How the Finger Lakes Benefit from Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals may feel like a new trend, but the short-term rental industry has been around for decades in destinations worldwide, including the Finger Lakes. With third party booking sites, like VRBO and AirBnb making vacation rentals more popular and plentiful than ever before, its important to explore what responsible renting looks like and how short-term rentals can continue to add value to our region.

Here are just a few of the ways that the Finger Lakes benefit from vacation rentals:

Vacation rentals uphold the lake culture of our communities.

The Finger Lakes are a traditional summer vacation destination. Our shorelines are lined with seasonal homes and cottages, where families have experienced lake life together for generations. Short-term rentals support the culture of our lake communities, extended stays in the region, and the need for more property tax revenue.

Vacation rentals supplement hotel room supply.

Local hotels book up fast for peak season. Short-term rentals not only supplement hotel room supply, but can better accommodate larger groups and niche travelers. Finger Lakes Premier Properties has hosted over 80,000 guests since 2015. The more tourists our region can lodge, the more we encourage economic growth for local businesses and communities.

Booking and packing for a vacation

Vacation rentals keep family homes in the family.

Short-term rental income makes it possible for families to afford the increasing costs associated with owning a lake house. This allows the tradition of gathering at the lake to continue for years to come.

Vacation rentals support property values.

In 2018, 32% of investment property owners planned on renting their home as a short-term rental, up 24% from 2017. The demand for lakefront homes is growing because of increased demand for short-term rentals.

keys to a house

Vacation rentals create opportunity.

Short-term rentals make the lakefront experience affordable and accessible to everyone. Families have private, recreational access to the water, regardless of whether they have the means to live on the lake. In addition, the vacation rental industry creates a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs throughout the region.

Family by the lake at a vacation rental

What does Responsible Renting look like?

Vacation rentals managed by professional property managers add significant value to the community by expanding the tax base and attracting direct and indirect spending in our area. Unfortunately, popular listing sites have portrayed the ease of owning a vacation rental without highlighting the importance of managing the experience for the guest, owner, and local community. Read more about what responsible renting looks like here.

To learn more about professional property management services for your short-term rental, visit our website.

How to Buy a Lake House

Maybe you’ve had the dream to buy a lake house for a long time. Maybe you’ve heard success stories about owning a vacation rental. Regardless, you’re ready to own your very own slice of lake life, but where do you start?

We caught up with our buyer specialist, Dave Lucchesi, to answer this question and to learn more about the steps his clients take to buy their lakefront home in the Finger Lakes. He broke it down for us in 5 easy steps:

Continue reading How to Buy a Lake House

Tips for lake-friendly spring cleaning

The Finger Lakes are an abundant and vital resource to our region, providing us with recreation, tourism, agriculture, and clean drinking water. It is the responsibility of lake-centric businesses, lakefront homeowners, and responsible renters to keep our Finger Lakes clean and safe for generations to come. What we do in the spring can not only increase bookings and improve home aesthetics, but also reduce pollution, algae blooms, and other harmful outbreaks that can affect the lakes during peak season.

Here are some tips from the local watershed associations to help you protect the lakes during your spring cleanup efforts.

Avoid using fertilizers

Lawn care blends contain excess nutrients that enter the lakes through rainwater and runoff this time of the year. According to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, this results in “harmful algae blooms, increased aquatic plant growth, and the degradation of our water quality.” If your lawn or garden can’t go without, switch to a phosphorus-free fertilizer instead. The best practice for a lake friendly lawn? Replace your grass with native plants, bushes, and trees.

Change up your household chemicals

Avoid using toxic or flammable household cleaners, poisons, herbicides, and pesticides. Not only can these be picked up by runoff into the lakes, but according to the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, many chemical products are not completely removed by the biological treatment in septic systems, so they still end up in groundwater and nearby water sources. Buy and use only what you need, switch to environmentally friendly alternatives, and dispose of chemicals at designated drop-off sites. As always, make sure household chemicals are stored carefully and away from where guests can access them.

Clean up pet waste

Not only will it improve the look of your yard, but cleaning up after your pets is lake-friendly practice. Dispose of pet waste in the trash or flush it down the toilet. We encourage all guests to clean up after pets, but if you have a pet-friendly rental, we recommend stashing some baggies near any exits to the yard.

Control soil erosion

Keep the dirt where it belongs – in your yard! You can minimize storm water runoff by planting a raingarden, adding shrubs, trees, and ground covers to your landscaping, and allowing vegetation to grow along any nearby streams. These plants can help trap sediment and pollutants on their way to the water.

Join a lakeshore monitoring program!

If you reside in the Finger Lakes year round, you can volunteer to monitor shoreline with any of the local watershed associations. Keeping your eyes on the lake can help these organizations monitor algae blooms and cyanobacteria build ups that tend to proliferate during the late summer months.

