Simple tips if you're thinking of renting out your home via Airbnb

Last year we rented our family home for four months to make a dream come true and since we had a positive experience, we thought why not rent our home while we are away visiting family or on vacation in order to provide us with another stream of  income. Although this isn’t for everybody, it works beautifully for us right now.

Now I must say, before I jump in to explain how you can mitigate risks to ensure a smooth process, that renting to Airbnb guests does involve some work, including looking at your mindset. Most people worry about theft, damage, creating tension with neighbours and someone else having sex in your bed! All legit and worth thinking about.

Here are some things to consider BEFORE renting your home:  

  1. Simplify

You will need to do a decent purge and simplify the rooms in your home before welcoming guests. This makes the process of cleaning and tidying easier. Also consider that it gives a better energy to your home, thus attracting high vibe people (this is my very scientific explanation).

There are many resources out there including my ebook on Simplifying Kids Stuff to help you with reducing excess, but put simply, get rid of shit you don’t like or need. People have way too much stuff anyway and the benefits far outweigh hanging on to clothes, toys, books and other things that aren’t being used.

2.  Time investment

When I know we’re going to have guests, the week leading up to their stay, I will be more vigilant about organizing and cleaning up. Crumbs in the cutlery drawer? Wipe them down. Hair elastics in every room of the house? Gather them up.

It takes Mark and I a solid 3 hours each of cleaning, tidying, shifting our clothes out of the way to prepare our house, washing towels and changing sheets. This works out for us because we work from home. Alternatively, you could hire someone to do this.

3. Belongings

We simply move some of our clothes in drawers and closets in the bedrooms to make room for guests. I’m not even sure if guests use the space, but we tend to create more room than necessary. It can be a bit of a bother when coming back home to move things back, but again worthwhile. And it motivates us to reduce even more. Simpilfying is an ver-evolving practice. It depends on how much stuff you have and how much room you want to make as well as how long your guests are staying. If it’s just a weekend, maybe people just live out of their suitcases and have access to a drawer. Longer than a week, I would make more room.

Besides clothes and any laptops, there isn’t much else we need to move, unless there’s a doll or special item that a child wants to put away, everything stays as is. But I don’t have expensive jewelry, purses, shoes or anything that I would miss if someone took.  When we rented our home for four months I did take down personal family photos and made some beautiful wall hangings inspired by dream catchers. Imagine what how you would like a space to be when you are staying in someone else’s home and create that.  

4. Trust

Once we were clear and committed to going overseas, we attracted the right family. Trusting in the process while taking the steps necessary to make it happen was just as, if not the most, important step we took. As with all great adventures in life, there is always some level of risk. That’s what makes it exciting. Perhaps you are increasing your comfort level with uncertainty?  Working with an equine therapist helped me move through a fear that I had.

Which also brings me to the fact of remembering to be in the now and accepting what comes your way. You want to go overseas? You want to spend the summer out east? If this will make that possible, I say go for it (just don’t hold me accountable ;) Things may happen and you need to remember that if and when they do, you will be ok. You can and will handle it. Of course, doing your due diligence to optimize the whole experience for everyone— you, your children, the renters and your neighbours.

5. Shame resilience

I used to feel a bit of shame for opening up our home to guests because I’m not sure I would do this if money was abundant.  At least maybe not in our personal living space. But it comes down to choice. And I believe this is a smart and wise option for us and many in this season of our lives (especially when living in one of the most expensive cities in the world). Why not take advantage of the ability to earn money when you’re not in your home or have your mortgage paid while you travel). More flexibility and not having to work 9-5.  Sign me up!

I know a lot of people who rent their homes for a variety of reasons. While we were in Bali, we rented villas on Airbnb and also met several families funding their lifestyles this way. No shame in that!

This is an important conversation to have and point to bring up. In general, we don’t want people to think we’re struggling for money or less than (money is such a shame trigger), but we are not defined by how little or much money we have. We are more than that.

6. Flexibility

It takes some level of flexibility with dates and figuring logistics out, but ultimately you call the shots. We leave the calendar open for people and if the time works, great, if not, we turn the request down.

Aside from getting proper home insurance, here is a list of actions that we put into place:

  • Set clear guidelines on profile (no smoking/pets) and screen all guests (they can't book unless we approve it)

  • Establish occupancy limits

  • Add a security deposit (we have it set at $500)

  • Protect sensitive information like electronic and physical files

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Childproof your home

  • Provide contact information sheet (local emergency numbers, nearest hospital, host contact number as well as backup) Would you like a copy of ours to use as a template?

  • Notify neighbours that there will be guests

  • Supply a first-aid kit

I’d love to know, after reading this are you more clear on whether you want to rent your home or not via Airbnb?