Thinking of Becoming an Airbnb Host? Here Are Things You Might Wanna Be Aware of before Taking the Big Step.
What started off as crashing on an air mattress to a multi-billion-dollar company, Airbnb is still an alluring option for those wanting to make some decent extra cash.
And while renters complain about exorbitant additional charges, and homeowners complain about the lack of respect given to their property, it’s business as usual for this now public company.
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So, if you’re keen to give it a go – we’ve got the perfect list just for you: 15 things to know before becoming an Airbnb host.
Do the Math
Aluxers, there is much more to renting your place out on Airbnb than just a pretty home, or an intriguing space… there are many expenses that you might not have thought about.
First off, Airbnb makes money off every rental, from the host and the renter. So, you will need to factor in the percentage that they automatically deduct.
Then you’ll need to consider in your time, a cleaner, cleaning materials, insurance, and breakages, and that’s just scratching the surface.
If you’re aiming to cover your mortgage with your rental, then you’d need to figure out your minimum income requirement and work out the worst-case-scenario, in terms of how many nights you manage to rent out.
Doing the math shouldn’t deter you from setting up an Airbnb, because that is something you should be doing before starting any business.
Check the Default Settings
It’s understandable that Airbnb’s main priority would be the guests because there is no Airbnb without them. When you create your profile and list your rental, be sure to manage the default settings to better suit your needs.
There is no need to just accept the default settings, but rather, make use of the option that shows a renter’s profile and ratings by other hosts, or the option that means guests need valid identification to check into your listing.
These are all going to help look after your property and your sanity.
Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness
We’ve all stayed in places where the cleanliness has been questionable… hair in the shower drain, a stain or two on the sheets, or lipstick marks on the wine glasses… it’s disgusting and that’s the kind of thing that will get your place earning a one-star rating.
Of course, you’re welcome to pay someone to clean the listing for you, but we’re all human and there will be things that they might miss. So, it’s advisable that you take half an hour yourself to just go through everything to make sure it passes the white glove test.
You’re on Call 24/7
Hosting a listing on Airbnb can be wonderfully satisfying, and you will meet people from all around the world, but if you’re managing the property yourself, it does mean that you’re on “duty” the entire time you have guests.
Most rentals are over a weekend, so going away for your own pleasure can often be compromised.
You might be at the beach, out to dinner, or having a family brunch, and you’re called out to deal with someone who accidentally locked themself in the bathroom, or they’ve tripped the power and can’t find the fuse box… these things happen, and you just need to factor that in before you embark on your Airbnb journey.
Know the Law for Rentals in Your Area
There are many places globally that have very strict rules and regulations regarding Airbnb. As explained on passiveairbnb.com, “Airbnb rentals are sometimes seen as a potential threat to residents. Short term rentals can affect landlord-tenant relations.” And that’s just one reason… there are plenty more.
In Thailand, Airbnb is illegal… however, people do take chances and list properties.
In Japan, there are very strict laws regarding Airbnb, with hosts having to register their properties with the government and rental periods are capped at 120-days each year.
Just make sure you’re legally allowed to rent out your space and that you’re not breaking any laws by doing so.
Which brings us to the next point.
You Must Be Able to Deal With Unhappy Neighbours
So, you’ve done your homework and you have found out that it’s legal to have an Airbnb listing – one box ticked.
However, your neighbours are not thrilled that they now have to deal with strangers pulling up in their area and making an unfamiliar noise at all hours of the day.
If you’re renting part of your home, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re the one living there most of the time – and living next-door to unhappy neighbours is not ideal.
I mean, it’s kinda sh*tty to profit from your listing each weekend, while leaving neighbours to put up with the noise, parties, and commotion.
Just don’t be a jerk, and you’ll do just fine as a great Airbnb host.
Get an idea of how you can improve your hosting skills by checking out 15 Ways to Be the Perfect Host, the Aluxer Way.
You Will Have Strangers in Your Space
In some places, like New York, it’s illegal to rent your home out as a holiday Airbnb. Short-term rental laws in New York prohibit anyone from renting out their entire apartment, which is strange considering that New York is Airbnb’s biggest US Market.
If you want to rent out on Airbnb in New York, you as the owner, must be present and you’re not allowed more than two renters at a time.
So, what we’re saying is that you will have to be comfortable with the idea of sharing your space with total strangers.
Renters Don’t Follow the Rules
Many hosts will tell you horror stories of terrible situations they’ve found themselves in, and one of the most common problems they’re running into is people lying about the number of guests they have staying over.
Renting an Airbnb is much cheaper than hiring a venue to host a party. Water, lights, electricity is all covered, plus bonus, you don’t even need to clean up after yourself – because the cleaning is included.
Houses are advertised as being able to accommodate 8 to 10 people, for example, and next minute there are 20 people crashing on sofas, partying and causing huge problems for the unsuspecting host.
Guests Can Be Rude and Unruly
Ahh, now trying to confront guests that are breaking the rules is another scenario all-together. Many hosts have found themselves on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse.
In Ohio, one man was banned from using Airbnb after he threw a New Years Eve party in a house where he was renting a room for $40 a night. He advertised the party online and charged people $5 to join.
The poor homeowner had to lock himself in the bedroom and call the police.
Have Excellent WiFi
And make it easy for people to leave you a glowing review!
We suggest listening to “Airbnb, A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Money with Airbnb” by Brandon Taylor. It’s available on Audible, and we’ve got a free download for you at alux.com/freebook.
Be Fully Insured and Properly Covered
Accidents happen, even by the most wonderful tenants – so just be sure to pay close attention to the details, when it comes to insurance.
It’s a game of hope for the best, but prepare for the worst; if a guest happened to inflict severe injury, or even death, because of something that is slightly amiss in your place, you will need extensive coverage.
According to Dorine von Briel and Sara Dolnicar from the Department of Tourism at UQ Business School in The University of Queensland, Australia…”Given the absence of safety regulations for peer-to-peer accommodation listings, privately traded spaces can increase risks for guests.”
Be Aware of Airbnb Regulations
Aluxers, all we’re saying here is “read the fine print.”
Go over information in the help centre, peruse the terms and policies, read the member policies and standards, double-check the standards and requirements and especially take note of host requirements.
If anything is unclear, seek legal advice and make sure you understand everything before going ahead with your listing.
Use a Pro-active Pricing Strategy
Grab a yearly calendar and see what events are coming up. Let’s say there’s an Ironman weekend in October, so set the price a bit higher to accommodate the influx of extra people and make a little more cash.
Be careful though, you don’t want to go too high and not get any bookings at all!
Be Honest in Your Description
We’ve all booked accommodation based on the visuals provided, and we’ve all been duped by some excellent photography skills. That whole expectation vs reality is legit. A gondola ride in Venice always looks so enchanting, but it’s usually crammed with other people seeking the same experience, or the serene experience of visiting the Taj Mahal is, in reality, smoggy and crowded.
Don’t deceive your guests. Be honest when describing your accommodation so that there is zero room for 1-star ratings.
Plan For the Quieter Seasons
If this is going to be your sole income, you will need to plan for the quieter times. When it’s peak season and you’re cashing in, remember not to cash out too quickly. Put some cash away so that when you do have a lull in business, you’re not going to be too stressed about it.
Planning for peak season is just as important, Aluxers. Make sure you’re prepared, that you have enough stock of everything, you’ve organized a reliable cleaner, you respond to guests quickly and accurately and you give yourself a small rental break in-between, so you catch your breath and be an amazing host.
Are you an Airbnb host? What advice can you share with others wanting to do the same?