Reviewed by Connor Griffiths
Updated September 2, 2022
Many people today have a secondary property that they use for vacationing, or that they simply bought because they couldn’t resist the cheap price. Since it sits vacant for many weeks of the year, you might find yourself wondering how you can generate some extra income from renting out such a property.
Whether it’s in a tourist-heavy location such as Whistler, or a small cottage country abode that is seasonally driven, Airbnb is a website that can help you rent out your second home with ease.
Airbnb is a website for owners to rent out their properties, or for vacationers to find rental lodging. To date, it has over 7,000,000 listings in close to 200 countries across the globe.
To use the site, you must register and create a personal user profile. You can look at properties and profiles, including photos, reviews, and ratings. It’s great for those who want a rental property that is similar to a home, as opposed to a hotel.
If you are looking to rent out your property, you create a profile and description of your property, and wait for vacationers to come along and rent!
As a potential renter looking for a holiday property, you access the site via your online profile and browse properties based on your preferences. You then connect with the host of the property, commit to dates and arrange payment. It’s that easy.
However, there’s always the fear that you will end up renting a dud that just doesn’t look as good as the photos, or that seems too cheap to be true—and it is. Or what if as a host, you end up renting to a party animal that ruins your property and makes a racket that really angers your neighbors?
Here are some tips for renting from Airbnb, as well as hosting that will ensure that you have success.
Check the rental contract and property information very carefully. For example, if you are renting in New York, some of the less expensive properties have a shared washroom.
If this isn’t your idea of privacy, you might not want to go with that property. Further, do your research on the neighborhood to make sure it is accommodative to you and your needs. If big-city bustle is what you’re looking for, you don’t want to be stuck on the outskirts of a rough town with no amenities nearby.
Choose your neighborhood carefully (which goes along with what we mentioned above). If you’re choosing a cheaper Airbnb property, it’s likely because it’s away from the hub of the city. Thus, be prepared for transportation expenses and a potentially quiet vacation. Always check maps and city locations to verify where you are booking.
Take some time to read the other renter reviews on the property. Although some people are perpetually negative and will always say bad things about even the best of places, it’s a good idea to pay attention to continuously negative reviews. For example, if 9 out of 10 reviews about the property cite negative issues (from cockroaches to cleanliness), it might be a good idea to steer clear of that one.
Check the fine print regarding the amenities, and if you don’t see what you want, make sure to ask what’s available. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to free Wi-Fi and a soak in a hot tub, only to find that neither is offered at the property. This also goes for shared washrooms and kitchens, which are commonplace in many New York rental properties. If privacy is what you desire, make sure that you read the fine print.
Be considerate of your property and the owners. This means respecting the host’s items that you are using (towels, kitchen supplies, furniture, etc.) as well as the cleanliness of the property. It’s always a good motto to leave something in better shape than what you found it in. This also goes for respecting the privacy of the neighbors, as no one likes a looky-loo or a loud partier until 3 am.
Go above and beyond and show some thanks to your host by leaving a nice note, or even a small gift of gratitude. Although this isn’t expected, it shows a wonderful amount of grace and decorum and is greatly appreciated by your host!
ready for an online quote? Policies start at $12/month if you rent your home and $40/month if you own your home. To see how much you can save with Square One, get a personalized online quote now.
Hosting can be a lucrative way to make some cash flow, even if it’s just for pocket change or to become a full-time property rental business. Airbnb sees both. As a host, here are some important tips to ensure you are running your rental properly.
List your rental with high-quality photos, as much information about the property as possible, and be diligent to respond to inquiries promptly. Renters want to know as much as they can about your property by just looking at the listing, and if you only use two low-quality photos or scrimp on the details, they will move onto the next property.
In terms of response time, try to make sure you respond within 24 hours or they will lose interest and, again, move onto the next one. Essentially, you must market yourself and your listing for success. There are thousands and thousands of listings on Airbnb, so your listing, to be effective, must shine above the rest.
Get the proper insurance to avoid any liability. You don’t want to end up on the hook for any damages or injuries that a renter might incur during their holiday. Luckily, Airbnb provides a basic insurance policy for all property owners, but anything above that is up to you.
Screen your customers well. If you have a beautiful home with lots of priceless art and décor, or you have quiet neighbors that value privacy and serenity, it’s probably not a good idea to rent your property out to a rowdy bachelor party.
If you’re renting out in a complex, such as an apartment or strata townhouse, ensure that the property management group allows rentals, or you might end up with a fine.
Decide what you want to get out of hosting—do you want to make a few extra bucks? Or do you want to turn your rental property into a steady source of income? Some people build a business out of several Airbnb properties that eventually become a main source of income. Depending on what you are looking for, it will all depend on how much planning, work and investment you are willing to put into it.
If you can follow this easy guide, you should have rental success—both as a renter and a host. Just don’t forget to avoid these three mistakes if you are renting out your property on Airbnb:
Never just show up unannounced at the property, as it can feel like a violation for your guests. Unless it is an emergency, always give 24 hours’ notice.
Never run out of basic goods, like toilet paper and towels. These are amenities that people would expect at a hotel, and they will also expect them from you.
Never forget to include a spare key! People lose keys quite often, and there is nothing worse than being locked out of your house.
We sat down with Daniel Mirkovic, President and CEO of Square One, to ask him a few questions about the popularity of Airbnb and how the home sharing trend provided Square One with another opportunity to enhance their client services.
Q: What motivated you to introduce airbnb home insurance?
A: We introduced airbnb home insurance because we saw an increasing need, this is a new trend and more and more people are participating in home sharing programs…so we wanted to be able to meet their home insurance needs.
Q: How is the risk different for somebody who is renting their property on airbnb?
A: The risk is quite a bit different if you participate in home sharing programs like airbnb…because, essentially, you’re operating a small business out of your home…and most home insurance policies won’t cover any business operations unless you’ve totally disclosed it to your provider.
Q: Why Square One, when other home insurance providers are not offering this type of specialized service?
A: The reason that we started to offer something for clients who participate in airbnb programs when most other home insurance providers haven’t is because we really want to be and are striving to be a modern home insurance company. So, whenever we see someone else isn’t doing something, or, if the answer is “that’s the way it’s always been,” that means for us, there’s an opportunity for us to do something differently, and better meet our client’s needs.
Another reason is, we specialize in home insurance, that’s all that we offer, so we feel that we have to do a very good job of meeting as many client needs when it comes to their home insurance as possible.
Q: How is the quote process different if you’re participating in a home sharing program like airbnb?
A: Anyone interested in getting a home insurance quote from Square One can do so online or by phone, including those participating in home sharing programs like airbnb.
If you are participating in a home sharing program you will have to answer just a few extra questions during the online quote. As long as you answer those questions properly, the little wizard will walk you through the rest of the quote.
What you will find, as someone who is participating in a home sharing program, is that your premium will be slightly higher to offset the risk, associated with having strangers or guests using your home…and you may also be subject to a slightly higher deductible for crime-related losses.
So if something mysteriously disappears while a guest is in your home, you’ll be responsible for the first 2,500 dollars of loss, versus what your standard deductible might be, which could range anywhere from 500 dollars and up.
Want to learn more? Visit our Homeowner resource centre for more articles created specifically to help you navigate homeownership. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.
About the expert: Connor Griffiths
Connor Griffiths is the CEO of the vacation rental management company Lifty Life Vacation Rentals and Head of Content for the industry-leading vacation rental software Hostaway.com. Connor has a 7-year background in the industry, starting as an Airbnb host and the revenue manager for the channel manager Jetstream Solutions. He holds a BBA at Kwantlen University.
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