Thinking about becoming an Airbnb host? It's no secret that vacation rentals can be a lucrative source of income. Regardless of whether you have an entire property to let or a room to spare, every bit of real estate is potential cash flow waiting to happen.
But before you jump into setting up your listing and welcoming those first guests into your home, there are a few things you should consider. It helps to have a good understanding of what being a host will entail, to know what to expect, and to be prepared from the outset in order to succeed.
Here are 8 things to think about and do before you become an Airbnb host.
1. Prepare to have strangers in your house.
Airbnb means letting complete strangers into your property or home. While that may sound obvious, there's a difference between knowing it and really considering how you'll feel about it in your own space.
If it’s an investment property, you're probably fine with it. If it’s your own apartment or family home, maybe you're a little apprehensive. Be sure to think through any issues related to security and trust. Once you're ok with the idea of strangers coming and going, it's time to move onto other considerations.
2. Decide your hosting goals.
You need to decide what kind of host you’ll be. Do you want to just rent out your spare room once in a while for a bit of extra cash? Or are you going to go full-time Airbnb entrepreneur? Will your space be available all the time, or just when you're not using it?
If you’re renting out your entire space during periods that you’re away, think about what you’ll you do with your belongings (a few options: leave them as they are, keep them on the premises but locked away, or take them off-site). If you’re renting a room in a shared space, consider how you’ll manage shared spaces while also maintaining your own privacy.
3. Anticipate hosting expenses.
Some hosts find that additional expenses are minimal. Others are hit with overblown utility bills or costs for supplies that eat into their profits. Consider what your expenses might be and how you can mitigate them before you start, that way you won't be hit with a bunch of unexpected costs that could have been avoided or at least planned for.
Think about initial expenses (like purchasing amenities, fixing issues, buying new linens, etc) and ongoing expenses (purchasing supplies, increased bills, etc). See also: 7 ways to save money as a vacation rental host
4. Anticipate time expenses.
Here is a reality, plain and simple: hosting takes time.
Answering enquiries. Screening potential guests. Putting together materials like house rules and guide books and instructions. Meeting guests for check-in, restocking supplies, cleaning and maintenance and administration tasks... And more!
Don't be discouraged, though. Being a host can also be rewarding and fun. Plus, there are plenty of ways to manage and reduce the time you spend on these tasks.
If you won't have time to manage all the tasks yourself, you can hire Airbnb service providers like professional cleaners, key concierges who can check guests in, or even property managers who take care of everything for you.
5. Check the laws and regulations in your area.
Depending on where you are in the world, rules and regulations will differ. If you're renting rather than owning your place, for example, it may be illegal to sub-let on Airbnb. Always check the local laws and regulations before you create your Airbnb listing: you want to make sure you're complying with everything you need to.
6. Sort out your insurance.
Don't wait until there are guests en route from the airport before you sort out your insurance. Make sure your place is properly covered from the outset. As a host, you will be covered by the Airbnb Host Guarantee, which provides up to $1 million of protection. But as they themselves state, the guarantee program "doesn't replace your homeowners or renters insurance."
There's a good chance you won't have to make any claims. Still, as they say — hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
7. Consider your neighbours.
If your property happens to be a designer yurt in the middle of the mountains then hey, no worries. If it's in a cosy neighbourhood or apartment building, do give a little thought to how you can make your Airbnb business considerate of the environment and people around it.
You might want to set house rules like no parties or noise after a particular time. Or, if people coming and going constantly may be an issue, limit your property to slightly longer stays. Not only do these things make you a polite neighbour, they help avoid conflicts and complaints.
8. Get to know the platform & your competition.
If you've been an Airbnb guest you'll already know the platform well. But if not, be sure to have a thorough look around and get a feel for everything before
you go signing up as a host and filling in your listing. There's a lot to take note of and consider when it comes to your listing, from good copywriting
to beautiful photos to setting the right price.
Also check out what other people in your area are doing. This will allow you to compare pricing, and also get ideas for making your listing more appealing and more tailored to your location. Reading reviews on other properties, for example, can give you an idea of what guests do and don't appreciate from other local hosts.
Once you've spent a little time researching, planning, and mentally preparing for life as an Airbnb host, you'll be better able to leap in and achieve supersonic success from the get-go.