Have you ever thought about turning your home into a rental space on Airbnb? Maybe even just a room in the house, or your walkout basement? Do you have a cottage or a bunkie that could be converted into a rental space? Are you looking to make a little bit of extra cash out of spaces that aren’t being used? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have come to the right place!
In this article, we are going to go over what you need to do to turn your home into an Airbnb. There are many other websites you can post your rental space on such as VRBO, Booking.com and Tripadvisor. Anyone can do this and may even become very successful with it! But, it is a good idea to start with a plan and a budget so you can understand what sort of quirks and headaches may come along with renting out your space. Ready to turn your home into a profitable rental space? Read on!
The first thing you should do before even thinking about turning your property into any sort of rental space is to scope out the competition. Pull up Airbnb on your device and see what other sorts of properties are available. Take a look at pricing, size of the spaces, as well as location. If you have direct competition in the same neighbourhood you live in, you may need to make your rentable space better than your competitor’s space. If there are no current Airbnb listings in your area, then you might want to think about the demand. Does your town or neighbourhood have any sort of tourism to offer to guests? Is there a reason they would want to stay in your location? If there is low demand in your area, you might want to rethink the idea of creating an Airbnb space.
Once you have decided that listing on Airbnb makes sense for you, you should make sure you can operate a rental legally. Some bylaws require you to go to city hall to register your rental with the city. In the city of Ottawa, hosts must acquire a $110 host permit licence from the city to rent out their property. The home must also be the primary residence of the operator. This is the law for Ottawa, but if you live outside of the city, you will want to check with local bylaws to see if what applies to you. You will also want to look into your home insurance. Does your premium cover rental spaces? Is your home/rental space up to code when it comes to safety requirements? Are there any special licenses or zoning rules you need to look into?
Now that you have gone over the demand and requirements, it is time to think about the unit itself. It is a good idea to make your space look as great as possible. You don’t need to remodel your entire house, but adding a fresh coat of paint, professional decorating and a user-friendly space are all important. Your unit should not only look pretty but also be functional. Absolutely no clutter. Make sure there is enough space for guests to store their belongings, the bed is comfortable and there is space for everyday life, such as a living/dining and a TV. When setting up your Airbnb space, try living in it yourself for a day. What do you need? A lamp beside the bed, a fully stocked bathroom, towels, extra bed sheets, etc. There is no better way to realize what is missing than to experience it yourself.
It is always a good idea to hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of any sort of real estate, including rentals. Dark, bad-quality photos taken with weird angles rarely get much attention on Airbnb. Humans are visual creatures and it is much easier to picture yourself in a space that looks great on camera. Professional photos really aren’t that expensive, and you might even have a friend who can help you out. Be sure to turn on all of the lights for the photos so the space is as bright and cheerful as possible. Make sure the space is clean and no clutter is in sight when the photographer comes. This is the recipe for great-looking real estate photos!
Much like photos, words are also very important. Creating a description that really captures the reader’s attention is a skill in itself. You will want to focus on the unique and appealing parts of your rental unit. Is it close to parks, restaurants, shopping centres? Be sure to talk up the location as well as what your unit has to offer. Will your guests have access to a swimming pool or hot tub? Is there a pillow-top mattress on the bed? Do you offer free Netflix on your state-of-the-art 55-inch TV or have a stack of board games for your guests? Think about what is unique and fun about your unit and talk about that. Use descriptive words as much as possible (having a thesaurus or dictionary on hand isn’t a bad idea!).
People enjoy having their own private entrance to their rental space if possible. It’s also nicer for the host not to have guests walking through their home. A great check-in experience starts before the guest even arrives. You should have strong communication with the guest beforehand. Go over what to expect for check-in when they get to the unit and exchange pleasantries. A private entrance is best if possible and you can use a lockbox or keypad to get into the unit (keypads are great so you don’t need to worry about a key!). Once the guest is inside the unit, have some sort of booklet or binder for them to look through. This booklet should include the rules/quirks of the house, the WiFi password, recommendations of local amenities, important phone numbers such as local police, fire department, taxis and pizza of course!
What can you add to your rental space to make it stand out? We mentioned a high-quality television and board games above, but there are many things you can add to your space to make it appealing. The most important thing is a healthy WiFi signal. Try using the WiFi in every room in the unit to make sure it works. When it comes to towels and bedsheets, go for higher quality, soft materials that will make an impact. Little details like this stand out to rental guests! Make sure the kitchen and bathroom are fully stocked with items such as cooking pots and pans, shampoo and conditioner. If you really want to impress your guests, add some cooking spices and oils and a corkscrew, these things are normally overlooked in Airbnb rentals. Check out this comprehensive list of extra amenities that will win over your guests!
Even before COVID-19, cleanliness was important in rental units. The pandemic really reiterated this fact. Airbnb has very strict cleaning rules when it comes to the health and safety of guests. Providing unclean spaces is not only unappealing, but it can also pose health risks to guests. As per Airbnb guidelines: all hosts must provide listings that meet a minimum standard of cleanliness. Units must be free of health hazards such as mould, pests, or rodents. Units must meet a high standard of cleanliness (free of mildew in showers, extensive dust or pet dander, etc.). Units must be cleaned between every stay (laundry, trash, vacuum/sweep, wipe down surfaces, etc.).
You need to remember that there are risks when renting your space to other people. Humans tend to be a lot harder on things that they don’t own, and you may find that a lot of repairs will need to be done after you have people stay in your unit. Airbnb offers liability insurance, but you may want to contact your home insurance provider to make sure you are covered for big things. There have been horror stories about college students trashing homes or people wrecking items and not informing the host. This is why it is always a good idea to not only clean, but also inspect your unit after a guest checks out. Installing an outdoor camera on every entrance might be a smart investment to make sure extra guests don’t intrude.
In conclusion, we hope that these tips can help you create the best rentable Airbnb space possible! Creating such a space isn’t going to be easy and it will take a lot of work and time. But, if you have dedicated the time and money to turn your space into a rental, you have the chance to be very successful with it. Airbnb rentals are very popular and even more so with the pandemic. It can become a very lucrative business as long as you do your research and execute your project properly.
Are you looking to purchase a home to rent out, contact us. We would love to help you find your perfect rental home!
Many of the above tips also apply when selling your home, such as making it appealing, taking professional photos and keeping it clean. Looking to sell your home? Give us a call, we are happy to help!