Renting out cottage as a daily rental

blue_velvet_elvisSeptember 19, 2006

We own a cute little cottage next door to our home. It's about 750 sf. We don't want to rent it out as a normal rental because we like it being empty ... mostly. We have a small mortgage on it and taxes and just want enough to pay a chunk of it all so it's not just a cute empty house setting next door. We don't want to sell it yet, the prices of real estate should be going through the roof within a two year time frame in this area.

Where on earth do I find information about doing this? It's not going to be a bed and breakfast...they advise they have doesn't much help. It's not going to be a normal rental. Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction?

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The very first thing you need to do is find out whether it is within your right to do so.

First, find out from your city or county whether nightly or weekly rentals in a private home are allowed in your area. Are you in a resort area? If so it is probably OK. But even some nice beach towns/communities require a minimium of 60 or 90 day rental periods in a residential area.

Secondly, read your mortgage and insurance documents on the cottage. Will you be in default if you do this? Will you be covered if the worst happens? If you try to change your insurance to reflect that it is a rental property, the cost may go up -- and depending on where you are, up significantly.

If you live in an area where you believe there might be demand for this sort of thing (say, a great tourist town like Orlando or a beach area, etc.) check out online websites such as (Vacation Rentals by Owner)or, or See if you can locate other homes or condos in your area to get a feel for what others are doing, rates, the market, etc.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 2:40PM
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We live in a town with no codes. It was going to be a regular rental and it already has insurance to cover renters on it.
There is nothing around anything like this. This is far from a tourist-y spot (middle of Iowa) however a casino just opened up 14 miles from here, there is talk of a several acre indoor rainforest which will be nearby. There is not one hotel/motel within 8 miles here. We've heard people comment on the great need. There is a nursing home close that apparently people go to visit thier parents and have to commute to find lodging. Years ago there was a lady who had one room in her home that was always full (I guess that would be more like a normal B&B but before the term existed)
The mortgage is a private contract between the old owner and my husband and myself. They are financing it for us. It will be paid off in 9 months. No problems there.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 3:22PM
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Since you are not in a vacation area, one good contact could be the administrator or social worker at the nursing home. Also if you have a hospital close by, you might be able to rent it kind of like a Ronald McDonald house. You could contact all of the quilt guilds within a hundred miles. We are always looking for a place a few of us can run away to, sew and eat for a weekend with no husband or kids. Wedding coordinators for a private honeymoon place so a couple wouldn't have to spend a fortune to get a few days of privacy.

I would set up a website with really good pictures of your space, pricing and contact information. You could then print up a nice brochure and just pull address from phone books and websites. Starting small would probably be a good way to go.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 4:16PM
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My husband and I have stayed in cottages such as you are describing. Last year we stayed at a couple in Sisters, Oregon and one near Rapid City, South Dakota. I found them on-line and made all arrangements through email. directions and additional information was sent as soon as payment had been received.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:32PM
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Quilters huh? We live within 7 miles of the "quilt capital of Iowa"... Kalona. Not being a quilter, would I just google quilt guild?

Devorah, do you have some examples of an url? I'm not even sure what we'd call this. It's not a bed and breakfast.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 7:57AM
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It's not a b&b but it is a 'rental cottage.' Which means it should probably be stocked with linens, pots and pans, etc. And it wouldn't come w/ 'daily maid service' but you probably would want to have someone come in once a week for longer rentals (and, obviously, between rentals).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:43PM
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I just put in Iowa quilt guild and several listings came up. Not sure of your location, but even neighboring states would work in you are within less than a 2 hr. drive. You could notify independent scrapbooking people (like Creative Memories) since in my area they also try and do little mini-retreats. Really, anything aimed at women who would like to get away from the daily in and outs and just have a good time with friends.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 1:12PM
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This is one of them. We had to leave the house very clean. We were instructed to put our sheets in the washing machine and start it before leaving because the owner used a maid service and didn't want anyone twiddling their thumbs waiting for the sheets to get done.

The other place we stayed at in Sisters came with a dog that slept on the front porch which was wonderful because my daughter was very afraid of being two women alone. It was an old farm house. The owners lived next door in the new farm house. When they had guests, they stayed away from the pond on the property so that the guests could enjoy it in privacy.

In all instances, all cooking utensils etc. were provided. as well as a television.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sisters Rental

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 7:57PM
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Also determine if you want it to be smoking or non and if pets should be allowed. Personally, I would like it to be non smoking, no one under 18 and no pets.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 10:12PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I recently stayed in one of the many rent by the night cottages in Fredericksburg TX. There was a business that oversaw the renting of many houses in and around the area.

Possibly there is something like that within 50-100 miles, that you could talk to. Possibly they could do the management (or help) with the renting of it...for a fee of course.

The cottage I rented came complete with everything one could fact we thought we were staying in a home that someone was coming back to. There were no clothes or personal items though. I felt like I was a guest in someone's home.

It was no smoking ( though it was ok on the portch or patio) and children under 10 weren't allowed (I believe).

It was quite reasonable and pleasant compared to a one room motel.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 9:30AM
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We thought we'd found someone to do the renting/promoting for a cut. She's a realtor and is afraid her E&O insurance won't cover the venture.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 6:51AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Possibly you could talk to the Visitor's Bureau, Or Chamnber of Commerce for a city in your area. Possibly they could offer some promote with other Bed and Breakfasts, though there would be no Breakfast.

In the cottage where we stayed there was no breakfast, but they offered a selection of coffees and teas though.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 7:43PM
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Blue Velvet Elvis -- since I live only an hour from you --- here is what I would do.

You have a ton of options to have guests -- I would list it as a "guest house" -- contact the University of Iowa (would be great for game weekends) University of Iowa hospitals -- the Chamber of commerce in Kalona -- I would create a cute flyer or brochure and put them in the shops along Rte 1. The Rug Cottage -- Sisters Garden.

Rte 1 has been listed at a great route to see fall foilage --- tap into that. Even if you don't serve breakfast -- keep the fridge stocked with some local fruit and cider this time of year. In the winter --- hot chocolate and mulled cider mixes would be nice.

Really make it cute -- antique-y -- Iowa -- You have fantastic resources in the area. Also check with Riverside Chamber or Visitor center --- they should be able to put you on a list.

Any ?'s -- you can email me directly.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:09AM
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Thanks Cathy, it's helpful to have someone respond who is familar with the area. I know when I first came here from California I couldn't fathom a place this small, and that was Kalona not Wellman :~)
I'm off today and I'm kind of working on a web page, though we still don't have an "official" name. I'm leaning towards Riddle Cottage as it was in the Riddle house for many many years before we bought it from them. We want to talk to the Riddle's to see if they mind though first. My husband and I aren't crazy about the name but it made sense as people in the Wellman area know exactly what house it is then.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:25AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I tried to see 'Our Cottage' and it said

Not Found
The requested URL /web/ohmy/cottage/ourcottage.JPG was not found on this server.

Apache/1.3.33 Server at Port 80.

Can anyone else see it?

It sounds as if you have gotten some wonderful ideas.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 11:52PM
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I changed the filename when I was working on a temporary page for it. So, here's a link for the page instead

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottage

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 6:38AM
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