About dunes properties of Charleston

dunes properties of Charleston is a real estate, vacation rental and property management company representing the Lowcountry with almost 80 exclusive Charleston beach vacation rental properties, 70 real estate agents and employees, four full-service offices. Nobody knows the Charleston Coast better.

Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
843.886.5600

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439
843.588.3800

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


The Real Estate Studio

214 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843.722.5618

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455
843.768.9800

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


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Category: Tips for Vacation Rental Owners

Staying Unique – Focus On 5+ Main Amenities & Features

Watch Out For “Location, Location, Location” Tunnel Vision

When designing a vacation rental strategy, success is found with five (or more) main amenity points. It is common to hear, “location, location, location,” in the business, but the perception of view and location often improperly shadows the importance of offering other supporting & unique amenities.

Focus On 5 (or more) Main Points of Amenities & Features

We have found offering five (or more) main and unique amenities will provide most vacation home owners with a healthy calendar and a robust rental rate… no matter the location and size of the property. Real estate pricing often leads buyers, and even some inexperienced agents, to believe a large oceanfront home is the best bet for producing rental income. This is often incorrect.

Unexpected Results

One of my most prized vacation rental accounts was a small, but beautiful, 2 bedroom beach house. The property was in demand nearly year round as it had little competition due to the unique size. This allowed for a solid 10 month rental season and for a very attractive rental rate for the home owner… in some cases much higher production than a 3 or 4 bedroom property. The home featured special amenities such as a Netflix movie device, a decked out & comfortable porch, wireless internet, flat screen TVs, pet friendly access, and totally remodeled baths & kitchen. A free book exchange added a great touch and a cabinet of board, dice, and card games provided the extra details guests seek while searching for the next vacation.

Not Just Rental Price

This is what is often misunderstood by managers and even some home owners; guests desire more than a low price and a place near the beach. Guests wish for relaxation, ample options, and value added features… even if they will not use them. Marketing these features properly captures a guest during the search and validates value when considering an above average price.

Guiding our clients with affordable and powerful marketing ideas which transform a property into a vacation experience is another service we offer at dunes properties. We invite you to explore more about our program!

 

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

 

 

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

“In House” Services Lack Transparency For Vacation Rental Home Owners

What Are “In-House” Services in Vacation Property Management?

I’m often asked by potential clients, “What ‘in-house’ services does your company provide?” This is a great indication a sales pitch has been provided by another vacation property management company. ‘In-house’ refers to services provided by staff or employees of the vacation management company such as cleaning, HVAC repair, handyman work, and many others. It is specific work completed by the staff of the company… and billed by the company to the home owner. These services are not provided by 3rd party, independent providers like outside cleaning companies and HVAC repair companies. The services operate and originate within the management company.

How “In-House” Services Could Be Problematic

When a home owner selects a property management company, the relationship shares the same responsibilities as that of a real estate agent. Those legal responsibilities are Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting, and Reasonable Care as written in SC Real Estate License laws. We, as licensed professionals, have a fiduciary responsibility to represent our client’s best interest first.

How can management companies represent a client’s best interest if the company decides how much a service, provided within their company, should cost for their client, the home owner? It seems like an obvious conflict of interest and a lack of transparency and the fiduciary responsibility previously mentioned.

Remember, your vacation management company should be working for you… and not vice versa. You are hiring someone to represent your best interest as the client and home owner. At dunes properties, we do not staff maintenance personnel, HVAC repairmen, or cleaners. We coordinate 3rd party providers so prices can be negotiated lower for our clients. It is the correct way to offer vacation property management and offers transparency to clients.

Similarly Troubling…

Unfortunately, it has become commonplace for legacy management companies to charge their clients a percentage of invoices. In my opinion, it is a terrible practice and also seems to be a conflict of interest. How can a company represent a home owner’s best interest if the company orders service and then receives a percentage of “mark up” on the work performed? It is arguably a legal kick back. Always check your management agreement for counter-intuitive inclusions like invoice mark ups.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

 

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

Why Guests Vacation: Rest and Relaxation

Why Guests Vacation

What guides a guest to book a vacation rental? Most believe it is price or location or amenities. Yes, these are very important, but it is important to remember the vacation is not about a house or condo or even the bells and whistles. It is about an experience. It’s somewhere to spend time with friends and family… and most importantly, to enjoy some rest & relaxation.

Rest & Relaxation

It appears obvious when stated, but R&R is the #1 reason guests vacation… and it is often over looked by many in the vacation rental business. Even guests tend to forget this during the lengthy research. Everyone is focused on pools and taxes and all the minor details… so it’s important to never forget why guests vacation. It’s all about the R&R. Guests want the confirmation and the reminder of why they began the quest in the first place. Great photography capturing the look and feel finishes the picture.

Sleeping Arrangements

We are often asked by new vacation home owners, “What sleeping arrangements should we use in our vacation rental?” I think it’s one of the most important questions we’re asked.  Keeping a mix of larger beds (queens and kings) with a few single sleeping arrangements will provide the best rental interest across all seasons. Often, we will suggest using a double / twin hybrid bed set for a 3rd or 4th bedroom… or a queen with a single trundle hidden below. It works well for singles travelings or young adults/kids. It’s important to resist the urge to decorate a room for kids. This limits your options.

