Y’all, we sorta, kinda, really on accident rented our house with Airbnb three times this month. It all happened so fast. Earlier this year, I blocked the twins’ birthday weekend on the Airbnb calendar but left all other October weekends open with the intention to book our home once, maybe twice, but that was pushing it. Then in a 24-hour whirlwind of activity—and before I had the sense of urgency to block the weekends—it rented three times for the first, third, and fourth weekend of October. We’ve made the best of it, really we have, but I do think our crew will be happy next month when they can be in their home a little more.
As I begin to prepare for the third and final rental this weekend, this accidental expert has a few tips to share with anyone who has considered Airbnb as a revenue stream for your family:
Create an Inviting Space – For us, this means a cozy place where our guests feel comfortable and at home for the weekend. We make sure blankets and throws are out in the living room, fresh flowers are on the tables, our front porch is welcoming, and beds are refreshed. I dry clean sheets with Arbonne’s Harmony essential oil in a dryer ball, and have invested in a set of white towels just for my Airbnb guests.
Clear the Clutter and Deep Clean the Kitchen and Bathrooms – Your Airbnb guests will pay a cleaning fee and many homeowners choose to hire a housekeeper to clean before or after the visit. I personally like cleaning—call me crazy—and also enjoy pocketing the fee for a little shopping spree after all my hard work. Your guests will notice if you don’t deep clean your kitchen and bathrooms. Take the time and use the right products to get your space ready for those who are paying to stay there. I don’t spend as much time deep cleaning other rooms of my house, but I do make sure that floors are swept, rugs are vacuumed, and surfaces are dusted and clear of clutter.
Make Your House Manual Crystal Clear – Before we began renting our house this year, we first asked regular Airbnb homeowners if we could take a peek at their house manuals. Manuals can been seen on the website or app platform once the home is rented, but we also leave a paper copy on the kitchen table for our guests. The House Manual should be crystal clear: your expectations for check in and check out, what is allowed and what isn’t, your policy on where guests can eat and drink in your house (we say no red wine on our white couch!) and also if you’ll allow them to help themselves to your food, condiments, etc. We also include our WiFi password and Firestick password in the paper copy of the House Manual (not in the online version). Finally, we give instructions on how to use some of our more sophisticated appliances, like my beloved coffee maker.
Lock Your Valuables – Choose a closet in your home and put all valuables inside for the duration of the rental. This includes jewelry, expensive coats, and confidential documents. You might also consider putting away some of your best stemware, or special books and journals. I lock up all of my Arbonne products and my favorite coffee mug, too! Basically anything that holds value to you, put it away. We purchased an inexpensive door lock from Amazon for our rental weekends.
Give a Gift and Leave a Note – Most of our renters aren’t locals, so I’ll leave a Best of C’ville magazine along with a note and something Charlottesville specific for them to enjoy. I’ve treated them to Salted Rosemary Shortbread from Found Market, and this last rental weekend, we left a group of ladies coming from North Carolina a nice bottle of merlot from Barboursville Vineyard with a recommendation to check out their tasting room.
If you can be so bold as to allow people to be in your space while you’re not there (something many say they just can’t do, and trust me, I GET IT), you have the potential to make some extra monthly cash and have new weekend adventures. We have imposed on the generosity of family and friends who allow us to stay with them while we rent, and this weekend are exploring Richmond and staying in a hotel with Graham’s Marriott points. Win win.
If you’re thinking of Airbnb and have any other questions, shoot me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond. Happy renting!