Transforming your home into an Airbnb can be a fun and profitable project. While it may seem fun, there’s plenty to know before diving right in. By ensuring all of your boxes are checked, you can start a successful Airbnb business right from home. Follow these tips to ensure you’re prepared to turn your home into an Airbnb.
Understand the laws
Laws regarding peer-to-peer hosting vary by area. Before deciding to host an Airbnb, make sure your area permits it. If you live in an apartment, complex, or gated community, you must first check with management to understand whether they permit it.
Check with your insurance
Airbnb includes insurance and accidental coverage with up to a $1M guarantee. That being said, you may also want to check with your insurance to see how much it would cost to cover short-term rent. Look into Airbnb’s liability insurance policy to see if you need more coverage than they provide.
Pay your taxes
Make sure to claim all income through Airbnb on your taxes. Before starting your Airbnb business, look into your state and local taxes. You may end up having to pay transient occupancy taxes.
Make a list of all expenses you will incur from this new business and if your profits will offset them enough to make it worth your time. Consider things like increased utility bills, cleaning costs, the cost of staying somewhere else, and consumables like toilet paper.
Be mindful of your time
While it may seem like a passive way of making money, you could end up spending countless hours managing your Airbnb. You’ll need to set aside enough time to check your guests in and out, clean your home between reservations, and respond to all questions and inquiries.
It’s important to price your Airbnb appropriately. If you are in a city with high demand, you’ll be able to price your Airbnb higher than if you are somewhere that doesn’t see much tourism. Research prices of other Airbnb listings in your area and local hotels and hostels. Make sure to also price to the types of guests you want. Higher prices will be more likely to attract business clients rather than a group of college students on spring break.
Invest in multiples
Buy multiple of things like sheets and towels. This will give you extra time between stays to get everything washed and ready for the next guest. You may also want to buy things like soap, toilet paper, and paper towels in bulk. That way, you are always ready to reset your home after your guests check out.
Have a good profile
It can’t be emphasized enough how important a good profile is. A good Airbnb profile can make or break your business. Make sure you have high-quality, well-lit, and plentiful photos of your home. Fill out as much information as possible in the description to give potential visitors the best idea of what to expect. Give your home and good and accurate title to draw people in to click on your Airbnb listing. You’ll also want to make sure your host profile is complete and that you get as many good reviews as possible.
Create an info binder
Compile a binder of all important information for your guests to reference. This should include house rules, local attractions, Wi-Fi information, your contact info, and emergency contact info. If there are any complicated codes or processes to get in and out of your Airbnb, include these here as well.
Protect your identity
While it’s likely that nothing will happen, it’s best to be safe when renting an Airbnb. Put all important documents and personal belongings into storage or a safe. You should also have the post office hold or forward your mail when someone is staying in your home. Use good, unique passwords for any devices in your home. Make sure the Wi-Fi password is nothing personal and not similar to any other password. Remove any personal pictures from your Airbnb as well.
Secure your valuables
You’ll also want to secure any valuables before renting your home. Put them in a safe, take them with you, or rent a small storage unit. While most renters will be perfectly respectful, it’s just not worth the risk.
Anticipate guest headaches
You know your space better than anyone. Anticipate things that might become a hassle for guests. Make checking in and out as easy as possible. This might include having a dropbox where they can leave their keys for a quick and easy checkout. If things in your home may become bothersome, look into getting them fixed before renting.
Be mindful of neighbors
Nothing will ruin your Airbnb business as quickly as upset neighbors. Establish rules with your guests like “please be mindful of noise after 9 pm.” If late-night or early-morning noise may upset your neighbors, don’t take any reservations with check-ins that are during those quiet hours. Vet your potential guests and read their reviews. If they have received negative reviews from other hosts, you may not want them staying in your Airbnb.
Ask for & listen to reviews
People want to rent with a trustworthy host, so reviews are important for your business. Ask your guests to leave you a review in your binder and at check out. If you receive negative feedback in your reviews, listen to what your guests say. Adjust things accordingly to ensure that the next person staying at your place has a positive experience.
Once you’ve got all of these tips down, you’ll be ready to turn your home into an Airbnb. While it can all seem very complicated, once you’ve worked through the kinks of the first few reservations, you’ll be running like a well-oiled machine. Continue to keep these things in mind, and you’ll be set for success.
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