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RISMEDIA, September 23, 2010—Many vacation property owners would like to rent their home out when they’re not using it themselves. Problem is, they let their worry about the “what-ifs” override the benefits of collecting all that glorious rental income. Here, Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for HomeAway, Inc., and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment addresses some of the most common objections as to why vacation property owners don’t rent out their homes.

I am uncomfortable with strangers staying at my house.
Perhaps you’re worried about renters trashing your property or stealing from you. This almost never happens, asserts Karpinski. Even in the unlikely event that it did happen, that’s why you have insurance and ask for a security deposit upfront. And if you rent by owner, you really decrease the likelihood that something bad will happen.

I want flexibility for personal use.
You have complete control over when you rent your home out and when you don’t. You can rent it out during peak season and enjoy it yourself in the off-season. You can live in it during the winter and rent it out in the summer. You can reserve a few weeks out of the year for your own use and rent it out the rest of the time. You can even rent it out for two weeks without having to claim that income on your taxes (IRS Publication 527).

Financially, I don’t need to rent.
Think about it this way, says Karpinski: if you have stocks and they are paying dividends, do you say no, thanks to Microsoft? Of course not. So why would you leave real estate investment dividends on the table?

No one would want to rent my vacation home, anyway.
If you just bought a far-from-luxurious suburban house for $150,000, you might assume that few people would want to rent it. Think again, says Karpinski. Look on and you’ll see listings for homes that range from rustic cabins to majestic castles.