Vacation Home Property Management Services
ALOHA AND WELCOME TO HAWAII VACATION RENTALS, (referred to as HVR) property management and vacation rental program. HVR has developed highly specialized systems and policies with the goal of maximizing the rental potential of each property in the program. Our programs have been developed to accommodate the needs of a wide variety of owners, guests and properties.
Each area of our program has been summarized in the following pages. After you have reviewed each of these items, please feel welcome to call and discuss any areas in which you may have questions.
We are in the business of managing properties for the purpose of offering it to visitors and residents of the Big Island. It is therefore our mission to owners of properties to provide superior management services that will maximize the income potential of their properties. It is through satisfied guests that everyone's interests are best served. Our goal is to operate under a win-win philosophy. What is good for guests must also be good for owners of the property and must be good for the interests of HVR. All parties must receive sufficient value for their efforts, investment and dollars spent, to remain a satisfied participant. As a homeowner represented by HVR you will be in partnership in operating your business. “Winning at the expense of someone losing isn’t partnership and isn’t sustainable. Think win-win and long-term growth.”
HVR has been providing exceptional management services on the Kohala Coast since 1985. The business started with a local real estate agent who was asked by a few of her clients to maintain and rent their properties when they were not in residence. In 1994 Patricia Freeman purchased the business. Patricia's (most call her Pattie) background was selling luxury properties on the island of Oahu. First class service is what her Owner’s and Guests have come to expect.
Some of the comments from Pattie's guests are "We credit Pattie Freeman, owner of Hawaii Vacation Rentals for making our repeat stays intimate, relaxing experiences. Her homes are filled with amenities from corkscrews to beach towels and beach chairs. We appreciate Pattie's attention to detail. She also makes sure her guests have what they need. If you want daily maid service, she'll arrange it. If you completely want to be left alone, she makes sure you have peace and quiet."
“Pattie Freeman, Real Estate Broker has a unique, friendly way of helping you find your perfect vacation rental property or a home of your very own. Her attention to detail and genuine interest in what you are seeking as your dream come true are just a few of the reasons her guests, owners, buyers and sellers like to work with her. She is available for real estate consultation as well as assisting with your sell or purchase.”
The Vacation Rental Industry is growing each year as travelers discover the thrill and comfort of staying in a home or condo rather than resorts and hotels. In order to be the very best that we can be and offer the most professional service, we maintain memberships with the National Association of Realtors, Hawaii Island Board of Realtors, Hawaii Visitor's Bureau, National Association of Residential Property Manager's, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Eco Tourism of Hawaii and the Vacation Rental Manager's Association. Pattie believes in giving back to the community as well, and is often times found on committees in the community to help with local projects.
Our philosophy is simple - We want to personally know the preference of accommodations for each guest. Then we can provide the best home, services and setting for an ideal vacation. We allow the dolphins, whales, turtles, sunsets and Hawaii to take care of the rest. We want to personally know the preferences of each owner and strive to do the very best to accommodate their wishes while keeping our services and care of the properties up to very high standards. This sometimes requires standardizing of some of our procedures; however we will do our best to facilitate any special requirements you may have as much as possible.
Our accounting systems are fully computerized and fully integrated with our Reservation System. From the time a guest makes a reservation, he is tracked in the computer using cutting edge CRM technologies. All charges a guest incurs and all payments made are itemized and credited to the appropriate property or account number. Currently most of our bookkeeping is out sourced to a professional bookkeeper who is familiar with our reservation software.
Your owner's statement will be mailed out by the 15th of each month and will be a clearly presented statement of account. Accounts are reconciled on a monthly basis. If we have paid any expenses on your behalf during the month, they will be itemized on your statement and the original bill will be attached. We also keep a copy in our office. Please review your statement when it arrives and bring to our attention as soon as possible any discrepancies you may perceive. Hawaii Real Estate Law requires any money paid out on an owner’s behalf that is not covered by the rent be paid back to Hawaii Vacation Rentals upon receipt of the Owner’s Statement to be put back into the Trust Account.
