One Can Never Have Too Much Good Luck!


One of the things I love most about my job is getting to view new properties and meet new people.  Every property is unique and usually an extension of the owner’s taste and personality.

A few years back, I found myself at the doorstep of what would soon become one of my most popular and talked about properties of all time.  The first thing I noticed upon entering was the spectacular life-sized sitting Buddha.  He was seated in the corner on a pedestal behind a large sectional sofa in a very inviting living room.  I was immediately drawn to this unique statue and said so to the owners.   They explained that the Buddha was an antique and the evidence of patina attested to the age and value of the piece.  The owners explained that they had purchased the Buddha many, many years ago at an estate sale and since then it had traveled with them from home to home.  The owners further explained that they were interested in the legends of the Far East and in fact had a Buddhist Monk preform a professional “feng shui”  on their vacation home.  I was wholly fascinated and could hardly wait to get home and research the subject.  All I knew at the time was that I had fallen in love with the property.

For those of you who are not familiar with “feng Shui,” below I have posted an explanation in layman’s terms from a wonderful website, written by Rodika Tchi, a feng shui expert.

What is feng shui?

This is a simple question that can be difficult to answer. Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting itClick to continue reading ….

The property owners were pleased by my interest, but asked whether I thought the Buddha would be offensive to certain potential clients.  Apparently they had interviewed a competing vacation rental management company who had told them that the Buddha “must go.”  Today, Buddha and Eastern décor are the rage.  Seems almost every home has at least one Buddha incorporated into their décor.  “Zen is In,” as they say … and the terms Zen and Spa are practically synonymous.  Ten years ago, when I first visited this property … Buddha was still a strong religious symbol.  I followed my instincts and told the owners that I thought the Buddha might be a draw … maybe even an enhancement.  My only concern was the value of the antique piece and the possibility of accidental damage.  The owners assured me that they had specifically chosen the spot behind the sofa for safety, that they had insurance on the piece … and of course I should remember the protection of Buddha!  So with no further hesitation, I quickly signed them up to our program.

Of course pictures were taken of the condo and the leading photo was of Buddha.  In my description I explained that the property had been professionally feng shui’d, and as a result, the entire home had a comfortable and inviting feel.  I also included a complete definition of feng shui.

It didn’t take long before people started requesting this particular property.  We definitely had a very unique property on our hands and our guests loved the home.  Now I will tell you that this was not a spectacular home.  The very best feature of the entire property was the Buddha.  Even though it was nicely furnished and comfortable, it was considered “average” among our many properties … however there was just “something about it” that made it “more” than it should have been … perhaps it was the Eastern influence?

Whatever that “something” was, it quickly became our most popular and requested property of all times.  No damage ever came to the Buddha … but may lightning strike me now if I’m not telling the truth … every, every, every guest left a gift in Buddha’s lap when they left.  Most of the time it would be flowers but we also found a small teddy bear one time, a toy racing car and even an unopened box of See’s chocolates!

We only had the property on our rental program for three seasons … but its popularity grew every year and not once did anyone complain or seem offended by the Buddha.  I was happy that I had trusted my instincts and not been influenced by another’s concerns.

I have four Buddhas in my office, two Buddhas in my home and one in my car.  Buddhas are lucky … and one can never have too much good luck!

Buddha Statue:

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One Bad Apple!


“Whenever you go on a trip to visit foreign lands or distant places, remember that they are all someone’s home and backyard.” 



This simple statement written by Vera Nazarian, in “The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration,” immediately caught my attention and is the inspiration behind this post.  Even though 99% of all vacation rental guests instinctively understand this statement on a basic level, I still feel the need to discuss this subject which I believe is typically the “elephant in the room” when it comes to the vacation rental opposition.

The vacation rental industry, as in any business, has its challenges … mainly people! Guests, owners, neighbors, government.  The same challenges we have in almost every aspect of our lives.  Recent airline headlines argue flyer’s personal space and the use of devices by some to obstruct seats from reclining, elected government representatives are in gridlock and refuse to compromise or even talk to each other, and there is a noted overall decline in customer service in establishments across the US … and the list goes on.  It seems that people these days find it impossible to get along with other people and in the end, everyone loses!

OK … so here’s the deal with vacation rentals!  People … guests, owners, neighbors and government … everyone needs to work together!



