FAQ’s

Guests (6)

What household supplies are provided at the house I’m renting?

You will be provided with a “starter set” of cleaning/paper products. There will be paper towels and bath tissue to start off your week. Similarly you will be provided with cleaning products like dish soap, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, etc. We ask that you replace what you use so the guests coming in after you can enjoy the same convenience. Some kitchen trash bags will also be provided.

What about linens, sheets, towels, beach towels etc., are they provided?

As is customary when renting a vacation home on the Cape, linens are not provided at most properties (unless otherwise noted in your contract). You can bring your own linens and towels with you, or you can rent them. We offer a linen rental service if you would like, and we’ll be happy to have your linens waiting for you at the property when you arrive. For an additional charge, we’ll also make the beds for you. Please visit our linen service page for pricing or place your order.

What time is check-in and check-out?

Check-in time is between 3pm – 5pm. There are some instances when the property will be ready for you earlier. If that is the case we will be sure to let you know so you can start enjoying your vacation as soon as possible. If you will be arriving on Cape after 5 p.m. we ask that you let us know so we can make the proper arrangements. Check-out time is 10 a.m. Please send us a text or email message when you are leaving the property so we can inform the cleaning crew.  It really helps schedule our day and better prepare for the next arriving guests.

What about the keys? How do I get into my vacation home?

We believe most guests appreciate not having to go to an office to get keys, and then go on to their vacation home. We will either meet you at the house upon your arrival or make arrangements so you can get into the house and start your vacation the minute you arrive. We will send you an email two weeks before the start of your rental term with all the details.

The last thing I want to do on vacation is go grocery shopping. Can Pretty Picky Properties save me from standing in line at Stop & Shop?

In an effort to maximize your vacation time we are pleased to offer a grocery provisioning service. Just let us know if you would like to take advantage of this service, and we’ll be more than happy to send you all the information you’ll need. No need to lug a cooler full of stuff from home. Just give us your list, and we’ll have all the groceries at the home ready for you, spirits, wine and beer included. Head out to the beach or patio to enjoy your favorite summertime beverage sooner!

Do I need a beach pass for parking?

During peak hours at town beaches, parking stickers are required. Of course, most of our properties are directly on or within easy walking distance of private, neighborhood association beaches, so no pass is required.  For those properties that aren’t right on or within walking distance a pass is necessary. You can stop by the town offices to pick up a weekly pass or pay per visit. Beach passes are issued by vehicle so are not transferrable.

Owners (8)

How long have you been rental brokers?

First, we are full-service real estate brokers.  We are licensed to list properties for sale, as well as assist prospective buyers in finding their ideal place on Cape Cod. But we choose to focus on select vacation rentals.  We’ve been doing that since 2003, shortly after we began renting our own cottage on the beach in Brewster (it’s #78-B here on our website).  We could see a real need in the market for a value-added, prime property vacation rentals focus for “picky” owners like us. We also soon discovered that Jim’s and Blake’s marketing and sales experience, coupled with Karen’s organizational and people skills, make us a formidable team that truly understands the right way to do vacation rentals – from both the guest’s and the owner’s point of view.

Do you qualify guests before committing to them?

As licensed brokers, we cannot, by law, discriminate based on a number of criteria. However, we ask a lot of questions and try very hard to be sure a guest group is right for a property, and vice versa, before we send out a rental agreement. Questions such as, “How many visitors do you expect during your stay?” and “How many overnight guests will be staying there at any one time?”
And by the way, we’ll confirm with you before we book any reservation if you prefer (most owners do). You’ll know the size of the group, the group configuration (kids’ ages, etc) and you’ll confirm the dates and the rate before the rental agreement goes out. We feel that clear and complete communication with both owners and guests is supremely important and one of our great strengths.

I’m worried about damage to my property. How do you approach that issue?

We’ll always require a security deposit that is refunded after the guests depart, assuming there is no loss, damage or extraordinary cleaning needed.  We also offer what’s called “Damage Protection insurance,” for which the guest pays a small, non-refundable premium, naming the owner as the beneficiary. This provides greater peace of mind since the coverage exceed the amount of a typical security deposit.

Even if you opt for the Damage Protection insurance, we will still require a smaller security deposit to protect against the need for extra cleaning, the single most common reason security deposits are assessed.  Here’s another intangible added value Pretty Picky offers to give owners still greater peace of mind:  if you or your property manager cannot be on site for rental turnover day, we send our Pretty Picky detailers to the property to execute our Prep Punch List (to see it, click HERE).  Sure, we can fail to notice things, but at least with us on the case, you have both the cleaning service and Pretty Picky checking for loss or damage on turnover day.

How much can I expect my property to rent for?

Just as we do in a sales scenario, we’ll do a market analysis in which we find other properties that rent and which favorably compare with yours — one or more of which is probably already represented by Pretty Picky. You can rest assured that we will recommend the best, fair market rate you can expect for your property. Often we can command somewhat higher rates, because we’ll advertise your property very aggressively online.

What kind of advertising exposure will my property receive?

We believe it’s your rental broker’s first responsibility to market your property on its own merits to as many qualified rental prospects as possible.  That’s why our single biggest expense is online advertising.  We are not content to simply list your property on our website and wait for the phone to ring.

We advertise each property we list on the most popular compendium vacation rental websites on the Internet.  Places like Homeaway.com, VRBO.com, TripAdvisor/Flipkey.com and Weneedavacation.com.  And your property will look its very best, because we take great care and pride in taking the best photos and crafting the most compelling advertising you’ll see on those sites.

Experience pays off, and Jim has 35 years experience managing and creating advertising for his own company, Decker Creative Marketing.

What if I want to rent only a few weeks?

If we feel you are a Pretty Picky owner and your Cape home is a Pretty Picky property, we’re happy to list it for a few summer weeks only.  You’ll get the same attentive service all our owners receive.

How often do you find it necessary to assess a security deposit for damage or loss caused by a rental guest?

: The answer is very seldom. That’s because most of our guests are discriminating in how they choose their vacation rental property and attentive in their treatment of it once they’re vacationing there. But you should understand that some wear and tear from rental guests is inevitable. When you do summer rentals, you’re running a small business that can gross up to $50,000 a season or more, depending on the property and its location.

There will be certain costs of doing business that you cannot expect to pass on to the guests. Accidents can happen – a torn screen, a plugged toilet, an empty propane tank, even a stain on your grandmother’s beloved duvet (which should have been locked away for safe keeping during the rental season anyway). The key is your outlook. If you perceive rental guests as a barely tolerable means of generating extra income, then you should avoid renting like you avoid left turns in August.

But if you adopt the role of an upscale innkeeper, welcoming guests into your home, summer rentals are a pleasant part of owning a second home on the Cape. And the extra cash sure comes in handy!

What do I have to do to prepare my property for summer rentals?

Click HERE for the email we send to our owners each spring, detailing the right way to get ready for the summer rental season.  By far the most important single thing you can do is hire a professional cleaning service to do a deep spring cleaning. If you think you can save money by doing it yourself, you’re in for a rocky rental season – and so is your broker, who will be the first to field the complaints from your guests.

Musty smelling kitchen cabinet shelf paper that hasn’t been changed since the Reagan Administration doesn’t fly.  Portable electric fan blades coated with several seasons of fuzzy grime don’t make the cut.  A thorough, professional, pre-season total house cleaning is a must.

It sets the stage for a rental season with fewer headaches. Not to mention more repeat bookings for next summer.