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Airbnb is the personal accommodations website that’s taking the overnight guest industry by storm. If you’re considering posting your home or personal property on the website to make a supplementary income, you’re not alone. People across the world have taken note and put their homes up for grabs, but this route is not without its caveats and risks. Before you take the plunge, consider the risks and rewards that come along with this venture.
Consider Your Safety
If you will be renting out rooms or portions of your property while still residing there, remember that you will be sharing space with complete strangers. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping under the same roof as people you met hours prior, then renting on Airbnb might not be the appropriate option for you. This is especially true for families with children, so you may want to decide on renting out the entire property while you’re on vacation instead of allowing guests during times that your family is actually at home.
Write Your Listing
There are millions of listing on Airbnb, and if you want to attract high-quality guests, you’re going to need to offer high-quality offerings. Similarly to renting out an apartment, you need to sell your house to potential viewers on the site with the perfect listing. Be as thorough as possible, and don’t exaggerate what you have—that will only see you receiving negative reviews from guests who found what you advertised wasn’t exactly what they got when they arrived. What makes your home stand out amongst the other offerings in your neighborhood? Are your prices competitive? Would you pick your home over the others? In this case, in order to make your place more attractive, you may have to invest a little in furnishings and updates if you want to make your mark in the geographical area. You may need to try various styles of listings and do some experimentation before you ever have anyone interested, so be prepared to invest your time as well. Remember that you’ll have to evolve as time goes on and interests change, and this may even be a seasonal effect so prepare to be flexible.
Whereas with regular rental situations you can control who comes into your home through screening services like www.mysmartmove.com, when it comes to services like Airbnb, the reviews section is your best friend. You may want to only rent to those who have positive reviews, but keep in mind that this will greatly deplete the pool of candidates seeking to rent from you. You may need to take a chance on a first-time Airbnb guest as you are similarly a first-time Airbnb renter. If this sounds too risky, you may want to reconsider.
You’re opening up a can of liability when you post on Airbnb; you know what they say, with great rewards come great risks. Beyond your personal safety, your valuables are now vulnerable to theft, you may rent to an opportunistic squatter (unbelievably, sometimes the law is on the side of the squatter), and you also place yourself at risk should any of your guests fall ill or become injured on your property. Airbnb does offer liability insurance, and it’s always in your best interest to be as covered as possible so check out other insurance options as well.
The Time Commitment
Becoming an Airbnb host is a huge time commitment. Beyond corresponding with guests on email and through the phone, you’ll need to be prepared to receive them at the property in question, respond to their questions, be available in case of emergencies, and handle neighbor’s complaints about your guests. You will need to dedicate a viable portion of your time to this endeavor, unless you’re willing to shell out money to a third party like a property management company who can take care of the ins and outs for you.
If you’re considering posting your personal property on Airbnb, understand that there is much more that goes into this endeavor than meets the eye. Protect yourself and your family by following the above guidelines and you could see yourself turning a pretty profit from your Airbnb listing.