The success of home hosting service Airbnb has seen a boom in the short-term rental market. Now more than ever people want to travel the world and experience places as if through the eyes of a local. People are no longer just looking to stay in impersonal hotels, and are instead opting for quirky short term home stays, or even sharing houses with locals to obtain a more authentic experience whilst travelling.
This increase in short term rental demand has seen property owners looking to maximise their return through hosting their home with the aim of paying off their mortgage, increasing their yearly income or simply financing their travels. Although many people have been quick to jump on the hosting bandwagon, many have also been quick to remove their ad and run for the hills.
The reality is that there is a lot more to hosting than simply posting an ad, doing a cursory tidy up and heading off as your home stays behind to generate your fortune. The great news however is that there is an abundance of information and professional help readily available to make your hosting dreams come true.
I picked three important questions which I think you should answer for yourself to ensure you have a successful and rewarding hosting experience:
1. Is my home suitable and attractive for hosting?
As with any other offering to a market, you must provide a service for which people are prepared to pay the price you set. People however, will only consider your offer if it is better than others’, meaning you will need to clearly differentiate to the average.
So what does that mean for hosting? Before taking photos and posting your home online, sit down and think ‘Is my home really suitable and attractive enough for hosting?’ Whilst your home is your haven and is a perfect abode in your eyes – compared to all the other homes that are already on offer on the short term rental market (and there are plenty), it may not stand out enough for the return you expect.
Consider whether your home needs some work done – e.g. removing all that clutter only you are in love with, adding the one or other extra amenity, a new lick of paint, new pillows, linen and towels or some new furniture. To make a more informed decision, check and compare properties listed online in your area with strong reviews and similar features and have a look at the different styles and options.
Don’t be afraid to consult the professionals for advice and tips to get the basics and more importantly, the details right. The first home visit is usually free and will allow you to further understand the pre-requisites of hosting your home. Use this time to pick their knowledge about what could be done to improve the appearance and attractiveness of your home.
2. Have you considered all necessary precautions for the safety and security of your home and guests?
Not only are you leaving your home and content in your guest’s hands, your guests are also relying on you to have a safe home to stay in.
Take the time and check if your home is generally in a safe condition and if you have basics like a first aid kit, fire safety equipment, emergency signage and a list with all important emergency phone numbers in place. If not, you can purchase prearranged packages tailored to short term renting and even get your home assessed for safety risks.
Would you let anyone stay at your home? If not, think about how you get to know your guests, making sure you feel comfortable with them staying at your home.
By communicating with your guests prior accepting the booking, asking them about their background, reason of travel and whom they will bring along with them, will help you to raise your level of comfort and trust. Finally, you might want to ask for a copy of their ID and meet them in person at check-in, just for that extra peace of mind.
And what if something does go wrong? This is when your insurance is the final safety net. It is crucial that you check with your current landlord insurance if they cover for short term renting. Very likely they do not and you will require an additional insurance.
Airbnb does offer a $1,000,000 insurance, but did you know that it does not cover any personal liability cases, e.g. if your guests have an accident in your home.
The good news is that more and more insurances offer specially tailored products for short term renting. Check with your current insurance broker or ask a professional short term rental agency to get you in contact with a qualified broker.
3. Do you have the time and patience to manage your rental and guests, or do you need help?
While it sounds very easy to list your property on platforms like Airbnb and Stayz, you need to be aware that there is much more involved in having continuous bookings at a strong nightly rate and happy guests, leaving you amazing reviews. An example of the tasks are:
- Calendar and pricing management
- 24/7 guest communication
- House set up and cleaning
- Linen, towel and amenity provision and laundry
- Key exchange
- 24/7 emergency management and guest support
And all of that whilst you are away on holiday or busy with work or your personal life. Guests on the other hand often have the right to leave and claim a full refund if their expectation is not met and the actual state of you home differs to the listing.
If you have the time and the resources to commit – then you are set for hosting. If not, then get support! There are many companies available offering supporting services, you can find them by a simple Google search.
My advice however is, get a professional agency to fully manage your short term rental, and let them manage your home and maximise your financial return.
Whether you decide to do it yourself or seek professional assistance, hosting your home can be financially and personally rewarding and help you to fund your dreams. By ensuring you have taken all the above factors into account before embarking on your journey, you have laid the path to a happy and successful experience. An eyes wide open approach will pay dividends for you, your home and your guests!
If you are located in Sydney and require information or advice regarding hosting your home on the short term rental market, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
MadeComfy provides an end-to-end property management service, which means property owners don’t need to do a thing when they hand over their keys. MadeComfy makes the process of earning greater returns from short-term renting effortless, achieving up to 40% more than long-term rentals and self-managed Airbnb listings. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!