Airbnb’s story began when two entrepreneurs, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, decided to welcome a few guests in their San Francisco home to earn some extra cash to make their rent. Slightly over a decade later, more than 4 million others have opened their primary residences, single-family homes, and investment properties to over a billion guests, boosting their annual income.

Today, the peer-to-peer online marketplace boasts more than 5.6 million active listings— many of them being complete residential homes, serviced apartments, private single rooms with amenities, and shared rooms. Therefore, you don’t need to have a boutique hotel, serviced guesthouse, vacation property, or second home to become an Airbnb host— your primary residence can do.

With Airbnb, you enjoy a lot of flexibility as you can choose which days or how much of your property to share, depending on your needs and personal schedule. However, keep in mind that transforming your primary residence into a destination that guests will love takes more than setting the price and uploading some photos on the platform. Here’s what you should do to prepare your home for Airbnb.

Create a Home and Neighborhood Guide

The beautiful restaurant tucked away in that narrow street might be your favorite joint for signature French dishes, but remains unknown to everyone else but locals. The same applies to every other local ‘go-to’ spot in your neighborhood. Since most of the guests won’t be from your neighborhood or city, you want to create a guidebook that will showcase your hospitality as well as the best that your city has to offer.

The custom guidebook can include suggestions for best outdoor experiences, dining options, sightseeing attractions, family entertainment, and emergency medical care. It’s best that you give recommendations from personal knowledge and experience. You also need to create a house manual that includes parking information, WIFI password information, pet-and family-friendly features, where to find and how to use some home essentials, and step-by-step instructions for appliances.

Creating a home and neighborhood guide will not only impress guests but also help them optimize their experience in the home and in the local areas. Plus, it reinforces your credibility as an Airbnb host.

Focus on Presentation

Presentation is everything when it comes to preparing your property for an Airbnb listing. First, you need to clean your home and make sure everything is in good order before taking pictures of your space. If you don’t have the time to thoroughly clean your home, consider hiring house cleaning services and including the cost in your rental fees. No one is going to be interested in renting a property that doesn’t look like an excellent place to stay.

Secondly, think minimalism. You certainly wouldn’t be comfortable living in a rental property whose owners left their personal items and valuables all over the space. Guests are looking for clean, well-maintained, and simple rental spaces, so make sure you clear away everything but the basics. Lock away anything you wouldn’t want guests to see, touch, or use. Provide guests with a clean, roomy space that allows them to have a more relaxing experience.

Make Simple Renovations

The first step is to take a hard look at your home and see if there’s anything you can do to give your space a refresh. You want to make simple upgrades and renovations that will not only protect your investment but also improve the guest experience and increase your earnings. Sometimes, all you need is to update the lighting, apply a fresh coat of paint, refinish your hardwood flooring, and replace your kitchen cabinets and energy efficient upgrades.

Focus on simple renovations that will create a better-maintained space and add value to your property without breaking the bank. The good news is that you can use a home equity line of credit or reverse mortgage (from companies like All Reverse Mortgage at https://reverse.mortgage/) to pay for upfront renovation costs before listing your home on Airbnb.

Invest in Good Check-in Experience

It’s not uncommon for guests to book a rental only to find themselves stuck on how to get to the location from the bus stop or airport due to unclear instructions. In some cases, guests may arrive at the rental property but have a hard time getting into the home due to a problematic lockbox or misplaced key. You can avoid such instances by investing in a good check-in process.

First, you need to provide guests with your contact information so it’s easy for them to reach you in case of an emergency. Secondly, you need to share clear instructions on the best way to get to your place. Don’t assume they’ll find their way. Finally, it’s recommended that you replace your front door lock with a digital keyless entry system that allows for faster check-in and check-out process. You also won’t have to worry about your lockbox failing or replacing lost keys. 

Go above and Beyond

You’ve probably already spruced up the outside of your home, updated the locks, and made sure your house is clean and tidy. The next thing is to make sure your home is equipped for guests so their stay can be as easy and pleasant as possible. You should, however, go beyond the hotel basics when equipping your home for guests. Don’t just stop at providing towels and a comfortable bed with high-quality sheets. You should also consider other amenities like complimentary basic toiletries, light snacks, bottled water, Wi-Fi, television, board games, chocolates, Netflix, bathrobes, and fresh flowers.

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