Can You Afford Your Own Beach Home?

Do you love your San Diego vacations and long for a second home at the beach? Buy that second home and let it help pay for itself as a vacation rental, suggests Will Holland, president of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals and Real Estate.
“Beach area homes are in high demand, so they don’t get hit with the down side of the real estate market to the degree other segments of the market are affected,” says Holland, who bought his first beach area home in 1999.
Vacation rental owner Pam deDomenico says she invested in a beach property in order to provide retirement income. “It was for the income, plus to have a great vacation spot to share with the children and grandchildren,” she explains. “It’s only a good investment if you consider the value of personal use and property appreciation,” she adds.
Jim Fox and his wife Marcie enjoy getting away from their Washington home in the winter to visit family in San Diego. “A vacation rental fits right in,” he says. “We have a place to stay when we visit; it’s an investment with equity growth, and the rental income makes the payments.”
You need to work with a broker who is experienced with both real estate sales and vacation rental management so you can understand the ins and outs of vacation rental ownership. “Look at your goals, both short-term and long-term,” Holland advises. If your goal is to have positive cash flow immediately, a large down payment may be necessary or some elbow grease with a fixer-upper. If you can cover a negative cash flow you can buy more with less down, knowing that renters are helping you build equity and pay for the vacation home that you can use whenever you want.”
Location, location, location—you have to have a desirable location,” advises vacation rental owner Sara Siebrand. Her property is 20 minutes from her home and she loves having a place at the beach. “It’s a labor of love,” she explains. “Having a house at the beach is wonderful. It’s rented out most of the time, but when we are there, we are working on it and having fun at the beach.”
Siebrand said her property is mainly an investment, but is also a hobby. “It’s fun,” she says. “We like to make it a total ocean experience so it’s decorated all nautical. We have a guest book and we love it when people write what they liked and what they did while they stayed here.”
Beach area properties range in price, but good bargains and fixer-uppers are still to be found. Holland lived in his first purchase for a year while he renovated it. It has provided a positive cash flow ever since.
If extreme make-overs aren’t for you, there are plenty of condos and homes to choose from that are ready for occupancy. “It’s really the broker’s job to help you sort out your priorities then offer you options,” Holland says. “A good broker can help you estimate the costs of maintaining your rental and the potential income.”
Beach front and bay front properties are most desirable and will bring in the highest rents. “You can expect to pay less for a home or condo a little farther from the water, but it will also bring in lower rents.” In general, you need to decide what your goals are and what you can afford,” he says.
Income on a vacation rental is taxable, but you can claim deductions for many of the expenses, including management fees, advertising, maintenance, depreciation, as well as interest and property taxes. Depending on how much of the time you and/or your family members use the home, the rules for deducting expenses change. “Be sure to talk with your tax professional about the rules regarding second homes and vacation rentals,” Holland advises. “Tax codes and constantly changing and only a tax professional can keep you fully informed.”
One piece of advice Siebrand offers, is “you have to a have good management company.”
“The key to success with a vacation rental is having a good management group handle it,” Fox agrees. “When we bought it in 2002 we were with another management company and it wasn’t doing anything.” Fox later signed up with San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals and saw his rental income grow.
Holland agrees that it is important to have a qualified management company, unless you want to make your vacation rental your full time job. “When I was ready to make my beach area home a vacation rental, I looked for a management company that would market it the way I thought it deserved,” Holland explains. “When I couldn’t find one, I decided to market it myself. It quickly became a full-time job, then a business.” San Diego Sunset now manages nearly 70 properties and offers full real estate services.
There is a lot more involved in marketing, maintaining and managing a vacation rental than a long term rental, Holland says. The money you pay to a professional management company will come back to you many times over in increased tenancy, fewer headaches and hours saved doing bookkeeping. “Unless you really want to be the one they call when the toilet is stopped up or the barbecue won’t light, get a management firm.”
Not all management companies are alike. Be sure to ask how they market properties; what services they provide to owners and guests; what are their office hours; how accessible are they to owners and/or guests; how do they ensure guests will return year-after-year?
There is a lot of help and solid advice available for people longing to own a beach area home, says Holland. “If you really want a beach vacation home, don’t assume it’s out of reach,” advises Holland. “Go for your dream.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

