Airbnb, launched in 2008, has become the standard for budget-conscious travelers seeking short-term lodgings. The service provides an online platform for homeowners or tenants interested in renting out their homes. With a few minor renovations and preparatory steps, you can transform your home into an additional source of revenue, impressing travelers and helping tourists explore your city.
Understand Laws in Your Region
Before you list your home on Airbnb, ensure you comply with the law. Depending on where you live, you may need to be a full-time resident, inform or register with the city government, and collect tourist taxes. Once you’ve established that it’s legal for you to use your home in this way, you should research the local demand. If your home is located in an area where demand is low, you may find that your prospects are limited. If you’re a tenant yourself, you’ll generally need to consult your landlord and ensure that renting out one or more rooms in your home isn’t prohibited by the conditions of your tenancy agreement.
As you’ll be using your home as a business, you must account for operation and maintenance costs, including whatever fees the listing site charges. Airbnb, for example, charges the host 3% of the reservation as a service fee.
Renovate Where Necessary
Temporary lodgings are highly competitive, and positive user reviews are critical to repeat business. As a result, you’ll need to ensure your home appeals to travelers aesthetically to justify your listing price, and it needs to meet a certain standard of cleanliness. Start by decluttering all living areas, maximizing usable space. You want your home to be as inviting as possible from a quick review of your photos.
If you need to repaint the walls, remove peeling wallpaper, add new sealants, repair defective home appliances, fix doors that creak and windows that don’t open easily, etc., now’s the time to do it. You may also need to purchase new bed frames and mattresses. If it’s necessary to perform tile work in the bathrooms and kitchens, you may need to invest in some equipment, such as a tile cutter. The same is true for repairing or replacing flooring and furniture.
Take Professional Photos of the Space
Prospective guests judge listings based on reviews and their first impressions of the photos you share on the Airbnb website. High-quality photographs are critical to conveying a modern, clean, and professional experience to your guests. You can take photos yourself, but it’s advisable to hire a real estate photographer to do your property justice if you can afford it.
Ensure you’re sharing photos of unique features in the home and your amenities to entice guests to choose your property. The site is full of rentals that likely have similar qualities to yours, so highlight the areas that set yours apart from the competition.
This is not strictly limited to the house itself, of course. Taking photos of the surrounding area, landscaping, and neighborhood can help a guest understand what to expect, further enhancing the value of your listing. If you live in a particularly beautiful place with lush natural scenery or near a popular tourist attraction, it’s worth including photos of these external features of the property in our listing.
Provide a Detailed Description
When you write a listing, it should contain all the relevant information about your home, the amenities you provide, and other details to make the guest feel comfortable. Failing to provide the experience you’ve advertised can lead to dissatisfied customers and negative reviews. No one wants to find their rental doesn’t match the listing after a long plane or car ride.
For example, if the guest bedroom contains an HD TV, specify the size and resolution and whether you have access to streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu. Every guest will want to know that the bedroom has a door that locks, especially if you or other guests will also be living there at the same time. Avoid trying to oversell your rental unit in the description by being vague or inaccurate. Providing clear information about what amenities guests can expect makes it easier for you to meet their expectations during their stay.
You’ll also want to consider how your written descriptions of various features can improve the customer experience beyond the initial listing. When the guest arrives, they should be able to easily use the dishwasher, washing machine, oven/stove, or any home appliances. This information should be available in written form that is easy to understand so visitors can take full advantage of your short-term rental.
Include and Upgrade Amenities
In the modern age, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is mandatory. You should send the Wi-Fi password to the guest before check-in or ensure it’s posted somewhere easily visible inside the Airbnb. You should also provide basic toiletries, including toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, and hand and bath soap. Hand and bath towels are essential, and providing bathrobes will also be appreciated and leave a lasting impression.
If you’re expecting guests from abroad, consider including universal power adapters compatible with electronics from all continents. The amenities that you should provide in the kitchen, at a minimum, should include salt and pepper, pots and pans, and everything necessary for cooking and eating a basic meal. While not all rentals have a full kitchen, if you don’t have an oven or stove, consider providing guests with a microwave or toaster oven, so they have an option for preparing food. It is also a nice gesture to provide items like a bottle of wine and complimentary bottles of water to your guests.
A smart TV compatible with streaming services, such as Netflix, is also a great feature to offer visitors. Providing HDMI cables allows guests to connect their laptop or gaming console to the TV if they desire. Review your listing periodically. If amenities or other services become unavailable, update your listing accordingly, so the services you are promising guests are always accurate.
If you have a guest who causes damage to your home or your property is damaged due to circumstances beyond your control, you should have an insurance policy that can cover the costs of repair and replacement. It’s also necessary to have an insurance policy to protect you against liability if a guest is injured while residing in your home. This is standard practice and part of using your home as a rental business. If you’ve sunk hundreds or thousands of dollars into upgrading your property, you need to protect this investment.
Source: Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock.com
Before and after each guest’s stay, you should clean your home thoroughly. That includes any bed sheets, linens, and pillowcases. You may want to hire a professional cleaning service to ensure everything is done properly. It will impress future and prospective guests, knowing that you take hygiene seriously and are unwilling to skimp on quality. All bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms should be cleaned regularly, especially to avoid pests taking refuge in your home. Nothing will sour a host’s reputation faster than a review citing an infestation.
If your property is dated, cleaning to prepare for your first guest might include additional work like polishing hardwood floors, dry cleaning or replacing curtains, cleaning the windows, purchasing brand new comforters and bed linens, and buying a mattress protector for your bed.
Transform Your Space into a Rental
Part of making your home suitable living space for lodgers is DIY work where necessary, from painting walls to polishing your flooring and dry cleaning your curtains. Renting out a spare bedroom in your home can be a worthwhile side hustle in an economy where an increasing number of Americans see the value in having a supplementary income source.