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Investing in northern Michigan vacation income properties

Shanty Creek condos such as this can be rented to vacationers
Shanty Creek condos such as this can be rented to vacationers
Donna Gundle-Krieg

Most people are aware that northern Michigan is a vacation paradise, complete with the most beautiful lakes and some of the best golf and skiing in the world.

However, few have considered how they can afford their own northern Michigan vacation property by renting it out to other vacationers to pay for some 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. Shanty Creek Resort, located in the heart of northern Michigan near beautiful lakes and rivers, attracts visitors from around the world.

After purchasing a home or condo at Shanty Creek Resort, property owners can rent their properties out independently, rent through the resort, or even 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 Homeaway.com and VRBO.com 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 through Shanty Creek Resort
Renting a vacation home or property directly through the resort is a good option for certain properties.

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 in each bedroom, 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 so that you can do more research on this issue!

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