Use IRA Funds to Purchase a Future Retirement Home

You vacation at the beach and would love to make it your home when you retire? Did you know you can purchase a retirement home with IRA funds?
The downside is that you can’t live in it until after age 59 ½ , but in the meantime, vacation rental guests can be helping you buy your dream home.
Allow a broker experienced in both real estate sales and vacation rental management help you decide the best property for you. The first step is to transfer your regular or Roth IRA into a self-directed IRA account. It will be overseen by a custodian such as Fiserv or PENSCO Trust Co. With the IRA funds, you can then make a down payment on your dream retirement home. You need to be able to pay all expenses for the retirement home out of the income. With the exception of legal fees, you are not allowed to use non-IRA funds to pay expenses of the home. You can use other IRA funds to pay expenses that come up.
You, your children, your parents, spouse, grand-children and their spouses cannot stay in the home, with or without paying rent. Most other relatives can rent it, though.
You are not allowed to manage the property yourself, so a property management company will be needed.
“It’s a good way to diversify your investments,” says Will Holland, president of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals and Real Estate. “Over the long term, real estate always out-performs the stock market. In beach areas, where the land to build is limited, the demand will only go higher.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Changes to Linen Service

SAN DIEGO—In an effort to give the best possible experience to guests, while keeping the costs down for property owners, San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals has contracted with Specialty Textile Services of Chula Vista to provide linens for its 50-plus units, President Will Holland announced.

“For our guests, it means professionally cleaned and pressed sheets of the same similar to what they would find at a high-end hotel,” Holland explained. “The towels are of the same high quality.”

For the owners, contracting with a linen service eliminates the need to continually purchase and replace linens and towels as they get worn or stained according to Holland. “It is cost-effective and efficient,” he added. “There is no extra charge to owners for this service, and, in the long run, it will save them money.”

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals, located at 3748 Mission Blvd., San Diego, opened three years ago with a goal of being the best in the business, Holland said. “We were the first company to offer free bike, body board and horse shoe rentals, as well as a business center for free use by your guests,” he added. “We now also offer our guests free access to a full-service fitness center. We continue to lead the market in innovative ways of providing added value to our guests and our property owners.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

Caperino named Customer Service Manager of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals

SAN DIEGO—San Diego native and Occidental College graduate Amanda Caperino has been named customer service manager of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals, announced President Will Holland.

“As our business has grown, we have found it necessary to hire a qualified, motivated person to handle customer service,” said Holland in making the announcement. “We have built our business on providing the best service in the local vacation rental industry, and Amanda will help us continue to achieve that goal.”

Caperino, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, has previous experience in customer service as manager of a Cold Stone Creamery. “I see this as an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a fast-growing, outstanding company,” she said. “It is really great that they started with only two properties three years ago and now manage more than 50. They have become a major force in the local vacation rental industry and I am excited that I will be a part of their continued growth.”

According to Holland, Caperino will be in charge of the day-to-day contact with guests and owners. “Her great people skills will go a long way toward ensuring our guests and owners have the best possible experience.”

Caperino started at Cold Stone at the age of 16 and worked her way up to manager, where she dealt with customer relations and handled every aspect of running a business, from bookkeeping and employee management, to ensuring customer satisfaction.

“We are very excited that Caperino chose San Diego Sunset and will be a part of our continued growth in the vacation rental market,” Holland said.

by Suzanne M. Perez

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Offers Free Bike, Boogey Board, & Nursery Rentals

SAN DIEGO—With a goal of economically meeting the needs of vacation rental guests, San Diego Vacation Rental Company broke with tradition and became the first local company to offer free access to bicycles, boogey boards, horseshoe sets and nursery needs.