If you have work done on your property that you wish to have paid through our office, please note that we issue checks to vendors twice a month. HVR has a professional bookkeeper in Waimea that pays all of these invoices.
Year-end 1099's will be sent to you at the beginning of the year following the year of rentals. Cleaning fees are considered income to the Owner. The 1099 reflects all income received on behalf of each owner during a calendar year. As per the Management Agreement we are authorized for expenditures agreed to in your contract. Except in cases of emergency, owners are contacted for approval in excess of this amount. We are prevented by law from creating negative balances in an owner's account. Should your month end statement show a balance due you are requested to send payment immediately. The Owner Reserve amount is held in a Trust Account.
As much as possible, during the slower months of May, September and October each year, properties are deep cleaned and scheduled for necessary maintenance and any refurbishing. Whenever it is anticipated that rental income will be insufficient to cover expenses, HVR is authorized to establish a working balance from existing income so that expenses are covered.
An itemized accounting of owner balances will occur on your monthly statement. Once expenses are covered, any excess funds will be dispersed with monthly revenue on the next statement.
All reservations including those for owners and guests are booked through our computerized reservations system. Guest reservations can be made up to one year in advance; therefore, we request that owners reserve time in their properties at least this far in advance to assure availability for personal use.
Advanced reservations made by guests must necessarily take precedence over subsequent owner bookings. Reservation information regarding all future bookings is available for each property. Owners who request this information should remember that bookings and cancelations could occur within minutes of receiving availability. A calendar of future bookings will be mailed with each monthly Owner's statement. You should review it carefully each month, as there are often changes. Owners will be sent an owners confirmation from our reservation system confirming any owner reservation and each owner should review for accuracy. It is NOT our policy to contact owners for each reservation taken. You will be sent a calendar of future bookings with your monthly statement. If you are interested in certain dates, please call our office and we will be happy to let you know existing bookings taken since your last calendar notice. You can also go to your property on our website at www.Vacationbigisland.com to view reservations.
At the time we make a reservation the guest is required to sign a Rental Agreement. Upon initial payment and signed agreement is received by HVR the guest is sent a confirmation of payment received and due date (120 days prior to arrival) of final payment. Upon receiving final payment, the guest is sent a confirmation along with a map and instructions for entry on the day of arrival. Should there be a cancelation prior to 120 days before arrival, HVR will retain $100 cancelation fee (this is to cover the expenses of administration which has been handled up until that point.) Should a paid guest cancel after the 120 days, the rent collected will be credited to the Owner as rental income with commissions subtracted. If we are able to re-rent the property, we are always happy to return the guest deposit.
One of the most frequently asked questions is “How do we help the guests select properties.” Approximately 60% of our guests are either repeat or referral, so most already have an idea of where they want to stay. For those guests who don't know or are not sure, we begin the selection process by asking questions about what they are looking for, beginning with location and whether they want a luxury home, cottage or condominium. Selections are then made according to views, proximity to the ocean, bedding arrangements, number of bedrooms, pricing and any other combination of factors.
The good news is that in the years of doing business here on the Kohala Coast we have experienced very little damage to the homes and properties. However, PLEASE NOTE, when a property is offered to the general public for rental, there is a risk of damage and/or theft of items. It is the intention of HVR to reduce these risks but it is not possible for us to guarantee against them.
This is the language used for Security Deposit Protection and is part of the Rental Agreement that the guest signs... This Security Deposit Protection $59.00 plan prevents you from paying a security deposit and covers unintentional damages to the rental unit interior that occur during your stay, provided they are disclosed to management prior to check-out. The policy will pay a maximum benefit of $3,000. Any damages that exceed $3,000 will be charged to the credit card on file. If, during your stay at one of our Rental Properties, an Insured Person causes any damage to real or personal property of the unit as a result of inadvertent acts or omissions, the Insurer will reimburse the Insured for the cost of repair or replacement of such property up to a maximum benefit of $3,000. Certain terms and conditions apply.
Full details of the Security Deposit Protection coverage are contained in the Certificate of Insurance or Insurance Policy. The Security Deposit Protection is purchased at the time you make your reservation.
