7 Things I Wish I'd Known BEFORE I Became A Short Term Rental Host

rocky 03/09/2020

Guest Post by Smart Property Owner

At a young age, I was introduced to the residential real estate market by my parents. While I didn’t realize (or appreciate) it at the time, they were introducing me to an entirely new world and helping to shape my future opportunities. I never imagined being a short term rental host, but once I got started, I realized this was only the beginning of my adventures in rentals as a Smart Property Owner, and started me on a path towards being an Airbnb Superhost, and a love of all things remodeling (well, almost all things) and hosting. These adventures have grown from side hustle to a thriving business and source of income. I’m excited to share lessons I’ve picked up along the way with you at Smart Property Owner.

At first glance, the thought of turning your home or condo into a part-time Airbnb rental may seem like a great idea. Just create a profile, post a few pics, and you’ll be able to make some extra cash while you’re traveling. Simple, right? Not necessarily. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not rocket science. But it’s also not as easy as it may seem on the surface. There’s a lot more that goes into being successful as a short term rental host. Here’s are a few things I wish I’d known before I got started myself.

First, you need to get your home guest-ready. Again, there are a lot of factors that go into this step, many of which I’ve already covered in greater detail here. The long and the short of it is, if you want people to book stays at your home, you’ll need to view it through their eyes first. Think about what you expect from the places you stay when you travel. Your Airbnb should model those places.

Next, you’ll want to get your neighbors on board with your plan. Is this a requirement? Not necessarily (unless you’re a member of a condo or homeowners association). But it’s something I strongly recommend, particularly from a guest satisfaction standpoint. As long as your neighbors understand and are comfortable with you having occasional Airbnb guests, everybody will get along better.

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Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row on the home front, the next step is setting up your Airbnb profile. This is super important because it’s the first impression that a prospective guest will have, which will often determine whether or not they’re going to book with you. Make sure your profile is complete and includes a detailed description and high-quality pictures. And always be honest. If you misrepresent something, it could end up costing you future bookings.

Another important thing to keep in mind as a first-time short term rental host is to set ground rules. Don’t want smokers? Make it abundantly clear in your listing. Not pet-friendly? Be upfront. In my experience, it’s all about setting expectations – clearly and often. That way, everyone is on the same page, and there is less of a chance that something ends up going off the rails.

In addition to setting expectations, I like to set my guests up for success right from the get-go. I do this by keeping the lines of communication open and providing them with all the information they need to enjoy a great stay. I recommend creating a welcome book that contains everything from how to use the appliances to the best place in town to grab brunch. Not only will these details keep your Airbnb guests happy, but it’ll cut down on the number of calls, emails, or texts you get with questions. So, you win too.

The real bread and butter of success as an Airbnb host, though, is in the reviews. Once you’ve rented your place out a few times, you’ll start getting reviews from your guests. These reviews are hugely important because they help other prospective guests decide whether to book with you. To tip the scales in your favor, focus on the little details that will really wow your guests. Going above and beyond may cost a little extra time and money, but it’ll pay off big time once those five stars start adding up. Here is an example of the types of compliments guests can give you in your reviews:

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If there’s one single piece of advice I’d pass on to someone who is just starting out as an Airbnb host, it’s this: you get what you put into it. If you do the bare minimum, your guests will probably be satisfied. But if you really want to maximize profits, you’ll need to do more. Be willing to give it your all, and in return, you’ll enjoy the same sustainable, long-term success that I’ve been lucky enough to have in this business.

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