“Our guests pay for their accommodations and they shouldn’t have to pay extra for the things that make a beach vacation fun,” said San Diego Sunset President Will Holland. “It was a no-brainer to offer these items to our guests.”
The company, which manages more than 50 Mission Beach and Pacific Beach area vacation rental units, allows families to reserve bicycles for a ride along the beach, boogey boards for some fun in the surf and horseshoe sets for some beach competition.

“We have a lot of families with small children who need cribs, high chairs, strollers and booster seats, but don’t want to haul all those things from home,” Holland explained. “We have them here for our guests to use for free.” San Diego Sunset doesn’t just keep one or two of each recreational or nursery item on hand, but plenty to meet the needs of its guests, according to Holland. “All a guest has to do is reserve the nursery items they need when they make their rental reservations and those nursery items will be waiting for them when they check in.” The bicycles and boogey boards can be reserved up to a day in advance, he said.

“One of the reasons that a vacation rental is such an economical choice is that the accommodations include everything you need for a great beach vacation,” said Holland. “Full kitchens allow you to prepare your own meals, so you save on the cost of eating out. Free recreational rentals and nursery rentals, only add to the savings you enjoy by staying in one of our residences.”

Holland developed his plan for San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals by considering what he expected, but often didn’t get while traveling. “Too often, I would pay a high price for accommodations, then end up paying even more for some simple needs,” he said. “I want my guests to feel like they have everything they need for a great vacation without spending a lot more money.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

A row of bicycles await free usage by San Diego Sunset Vacation Rental guests.

Free Gym Access Offered to Mission Beach/Pacific Beach Vacationers

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Gym Access
SAN DIEGO—Free fitness center access has been added to the list of guest services provided by San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals, President Will Holland announced. “When people are traveling, they often want to continue their exercise regimen, or even start a new one, and free daily access to a fitness center is something they really appreciate,” Holland explained.

Guests staying at any of San Diego Sunset’s more than 50 Mission Beach/Pacific Beach area vacation rentals can use the Powerhouse Gym, located at 4150 Mission Blvd, in the Promenade Shopping Center. The gym is centrally located and within walking distance of the areas vacation rentals, Holland noted. The location also provides plenty of free parking for those who prefer to drive to the gym, he said.

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals is the only area company to offer free gym access to its guests, according to Holland. “Since we opened our doors nearly three years ago, we have strived to be different and better than our competitors,” he said. “This is one more way we set ourselves apart from other vacation rental companies.”

The 14,000 square-foot facility has a complete cardio center, with entertainment. For the weight lifter, there are traditional weight machines, plus a large free weight room. Free group classes, including yoga, Pilates and aerobics are also included in what is available to San Diego Sunset guests, Holland said.

“When I have traveled, I wanted to work out while on the road, the nice hotels I stayed in usually charged an additional per day fee to use the gym,” Holland said. “That really bothered me that I was paying a high price for a hotel room, then had to pay extra to use the gym, and was charged again if I needed to use the business center. What was that huge hotel bill all about?”

Holland took the lessons he learned while traveling for business and set out to build a vacation rental company that would provide what people want, without charging extra for it. “Why should people pay for their accommodations, then have to pay more to work out?”

The Powerhouse Gym is open from 5a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 5 am to 10 p.m. on Friday; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Seven days a week, the staff is on hand to help vacationers become familiar with the equipment. “The friendly atmosphere eliminates any anxiety over being in an unfamiliar gym,” Holland said. “There is no longer any reason to skip the gym while you are vacationing in Mission Beach.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Company Goes Green

SAN DIEGO—A leader in innovation in the local vacation rental industry, San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals has gone green, relying on clean air vehicles for the bulk of its business, President Will Holland announced today.

San Diego Sunset has turned to zero-emission electric vehicles and bicycles to take care of the day-today business of the vacation rental company, he said. A bright yellow electric GEM vehicle with the San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals logos, an electric Segway transporter, and a fleet of bicycles take Holland and his employees up and down the 4-mile stretch of Mission Boulevard, where the company’s 50+ vacation rentals are located.

