Periodically we like to interview one of our exceptional users. Not only does operating a vacation rental business take a lot of time, but also a huge amount of effort. This week we spoke with Mark from Arizona Luxury Rentals. Mark's website and operation can be found at azvacationhomes.com. Below are the questions we asked and his responses.
Mark: I’m a native of the Phoenix area, born and raised on the west side in a small city called El Mirage. I moved to the Tempe area in 1992 to attend Arizona State University, where I received my BA and MBA. I currently have three kids (25, 5, 2), and my hobbies are work and my two young daughters. I wish I had more time for other activities; however, my family takes up all of my time.
Mark: Right now the vacation rental industry is my only career. I have 18 years of industry experience. I purchased my first vacation rental in 2002 while working in management for Verizon Wireless. I quickly added to my real estate portfolio, so I left the corporate environment to mange my real estate full time. Through networking, my business grew to a large property management company. Our inventory grew to 150 homes. In 2016 I decided to focus on family and sold my share of the business. Since 2016, I’ve managed a small operation ranging from 10 - 15 homes.
Mark: What I love the most about the VR business is the flexibility it provides my family and me. I’m able to manage my business from anywhere in the world. I’ve been able to put together a quality local team that manages operations; therefore, I can take care of my responsibilities with a laptop and internet access. Secondly, the rate of return on my real estate investments is excellent. I’m consistently meeting or exceeding a return of 25%. I’m unable to find another investment that will perform this well (even during Covid-19 pandemic).
Here is a photo of my wife Joanna and I. We run our business on our own. We do have an accountant and a bunch of vendors for cleaning, landscaping, pool service etc. The meat and potatoes is Joanna and I.
Mark: This one is easy. What I dislike the most about this industry is the power that major listing sites are trying to exercise over our real estate. They heavily favor the guests, which makes it difficult for Hosts to hold guests accountable for noise disturbances, neighbor complaints and damages to the property. Listing sites started as marketing tools, and now have become property managers. They micromanage everything.
Mark: OwnerRez is fantastic. My dependency on OwnerRez is growing by the day, which is a good thing. When I think about OwnerRez, what comes to mind is automation. OwnerRez has done a fabulous job of improving communication features. At one point I utilized three different software products to manage communication with guests. Now, I only use OwnerRez.
Mark: There are many. If I had to choose one...I would go with API integrations. The most valuable to me is the integration with VRBO.
We wish Arizona Luxury Rentals much success as they continue to manage their business and thrive in the vacation rental industry!