The Wolf will only work with homes and owners representing a good fit for our company’s values. We will not manage unpermitted homes or homes in condo complexes forbidding vacation rentals, and we specifically aim for homes that provide our guests with the best Estes Park has to offer.
Each potential property will first undergo a site visit and market analysis by The Wolf to determine appeal, rentability, potential issues. By analyzing your prior listing, photos and financials, we will be able to identify and fix weak links and make your home into one that guests will better enjoy. If your home has never been rented, we will compare it to existing properties in our portfolio and estimate how we think it will do.
If we choose to partner, The Wolf will make a series of recommendations to make your property more appealing, and outline a set of retrofits to make management run smoothly. Some will be mandatory, others will be optional, and will of course vary from property to property. However, we like efficiency, repeatability and consistency. Things go wrong a lot in vacation homes — batteries die, sheets get stained, stuff breaks — and if we can keep as many of the properties in our portfolio operating similarly, we can respond to problems quickly and solve them immediately.
Wolf Dens tend to use the same locks, linens, television systems, alarms, security systems, WiFi routers, smart thermostats — heck, most even use the same soap dispensers in the bathrooms. These are all outlined below. This isn’t to say there’s not room to customize your home and make it uniquely yours, but there are a number of items we feel help us run the business smoothly.
Depending on what is appropriate, your investment would be $500 to $2,000, plus installation costs. These items will more than pay for themselves over time. If you have electric baseboard heat, for example, the smart thermostats will likely pay for themselves in a few months because they prevent guests from warming your home to 85 degrees when they’re not home.
After you retrofit, we will professionally photograph your property and write or re-write your listing, as well as configure your online house manual. Then we’ll push your listing to AirBnB, VRBO, and other listing sites as needed.
RECOMMENDED UPGRADES AND RETROFITS
We like August Pro smart locks, paired with the August Connect and August PIN Pad. The locks install over your existing deadbolt and the system auto-generates and auto-emails codes to AirBnB guests that are only valid for the date of your guests’ stay. We manually generate codes for VRBO guests.
If the cleaning team is finished early and the guest wants an early check-in, we can remotely unlock the door for them. This is always backed up with a physical keybox as a failsafe. As part of routine upkeep, we change out batteries as necessary.
Guests expect speedy WiFi with good coverage throughout the home. Some homes only need one central router, but other homes may need a functional mesh system, particularly if there is lots of outdoor living space or multiple floors.
The Wolf uses the Amplifi system, and you can add extenders as necessary. The system has a robust firmware that rarely hiccups, and if it does, we can log in remotely to manage it, reset it, and see if the Internet service is working.
Security cameras prevent parties, nonpaying guests, and theft. Keep in mind that too many people at your house is illegal and imperils your rental permit. Cameras will pay for themselves the first time they catch someone breaking the rules.
We use Netgear’s Arlo system as it allows 7 free days of cloud storage for up to 5 cameras, plus you can authorize us to have access to your camera streams. We like them installed near front and back doors. We will not work with hosts who insist on interior security cameras.
Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors and with code enforcement is mandatory. If your home is in a tightly packed area, if you have neighbors nearby, or if it’s in a condo or building with shared walls, invest in a Noise Aware.
These devices monitor decibel levels only (they don’t record content) and alert us via text and email when the noise reaches a user-set threshold. That way we can proactively get involved by calling the guest and ask them to quiet down, instead of having neighbors call code enforcement.
For electric baseboard heat, we use Mysa thermostats, or Stelpro Maestro units when the wiring is incompatible with Mysa. You’ll need one for each zone. For hydronic baseboard heat and furnaces, we like Ecobee thermostats, or Nest when installation is problematic. You’ll need just one for a hydronic baseboard or furnace system.
We can set schedules, dial temps up and down remotely, and in many cases tie our thermostat schedules into our hosting schedules so the thermostats go into standby mode at checkout. Nest, Mysa and Ecobee allow max set temps so people can’t heat to 90 for their entire stay.
Additional Odds and Ends
We require all homes to have their own vacuum cleaner to prevent bed bug spread.
You may like nice towels, but we prefer thinner towels to increase washing efficiency.