Reservations are not considered “guaranteed” until a signed rental lease agreement and payment of 50-100 % of the total rental fee including tax, plus 100% of processing fees, insurance, damage waivers, and cleaning fees, or any additional items are received by Agent. Reservations booked 120 days prior to arrival date will require payment in full at time reservation is made. All other reservations require 50% payment of entire cost of rental including processing fee, insurance, security deposit protection, or any additional items on reservation date. If you would like the payment to be charged to any other credit card, other than the one on file, or there are no valid credit cards on file, then it is the guest responsibility to call or send in the payment prior to the 120 days.
Hawaii Vacation Rentals, Inc. will automatically charge the credit card on file if no other arrangements are made by guest prior to the 120 days. If payment in full is not received by HVR 120 days or more prior to guest arrival, reservation may be subject to cancelation. There are no refunds after 120 days prior to your arrival.
Although we do inspections periodically, often times un-announced, those individuals providing Housekeeping services are relied upon heavily to note damages or things that are missing. It is not possible, however, to provide a detailed inventory of property condition or items missing at the end of each stay unless the homeowner wishes to pay Housekeeping for this service. Housekeeping is required to inform us after each check out of anything missing or broken. Since Housekeepers spend so much time in the home, they are familiar with the details. Pattie maintains close relationships with Housekeepers to encourage them to report anything that does not seem right. Some of our owners have found it helpful to review with housekeeping the inventory which the owner gives us ,and some have gone so far as to put typed, laminated lists in each drawer and cabinet.
We also rely heavily on the quality of our guests and find that all and all, very few things are ever missing. Plates get chipped and broken, and yes we go through lots of champagne glasses and wine glasses!
When housekeeping reports something they are convinced a guest is responsible for, our office phones the guests just as soon as possible. We feel that addressing any issues such as these quickly is the best way to prevent any hard feelings or confusion. Sometimes the guest will say "Oh yes, we wanted to tell you about that and we will pay whatever the charges are." There has also been on occasion the guest is sure they had nothing to do with the damage. At that time it becomes a judgment call for all of us and we may call upon you to discuss how to proceed. Most often the guest is aware of a situation and does not object to our withholding of the cost of the repair or replacement from their deposit.
The success of our business is due largely to the high levels of customer service and guest satisfaction we provide which is of great value to our home owners. By pleasing our guests we ensure high levels of repeat and referral business. The basis for our guest policy is to make their stay at our properties as enjoyable and stress free as possible. This includes making the property selection process and payment systems as simple for our guests as possible. We do accept all major credit cards. The guest must sign a faxed credit card acceptance form that protects the reservation even more. The Owner’s pay for the cost of the credit card administration fees of 3% of all charges. Because we collect the rent in advance, the credit card fees will show at the time we collect the rent which can be anywhere from one year to just a few days prior to the beginning of the reservation.
Our goal is for each guest to arrive at their chosen property and feel welcome and ready to begin their Big Island experience. Our staff (as well as outside service persons such as maintenance and housekeeping) is trained in the importance of being courteous and helpful when they encounter a guest.
This is in keeping with the Aloha Spirit "E Komo Mai Kakou" a warm welcome to all. With that in mind, the other side is that not all guests arrive happy and ready to enjoy their visit. They sometimes arrive very tired and overworked and are upset at the least little thing. This is when we try to remember that we want all of our guests (and Owners) to be treated just as we would like to be treated, while maintaining strong controls to assure maximum profitability with a minimum of hassles. We will do our best to resolve any issues or complaints from a guest as quickly as possible and with as little expense or loss to the owner as possible.
We are happy to refer guests to local vendors for special services such as massage, tennis, golf, snorkeling, bicycling, ocean kayaking, maid service, grocery shopping, car rentals, travel insurance, lei greetings, baby cribs and excursions.
