to be succesful. Our goal is for our guests to have an amazing vacation and you, as a homeowner, to have a relaxing and welcoming property management experience as we work together to ensure a return on your investment. So let's dive in on common mistakes to avoid and always remember that we're here to help you every step of the way!

Not Considering Laws & Regulations

When you partner with Seaside Vacations to help manage your vacation property, we try to keep an eye out for things like trash disposal laws, parking, noise disturbances, things like that. But it's still important to do some research into North Carolina vacation rental laws, local zoning laws, and our own rental policies. You'll also want to understand any taxes that you may be subject to and what you need from us in terms of tax season. While this is a relatively hands-off business endeavor when you partner with Seaside Vacations, you'll still want to remember that this is in an investment and a business opportunity - so be sure to do your research and make the most of it! And when in doubt, ask your PC. They'll be able to point you in the right direction.

Underinsuring Your Property

You're going to need property insurance for your vacation rental property just like you would for your primary home. Talk with your insurance agent to determine whether or not your current policy covers damages to secondary homes and short-term rentals if you're planning to use your home as a vacation rental. Discuss liability coverages and research available options and coverages so that you can make an informed decision that will have you covered in case you need it.

Not Investing in Amenities

With the saturation of the current vacation rental market on the Outer Banks, it's important to ensure that your home stands out. Guests often have specific things in mind when looking for a vacation rental and it's essential that you invest in unique amenities that will encourage visitors to book your home. Spending a little extra up front will ensure that your home books more readily than a home without amenities like a hot tub, game room, or private pool. Many homeowners are also opting to include arcade gaming systems, EV chargers, and streaming services as a way to entice guests to book their home. Check out our guide to the Top 12 Must-Have Amenities for even more ideas to boost your vacation rental listing. Consider these purchases part of your overall vacation rental investment that will pay off down the line.

Not Replacing Broken Amenities

Keeping along this same train of thought, it's important, especially for repeat guests, that you maintain the amenities in your home. Deciding not to replace items like grills, hot tubs, or even TVs can affect how well your home books throughout the season. If you've been in a rental program for a while and have a decent number of repeat guests who prefer staying in your home year after year, deciding not to replace broken amenities can result in negative reviews and discourage visitors from booking with you again. Just like buying amenities up front, keeping amenities functioning and up-to-date can be somewhat costly up front, but it will more than pay off as your vacation rental business starts to grow.

Charging the Wrong Price

We've talked before about our dynamic pricing approach to vacation rental rates. Our financial experts at Seaside Vacations are here to help you determine which rates will get the most bookings while still increasing your rental income. However, you have the final say. We know that you're watching the market and you've put a lot of time and effort into making your Outer Banks vacation rental the home of your dreams. But sometimes, as markets change, you may have to consider discounts, specials, and rate adjustments to ensure that your booking calendar is filled. But don't worry, you don't have to go this alone. Talk with your Property Coordinator if you have concerns about pricing and we'll work with you to make sure that you're getting the return on your investment that you deserve.

Expecting to Fill Bookings Year Round

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with remote work and school options, the Outer Banks saw unparalleled vacation rental bookings and visitor numbers. But now that people are returning to work and school, things have dropped off a little bit. Add to that the unique housing market, unpredictable economic fluctuations, the return of international travel, and an increase in available rental properties for guests to choose from, and we've got a situation where even peak months are struggling with vacancies. That's not to say that your home won't book, especially during the summer months, but it's important to be realistic about the seasonality of vacationing on the Outer Banks. Follow the trends so that you have an idea of what to expect, be realistic about your vacation rental income, and continue to invest in developing your property year-round.

Not Filling a Niche/Theme

So this one is kind of optional, but if you're looking to optimize your bookings and bring in as many repeat guests as possible, it's something to consider. When people go on vacation, they're looking to escape. And one of the best ways to do that is to spend your vacation in a home or resort with a theme that will rip you away from reality and let you enjoy your time away! A lot of homes on the Outer Banks play into the "beach" theme, but feel free to go wild with this! Pick a specific part of the beach, like the sand or the sea, or pick an activity like surfing or kiteboarding and decorate your home based on this. Get creative with your color schemes. Focus on a nostalgic vacation or maybe something futuristic and eco-friendly. Your vacation rental is your oyster, so have fun. Let you creativity go wild! And guests will be talking about your unique listing for years to come.

Not Keeping Your Listing Up-To-Date

We know that you've put a lot of time, effort, and money into your home. And we also know that life can get busy. It's easy to forget things. But it's important that anytime you do any sort of updates or updates, let us know. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction, but it can even help you get more bookings! Anything you add or update will help make your listing stand out and we want to help make that possible. So drop us a line and we'll make sure that your listing matches all the awesome things you've done to your property.


We love property management on the Outer Banks and it shows. Family-owned and locally managed for over 30 years, Seaside Vacations goes above and beyond to make sure property management is Hassle-Free, meaning that we’ll take care of the details so that you can get back to taking care of the things that matter most to you. We'll help you make the most of your vacation rental! With our unique Property Coordinator model, we're here to help you successed.

If you’re not already working with us and you're ready to find out more about how we support YOU in your rental property business, request your Complimentary Rental Projection today! Simply fill out this form to receive a  commitment-free call from Michelle Russell, our Business Development Director at Seaside Vacations, who can answer any questions you may have about how Seaside Vacations can help you make the most of your Outer Banks vacation rental property.

Take CONTROL of your rental property business and start earning passive income.

We'll see you at the beach.


About the Author:  Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.