Serving Wharton County since 1972, Mid-Coast Title Co. is no stranger to rentals and property management topics. One popular issue on customers’ minds is Airbnb — one of the world’s largest marketplaces for unique, authentic places to stay and things to do, offering more than 7 million accommodations and 40,000 handcrafted activities, all powered by local hosts. According to the company, Airbnb has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetize their spaces and their passions while keeping the financial benefits of tourism in their own communities.
Whether you’re renting out a garage apartment or a room in your home, Airbnb is a great way to make some extra money, but it is work and there’s plenty to do before your first guest arrives. Here are some musts to prepare your place so it’s ready for guests and to make sure your Airbnb experience is a positive one from the start.
Make Sure It’s Clean
Consider hiring help to clean the space. It needs to be as clean, or cleaner, than a hotel room. You might add a small cleaning fee to offset the cost.
Make Sure It’s Safe
Walk around the space critically and with an eye toward safety. Are there any loose steps or exposed wires? Other hazards? Get all that fixed before you advertise for your first guest.
Be sure there are smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers as appropriate.
Put a well-stocked first aid kit in the unit.
Leave your email and phone number in case guests need to reach you and make sure you are accessible in case there are questions or problems.
Include your phone number, instead of the property’s address, on the keyring you provide to guests.
Make Sure It’s Presentable
Clean well just before having amazing photos of your space. Make sure the pictures are taken from multiple angles, and write a great description. People won’t flock to rent your room or home if the photos are bad and the place doesn’t sound like an excellent place to be.
Think minimalism. Guests don’t want to live among your hanging clothes and hairbrush. Clear away everything but the basics, so it looks like, and is, a clean, roomy space for them to spread out and relax.
Find a place to lock away your valuables. The first way to safeguard personal items is to carefully screen potential guests (by checking references and renter profiles, if available). The next best way is to completely remove valuables such as jewelry, family photos, artwork, financial and legal papers, fine china and silver, firearms and other items that are important to you. You might put them in a safe deposit box or rent an off-site storage space. If you must leave valuable items on-property, find a way to lock them up in a dedicated closet or separate room that you can lock securely.
If the home doesn’t have a locking mailbox, make sure you have the post office stop your mail while guests will be staying there.
Make Sure It’s Amenable
You should, for example, provide:
Clean towels and linens — you should have a set of at least two towels, hand towels and washcloths per guest
An ironing board and iron
Dishes, silverware, and pots and pans sufficient for the maximum number of guests you host
A microwave oven
Coffee maker, teapot, and toaster
Basic seasonings and food items like sugar, salt, butter
Cleaning supplies including hand soap, dishwashing liquid, carpet cleaner, all-purpose cleaners, bleach, and disinfectant
Basic toiletries like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues
All remotes necessary to operate the television and other devices
Trash can liners
Pillow protectors and mattress pads, and
Extra light bulbs.
Most guests will expect to have access to the Internet. If this is not available, make sure your guests are aware of it before they rent with you.
Although not absolutely necessary, there are lots of other things you can provide your guests to make their stay more pleasant — for example:
Food in the refrigerator and cupboard, such as coffee, milk, juice, or cereal
A selection of DVDs that guests can watch on your TV if they get tired of sightseeing
Playing cards and other games
If you’re near the beach or have a pool, beach towels and chairs
Guidebooks and maps to the area, and
A hair dryer.
Some hosts get creative and leave goodies for their guests like bottles of wine, chocolate, fresh fruit, or local delicacies.
Make Sure You’re Prepared to List the Property
Your listing is how people find and book your place. According to Airbnb, make sure you:
Keep an updated calendar so that you’ll only get bookings when you’re available.
Use your calendar settings to control when and for how long guests can book your space, when guests can arrive, and to add preparation time between reservations.
Import and sync other calendars you use for your space.
Decide whether you’d like all of your guests to have verified their ID before they’re able to book your space.
You can also set the tone of the stay ahead of time by corresponding with your guests before they arrive. Make sure they know how to get the keys if they will be getting in when you are not available. Add a clip to the keychain so guests can attach them to their belt or purse.
When you take the time to make your space clean, comfortable and easy for your guests to enjoy, they will sing your praises in their review, and your Airbnb property will do well.
For more information about Mid-Coast Title Co.’s services or if you just want to know more about what we do, visit www.mid-coasttitle.com.