If you own a home you don’t occupy full-time and are seeking to make extra money, consider joining the legions of people who are listing their properties on the ever-growing global marketplace, Airbnb. Founded in 2008, San Francisco-based Airbnb connects leisure and business travelers to short-term apartment, house and room rentals in more than 190 countries.
If you’re seriously considering listing your property on Airbnb, here are seven tips to consider.
- Check your city’s policy for Airbnb: City ordinances vary. Check here (scroll down to ‘Your City Regulations’) or check with your city government to see what the rules are in your area.
- Good photos: First impressions definitely matter, so before you’ve hosted your first guest, you’ll need good photos to make your property stand out. If you’re not experienced at photographing home interiors, Airbnb will connect you with professional photographers in your area and take care of uploading the photos to your listing.
- Set an appropriate price: Airbnb provides a suggested price based on the details of your listing and local rental pricing. For first-timers, Airbnb recommends starting below the suggested rate so you can attract guests and build up positive reviews.
- Getting started: Create a binder with the house rules, Wi-Fi password, local restaurants and attractions and other pertinent information. Buy extra sheets, towels, blankets, toilet paper and trash bags, and make sure you provide such items as a coffee maker, microwave, an iron and ironing board, hair dryer, dishes, silverware, pots and pans.
- Hire a professional cleaner: Unless you are prepared to stay on top of this task yourself, it’s best to hire someone to thoroughly clean your home between guests. If your bathroom and kitchen aren’t spotless and linens aren’t freshly laundered, your guests will notice and give you bad reviews.
- Get the proper insurance coverage: It’s imperative to know what your home insurance policy covers before you list your home. Talk to your insurance adviser to ensure you have the proper coverage, or check out Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance program.
- Screen guests: Learn about the people who will be staying in your home by reading reviews of guests and messaging them on Airbnb’s platform. Although there have been stories in the news about renters damaging apartments or homes, most guests don’t cause problems.
- Provide extras for your guests: Always try to anticipate your guests’ needs. If you live near the beach, consider buying beach chairs, boogie boards and a cooler. For a lakeside home, offer comfortable outdoor seating, lighting and a fire pit. And don’t forget to provide a corkscrew and wine glasses for your guests. Another nice touch: Leave a bottle of wine on the counter as a welcome gift.
Before listing your property, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be better prepared to make your new venture a success.