Guests of our Vacation Rental Properties do not expect to have maintenance problems. When they do experience a situation, such as an appliance break down or septic/cesspool problem, it is imperative that their problem be handled quickly. For this reason, we are available 24/7. Also behind the scenes, we often get late night calls since airplanes now arrive as late as midnight. Guest will sometimes have forgotten their directions or have them in a lost piece of luggage. It is that first impression that often brings our guests back!
It should be noted that guests do not expect to be interrupted by requests to show properties for sale. It is our policy, therefore, to always show a property when it is vacant. Should you decide to place your property on the market, please keep this in mind when you make an agreement with your listing agent. We book a year in advance, so that if you sell your property, it will be necessary to have the new buyer accept any existing bookings as part of their purchase contract.
The Kona-Kohala Coast has changed dramatically over the years, and with so much construction that has gone on, there can be a challenge of offering peace and quiet to our guests. We mention this because the situations which have occurred around construction that “pops” up unexpectedly. As part of the guest rental agreement we offer the guest the opportunity to check with us at the 120 mark when they pay their balance to see if there is any construction nearby. At that time if there is, they can cancel. Should there be unexpected construction and a guest is unhappy, the resolution is to offer to refund a portion of the guest rents or offer guests a few free nights for their next visit. Depending on the degree of an unsatisfied guest, we may sometimes have to move the guest to another property. Should that become necessary, the rent, which would have gone to the owner of the original property, will then be given to the owner of the property to which the guest was moved. It works both ways and there will be times when we will have to move a guest to a more expensive property if there is not one of similar value vacant. In that case, the owner of the more expensive property will only receive the rental amount of the original booking. This has not happened very often unless there has been a backed up septic system or something of that seriousness.
Since we have built relationships with many outside contractors in the area, usually a situation is handled with one or two phone calls. It is important for you to know that we will always try to make the best financial decision we can on your behalf when there is an emergency situation; however, please know that in keeping your best interests in mind, we are still the ones on the "front line" dealing with an unhappy guest. It may be that we do not make the exact decision you would have at that moment and sometimes when you get your bill 30 to 60 days later from your point of view you may wonder why we made a certain decision. We welcome your inquiries on such items, but please do not call accusing of wrongful doing without discussing with us first. There are always two sides to any story. That is probably the most difficult part of this type of operation.
We want your arrival at your home to be just as welcoming as each and every one of our guests. When you are in residence you are certain to have questions and concerns. After you have been settled in for a few days, please call and make an appointment with Pattie to go over any areas of concern so that we may follow up and make improvements in our services. In an ideal world we would love to sit and chat on a moments notice; however, with the business of our operation, it is much better if we can have a planned time to get together so that we can give you our complete focus. With the number of reservations we have for each property, scheduling to get certain repairs and maintenance completed becomes rather cumbersome. As an owner, you are always sure to find certain things that you think should have been done before your arrival. There again, in our not so perfect world, items may have occurred unnoticed. However, anything that you are concerned about should be brought to our attention and we will assist with your concerns. Communication and harmony are what makes this experience better for all of us involved. We do take our roll of caring for your property and guests very seriously and feel honored that you have chosen HVR and to have the opportunity to serve you.
As an Owner, once you call and reserve your home, you will be e- mailed an owner’s confirmation from our reservation system.
One of the most important aspects of working with HVR is you get to have access to our years of relationships with vendors and contractors as well as our long-term clientele and booking agents. It is often not thought of how we live on an island so far away from anywhere else. There is an art to finding replacement parts and the services to repair items, especially in emergency situations when there are guests in residence. Pattie has worked diligently to have good relationships with many vendors through up and down economic times. She can get just about anything taken care timely and cost effective. There is tremendous value in her contacts and services that is difficult to put a dollar amount.
Having a professional Property Manager on island is crucial to having a successful vacation rental property. Guests have often traveled for hours and typically need some sort of assistance upon arrival or just before arriving. Many of our guests have commented on how important it feels to have someone to contact who is nearby.