Big, Beautiful Bedding

Fluffy and inviting bedding is also a great investment. It solidifies the guest’s interest for a relaxing vacation. Bedding will need replacement frequently as it is expected to be well enjoyed, so plan to replace these items often. It’s better to continue taking high value reservations than to worry about the relatively minimal cost of bedding.

Furniture and Furnishing

Furniture is also a big selling point from a guest’s perspective. Properties decorated with a thrift store approach are quickly skipped by potential guests researching online. Investing in affordable, replaceable, and inviting furniture is another extremely important step to owning a successful vacation rental.

 

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

 

 

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

The Most Costly Vacation Rental Furnishings

The Most Costly Vacation Rental Furnishings

In the past, homeowners would fill their rental homes with low price furnishings. It was a great way to save a few bucks, right? Grab a few tables, dressers, bed sets, and wall pieces from a thrift store and voila… a full furnished vacation rental!

This is no longer a good idea. In fact, the thrift store approach is a very, very poor one and extremely costly for vacation home owners.

furniture

Today’s guests have an endless list of vacation options thanks to the web and growing vacation rental marketplace. While online, guests quickly compare properties’s furnishing. Poorly furnished properties are skipped… and quickly skipped.

Owners still using the “thrift store” approach often forget why people are thinking of vacationing. Guest want to rest and relax. Yes, the beach and water are a big part of the interest, but rest & relaxation are the keys to great vacations. Without a good presentation of a comfortably furnished property, “thrift store” properties are doomed to a wildly poor rental schedule.

What To Avoid – The Big Three

  • Light Tan Woods – looks like it was just in a dorm room
  • Everything Wicker –  color doesn’t matter but white is the worst
  • Gold & Brass – this is more about hardware but gold/brass takes 20 years off your property

How costly is the “thrift store approach” in vacation rentals?

A strong example can be made for two side-by-side condominiums we managed years ago. The first condo was comfortable, colorful, and updated. The second was decorated by an owner with a thrift store preference. The first condo owner generated $30,000 more in a year than the second condo owner. The investment of a few thousand in good furniture generated 10x the return. Other hidden loss also includes the maintenance to repair and patch old furniture.

It is important to mention that furniture price is not the key. Affordable, comfortable, and replaceable is the best approach. Pricey and custom furniture is the same mistake as buying thrift.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

The Importance of Professional Photography

The Importance of Professional Photography

Although this may seem like common sense, it is surprising how many legacy property management programs overlook this #1 in marketing a vacation rental home or condominium. The web has changed how customers absorb information. The importance of visual has not changed, but the speed in which a customers needs to experience the vacation home through photograph has changed dramatically.

501 Palm Blvd - Sleek Seafarer


Kerrin Sheldon with Fast Company suggests we have 20 seconds to capture an audience with visual. Other web specialists suggest this number as close to 5 or 6 seconds. Still, the argument and statistics support the claim; a web visitors needs to experience your vacation property almost instantly. VRBO & Homeaway have always supported this concept as these sites originally charged property owners by the number of photos uploaded. The more vacation rental photos, the higher your listing would place. Flipkey, a vacation rental search platform purchased by TripAdvisor, completed a study revealing HD photography increased bookings by 98%.

Still, the number of vacation rental photos alone will not guarantee success. More is not always better… if the photos are not fantastic. Photos must be attractive, accurate, and present not only the vacation rental, but the experience the vacation rental home or condominium offers to the guest. Professional photos often convey the message, “this vacation rental property receives lots of attention and therefore care.” This is vital to capturing vacation rental guest interest. Also, many traditional management companies forget the potential guest’s perspective. Guests wish to see amenities, decor, and styles… not just the view and the beds.

Most professional photographers will provide dozens of great, high definition pictures for only a few hundred dollars. Considering the potential return of tens of thousands… it is a wise investment. One which can make or break a vacation rental strategy.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513 1604

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

Vacation Rentals And Home Warranties: A Unseen Expense

Are Vacation Home Warranties Good For Vacation Rental Owners?

The short answer is no. Home warranties are famous for delayed responses and low price (value) technicians. Still, I can consider the argument of home warranties are good values… but for primary residences only. Even then, I find they are frustrating and typically without complete resolution.

home warranty vacation rental

For vacation rentals, large and important purchases / repairs are mostly likely needed during a busy season of high use. Think refrigerators and air conditioning systems. These season are often filled with vacation guests paying thousands in rental rates for a few nights of relaxing vacation time.

When a system needs repair, the guest often expects an immediate result… regardless of what they would expect at home. Warranties add lots of delays, and more delays create potential liability for the home owner. The longer a guest waits, the more likely a credit or refund is expected.

My advice… ignore the home warranty unless it’s January or February. Otherwise, it is likely the perceived savings of a warranty plan will turn into an unseen expense with the move or refund issued to a understandably hot and frustrated vacation guest.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513 1604

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

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