If you’re planning to start renting your home or a space in your home as an Airbnb, there’s a few things you should know. There’s no denying this is an incredibly lucrative opportunity for those who are willing to put in the effort to create a safe and comfortable place for guests to rent. But it can also backfire if you try to shortcut your way through things and don’t have the best interest of your guest in mind when renting.
What are 10 of the most important things you need to know before you starting renting on Airbnb?
1. Whether or Not Airbnb Hosting is Legal in Your City
Your first task before you start your short term rental business is to make sure you can legally be an Airbnb host. Zoning and registration laws differ from place to place and you need to make sure renting is an option in your area. It’s also important to consider not just state laws, but also any local legal restrictions on short-term rentals. Additionally, if your property is not yours and you are renting, or you own a condo or are a member of an HOA, there might be additional things you need to know before you rent.
2. Whether or Not Your Neighbors Will Voice Concerns Over Airbnb Hosting
As long as you are legally entitled to rent your Airbnb property, you don’t need to worry too much about what your neighbors think. But as a good neighbor and good host, it’s important to scope out whether there is a problem. Even a well-intentioned neighbor might create a problem if they see strangers coming and going from your home, grow concerned, and call law enforcement. You might also need to deal with less-than-friendly neighbors not being welcoming to your guests. The best thing you can do is reach out to your neighbors and get a feel for what you can expect once you start your vacation rental business.
3. How Renting Will Affect Your Taxes
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that earning income from renting will affect your taxes. Don’t be caught off-guard when the IRS comes calling for a piece of your newly earned rental income. Speak to a tax professional in advance so you’ll know what to expect and you can do what’s necessary to avoid an unaffordable tax burden.
4. What to Charge Based on the Going Rate in Your Area
Let’s get one thing straight. You are free to charge whatever you’d like for renting your property. It’s your place and you can set its rental rate.
But the rate you choose has a major effect on all aspects of renting. Set the rate too high and you’ll chase guests off or set expectations you’ll never be able to meet. Set it too low and people will avoid it because they’ll assume something is wrong.
How do you avoid both of these problems? Compare rates in your area and set your rate based on what you find.
5. Identify Your Unique Positioning on Airbnb
When Airbnb first launched, it’s primary focus was on people renting extra space in the homes they occupied. Over time, people began to invest in second properties where they didn’t live and renting those. Either works great, but your approach will need to be different based on where you stand in this equation. If you do rent space in your own home, you’ll need to find ways to separate your work from your home, which can be complicated when running an Airbnb.
6. Becoming a Good Airbnb Host
Being a good Airbnb host means a lot of things. It requires flexibility, patience, and a welcoming spirit. It means going the extra mile to keep people comfortable. As long as you have a good attitude about renting and you’re ready to make your property comfortable and inviting, you’ll likely succeed. Airbnb is a great way to make extra money, but money shouldn’t be your only focus. Before you start renting an Airbnb, think about what you can do to create an accommodating and inviting atmosphere for guests.
7. Setting House Rules as an Airbnb Host
The most important thing you can remember here? Your Airbnb is your property, so you set the rules. As long as you are operating within the parameters set out by Airbnb, you call the shots. And it’s best to make them crystal clear to guests so you aren’t inviting problems with ambiguity.
8. Getting a Solid Handle on Cleaning as an Airbnb Host
It won’t matter how comfortable your Airbnb might be or what amenities you offer guests. Your rental could be in the most cosmopolitan location on earth or be steps from the greatest attraction in your area. If the home isn’t clean people aren’t going to like it. One of the most important things you can do before you start renting is to figure out how you’re going to keep the rental clean. Most people hire a professional cleaning service to do so and it works out great because Airbnb lets you charge a cleaning fee.
Note: Given what is going on currently with the global pandemic, all hosts are encouraged to institute Airbnb’s recommended Enhanced Cleaning Protocols. Nearly 1.5 million listings are already implementing these new cleaning protocols since its introduction only a few months ago and all signs point to it becoming mandatory. Besides, Enhanced Cleaning enabled listings are currently 3x more likely to get booked than other listings.
9. Protect Yourself as an Airbnb Host
Having people stay in your home or a home you are responsible for is a risk. You need to have the appropriate measures in place to protect yourself. For many, this is more important when you are hosting guests in the home in which you live. Make sure you secure any valuables and refer back to previous steps about establishing ground rules in your home. This may also mean looking into insurance for things like property damage etc.
10. Be Transparent as an Airbnb Host
The last thing you want to do is keep secrets from your guest. You don’t want to over promise and under deliver. If you are going to be onsite during your guests’ stay, say so in advance. If there’s something unusual about your home, be upfront about it in the listing. Most people are willing to overlook issues and know that staying in a home is not the same as staying in a hotel. But if they feel you’ve tried to pull one over on them their reviews are goin