Our company policy is to be as aggressive with rate schedules as the market will allow. Rates for each property are set according to how the property relates to other properties currently being rented. We continually monitor market conditions so as to take advantage of opportunities to increase rates and rents. We have consistently led the way in raising rental rates on the Kona-Kohala Coast, which in turn increase a property's value. These are all things we keep in mind when trying to get the highest price possible for your property. We also find we need to offer outside booking agencies a fee as well in order to procure more reservations. The ideal situation would be an agreed upon rate to you, the Owner and let us adjust it to the guest, agent and circumstance. Many Owners get “stuck” on the commission they are paying rather than the benefits and service but do not realize they have the potential to actually make more by having a professional as part of their team. Often times our prices are the same as individual owners who are attempting to book on their own.
Each property within our program has a unique rental history. It is not our practice to estimate future income, except where comparable properties exist. In all cases estimates for future income should be based on past histories of comparable properties taking into account the length of time the property has been in the rental program, current market conditions, time of year and so on.
HVR has made arrangements with several housekeeping services to manage the cleaning of the properties or some owners have choose their own housekeeping service which is quite acceptable. It is imperative that all housekeepers have email service. We sometimes get a last minute booking and will do our best to get in touch with your housekeeper. If we are unable to do so, we may have one of the other housekeepers get the property ready for a last minute check in. Most of the housekeepers have smart phones and send us photos of anything of concern immediately. Clear communication is vital.
After each departure the property is cleaned and prepared for the next arrival just as soon as possible after the check out. Keeping your property ready to check in and/or show to a potential guest is a positive way to attract more clients and even last minute reservations. Housekeeping schedules a check-out cleaning as soon as schedules permit. Check-in cleanings take priority; however, housekeeping knows the importance of having a property ready to show as soon as possible after guests depart. If they are unable to clean the day of departure, they will at the very least go do a walk through, take any trash and see that everything is locked up. Often times housekeeping will make the decision to wait to do the floors and windows until the next check-in. The day of check-in a touch up cleaning is done and the property is staged with a few lights on and a flower arrangement is left for the guest. Housekeeping picks up the flowers and arranges them for a minimal charge to the owner. Some property owners also have us arrange for fruit baskets, special gifts to the guests or their favorite Kona Coffee. We can arrange most any service that you wish to make the guests arrival a little more special. A little recognition and expression of appreciation goes a long way in guest satisfaction and repeat visits.
For owners who live here on the island, we realize you are often anxious to get into your home as soon as a guest departs. Because guests don't always leave your home the way you would like, please give housekeeping time to get in and clean before you come to your home. This will keep you from experiencing disappointment and frustration. If it is necessary for you to use your home right away after a guest departure, please let us know so that we can arrange with housekeeping. Housekeepers often times have their schedules planned a week or two in advance, so in order to prevent any unnecessary last minute rushing, please make your arrangements well in advance. Hopefully this way we will all experience a little less stress!
We can make arrangements with Hapuna Prince Laundry Service to have many of the linens laundered there. This has proven to be very cost effective for the owners and it cuts down on the hours of cleaning and also eliminates so much wear and tear on the laundry appliances as well as cesspools and septic systems respecting the environment. The other nice advantage is that the laundry facility irons all of the flat sheets and pillowcases.
Housekeeping can arrange to have extra supplies purchased for you from Costco or you can purchase your own. It is a big cost savings to you.
We recommend that you have a locked closet that the housekeepers can access for these supplies. We have housekeeping provide a few items such as paper towels, toilet tissue, tissues, and kitchen supplies to get guests started. Then they are able to purchase their own once they are here and settled.
We realize that a guest and owner's level of satisfaction is significantly related to how clean they find their accommodations. Every effort on our part is given to providing a very high standard of housekeeping services. Once again, if you arrive and have areas of concern, please call for an appointment so that we can discuss and see how we can make improvements.
With the high standards of cleaning that we require, it can get quite costly. Each property has a set cleaning fee charged to the guests along with the rent and taxes. This cleaning fee does not always cover the entire cost of cleaning; however, it is a good way to cover a portion of the expense.
TELEPHONE and INTERNET SERVICE
If you have a land line, in order to ensure that guests do not use long distance while in residence, we ask that you please have your long distance blocked through your telephone provider.