“It made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons,” Holland said. “We want to keep the ocean air clean and reduce the use of polluting combustible engines as much as possible.” He said that the frequent but short trips required for upkeep of the vacation rentals burned a lot of gas and gave off plenty of pollution. “We probably reduced our fuel usage by about 85 percent,” he said.

The four-seater GEM car will go at speeds up to 25 miles per hour and will travel up to 30 miles on a single charge from a standard 110-volt outlet. “We estimate the cost for electricity is about 15 percent of what we would be paying for gas at today’s prices,” Holland said. “But the reduction in gas emissions is the real pay-off.” The GEM car is limited to streets with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour, so it is perfect for around Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, but it can’t go on freeways or expressways.

Segways are two-wheeled personal mobility vehicles that are also battery powered. Like the GEM vehicle, the Segway plugs into a standard 110-outlet. It can travel up to about 24 miles on a single charge with a maximum speed of about 12 miles per hour. Unlike the GEM, it can cruise along Ocean Front Walk or Bay Walk and park almost anywhere. “It only costs about 10 cents to charge the battery,” Holland said. “We just leave it plugged in so it’s ready to go when we have an errand to run.”

The company’s pledge to increase its use of zero emissions vehicles extends to its contract work crews as well. “We encourage our maintenance and cleaning crews get around on bicycles, rather than cars,” Holland said. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the worker’s health and it’s good for our bottom line. There is a huge savings, not only in gas, but in time and energy wasted just trying to find a parking place,” he said. “Parking is at a premium in the area and bicycles can be locked up anywhere.”

The company still has one SUV, but reserves it for trips away from the Pacific Beach and Mission Beach area, where faster speeds are required and when larger cargo area is needed. “There are times when we have to pick up supplies and building materials and the GEM car and Segway won’t do the job because of the limited speeds, limited range and limited carrying capacity,” Holland explained. “But we depend on the SUV less and less and the zero-emission modes of transportation more and more.”

by Suzanne M. Perez

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Offers Free Business Services

SAN DIEGO—Have you ever been on vacation and had some immediate business to tend to, only to find out that your hotel charges an exorbitant price to use its business center? It happened to San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals President Will Holland, which is why he has a business center that is free for his guests.

“When people go on vacation, they can’t always leave their work at home,” he said. “They need to be able to log onto the internet, link into a wireless network, and send faxes. They shouldn’t have to pay extra for those simple services.”

As an innovator in the local vacation rental business, Holland saw a need and decided to fill it. “When my wife and I started looking around for a vacation rental company to handle our own vacation rental a few years ago, we weren’t happy with what we found,” he explained. That’s why he and is wife, Ikuko, started their own. “We saw companies that charged both the owners and the guests special fees for one thing or another. They didn’t offer basic needs like a business center and internet access. They didn’t even offer free nursery rentals, much less free bicycle and boogie board rentals.”

Holland had a vision of a vacation rental company that would be full service with the emphasis on the “service.” He is proud to offer his guests free use of a business center, as well as free recreation and nursery rentals. He refuses to charge extra for the services that he says should be included in a vacation rental stay, like cleaning fees, reservation fees and damage waivers. “What’s this about charging to make a reservation?” he mused. “Isn’t that what the company is already getting paid to do? It’s not a good deal if you are getting charged all kinds of special fees and it’s even a worse deal if they can’t provide you with free Wi-Fi and a free space to take care of business.”

A vacation rental can be the most economical way to take a vacation, but watch out for those extra charges, he warns, and make sure you will be provided what you need, like access to computers, the internet, faxing and printing capabilities.

Guests at the 50-plus Mission Beach and Pacific Beach area vacation rentals Holland manages, also get free access to a fitness center. “We want to be the company that provides vacationers more than a rental unit, we want to provide a vacation experience,” Holland said.

by Suzanne M. Perez

San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals Publishes Mission Beach Magazine

SAN DIEGO—In an effort to provide a resource for Mission Beach and Pacific Beach vacationers, and promote the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach areas as a vacation destination, San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals has begun publication of Mission Beach Magazine, announced San Diego Sunset President Will Holland.

