If you’ve never considered offering up your home as a vacation rental, the rise of Airbnb may be changing your mind lately. When most people hear “vacation rental,” they think of a second property located somewhere swanky, not their own home. However, companies like Airbnb are making it easy to offer up any sort of space, from a spare bedroom to an air mattress on the floor. For people who are looking for ways to make a little extra income, this free-to-list service can be very appealing.
Of course, as with any rental situation, there are certain preparations and precautions you’re going to want to take into account. The Airbnb site promises a certain level of safety and protection, as well as some methods of checking up on guests, but ultimately you’re inviting temporary tenants into your home, and more often than not, they’ll be complete strangers to you. How do you both make sure your home is welcoming to potential guests and ensure that they’ll be decent temporary roommates?
Here are a few ideas.
Be a good host. First things first – take care of what you can control, which is your attitude and your space. Make sure that whichever space you’re renting out is clean and organized, and that you’re capable of being friendly and accommodating (within reason), especially if you’re going to be living in the same space with your guests. If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can spend a little extra on linens and toiletries, or offer snacks or breakfast. Make sure you have fans, extra blankets, or anything else they might need to be comfortable. Aiming to offer a quality experience could influence the type of tenants you end up with and the amount you can charge.
Use Airbnb’s resources to research guests. Airbnb offers guest profiles and reviews of frequent users, and allows you to message back and forth before you book them. Use these tools, and use them frequently! Speak with potential renters on the phone. If a guest is giving you a bad vibe, don’t book them.
Consider adding a security deposit and insurance for extra protection. A guest may look great on paper, but you never know. Also, accidents do happen!
Check in with your HOA or other management company if necessary. To prevent surprise fines, make sure you’re well within your HOA regulations or other terms and conditions. Some do not allow for vacation rentals, which can cause you big trouble if you offer your space, even if you’re there as well.
Create a list of “house rules” or terms of agreement for your space. In order to prevent misunderstandings or claims that guests didn’t know better, make sure they’re aware of what you will and won’t allow up front.
If you need help or guidance, ask for it! Becoming a landlord or renting out your home can be a nerve-wracking and confusing process. Thankfully there are professional rental management companies that can help. For advice on tenant screening and more, feel free to reach out to us!
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