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Brokers Advise Renters: Price Wisely And Advertise Amenities

Originally Posted: January 21, 2010

Katy Gurley

Located only one block from the ocean beaches of Bridgehampton, this custom built and designer home on Ocean Avenue is just shy of 8,000 square feet, and hosts seven bedrooms and seven baths, including a huge master suite with sitting room, gourmet kitchen, and fully operational movie theater. Price for season: $295,000. (All images courtesy of brokers)

Southampton - The summer rental market is off to an early start this year, and brokers and other experts say it's smart to price your property wisely and advertise amenities.

"A pool is kind of like a must, it's the number one thing renters look for," said Matthew Breitenbach, associate broker for the Corcoran Group.

The rental market has started early, he said, and some landlords have adjusted their prices downward. Some are also asking the same as last year.

Matthew Breitenbach, a broker with Corcoran.

"It's been very busy. People are definitely starting to look and inquire. It's a stark contrast from last year when the rental market was dead until about April. Last year there was a lot of uncertainty and bad feelings that have eased this year. A lot of landlords have brought their prices down." Rents range from $10,000 to $20,000 up to $300,000 for the Memorial Day to Labor Day season, depending on what kind of house you rent.

To be competitive in this market, amenities are more important than ever, said vacation home expert Christine Karpinski.

"Sometimes it really is a good idea to invest a few thousand dollars to make your home more desirable to vacationers," she said. "Many upgrades will pay for themselves after just a couple of extra bookings. Besides, your expenditure may be a tax write-off."

"You don't necessarily have to put in a pool or tennis courts, although they are popular amenities that renters seek," Karpinski said. Just be sure to include the distance you are from the beach or the closest tennis courts.

Karpinski is director of Owner Community
(www.OwnerCommunity.com) for HomeAway.com and author of "How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment" (Kinney Pollack Press, 2007, ISBN: 0-9748249-9-2, $26).

Nowadays, people want to bring their pets on vacation, and landlords who ease up their restrictions on allowing pets are more likely to attract renters.

"I've known homeowners to double their bookings when they start allowing pets," notes Karpinski. "This is a great way to add value to your home at virtually no cost."

This chef-ready kitchen is in the property on Ocean Road in Bridgehampton that is currently for rent for the season.

Barbara Feldman, broker and senior vice president for Saunders & Associates, and a dog lover, has compiled a list of landlords who will allow pets, particularly dogs.

"I kept getting phone calls from people who want to rent but ask, 'Can I bring a dog?' So I called a million landlords and I compiled a list and sent out an email notification to my customers. And not only did I hear from a lot of renters, but I heard from landlords as well who wanted me to put them on my list."

Renters with dogs are usually happy to put down a deposit for their pet.

Other amenities renters seek include televisions and Internet access, Jacuzzi and or hot tub.

"If your home does not have one, purchasing a hot tub might be well worth the cost when you consider all the renters it may attract in the cooler months," noted Karpinski.

Fireplaces, pool tables and porches are more amenities renters seek, she said.

"Adding a portable fireplace is a wonderful way to add warmth and ambiance to your property," said Karpinski. "And there are plenty of models to be had for just a few hundred dollars.

"And, no matter what type of outdoor living area you have - a porch, deck, terrace, or patio - be sure to provide a detailed description and photos in your listing," she added. "Another popular search term is "balcony," so don't forget that keyword when posting a photo of your view. Add the appropriate outdoor furniture and you have an inviting bonus living space that renters will love. Oh, and don't forget to include pictures of that stunning view."

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