Doing your part to keep the lakes clean this spring and monitoring shorelines for harmful plant and bacteria growths can have a huge impact on the health of the Finger Lakes. Best of all, improved water quality during peak season translates to higher guest satisfaction and increased reservations for your vacation rental! For more lake-friendly spring clean-up tips, visit

Need help getting your lakefront home ready for peak season reservations? Our owner services and housekeeping teams can assist with your lake-friendly cleanup efforts. Call 844-404-1059 today!

Q1 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Advise for lakefront buying and selling in the Finger Lakes

It’s here! Download our full report to see how the lakefront real estate market performed during the first quarter of 2019.

What you need to know

It continues to be a seller’s market. A decrease in the number of homes sold and an increase overall in average sale price means that supply is not meeting lakefront buyer demand. Lakefront homes on average are also spending less time on the market – our average is only 8.6 days!

If you’re on the fence about listing your lakefront home, spring is the perfect time to test the waters. Contact our Real Estate Team today for a free assessment of your home! (844) 464-0949

First Quarter 2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report | Finger Lakes

Our Real Estate Experts explain:

“Every lake that we work is down in overall volume of sales, many of the lakes by very large volumes. Less homes are selling on the lake, because less homes are on the market. The average sale price on the majority of the lakes is way up as well, while the days on market continue to go down. Very strong seller’s market right now.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

“It’s all about being prepared. First, make sure you have your pre-approval letter ready. Then, get on our buyers list, receive our emails, and make sure you’re ready to move quickly on new listings. When we know exactly what you’re looking for, we can be agile – even preview houses before they hit the market. There’s a lot we can do to get you into your lake house for summer!”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

Exciting Announcement!

After tabulating the first quarter lakefront real estate sales on the Finger Lakes, it looks like Finger Lakes Premier Properties ranks #1 in total sales volume! Not only were our sales 5.4% higher than our second place competitor, but we earned the first place spot for lakefront purchasing sales on both Canandaigua and Cayuga Lake.

Benefits of Home Renovations – A Case Study

At Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we strive to meet both guest and owner expectations. Guests expect an enjoyable experience while owners expect to receive a return on investment. One way we help our owners maximize their revenue is by suggesting home renovations that cater to guests. Through our reservation software, website analytics, and guest reviews, we are able to determine what amenities guests desire and drive revenue.

New Renovations

One of our owners decided to act on our renovation recommendations to a newly purchased home that had been in our vacation rental program. Before the rental season began this year, they made some improvements to Seneca Shores. They started simple by adding new bedding and paint throughout the house. In the kitchen, they installed new wood floors, marble countertops, and white cabinets which have given it a nice modern flair. The largest project was turning the basement into a furnished game room so guests have something to do at night or during rainy days. Outside there was more emphasis on the guest experience by adding a lake view fire pit area and additional lounge chairs on the deck. After the renovations were completed, here’s what one guest had to say:

“This was our 2nd time staying at Seneca Shores and everything was magnificent. We really enjoyed the new updates & bedding along with the game room and hot tub. Excellent job. We hope to stay again in the future.”  – Kimberly S. from Pittston, NY, 04/25/2018

BeforeKitchen Before RenovationAfterKitchen After Renovation

Renovations Results

After we examined the numbers, we found these renovations improved bookings and revenue significantly. The following table illustrates the increase in 2018 bookings compared to 2017 year to date.

Year Nights Reservations
2017 92 21
2018 113 29

With the improvements to the home, we found that guests booked more nights and we charged a higher rate. To see the average rate per night, check out the figure below.

Not only did these renovations meet owner expectations with increased revenue, they met guest expectations as well.

In addition to Seneca Shores, we performed case studies on two other rentals that were renovated late this spring. However, these rentals opened their calendars late in the summer. This makes it difficult to compare year-over-year data. However, based on their booking patterns so far this summer, the potential for increased revenue is high for 2019.

Get Recommendations to Renovate Your Rental Home

Investing money to renovate your rental home can be risky. Let us help you make an informed decision. If you would like recommendations for renovating your rental home, contact Owner Services. With over twelve years of experience, our Owner Services Department knows what guests want and how owners can meet those expectations. We always include recommendations for our owners in their post-season inspection. If you would like more information about joining our property management program, contact Owner Services today.

Best time to sell a lakefront home?


Winter, statistics say.

Everybody knows that winter is the dead zone for real estate, right? At least that’s the commonly held belief. However, national statistical studies propose that’s not the case.

According to Redfin, real estate database and brokerage company, which closely examines home listings, time-on-market and sale price data from 2010 to the current market, winter can be a surprisingly profitable time to list, shop, negotiate and buy.

The studies established that if owners want to sell for more than the asking price, listing in December, January, February and March gives you a better chance, on average, than if you list any time from June through November – the so-called ‘peak selling season.’

