Real Estate Management

Real Estate Management in San Diego - The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

A vacation home is a special place where lifelong memories are made with friends and family. It’s your own little paradise set against the backdrop of the idyllic beaches and waterfronts of San Diego.

If you don’t use your property consistently and need to offset the costs of ownership, consider renting out your vacation property and turning your paradise into a real estate investment. By renting your property with a management company you can be sure the home is taken care of while earning extra income.

There are full service real estate management companies like San Diego Vacation Rentals that can take care of everything from maintenance, restoration projects, tenant screening, bookings, financials, advertising, and more.

First, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with real estate management and the rental process. After all, turning your vacation home into a rental can be a very profitable business and experts recommend running it like one.

Like any business, you need to have a plan with clearly outlined goals and objectives. This step-by-step guide will outline all the basics of real estate management and help you turn your piece of heaven into a great money making opportunity.

The Basics of Real Estate Management

Why rent your property? Now is the time to ask important questions about financial expectations. Do you want to rent out your vacation home to offset the costs of ownership? Or do you want to make a profit? Also important, how many weeks or months out of the year will the property be available?

Do the Math

Once you set your objectives, it’s time to crunch the numbers. Christine Karpinski, author of “How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner,” recommends finding your break-even point. The formula goes like this: Calculate costs of ownership to match your rental income from your real estate investment. That way, you can achieve what she calls “positive cash flow” and get the most from your real estate investment.

Rules and Regulations:

Although real estate management companies will know the ins and outs of rules and regulations, it’s always good to have an idea of what is expected.

  • In San Diego County, local ordinances can vary and may limit the number of permits for short-term rentals. This is where real estate management companies can be helpful. According to real estate expert Kristin W. Dorsett, most rentals are treated like hotels in many areas of the country.
  • In many cases, regulations require an occupancy tax and licensing permits of short-term rentals. For more information on regulations for your specific county visit It’s better to be on the safe side when it comes to rules and regulations. Some condos and homeowner associations charge fines for breaking short-term rental rules and not having the required permits.
  • Other things to consider in real estate management are current and proposed zoning, safety/ health code regulations, and sales tax.

Other Considerations:

Are pets allowed? What about smoking? These are things to consider since each could cause potential challenges in real estate management. If you wish to allow pets into your property San Diego Vacation Rentals will collect a $200.00 nonrefundable pet fee. San Diego Vacation Rentals does not recommend any owners allow smoking in any property.

Getting your property rental ready:

After you’ve set your budget and financial expectations, you need to get your property rental ready. This is where real estate management services are useful. For example, at San Diego Vacation Rentals, we offer a free property consultation to make sure you have all the required equipment, permits, and needed repairs.

Household Basics

We recommend investing in housekeeping basics including linens, towels, and kitchen wares. At this stage, you have the option of enlisting the extra help of real estate management companies who will provide these services and other special requests. That way, if you are away, full service real estate management can take care of everything.

Cleaning and Maintenance

If you don’t have time or plan on being away, consider the additional costs for hiring help for house cleaning and maintenance. From home repairs to housekeeping and lawn maintenance, San Diego Vacation Rentals can take care of it all.

Insider’s Tip: People prefer vacation rentals to hotels because of the charming ambiance of staying in a residential neighborhood and the homespun vibe.


  • Experts also advise investing in high quality photographs and recorded home tours of your property to enhance its online appeal. At San Diego Vacation Rentals, you’re in good hands because we provide professional photographs and place your rental in an online marketplace with high visibility.

Set Your Budget

Keep your real estate investment budget in mind throughout the process. Can it handle the property management commission? This fee is typical for real estate management depending on the range of services you require. If you don’t mind a second job handing email inquiries, booking, advertising, and maintenance, you can take the time and do it yourself.

How to Find the Best Real Estate Manager

  • First of all, you must ask yourself if real estate management works for you. If you are a hands-on do-it-yourselfer, need to offset management costs, and have the time, you could handle the rentals on your own.
  • If that’s not the case, it’s important to establish whether the real estate management company is knowledgeable and experienced in the rental industry. Landlord and property investment expert Erin Eberlin urges owners to research a real estate manager credentials and background, including required licensing, years of operation, and rental policies.

Benefits of Real Estate Management

Every savvy real estate owner knows the importance of keeping up with curb appeal, and the best way to stand out in the neighborhood is to make quick repairs and regular maintenance. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to maintain your vacation rental:

  • Most state and local laws require certain standards for rental properties. This includes heat, water, electricity, cleanliness, and structure, all the things tenants need for adequate shelter. As a landlord, you also have the responsibility of keeping your property current on local housing codes for wiring, ventilation, light, and other requirements.
  • With over 45 years of experience in real estate management, our experts at San Diego Vacation Rentals take the worry and rigmarole out of seasonal rentals by handling all the repairs, maintaining the building, keeping up to code, and any other special requirements, depending on how involved you would like to be in real estate management services.

How to Make Your Vacation Rental Stand Out

The competition in the vacation rental industry is fierce, especially in the exclusive area of the San Diego waterfront. Real estate management companies and experts like Terry B. Clark, author of “The Complete Guide to Your First Rental Property,” recommends taking a few extra steps in making your property a comfortable home away from home for snowbirds and vacationers. Here are a few additional improvements that will make all the difference to your tenants.

  • Ceiling fans - There are many benefits to ceiling fans, and if you don’t already have them installed, it would a worthwhile investment. It adds light and reduces heating and cooling bills by increasing circulation.
  • Quality Window Coverings - Window coverings are a necessity to guest for providing privacy and ambiance within the home. Since this amenity is use frequently by guests it is a good idea to invest in a strong quality window shade. Basic mini blinds will do the job however we find the do not hold up well within rental homes, especially ones directly on the ocean front. HVAC Routine Maintenance—Nothing is more frustrating for tenants and rental property owners than a broken heating and cooling system. In order to avoid this, electricians often recommend having your system routinely checked to make sure they are working properly and cost effectively.
  • Kitchen and Bath Facelift - Ask any real estate management company and they will tell you that these areas of a home are always a major selling point for those looking for vacation rentals in San Diego. Consider a fresh coat of paint, new lighting, replacement of doorknobs or handles, and new flooring. A kitchen island is also a great addition, adding extra seating for cozy, in-kitchen dining.
  • Shutters - Real estate management companies recommend shutters because they make the home appear larger and protect it from the elements for little cost and maintenance. White or cream colors are a popular choice since it matches with most home colors.
  • Landscaping - Flowers or plants added to the front of the house will give your home an instant, welcoming appeal with little investment on your part. Just put them in a flower bed or attractive planter and let your garden grow.


Clark, Terry B. “The Complete Guide to Your First Rental Property,” Atlanta Publishing Group, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 2008.

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