Millions of Americans have a side hustle, and at least one survey found that renting out a property is one of the most lucrative second incomes there is. If you’re going away for the weekend, renting out your home as an Airbnb accommodation can help you pay for your own trip (or contribute toward your mortgage). As long as you live in an area where short-term rentals are legal, your main concern will be prepping your property.
You’re competing with a lot of other Sacramento listings. They will be clean, friendly, and have appealing amenities — how will you stand out? Before you sign up to be an Airbnb host, check out our tips for making your house or condo rental ready.
1. Get a Professional Cleaning
No, really. No matter how well you think you’ve tidied up your place, you should get it professionally cleaned before you start renting it out. You can charge a cleaning fee per booking, and use that money to get it cleaned again before the next booking. Getting poor ratings for cleanliness could halt your flow of guests so you need to take it seriously. A quick countertop clean and vacuuming isn’t going to cover it. If your property is a second home that is exclusively used for Airbnb rentals, you can get the cleaning into a pretty good rhythm. If you’re occupying your home in between your own use — you may want to consider renting a storage unit for some of your own clutter and getting a professional cleaning every week.
2. Stock Your Cabinets with Basics
What do people expect at a hotel? At the very least, coffee, tea, and breakfast, right? Stock your Airbnb cabinets with the stuff anyone would hope to use during a vacation stay. Write clear instructions about what guests are free to use during their stay. Is anything up for grabs? Or is there one cabinet dedicated to guest use? Avoid problems later by providing the basics and communicating about where they’re located.
3. Make Sure You Have Creature Comforts
Guidebooks to the area, board games, sun screen, and other creature comforts will be appreciated by guests. Anything you can do to help them avoid a trip to the store may be rewarded with a higher star rating. If your guest bedroom is a hodge-podge of hand-me-down furniture, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a new mattress. Keep newly laundered blankets within reach and offer plenty of fresh towels. White towels get dirty fast, so consider making dark gray or navy your Airbnb guest towel color scheme.
4. Complete Your Fix-It List
Does your garbage disposal misbehave once a day? Some of your lightbulbs burnt out? The time to fix things is before your first guests arrive. Things like a working A/C are nice, too, and if you don’t have them you should definitely make guests aware in your Airbnb description. Bottom line: Your home should be ready to welcome guests on the surface (thanks to a thorough cleaning) and underneath (with reliable plumbing and no windows that don’t shut, etc.).
5. Invest in a Safe for Your Valuables
Once your property looks great and is prepared to welcome a guest, think about where you’ll store your valuables (assuming you also occupy the space when it’s not being rented). Your passport, credit cards, and other valuables aren’t safe under the mattress. A secure wall or floor safe is idea, but at the very least you should have a safe in the back of your closet that requires biometrics and/or a combination for entry. You’ll have more peace of mind renting out your property if you know the things that can’t be replaced are safe and sound.
These might sound like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how little some people put into a property they expect to pay primo nightly rates for. The key takeaways are to update, clean, and complete your fix-it list. Oh, and a few fun add-ons like offering a welcome basket and extra comfy pillows isn’t a bad idea!