Use ‘Sizzle Features’ to make your home stand out!

June 3, 2013

Marketing, Tips & Tricks

Sizzle features? What am I talking about you might ask?  A good friend of mine, J.D. Esajian,  that happened to be on a TV show called ‘Flip This House’ uses these two words anytime he sees something that sells a house and they really work!

Sizzle features can be small or large changes to your home. They are important to any vacation rental but more important and critical to your success as you move away from the featured areas in your town. For example, vacation homes in our market (San Diego) are much easier to rent at the beach and get tougher to rent the further you go inland. Homes further away from desired ski slopes will be harder to rent generally than a home walking distance to the ski resorts.   Theses features can be the difference between successfully renting your home year round and having little to no bookings for your home  They can be as simple as flowers around a house, painting an accent wall or as elaborate as building an outdoor kitchen or water feature. I am going to talk about both some of the easy to implement and the more difficult items that have worked in our homes over the years.

Easiest and least expensive Sizzle Features

You have to ask yourself what makes a home really stand out to you? DiningRoom1IMG_4570

A home that is staged well will make your home stand out from your competition. We stage all of our homes with fresh flowers and make sure each home is well lit.   Take a look at the two pictures, one with just the table and the other with flowers and great background lighting.



Another great way to add some ‘Pop’ in a room is to paint an accent wall with a soft color or even a faux finish. Here is another example of two pictures of a living room with an accent wall. Which one is more appealing to you?

Make sure to showcase the little touches you do in your home that you know customers enjoy. Our company,  Pacific Coast Vacation Properties , has organic soaps staged in attractive containers in each home.  We also fold our towels a certain way and have chocolates in each bedroom when a guest arrives.  These are the little things that make a guest keep looking at your pictures and reading about your home.







Think about staging your normal items in a way that makes them stand out in your home. Try to convey a feeling with your prospective renters. For example, instead of taking pictures of the bikes in your garage, take a little time to take a few bikes down to the beach and lay them on a lamp post with the ocean in the background. Take pictures of children playing with your beach toys, a glass of wine on a patio table, or pictures of books or your games in a room with a fireplace roaring in the background. Be creative and think about what you really enjoy about your property and figure out a way to convey it to pictures!

The Big Sizzle Features

I wanted to mention some of the more high dollar ‘Sizzle Features’ we have featured in our home.  All of these items will demand higher rates for your home and will easily pay for themselves within a few months or years depending on the upgrade.

DSC_0295One of the easiest ways to demand more money for your home is to install a hot tub at your home. Many people look for homes with hot tubs while on vacation and will search specifically for homes with this criteria. You can typically get 10-20% more per night with the addition of a hot tub at your home.  Hot tubs can cost anywhere from $2000-$10,000 but is one the best returns on investment you can add to your home.

DSC_0851Add a fire pit to your home. We recommend a gas fire pit as they have several advantages over wood pits.  You can build a custom fire pit that is connected directly to a gas line  (see the picture on the right) or buy a pit that uses a standard 20 lb propane tank.




What about an outdoor kitchen? In southern California, where we are located, these are a must for vacationers!  Outdoor kitchens are like gold to people visiting our area. People want to be outside and a properly equipped outdoor kitchen can sell you home over and over.  The more amenities you have in your kitchen, the better!  Consider a large barbecue, side burners, sink, and refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen and make sure to have a large outdoor eating area for all those dinners your guests will make outside.


IngahamWarerfall1HickoryBackyardAtNight2What about a water feature? Some of our homes have waterfalls and ponds. These pictures will catch people’s attention and keep them reading about your home.


Other great features include large flat screen tv’s, custom kitchens, rain shower heads, and king size beds.


Add some of these ‘Sizzle Features’  and watch your occupancy and revenues grow!

About Greg

Greg is the owner of Pacific Coast Vacation Properties, a high end vacation rental management company located in San Diego, CA. He also owns a full service real estate brokerage company that helps owners buy vacation rental and commercial property. In his spare time, Greg volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and other charitable groups in San Diego.

View all posts by Greg

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