Make money from second-home rental

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

While family and friends can be the key to a successful vacation rental property, they also can be a major pain in the backside. One of the most difficult things to handle -- and the biggest obstacle to your bottom line -- is when Uncle Fred wants to use your getaway for two nights -- midweek -- during the final week of the peak rental season when you could have booked the place for top dollar for 30 consecutive nights. If there is no way around Uncle Fred's two-day presence, ask if he can move his dates to the beginning or end of the rental week when you still could salvage four or five nights of prime rental income. If that's also impossible, call the renters on both ends of Fred's dates and ask if they would like additional days at a reduced rate. You could turn out to be a real hero to both groups, especially if they are arriving by car and don't have to alter their airplane dates. If that strategy produces no takers, see if you can take off work and surprise your fami...