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    Top 5 Items to Splurge vs. Save on for Your Short-Term Rental

    You’ve finally found the perfect investment property—now comes the daunting part. Furnishing the home can be an overwhelming task not only due to the expenses involved but also the endless choices available and the underlying importance of making sure you get it right. You’ll need durability, speed, and style, but is it possible to have it all? As a professional short-term rental furnisher, I’m going to share my list of items where it’s more important to spend a little extra for the durability and quality you need and when you can source more wallet-friendly pieces while still getting what you need.

    Where Should You Splurge?

    Your sofa is one of the most important pieces of furniture in a short-term rental. Your guests will spend their time relaxing, socializing, and even napping in this area. It’s also a focal point for your listing pictures, so you’ll need to make sure you cover your bases here. Spend a little bit more purchasing a sofa that’s going to hold its shape and look clean and crisp for years to come. Don’t be afraid of lighter colors, as long as the fabric is performance-grade.  

    Bed frames are the No. 1 item being replaced in a short-term rental. There are loads of low-cost solutions on retailer websites these days, but consider how negative your guests’ experience might be if they are dealing with a broken bed upon arrival. Spend a bit more in this area and look for solid wood construction pieces. If available, look at the assembly instructions to see how the pieces are connecting and how many support elements are included. Also, check the weight capacity of the product before purchasing. 

    Short-term rental guests are often choosing your property over a hotel because in-home meals are important to them. Make sure your property offers enough table seating as the unit accommodates. This also deters eating in places where food should not be, such as the sofa. Look for a table made from hardwoods, such as oak or maple, so it can stand up to the challenge of water rings and food spills.  

    Weather poses a serious challenge to the wear and tear of your outdoor space. Furnishings in this area need to be heavy-weight and should be constructed of materials that resist rot and mildew. Unless you will be personally covering the patio furniture while not in use, you can count on it being exposed to rain, cold, wind, and direct sunlight. Stay away from wood and go for high-density poly construction instead. 

    When I come across a negative review, it often involves available items in the kitchen. Make sure you are taking the time to get everything needed in this space. Don’t assume that just because you rarely use an item your guests will feel the same way. Spend the extra dollars for things like basters, zesters, and proper knives, and it will be noticed.

    Where Should You Save? 

    Don’t skip area rugs all together, but also don’t feel like you need to go high quality here. Rugs offer a color opportunity and bring warmth and comfort to your property. They will need replacing over time, so look for budget-friendly polyester-based, low-pile rugs.

    You’ll need to make sure there are table lamps and floor lamps in your rooms, which offer softness and dimension. No need to go expensive with these lamps; just make sure they are sized correctly for the tables they are accompanying.

    Prepare yourself to replace towels and linens often. They will become stained and will disappear. Choose a low-cost cotton blend for your sheets and buy in bulk to get the best pricing.

    Don’t forget about your windows! Guests require privacy, and this is often the last thing anyone wants to think about when budgeting for the home. Curtains will add softness and color opportunities to your space, but no need to go custom or high-end here. Store-bought in standard sizing works well. Blinds cut to size from big-box stores are also a low-cost way to check the box.

    Finally, plates, glasses and flatware will need to be replaced regularly. Expect breakage and theft of these items. Ensure your plates are microwave safe, and select a simple white option for a clean look. Flatware should be a somewhat sturdy metal. Other than that, go inexpensive here.

    Toni Escuder launched Guested in 2018 with the goal of helping real estate investors furnish and outfit short-term rental properties. Guested offers flat-fee pricing and turnkey, on-site installation for all projects. The company is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, operating a temperature-controlled, inventory-stocked warehouse complete with a full-service staff. Guested has extensive experience in multi-family properties and boutique hotels across the US.  

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