Short-term vacation rentals are all the rage these days – so why not get in on the fun and the extra income? Smart homeowners in hip neighborhoods are taking advantage of the trend to monetize their extra space. Whether you live in the heart of downtown or even on the outskirts of a popular destination with easy access to the big attractions, there are people who would love to pay to stay in your home. Get some assistance with your mortgage and meet some cool people, all on your terms.
Here’s how to get started with your vacation rental unit, whether you’re about to move to a new home or you’d like to transform your current abode.
Learn the local regulations
Not all cities are equal when it comes to regulating the presence of companies like Airbnb and VRBO in city limits. There may be restrictions around parking and the number of vehicles allowed, the number of people you can have renting space, or in some extreme cases, tighter restrictions. Make sure you go into this decision with eyes wide open to avoid hassles or issues down the road. If you were previously thinking about selling your home and you’re now considering renting it out, check out our list of rental pros and cons!
Designate a space and be specific about what’s off limits
Do you have a currently unused or underutilized space in your home? Some homeowners convert their basement or attic space into a livable unit. If your home doesn’t lend itself to a separate space, you could offer visitors a room in your home if that’s something you’re comfortable with. Keep in mind that will mean sharing living space on a more intimate level, and consider giving your guests the master bedroom so they can have their own separate bathroom. Communicate clearly with your guests around what spaces they can use and what is off-limits.
Make the space beautiful – and safe
For a more successful rental experience, beautifying your space will attract more visitors. Take advantage of windows that have views of the landscape, interesting architectural features, or take steps to make a basement space feel cozy and welcoming. Make sure to eliminate any hazards or broken features, and securely close off access to any electric panels or utility closets to prevent unintended mishaps.
Create privacy for you and your guests
If you’ve designated a separate space, install soundproofing measures wherever possible – especially if you have children! Curtains, blinds, and even sheer drapes on first-floor windows allow your guests to choose their own level of privacy, and an outdoor-grade door between your living space and the guest room creates a stronger sense of separation. If you’ll be sending them to the attic, basement, or above the garage, consider creating a separate entrance so they can come and go as they please without feeling intrusive.
Use the space wisely and be unique
Having a variable number of beds in your space will make the rental appealing to a wider range of vacationers. A fold-out couch can give families a place for the kids, and a roll-away cot can mean that last-minute friend can come along too. Decorate the space with intention, either with your own DIY flair or with the help of an interior designer. Don’t be afraid to repurpose second-hand furniture to save a little cash and consider using city-specific art, offering a library of local guidebooks or resources, and giving the whole place a fresh coat of paint. It goes a long, long way!
Add the finishing touches and make it official!
Before you publish your cool new spot online, make sure you’re insured. Check with your homeowners’ insurance provider to make sure you’ve covered all your bases! Then, put on your “tourist” hat and imagine what kind of homey touches would make you feel most welcome. Offer your guests local soaps, invest in quality bedding and towel sets so your guests feel pampered, and provide them with fresh snacks upon their arrival. If possible, install an electronic lock so they can come and go as they please without worrying about keys. Make sure the Wifi reception is good in their space and include instructions in their welcome materials.
Then? Check the listings in your area for pricing, get some quality photos, and have at it!
While we’re on the subject, are you considering whether to buy an investment property while you’re still renting? We have some thoughts on the subject.