Vacation Rental Money Troubles
Usually when you hear a term like money troubles, it is due to a catastrophic issue like job loss. Or it is due to a chronic issue such as overspending. Neither of those categories is the kind of money troubles I am experiencing with my new condo. Llike anything to do with money though, this is stressful.
Future Cash Flow
One of the reasons my condo seemed like a good investment was the future stream of reservations for the unit. Future cash flow to make the mortgage payment was a positive sign! Sounds good, right?! The problem has been that the reservations are all in the previous owners’ name inside AirBnB.
AirBnB As an Owner
As a user of AirBnB when traveling, I have been happy. However as a new owner trying to work alongside the past owner, their system is not my favorite tool right now. Prior to purchasing my condo, I asked repeatedly for information on deposits the past owners were holding on the existing reservations. Well, it turns out the previous owners were not requiring a deposit to the hold unit even for reservations as much as a year in advance. Not the way I would do it, but that explained why I never had an answer about transferring those deposits.
An Excel sheet with the booked dates and names of guests was shared with me but no contact information. Honoring those bookings meant communicating with the guests. After talking to AirBnB it was decided I could be added as a host in the previous owners’ account. OK, so now I can see the guests information, and can communicate through AirBnB. Yeah!
Where Did the Rent Go
All was good until the first guest arrived and I waited for a big sum of money to hit my account. And I waited, and I waited. Hmm, an email was sent to the previous owner. “Did the guest’s payment possibly go into her account?” “Why yes, yes it did.” Now the money needs to be transferred back AND we need to figure out how to make the money go into my account for future guests. AirBnB is giving us multiple answers on fixing this. Not only is that first payment in the wrong place, another guest is about to arrive. So before we can fix the issue there may be a second errant payment.
Previous Owners Trying to Help
I keep thinking… what if the previous owners were jerks and just said, “Oh no, we don’t see any extra money in our account!” I could be out several thousand dollars in rent in a hurry. Meanwhile my property management firm is overdue to be paid for the first guest, and my mortgage will be due May 1.
There Are Always Blessings
Blessings to remember – the previous owners are responsive. They are working on helping find a solution. I have resources to cover what needs to be covered until this is resolved. My property management firm has been fantastic and a great resource! And my unit has guests in it! I am stressed but it’s all fixable.
Notes for Future Vacation Rental Owners
Notes for other future owners of vacation rentals – Push your real estate agent to help understand how ALL aspects of the transfer will work. I should have pushed harder. Ask questions of any hosting sites being used. Understanding how AirBnB works for hosts has not come easily, and there are still issues. interview the past owner if possible. Get a list of future bookings with contact information for all guests. Hire a great property management firm to assist you as a vacation rental owner.
In the end, I still have a condo on Maui! Aloha!