Prepping your home as a short-term rental is not as hard as it seems. Just put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Think about what you would need to be comfortable away from home, and then try to bring those elements into your home. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Remove and Lock Away Personal Items
One of the first things to do when preparing to rent your home is to designate an area where all your personal and valuable items can be locked away. This could be a closet or a room in your house, or even a storage space away from your home. Taking this step is a good way to declutter your home for your renters while preventing the potential damage or loss of items that are sentimental to you.
2. Fix any hazards around your home
Take some time to look around your home to find anything that might raise safety concerns. This could be as simple as changing light bulbs to brighten up dark areas in your home or fixing a loose step. Fix any issue you find to reduce the chance of injury to your guests.
3. Make sure you have insurance coverage
No matter how hard we try to prevent injury, damage or loss of property, sometimes things happen out of our control. A good way to make sure you are covered in case something does go wrong is to have insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance might offer some protection. Read through your policy, or call your insurance agent to find out if you are covered for short-term rentals. You might also be able to get insurance coverage through the platform you chose to list your rental on. Airbnb, for example, offers a Host Protection Insurance program that provides liability coverage for injury or property damage.
4. Clean home thoroughly
When you are away on vacation, you want your accommodations to be nice and clean. Your guests will expect the same. Some hosts prefer doing the cleaning themselves to save the expense. However, consider hiring housecleaning professionals to clean your home, especially if you plan on renting your home to different sets of guests while you are away. This way you are certain that your home will be thoroughly cleaned for each renter while you are away.
5. Anticipate the needs of your renters
You probably already have many of the amenities renters look for when deciding on a vacation home, such as high-speed internet or a washer and dryer. Provide clean towels, linens and extra blankets. Make sure they have access to toiletries like toilet paper and paper towels. In the kitchen, make sure there are enough pots, pans, dishes and utensils for the maximum number of guests you can host. You could also stock the pantry and fridge with basic items needed to make a meal. Make sure your appliances and electronics are working properly. Take the extra effort needed to make sure your guests will feel comfortable by providing the items that they want in a home away from home.
6. Leave detailed instructions
Leave your guests detailed written instructions to help make their stay easier. The more detailed, the better. You can include information about how to operate your appliances, electronics and how to access your Wi-Fi. Leave a list of recommended grocery stores or restaurants around town. Make sure you write a set of house rules so that your guests are aware of what you require of them during their stay in your home (i.e. no smoking, pet policy and parking guidelines). Always provide local emergency numbers and addresses, and be sure to leave your contact information in case your guests need to get in touch with you.
7. Check local laws, regulations & contracts
The last thing you want to do is rent out your home without the required local permits or risk being in breach of your lease. Check your local HOA rules, lease contracts and city regulations and applicable tax laws to be sure your rental listing passes muster. Airbnb has a helpful article to guide you through your first listing.
What do you do to prep your home for short-term rental? Let us know in the comments below.