Be Informed & Be a Good Neighbor:  Vacation rental guests, please be aware that your neighbors have a right to “quite enjoyment” which is protected by the law.  You must make yourself aware of the local vacation rental ordinance regulations,  to not only follow these laws but also to avoid costly violation fines.  Not all owners are aware or forthcoming.  You should check the city website and look up “vacation rental ordinance” to see if there are restrictions of which you should be aware.    Example:  The City of Rancho Mirage states in their ordinance that it is strictly prohibited for short term renters to use any kind of musical or sound devise outside the property … period.  This pertains to rentals under 28 days and includes, music, Ipads, You Tube Videos, TV and radio broadcasts outside the home or that could be heard outside the home by leaving the windows or doors open.   If a neighbor reports you … you may be fined.  Vacation Rentals of the Desert informs all of our tenants of the various ordinance rules however I am not at all certain that all private owners make this information known to their guests or are even aware of the regulations themselves.   Pleading ignorance of rules and regulations, whether owner or guest, will not spare you the fine.


Know Your City Requirements & Inform Your Guests:  As a vacation rental owner you are managing a business.  You should take responsibility for your business and know the law.  It is up to you to keep yourself updated on the ordinance requirements and good neighbor laws in your vacation property’s community.  You must inform the guest so neither you nor your guest suffers violation fines.  You should also be aware of the “bigger picture.”  Violation of city ordinance rules could result in the city prohibiting your ability to accept short term rentals or ultimately ban short term rentals throughout the city.  Indian Wells, California banned short term rentals of less than seven nights as a result of two incidents over a recent “event” weekend.  Two … just two complaints throughout an entire city caused this strict ban.  Obviously these two incidents were the proverbial “last straw.”  But think about how this could affect your vacation rental business … I do, and I chose to always look at the big picture.


Do You Ever Get to Pick Your Year-Round Neighbors?   The truth is … I for one would rather have an occasional vacation renter than some of the neighbors I’ve had to live with 365 days a year!  So you have a vacation rental next door and there are kids splashing in the pool and squealing laughter every other weekend for 6 months out of the year.  Could be every day … and with a yappy dog … and skateboards every day along your street … or maybe they aren’t very attentive to their yard.   What is your recourse then?  Would you prefer a vacant home?  Maybe throw in the occasional vagrant?   How’s that yard look?  You must remember … they were all over your neighborhood in 2009 and 2010.  I have a next door neighbor who lives on his back patio.  He’s boisterous, loud, crude and has a large following of visitors just like him.  I can’t go out on my back patio and read a book … not that I want to in 110 degree heat … just sayin’.


Do You Really Think Another Regulation Will Solve the Problem?  Cities are at risk of driving away tourists and their income as well as potential buyers.  Throughout the United States, the recent recovery of the housing industry has been largely driven by the growth in vacation rentals and the draw of rental property investments.   Without these buyers, many resort cities would still be in crisis and many neighborhoods would be peppered with vacant and abandoned homes.  Vacation rental guests are traditionally the future buyers of second homes in resort areas.  Vacation rentals allow families to test an area before buying.  For many, the ability to offset some of the overhead expenses through vacation rentals will make purchasing a second home affordable.  Home purchases, contracting companies, dining and entertainment business … all of the services used by vacation property owners and renters ultimately benefit cities financially.  The economic impact is substantial … especially in a resort community.  Wouldn’t a more positive and productive approach be to work WITH vacation rental owners and managers?  To enforce their “pro-active” responsibility in managing their vacation home, guests and ordinance violations?   If the guest and/or owners are not informed of the ordinance … how does another regulation eliminate the problem?

Together we can find a way to make this work out for everyone.  Some people will not care … will never care!  Those are the ones that must go!  Working with “good” vacation property owners and managers, enforcing the existing regulations, and working towards shutting down the “bad” vacation properties is the desire of every good owner, vacation rental management company, year-round neighbor and government official.   It is the more difficult thing to do … but it is the RIGHT thing to do.


Let’s get rid of the apples that spoil the bunch!

Otherwise … just think of what we may be throwing away!



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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Secret to the Perfect Hotel Bed Experience!


When shopping for bedroom furniture or bedding, have you noticed that beds are always displayed with beautifully layered sheets, duvets, blankets, bedspreads and pillows piled high?  The bedspread or duvet will be turned down exposing crisp sheets, inviting you to “climb in, relax, take a nap.”  This is the look of comfort, of luxury and could be equally effective in “selling” your vacation home to a prospective guest.   You will also see these same luxuriously assembled beds in the photographs of the best hotels rooms.  Your guests seek comfort and spending a little extra time and money on bedding will help market your vacation home as well as keep your guests coming back for more.

I found the following article in a recent VRMA (Vacation Rental Managers Association) blog and thought it might be helpful to many of you who are furnishing or updating a vacation home.  We have found at Vacation Rentals of the Desert, that it is often the little details that put your property ahead of your competition.

Crisp White Sheets Layered, Tucked and Folded to Perfection…The Secret to the Hotel Bed Experience!

