Note From Kalen: Today we have an awesome post from Chris Smith over at Spend It Like Beckham. If you’ve ever considered renting your home through AirBNB, this is an excellent guide on how to prepare. Enjoy!
Whether you’re looking to make a little extra money or to seriously start a home-rental business, chances are you have considered AirBnB.
AirBnB – for the uninitiated – is an American company which offers a platform for home owners to upload their properties with the idea of offering them as short-term rentals.
The company has grown exponentially in the last few years and in 2017 was on track to have booked over 100 million stays that year and now offers lodgings in 65,000 cities across 191 countries.
The platform is only going to increase in the coming years, so now is a better time than any to get involved and make a little extra money.
Above and Beyond
One of the first considerations to make when renting out your home on AirBnB is what is kind of host do you want to be.
Do you want to go all out with the hope of making this a business or are you looking to keep things simple with the idea of just making a little extra cash? If you are going above and beyond – allowing you to increase your rental price and increasing the chance of positive reviews – there are a few things you can do; hosts can add as many extras as they like, such as complimentary shampoos, coffee, tea, board games, scented candles, dressing gown and slippers.
Other extras that hosts can add are free wi-fi – although this has become standard in AirBnB rentals now – Netflix, games consoles, fresh flowers and chocolates.
When thinking about what kind of host you wish to be and how you want to present your home, think about what you would like from a home rental and what kind of price you wish to charge.
The price you charge for your home rental is completely up to you, but there a few things you may want to consider before settling on a number.
When starting out, your property will have no reviews which will affect initial bookings; for this reason, it can be a good idea to charge a little less than you wish to at first, just to secure those first guests and build up some reviews. Once you have got a few guests through the door and have learned the ropes a little, you can then start thinking about upping your prices.
One good tip when charging more is to raise the price until you are 75-90% booked out for the next 3 weeks but only around 50% booked out for the next 8 weeks. When settling on a price, also remember to consider your own costs such as the wi-fi, electricity, gas, soaps and any cleaning expenses you may accrue.
Not to be Sniffed At
It may go without saying, but ensuring your property is clean not only before you start out but thereafter, is crucial. Think about what you would like from accommodation you’re paying for.
Don’t just clean what you can see – by dusting furniture, mopping floors, and wiping down the bathroom – but clean all areas your guests have access to. If your guests have access to cupboards, to DVD units etc, ensure these are well presented and clean. If you are considering charging a higher than average price in your area for your home then it could beneficial to redecorate your home a little. Consider sprucing up your home if it’s a little tired looking; this can be done cheaply by painting rooms light colours – making them appear light and airy – have any carpets professionally cleaned and ensure all fittings are clean and in working order.
Always ensure to clean your home between every paying guest, providing clean sheets, towels, cutlery and toiletries. With the huge expansion of AirBnB there are now a number of cleaning services out there that can help you if you don’t have the time or inclination to clean the property from top to bottom. A simple way to make your home seem more inviting is to add fresh flowers, reed diffuser or plug-in to make the place smell great as you enter. You can also provide a house manual for guests and, if you want, let them know how you want the property left.
The House Rules
It can be important to set out your rules for guests when they are staying at your property.
This can be done both on the AirBnB app – letting potential guests know what you expect from them before they book – as well as in a house rule book in your home for guests to peruse on their arrival. Your house rules will likely change as you gain experience of hosting and discover guests behaving in ways you would rather they didn’t.
When creating your list of rules, remember to be reasonable and that your guests will want to be able to relax and have a good time. However, it is also important to take into consideration any neighbors you may have.
A common rule to include in the house rules is no parties past 10pm and no loud music through the night. If you find noise complaints are common from neighbors, there are apps to help you monitor noise levels in your home remotely which let you act accordingly should they be too high. It’s also useful for your guests to include a few pieces of information for your guests to ensure their safety and security, with a number to call should an issue arise.
Security for both you and your guests is of upmost importance and so there a few things to take into consideration before handing over your keys for the first time.
Making sure you have adequate insurance that will cover you should anything be damaged in your home is a good place to start. Keeping the keys to your home in a safe deposit box that only your guests can access is also common practice.
Also keep in mind that your guests might be naturally inquisitive, so lock away any belongings and items of value you don’t want guests to access. It might also be best practice to vet guests before you accept their booking; check your potential guest’s reviews from other hosts as well as to check their social media if you feel uncertain about them. If you are really unsure, it is best to decline the booking and stay on the safe side.
AirBnB offers huge potential for money making, but does require effort and time.
Remember that this is not a get rich quick scheme and can easily become a full-time job.
If you follow these rules when setting up and stay committed, you are more than likely to find at least some success and see those bookings come rolling in.
About the Author:
Chris Smith is an independent writer and blogger at Spend It Like Beckham. His blog mainly focuses on finances and sports, and he’s written features about a variety of topics on sites including the Huffington Post, Go Daddy, the Guardian and The Telegraph.