We also have an increasing demand for digital cable or satellite to have the pleasure of viewing more channels. Wireless High speed Internet service is now a must. If you have a security code, please make it visible and easy. The first call we tend to get from a guest minutes after walking in the door, is “We can’t get on the internet”
All of our properties are advertised on our website. Our experience has been that the properties with professional photographs and videos get the most attention and specific requests. Since we are not professional photographers, we will get a price for professional photographs or videographer which will be approved by the Owner. Once we have agreed to a photographer, we will meet with them the day or days of shooting and stage the property for the best possible photos. The Owner pays for the cost of the photo shoot and HVR orchestrates props and distributes them on our website, as well other sites we have history with.
We also highly recommend that you pay for a virtual tour or video that we will arrange and stage for your home. The Virtual Tours are something we send to potential guests once we have focused them on a few properties and are also part of our website. Our website has evolved since 1996 and continues to keep up with the times and industry standards.
In recent times VRBO/ Homeaway have lead the way in generating leads. We recommend all Owner's pay for the advertising on at least one of these sites. We then will build the information within your property page and more importantly answer inquiries as quickly as they arrive. Because we are a professional management service, we have an account manager who often is able to offer us specialized service as opposed to an individual homeowner.
We have notifications set to be emailed out to potential guests as soon as an inquiry arrives from one of these sites. We are also notified on our smart phones immediately. With our ability to remotely access our reservation system, we are able to respond often times within minutes. This is a very important aspect of our service. Typically you cannot wait even a few hours to respond, as potential guests expect immediate response and without it, the guests moves onto another property. Within our systems, we have created automated responses which are sent to a potential guest within minutes of receiving an inquiry. Then we follow up with the guest either by phone or email, depending on their choice of communication. We have found that many guests still prefer to deal with a professional service such as ours in making reservations as many owner's who advertise on VRBO / Homeaway do not always respond quickly or more importantly, honor the bookings they take. The other major difference to consider when an Owner managing his own VRBO listing, is that guests who deal directly with an owner tend to believe they are going to get a better “deal” and often work diligently at finding a homeowner who will negotiate a lower rate. This does not typically serve the Owner or the home and can be quite time consuming for a home owner as well as stressful. Our goal is to take the stress away from you, the home owner.
Communication by E-mail from interested guests has increased dramatically. From what industry leaders are saying, having systems compatible with smart phones is imperative. This is exactly what HVR has in place. HVR has integrated systems in our sophisticated software that allows us to communicate automatically and immediately with a guest inquiry. We find that our quick response to individual requests which come over the e-mail has gotten us "off on the right foot" with many new guests. They seem to really appreciate an immediate response to their inquiries. We often times will first communicate with a potential guest via e-mail and then finalize the details over the phone. It is just another important way of screening the guests before they arrive.
HVR pays a monthly fee just to have our website work with ease on mobile devices. All studies indicate it is the area that is growing the fastest for search queries. Along with this service, we direct the guests to our website, blogs, social media from their phone to easily find nearby restaurants, churches and more.
From one of our Owners...."“I have known Pattie Freeman from HVR for about 11 years. She has been the vacation rental agent for 3 of our Puako homes including the current one, “Home of the Hula Moon.” Pattie does a great job of vetting her potential guests and they have consistently been some of the nicest and most considerate visitors to our homes. Pattie takes the time to match the people to the property and that is really important. Visitors spend a great deal of time and money to find the perfect spot for their vacation rental. I spend a lot of time making sure that my home functions and looks beautiful because it is our family home too. Pattie finds the guests who appreciate and respect that, so I always tell people that Pattie finds the best guests.”
As important as our web presence has become, we still find that our best source of guests is from satisfied repeat guests and those guests telling their friends and family about their experiences. With over 25 years in the business, we have many guests and booking agents who list us as their preferred contact when making reservations on the Big Island. This is a great benefit to our home owners. Since having a guest star rating on our website, we have maintained 4.5 - 5 star rating which is another benefit to attracting new guests.
With all of this said, we would like to say Welcome to our Vacation Rental Ohana!