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Affording northern Michigan vacation property through rentals

Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan
Donna Gundle-Krieg

Vacation property in northern Michigan is easier to own than most people think, as lakefront or resort properties allow owners to rent to vacationers to pay for most, or all of the costs.

For example, one can purchase a small condo starting at under $50,000 in a resort such as Shanty Creek, which has ski hills and several golf courses and is located near beautiful lakes and rivers. Property owners can then rent their condos or houses on their own, or through the resort. They can also turn their properties over to a timeshare company. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options.

Managing your own vacation property rental
Websites such as as and make it easy for property owners to advertise and manage their own vacation rentals.

These websites are very popular among vacationers, and advertising property on these websites costs a few hundred dollars per year. The websites are also user-friendly, and even allow property owners to collect Mastercard and Visa payments.

The advantage to this option is that the owner scan control their own calendars, pricing, clientele, and rental rules. They can also block out their own vacation dates, and earn money when they aren't there.

The disadvantage to this option is that it does take work, and homeowners need to be available to respond to numerous phone and email requests. However, there are plenty of handymen and cleaning companies in the area to help the owner when necessary.

Renting property through Shanty Creek Resort
The resort tends to rent out their own hotel rooms first, and they also tend to do better at renting properties that are closer to the center of one of the resort's three villages. Therefore, houses and condos that are not near the village centers often do not get rented.

The advantage of renting through the resort is that the advertising and property management is done by the resort. Homeowners can block their own vacation dates off, but are required to use the resort's cleaning service when they stay.

The disadvantage to renting through the resort is that they take half of the income, in addition to the cleaning fee. In addition, the resort requires certain standards.

Turning vacation property over to a timeshare company
While Shanty Creek Resorts has timeshare properties available, there are also timeshare groups such as Global Connections, Inc. which are looking for northern Michigan properties to lease. This timeshare company is “point-based,” and needs properties for their customers who want to use their points in Michigan.

When turning a property over to a timeshare company, the owner usually gets only a couple of weeks per year to use his own property. The rest of the time, the timeshare company has total control of the house or condo.

The advantage to using a timeshare company is that it is very lucrative. Payments are significantly higher than those that can be earned through self-management, or renting through the resort.

A disadvantage is that the property owners can no longer use their homes or condos much of the time. In addition, the timeshare management companies require units to be set up a certain way. For example, each room is required to have a flat screen television, and furniture, dishes and linens must be up to a certain standard.

Which of these options is best for you? Why don't you come up and visit, and Donna Gundle-Krieg will arrange a tour of homes and condos in the area! Call her at 231-350-8507 or email

For more information about buying property in northern Michigan, click here.

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