Emily has been vacationing on the island every summer with her family since 1991, coming back year after year because of the sense of community. Andrew’s first time visiting the island he realized this was a very special place and started secretly researching properties before we were even married. In 2015, with our first son just turning one year old and 2nd baby on the way we purchased our first home on the island. That first year we were lucky enough to rent it out by word of mouth for two weeks to other families on the island, who needed some more room. It was easy, simple, and we had responsible guests much like Emily for the last 29 years.
In 2019 we purchased a 2nd home, and decided to keep the first home as a property for family guests and for Emily to manage renting out. We looked at the local real estate agency that does rentals, they take 20-22% of the revenue! So we started out using VRBO, but found it takes money from the owner and the renter, doesn’t pay you in a timely manner, their software is hard to use, and it can’t even show the cottages in the right location on Frye Island!
VRBO and AirBNB also do a terrible job communicating the unique community nature of Frye Island. We wanted responsible renters who value this special community and return year after year, not one time renters who may not worry about neighbors or the condition in which they leave the property.
2019-2020 was a hard time to manage a vacation property, especially with Covid 19. Unclear travel restrictions, guests cancelling, property owners choosing not to rent, and crazy demand for people to get out of the cities and vacation locally. We were very lucky and after moving away from weekly rentals, we rented it out for three weeks, then a month, and then another month, then another three weeks. If we used VRBO for this we would have lost between $920-$1120 in host fees, while our guests would have paid $1470 in additional fees. That is $2590 of potential rental income not going to the cottage owner.
FIMR( FryeIslandMaineRentals.com )
So we started creating our own website and decided if we were going to do this for our two properties, might as well do it for our neighbors as well, then some other friends asked, and it keeps growing…. In the end www.fryeislandmainerentals.com is a simple modern website that lets Frye Island cottage owners list their property for a simple flat fee, $475 per year. It is a listing website, not property management, not a cleaning service. We are locally based on the island all summer, Emily is here to support people using FIMR, we will gladly create your listing for you, take pictures, verify your house is shown in the right place, and even answer questions from your guests.
When people search on the web for Frye Island we will be one of the top hits from search engine optimization and the listings will show up on Google Vacation search maps along with hotels and lodging from VRBO, AirBNB, etc. We will have phone service so potential guests can call to ask questions about the Frye Island before booking.
We don’t require you to use credit cards, like the big sites, so we can charge more fees. You are free to have your guests send you checks for deposits, and rental payments. This winter we plan to add an option for credit card payments, but only in a way that is value added, so if the guest chooses to pay by credit card, they pay the processing fee, revenue to the owner remains the same.
We have a cost comparison where you can plug in your rental income and see our fees compared to others. Here is a great independent evaluation of the costs on all those national websites … but the key for us is we want to focus on people who want to vacation on Frye Island year after year and be part of the community.
Cottage Owners, we hope you will consider signing up and being a part of our vision for our community of vacationers coming back year after year to Frye Island.
Emily and Andrew Davis
Frye Island, ME