If you’ve ever considered ways to generate some supplemental income, you may have pondered the possibility of renting your home on sites like Airbnb or Booking.com.
Depending on where you live, there are different permits you’ll have to get. In some cities, short-term rentals are completely banned. In many cities, there is no specific legislation regarding short-term rentals, but properties used only for Airbnb, Booking.com or other short-term rental services could be considered hotels.
Things to consider before renting
If you own a single-family home, you should be fine renting it out. If you’re paying for a condo, apartment or town home, there may be some occupancy rules that prohibit such transactions. It’s up to you to do your homework so that you don’t run afoul of the law.
How much can you make?
People who rent their primary residences can add a bucket of money a year to their wallets, but it takes time, preparation and realistic expectations.
Before you sign up, it’s a good idea to know what fees are associated with your payout. Airbnb calculates your payout as your nightly rate minus the host service fee. Booking.com has a relevant Commision percentage set out in the agreement when you register and list your home. The pricing structure is more or less based around the idea that the price you set is what guests pay. The platforms don't add anything on top so that you can price your property competitively and receive more guests.
Along with their homes, hosts can charge for “experiences,” which are described as “excursions or other activities designed and led by local hosts.”
Airbnb also usually charges hosts who offer an experience a 20% fee, largely based on the experience. They’re only available in certain cities as of now, but the list is expanding.
Take charge of your calendar
If you only want to make your home available to book on certain days and dates, you can set those parameters on the platform and block out any dates that you don’t want guests to book. You can also link your calendar to personal online calendars so that you are able to easily keep track of your bookings.
Take gorgeous photos of your home
The importance of taking great pictures of your home’s exterior and interior is such that a whole photography cottage industry has popped up and we think it could be money well spent. People have made careers out of just taking photos of rental properties. If you plan on doing the photography yourself, some photo tips you’ll want to consider include always brightening the photo and shooting corners to show more space.
List your home on Airbnb and Booking.com
Ready to make money renting your home? Go to Airbnb.com, log in and list your home. Do the same on Booking.com. When you click the publish button, you may get a few questions from interested parties. Make sure you answer in a timely fashion. They’re probably gauging several places at once, and being the first one to get back to them may make the difference between $$$ in your pocket or not.
If your abode stays on the site awhile without any takers, that’s OK. Many hosts don’t get any guests until it’s vacation season or a really large event takes place in their town. But once you get some inquiries, that’s your cue to inquire a little yourself.
Try to find out as much about the guest as possible
If someone hits you up about renting your home, you can approve or deny the request. But before you make your decision, it’s good to know why they want to rent your home. Read any reviews on the prospective guest’s previous stays so that you can make an informed decision.
In many cases, individuals, friends or families may be on vacation and looking to explore a new city. In other cases, you may be able to surmise that they’re planning on throwing a huge party — one that could get them and you in huge trouble!
Once you decide to accept the guest, the next order of business is making sure your home is safe and clean.
Expertly clean your home
While it’s true that you may be able to take a mop or vacuum cleaner and make your floors look brand-new, when it comes to cleaning, there are nooks and crannies that you’ll likely need professional help with.
Cleanliness, along with safety, is probably the highest value that a private home for rental can possess— and it’s easy to brush it off. If you don’t have a few days to devote to it, consider hiring a professional cleaner or maid service to give your pad the stellar shine it deserves.
Make sure your home is well stocked
No, you don’t have to provide food, but regular toiletries and basic cleaning supplies should be stored in a common area for easy access. If your guests need some paper towels because of a spill, they shouldn’t have to be tempted to use a bed sheet.
Create some house rules
The best home rental transactions take place when there are clear expectations on both sides. Guests expect clean and safe homes that they can be comfortable in. Before your guests arrive, send them house rules that they must abide by (we’ve also seen them posted on the fridge). These should not only be things that are important for you (no house guests allowed), but also respectful nods to your neighbors (no skinny dipping in the hot tub) and city ordinances (no loud music after 9 p.m.).
Be of service to your guest
While many hosts may never see or meet their guests, you can really score some points for hospitality if you make time to greet your visitors and perhaps answer their questions. Remember to tell them where they can pick up the key. Your home is precious and you should go for solutions like Sharebox who identify who gets the key and when.
What to do if there are disputes
As with anything, disagreements sometimes happen. The listing platforms usually errs on the side of the homeowner when it comes to disputes, so make sure you keep as many records as you can. That includes photos of your place from before guests arrive and after they leave.
If your guests want to start correspondence outside of the Airbnb app or Booking.com app, politely tell them that you’d rather communicate inside the platform. That way, platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com has documentation in case there is a disagreement over the rental terms.
If you have any questions related to our automated key exchange services, feel free to contact our customer service team on +47 4043 4444 or visit our FAQ.