“We wanted to accomplish two goals – draw vacationers to the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach areas, and to offer them a guide of things to do while they are here,” said Holland.

The third issue recently hit the stands, with 10,000 copies being distributed in a variety of ways. Distribution stands are placed throughout the area and partner business also distribute the magazine, according to Holland. “Each guest of San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals gets a copy when they check in,” he added.

The Spring/Summer 06 issue of Mission Beach Magazine includes articles about area golf courses, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo and Mission Trails Regional Park. Articles also give tourists information on charter fishing trips and a San Diego tour company.

“The map inside each is a great resource for visitors because it shows a detailed map of the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach areas,” Holland said. “The map also shows the popular bike path that takes you around Mission Bay, surf spots, grocery stores and trolley stops.”

The magazine also pictures and describes the 50-plus vacation rentals managed by San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals. “The same information is available on San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals web site,, but a lot of people like to page through the magazine and read about the rentals, rather than surf the net,” Holland said.

Current and past issues of Mission Beach Magazine can also be viewed online at “As we grow as a business, we want to have the magazine grow also,” Holland said. “We really want to highlight the great vacation lifestyles of the area with supreme photography and informative stories.”

Holland encourages anyone who would like a copy of the magazine, or is interested in advertising, to contact him at “We have had a lot of very positive feedback on the magazine from both vacationers and area businesses,” he said.

by Suzanne M. Perez

Have a Blast in a San Diego Sunset Vacation Rental

SAN DIEGO—”Have a Blast” in San Diego with the discount card recently introduced by San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals and Mission Beach Magazine. The new discount program provides area visitors with discounts and free services at 17 Mission Beach and Pacific Beach area businesses, San Diego Sunset President Will Holland announced this week.

“The ‘Have A Blast Pass’ program is a cooperative effort to help promote area businesses and to provide added value to San Diego Sunset Vacation Rental guests,” Holland explained. “It’s a win-win proposition. Additional business is generated for partners in the program, and vacationers are provided discounts and/or free services.”

Each guest checking into any of the 50-plus San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals receives a “Have A Blast Pass” along with a list of participating businesses and what they offer. A listing of “Have A Blast” partners and the discounts or free services they offer is also published in Mission Beach Magazine, according to Holland.

The pass offers discounts on surfing lessons, pizza, recreational rentals, beachwear and sandals, jewelry and a long list of other goods or services. For example, Segway of Pacific Beach will honor the “Have A Blast Pass” with a 10 percent discount off any two-hour Segway rental. “Where You Want to Be Tours,” which was recently featured in Mission Beach Magazine, offers $3 off walking or bike tours or $100 off a scavenger hunt.

“If you just want to save some money on dinner, use the pass for $5 off dinner at Guava Beach Bar & Grill,” advises Holland, “or order Pizza at Rosaria Pizza and get a 10 percent discount.”

If what you are really looking for is a beauty treatment, Mission Hair & Nails offers a 10 percent discount off a manicure and pedicure, then cross the street for a 10 percent discount off a pair of sandals. You won’t be done until you head to Mission Beach Cleaners and Tanning for a free tanning session with any fluff and fold service. Top the day off with a jewelry purchase at 10 percent off at nearby Chris’ Jewelry.

“The ‘Have A Blast Pass’ also allows San Diego Sunset guests unlimited free access to the Powerhouse Gym in the Promenade Shopping Center, and free use of San Diego Sunset’s business center, free Wi-Fi, as well as free bike, boogey board and horseshoe rentals,” Holland explained.

“The Pass has been well-received and well-used,” he said. “It’s been a good partnership among a group of area businesses that benefits them and benefits our guests.”

For more information about becoming a “Have A Blast Pass” partner, Holland encourages businesses to contact him at There is no cost to participate in the program, just a commitment to offer great service and a discount or free service to San Diego Sunset guests, he said.

By Suzanne M. Perez