Not convinced? Just take a peek at the data gathered by Redfin during the first few years of the study (view the full article by Redfin here)


Season Likelihood of Selling within 6 Months Average Sale-to-List Price Ratio Average Days on Market
(Dec. 21 – March 21)
65% -2.3% 26
Average of Non-Winter Seasons 56% -3.5% 33
(March 22 – June 21)
56% -3.5% 32
(June 22 – Sept. 20)
55% -3.6% 32
(Sept. 21 – Dec. 20)
57% -3.5% 34


Graphic Provided by Christin Camacho at Redfin

The years of data collected by Redfin directly opposes the widespread sentiment that selling a house during the winter months is more challenging. In fact, the opposite trend can be seen with a near 10% greater likelihood of a quick sell, 1.2% greater Sale-to-List Ratio, and less days averaged on the market.

Now, some New Yorkers might reject this data, citing the harsh seasonal climate as a deterrent for buyers. However, the benefit of selling a home in winter holds just as true for those with unforgiving winters (cough cough, the Finger Lakes of NY State). In each of the 19 markets analyzed in Redfin’s report, including Boston, Chicago and New York, home sellers were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season.

Look, you have to consider the market. Since personal sentiments shape individuals perceptions, some sellers pull their unsold houses off the market during the winter, hoping for better results in the spring. By doing so, they leave a smaller inventory of active listings — diminishing the competition amongst sellers who list in January and February.

When it comes down to brass tax, real estate does not hibernate from December to April. An upwards of 5 million homes are resold annually in the U.S., and many of them are listed and sold during the winter months with ease due to the perception of a poor winter market… in turn, this perception and trendiness of listing during the green season has decreased the amount of listings and competition to the point where the winter market has proven statistical superiority in all three major areas of real estate: Selling within six months, Sale-to-List Price Ratio, and average days spent on the market.

Hmm… looks like winter is warmer for real estate than you might think.

Logically, as the next step, we would recommend listing with us at Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP); our specialty of lakeside real estate is unmatched in the Finger Lakes. In fact, one of FLPP’s central focus areas this past year was to reduce the amount of days listings spent on market. FLPP achieved this goal, slashing the Average Days Spent on Market by 30% from 2016-2017.

If you are interested in more information on listing or buying a lakefront home, please contact us at 844-832-1294, or email us at


Real Estate Success Converts to a New Vacation Rental

By: Zakary Klick

Penn Yan, NY – A local property recently sold by the Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) Real Estate department will be re-entering the market as a Vacation Rental this summer.

FLPP was able to list, market and sell this striking Seneca Lake home, their second sale this year on Shingle Point Road. The new homeowners of this lakeside cottage have worked with FLPP with purchasing and now listing the home as a vacation rental.

The twofold package of offering vacation rental management and real estate sales to potential buyers has become an obvious partnership for many investment buyers in the Finger Lakes.

In fact, after the transaction this past fall, FLPP employees have been working full tilt to ready the property for this summer’s peak season – obtaining quality photos and drone footage, producing a virtual tour, and priming the maintenance and housekeeping staff for the new addition. The company is happy to share that the property can now be viewed on YouTube via drone, virtually toured here, and reserved on their webpage here.

Cynthia Emerling, the Real Estate Sales Manager credited with the Shingle Point property sale, has been a licensed Associate Broker since 1993. She started with Finger Lakes Premier Properties in 2012, and has brought her passion for quality service with her. The department received 100% satisfaction ratings from their clients and customers in 2016, and has been working to ensure that same repute can be delivered as they reach the end of the 2017 marking period.

If you are interested in more information on owning a lakefront home for personal use or as an investment, contact FLPP at 888-599-4810, or email them at


By: Zakary Klick


Penn Yan, NY – Employees of local hospitality businesses, Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) and the Best Western PLUS Vineyard Inn & Suites, helped raise money for Milly’s Pantry Backpack Program this past weekend at Star Shine, the winter holiday event in Penn Yan.

To demonstrate their commitment to community outreach programs, employees offered their time to promote Milly’s Backpack Program with a winter raffle for a free Pool & Pizza Party at the Best Western PLUS Vineyard Inn & Suites. Their table at Star Shine provided an ornament decorating station for kids, with Rice Krispy treats provided by FLPP employees.

In the process, not only were the two able to amplify Milly’s communal recognition, but they also raised $135 during the Star Shine event.

Milly’s Pantry Backpack Program is a partnership between Milly’s Pantry, Inc. and the Penn Yan Central School District. The Backpack Program provides a bag of non-perishable food to students every Friday afternoon to supplement weekend meals.

Located in Penn Yan in upstate New York, the Vineyard Inn & Suites is centrally located just a short drive from Geneva, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Corning. A wide range of activities await you in the Finger Lakes, including winery tours and wine tasting, shopping, golfing, skiing, water sports, museums, historic attractions, theaters and quaint villages and towns.

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the leading vacation rental and lakefront real estate company in the region. This is the second year a donation has been allocated specifically to Milly’s Pantry in recognition of those less fortunate during the holiday season, a tradition the company plans to uphold in 2018 and years to come.

To make a direct donation, or to find other ways to support Milly’s Pantry, visit their website at

For more information about Finger Lakes Premier Properties, visit their website at or call toll free 1-888-414-5253.