The past year (20/21) has put a real strain on global travel. Particularly if you live in the UK, travel has been limited even within the country, let alone anywhere abroad. We are all eager to get out and now that the world is starting to ease up a little with the vaccine programme success, people are finally looking forward to some travel. We have been asked several times recently whether someone could rent their property out, even if it is just for a couple of months.
The short answer is yes! Websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com have made it increasingly easy to rent out your home and be flexible with the dates. Even if you just want to rent your house for a specific day of the year, that is absolutely fine. Now you’ve made that decision, the next most important thing is whether you are going to look after that yourself, or whether you would like a management company to take care of it. This blog will assume that you want to manage it yourself, but if you want to enjoy your time away without any hassle, you might want to consider asking a management company to take care of it. That is what we do at Simple Getaway, if you would like to speak to us, please click on the link.
What next? Here’s our list of things you need to start thinking about.
- Decision time – decide when, and for how long you want to list your property. Once you’ve made the decision to rent your house and you receive bookings, you will be penalised if you change your mind and cancel those bookings. Therefore, you need to make sure you are completely sure and comfortable with renting your home during those periods.
- Get rental ready – you will want to get your house ready to photograph. We would recommend removing anything that you do not want to make available to the guests and store in a cupboard or locked room. Clothes, jewellery, sentimental items and personal things should be in this category.
- Photo time – Once you’ve removed anything you do not want to have in the listing, it is time for photos. Make sure the house is clean, windows are clean, beds are made, pillows fluffed etc! Either hire a photographer or take them yourself, if you choose the latter, make sure you take good quality imagery. Hold the camera lower than your eye level, avoid any special effects (fish eye, wide angle etc) and make sure you get a shot of each room and the outside if available.
- List your property – choose where you want to list. Just a room? Probably just go with Airbnb. A larger property, try Airbnb and VRBO. Each site charges different fees so make sure you choose something you are comfortable with. If you list on both sites, make sure you share calendars to avoid a double booking.
- Respond to inquiries – you may receive inquiries straight away or it may take some time. Don’t panic either way! Make sure you respond to inquiries as quickly as you can, that way you will attract a guest before they inquire elsewhere. Make sure you are friendly in your responses and try to be as helpful as you can when guests have questions.
- Get ready for the booking
- Keys – if you are not going to be there when the guests arrive, you need to make sure they can get access to your home. Do you have a smart lock? A key safe? Key in a safe spot? Neighbour to hold the key? Whatever it is, you need to make sure your guests know with plenty of notice. We would recommend you have a smart lock or a key safe to make the process as easy and secure as possible. Don’t leave your key under the mat..!
- Guidebook – it is a good idea to leave some information about the house, wifi codes, heating instructions, rubbish collection etc. Provide a guide book or notes on how to use certain items. Even better, provide them with local recommendations of things to do, places to eat etc..
- Contractors – get some local contractors on standby in case something goes wrong. Plumbers, electricians, handymen, locksmiths and cleaners are all useful contractors to have in your phonebook.
- Guests arrive – your guests may have a seamless experience and not need to contact you at all, but, if they do, you need to make sure you are available to deal with their questions or issues. Make sure wherever you are has a wifi connection or mobile reception so you are equipped to answer any calls/emails.
- Guests leave – depending upon how you’ve listed your property for rent, you may just have a single group staying, or you may have multiple. If you have multiple groups then your cleaners need to be prepared for the changeover days. Make sure they let you know what condition the house was left in so that you can review the guests accordingly. If you have people checking out and others checking in on the same day, you’ll need to have a spare set of sheets as it is unlikely the cleaners would get them washed and dried in time, particularly in a large property.
- Complete – Receive the income on the stay and make sure the house is ready for the next arrival, or for your return.
It can be a lot of work getting your house ready to rent but it can be rewarding to receive income for your property when you aren’t using it yourself. The key point is to make sure you are prepared for your guests arrival and be available throughout their stay should they need assistance.
If you have read this blog and think you want to rent but don’t want the hassle, give us a call and we can help. Contact us today.