Last Saturday, February 29, I spoke at the 101 Maxable Expo in Downtown LA about how to maximize your property value with a rental unit.  I’ve done it in my own home and now in many others! Building a granny flat on a property is a great way to generate some extra rental income or to house elderly parents, etc. There are countless benefits and that’s just one small part of what I was talking about. If you’re here, you likely already have an idea about the benefits of building a granny flat, using it as extra rental property income, etc. You just need help getting started! Well let’s break it all down…

Granny Flats 101 how to make money with a vacation rental

Question: Is a Granny Flat a good investment? Well, first of all — yes!

Here’s How to Turn Your Granny Flat into a Profitable Vacation Rental

Designing them came easily for me and my husband – it’s our business, afterall, and we found designing these rental properties we can do quickly and affordably. I went into detail about the design of a vacation rental property on this blog post here. As designers we’re always battling against trends, but in the case of vacation rentals, it’s the perfect time to give into all the kitschy trendy decor styles so your place is up to date and fabulous.

ou can check out one of my fully decked out coastal rental units here through Air BnB or through VRBO here!   

If you are curious about the process of designing a vacation rental property, check out my series with Lamps Plus, Renovation Inspiration here. The entire second season is dedicated to the house my husband and I bought in Marina del Rey and turned into multiple rental units. These aren’t granny flat-specific, but a lot of the same interior principles apply when you’re designing for vacationing folk! Here’s a little teaser video of episode 1:

How Do You Manage an Air BNB Remotely and Efficiently?

Now managing the rental is a whole ‘nother story. One I went into greater detail in this blog post here: 10 Tips for Maximizing Profits on Your Vacation Rental. Technology is your friend– let’s just say that much! Keyless entry is the way to go, so you can change the entry code remotely for each new guest and you never have to worry about anyone losing keys, etc. The other thing you can do is outsource. I’ll say it loudly for those in the back — there are superhosts on Air Bnb who manage multiple proerties (you’re looking at one here) and if you’re like me, you’re busy! You want to make some passive income on your rental property and the best way to do that is by outsourcing the management. It doesn’t dramatically cut into profits and it saves you all the time and headache in the world. This way, I get to focus on the parts I love to do – designing beautiful, memorable spaces for the guests!

How to Design a Granny Flat Vacation Rental on Your Property

Question: How to Get More Bookings on Your Vacation Rental?

During my talk I went over all the ways to optimize your granny flat. Let’s go over some more things to keep in mind in the designing aspect of your rental unit in order to get more bookings for your rental unit.

  • Privacy is Essential for a Vacation Rental

Especially if you also claim this property as your primary residence, you want to keep guest privacy in mind when designing and operating a rental unit. Ask yourself questions like: Is there sufficient enough distance/boundary between your primary residence and the entrance to the granny flat? A separate entrance, perhaps? Consider the landscaping and hedges surrounding the property. And you’ll want to be sure your marketing materials illustrate that their privacy will be respected.

Modern Backyard with Stepping Stones in Zen Garden

Question: How Do You Make Your Vacation Rental Stand Out?

Everyone is jumping into the Air Bnb and VRBO vacation rental game. Especially in vacation destination town like Los Angeles, there is no shortage of rentals, even as city regulations crack down on their terms. In order to stand out, you need a refreshing and up-to-date design scheme. 

Vacation Rental Renovations: Should They Be Trendy or Timeless? all white modern bathroom in a vacation rental in Los Angeles

It can be simple and does not have to be terribly expensive, but this is one time where we’d suggest following those Pinterest-inspired trends. Once designed and installed, you’ll need some sharp marketing materials to work with. Photos of the space are what’s going to sell it, of course! We take our cues from our favorite boutique hotel rooms around the world and infuse our vacation rentals with those elements. Because travel is essential to our lifestyle and well being, we’re always picking up decor and goodies in our travels that can give the Air Bnb properties a unique, collected, homey sensibility — even theming the space can be a great idea. If it’s by the beach – go all in on the nautical, for example! 

Question: What Details Can Make My Vacation Rental or Granny Flat Stand Out?

Wifi, Cable, Fluffy bedding, mini shampoos and conditioners, chocolates and water bottles — these are the touches that stick with guests and lead to them leaving great reviews and creating lasting memories! And as far as access is concerned, technology is your best friend. Install keyless, digital entry so you can manage your vacation rental remotely. And never have to worry about someone losing keys. 

Vacation Rentals_ Trendy or Timeless? | Modern colorful kitchen in a Los Angeles vacation Rental

This is a mere taste of what we chatted about at the Maxable 101 Expo downtown. If you’re serious about building and designing a granny flat on your property to maximize your property value and operate your own vacation rental unit, be sure to check out Maxable and leave any questions you have in the comments or drop me an email! I’ll do my best to sort through and get back to everyone. This seems to be a super buzzy topic–and I know exactly why: it can be such a profitable venture, people just don’t know where to get started!

And, again, you can check out how my husband and I transformed this single family Marina del Rey house into three separate rental units!