Have you ever thought of being an Airbnb host? Perhaps you have a rental or two or desire to move to another location but don’t want to sell your property as of yet. If you are in this situation, you have options.
In real estate there is a term called “buy and hold”. Meaning instead of buying a house and selling it after a couple of years, you buy it and let it build equity to pass on to future generations or sell it when you retire. That is my philosophy in real estate. Unless something goes terribly wrong with a property, my idea of real estate is to buy multiple properties and hold on to it for the long run.
When we were looking into moving to North Carolina, I expressed to my husband that I do not want to put our home on a long term rental market. I wanted it to be a vacation rental so we or family members can have access to it whenever we please. And we did just that. It was a lot of work to get the work done, but it all paid off at the end.
So being an Airbnb Superhost host for almost a year, I wanted to share some lessons with you if you would ever want to be a host or place your property in the short term rental market.
- The White Lie
Before we put our home on the vacation rental market, I watched a lot of videos and read articles that mentioned it is good to buy white linen and white towels because it gives the illusion of clean. So I did it and boy, it was a mess. We couldn’t remove make-up stains, body stains etc from the linen and towels even with bleach. So I had to discard all of them. My suggestion, go with tasteful patterns like stripes, dots and grey. Grey is my staple color. We have not received any complaint from our guests about our color choices.
- Buy Washables and protective covers
If you don’t want to spend your money calling an upholstery cleaner every so often, buy washable cushion covers, washable rugs, bed and pillow covers. Make sure they are also easy to clean. If my guests left these items a mess, my cleaner can quickly place in the wash. Please keep in mind that guests travel with their kids so your house will get messy at times.
- Buy extra items to replace
The rule of extra is important. If you have a TV, buy an extra remote, if you have a coffee maker, buy an extra. You don’t need to buy extras of everything, just the items that would be of most importance like extra linen, towels, sheets, remotes, shampoo, blankets, etc. You may only need to buy one extra or five extra depending on the item.
- Buy used or affordable
I do not suggest you spend your money buying expensive items for your home, you know why? It will break, get ruined, or end up missing. Go to the thrift shore, Walmart, Ikea and don’t spend so much. Look through the Facebook marketplace for a good deal. Be tasteful in your selections of course but don’t spend a fortune.
- You will never satisfy every guest
It is important to receive and maintain good reviews from your guests. Check up on them, maybe buy chocolate when they come, make sure the space is clean and neat. Do all you can, but I must say, not everyone will be satisfied. Sometimes, even though Airbnb gives a map of your location, guests won’t like the location. Maybe it’s too far from hot spots, or too quiet, or too noisy. Sometimes guests want all the furniture to be new with no signs of wear and tear, sometimes the guests want what they want and you as a host can’t meet their requirements. It’s ok. For the most part, even the pickiest guests can be gracious. Studies show guests are more judgemental with Airbnb rentals than hotels. It’s what we sign up for.
- Guests will not always follow the rules
Even though I have a strict “no party” rules, or don’t park on the grass, some guests still won’t treat your property right. But make sure you report it to Airbnb with pictures, video surveillance, and write the guests through the platform’s chat. I’ve had mishaps with guests but thank God there was no particular damage just extra clean-up which Airbnb will reimburse you as a host.
- Have a good crew by your side
I would not be able to do this venture without great cleaners and a great property manager. Whether you live in the same town as your Airbnb or far away, you need great dedicated people by your side. For instance, cleaners are hard to find in my area, so its good to interview 5 and pick your top 3 for rotations. You always need a back-up for the back up if you know what I mean.
So there you have it. There is more I can say, but those are the major ones. I really hope to be a host for a while, but I must admit that long term rental market has increased so much in south Florida and it would be advantageous for us to jump into it. I guess time will tell.
I hope this article was useful to you if you plan on being a host or get into buying property and renting them.
Until next time….