I am going to let you in on a little secret…want to know how to create a hotel bed at your vacation rental? Crisp white sheets layered, tucked and folded to perfection? Here is my secret to the hotel bed experience…

Step 1: Build the Foundation

Cover your mattress with a white fitted sheet then add a feather bed and cover it with a waterproof mattress pad. This creates a tight seamless foundation.

Step 2: Sheets

Place a white fitted sheet over the mattress and foundation and then add a white flat sheet. Don’t forget to tuck the white flat sheet on all sides; think hospital corners.

Step 3: Duvet and filling

Add a white duvet cover with a nice down blanket (either feathers or alternate down).

Step 4: Fold & Tuck to Perfection

Don’t forget to fold the top twelve to eighteen inches of the duvet and flat sheet down. Tucking the duvet is optional depending on your style.

Step 5: Pillows

Make sure you layer your pillows as well. One for protection and two to create a seamless look and feel. Add pillow protectors then add a crisp white pillowcase. Don’t forget to tuck in the ends of the pillowcase to create that hotel look and feel.

Step 6: Final Touches

Now for the creative touch. Add a bed scarf or throw blanket to the foot.



Article courtesy of:   Alanna Schroeder Millar, VRMA Blog 09/05/14

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Is Your Vacation Home “Visually” Desirable?


shutterstock_86665393Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed the symptoms.  The occasional under-the-breath mutters of “football” from my husband have become random loud bursts of “footBALL,” with a noticeable increase in frequency and volume when another male is present.  Favored football t-shirts have become the preferred weekend attire and “dining out” has been narrowed down to restaurants specializing in beer, hot wings and big screen TVs.

Yep … I’m a “football widow.”  Over the next several months I’ll have plenty of time to work on my Sunday blog.  I can catch up on my reading and watch my fill of HGTV …. on my Sunday day off … and Monday evenings … and Thursday evenings.   Except for periodic whoops from the living room, I have quite time to enjoy my own pursuits.

Which brings me to YOUR vacation home;  is your vacation home “visually” ready for your sports loving guests?  Whether you are a sports enthusiast or not … odds are, many of your guests will be.  A good size flat screen HDTV is an absolute necessity in ALL vacation homes.  As I stated in several earlier blogs … if you do not have a newer flat screen HDTV in your main living area or den … you ARE losing prospective guests.  Check out the prices these days … TVs are very, very reasonable.  You don’t necessarily need a top-of-the-line TV, but it should be comparable to the quality and rating of your property.  And don’t scrimp on the size … bigger is always better!

Your property should have the most popular basic sports networks such as the ESPN series, but depending on your “season,” you may want to add in some of the sports packages to give your property a desirability edge.  Big draws during our season in the desert includes football, golf and tennis.  There are two ways of handling this issue … purchase the sports packages and advertise them on your property listing OR offer the availability to add sports packages to a guest’s reservation, at an additional cost.  We work with both scenarios at Vacation Rentals of the Desert.

One of our biggest issues … no let me change that to … one of our major problems, is working with properties that have their cable TV, Wi-Fi and phones disconnected during “off season,” the months of May through October.  The problem is not the fact that the services are turned off.    The problem lies in …. “if” the owner has told us that the services have been turned off and “when” the owner enlists us to assist in getting the services back up and running.  Too often we find out at the last minute that the service is off and the cable company must be contacted to set up an appointment.  The closer this is to season, the longer the wait for a hook-up appointment.  This past year we experienced a few close-shaves and in two cases services were activated only minutes before guest’s arrived.  Also, the closer we get to season, the longer the lines are at service centers when picking up cable boxes, DVRs and modems.   Two hour waiting lines could ultimately cost you more than setting up the services a month earlier when there were no lines!  On more than one occasion, we have waited in long lines only to find that the issued equipment did not work.  Then our employee returned only to wait again in a two hour line to exchange the equipment.  So … if you own a vacation rental home, a good rule of thumb is to set up your services a month in advance of your rental season to allow for appointment delays, avoid long lines and to make sure that equipment is in good working order.  There is no one crankier than a man who does not have TV service during “the game,” unless perhaps the sports widow without Wi-Fi during “the game.”

To sum up:  Come up with a good game plan before “season,” don’t scrimp on the team’s equipment and remember to choose the bigger players.

My husband sits on the edge of the sofa, 55” TV, remote grasped in one hand, beer in other hand, chips, sweatpants, Steeler’s t-shirt, frequent shouts of encouragement and advice …. I’m heading to the bedroom to curl up with a book and enjoy one of our rare rainy days.  Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you are enjoying the day … whatever your passion!

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