Since 2008, Airbnb has been disrupting the hospitality and real estate industries. For many homeowners, the platform provides a unique side hustle or direct opportunity into these industries. But knowing how to start Airbnb for your home is critical.
There’s no doubt that there are plenty of opportunities on Airbnb to make some extra cash, but if you don’t do things correctly, the end result can be a nightmare. From unruly guests to property damage to legal issues and more, there are a lot of things to consider when Airbnb hosting.
Fortunately, we’re in the business of helping homeowners protect themselves and get the most out of their homes. Whether that means living a quiet suburban life or hosting the hottest rental spot in your city, Freedom Insurance Group is here to help. Learn how to start an Airbnb business the right way to give you a leg up on your competition.
How to List on Airbnb
When it comes to listing your Airbnb, the actual process is quite simple. Once you’ve joined the platform and received approval, you simply go to your host profile and create a new listing. It can take as many as 72 hours before it’s searchable, but once it is, get ready to host!
Of course, this is but a small part of what it takes on how to start an Airbnb business. When you’re ready to list on Airbnb, here’s what you’ll need to accomplish before making your property searchable after applying:
Get Your Affairs in Order
Before listing your home on Airbnb, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork in order. It’s important to check your local and state laws related to vacation rentals, as some areas may require special permits or documentation.
Furthermore, some locations may impose restrictions on the number of nights per year that your home can be used for vacation rentals. The last thing you want to do is begin your journey with Airbnb hosting only to have legal issues restrict your business. Get it right the first time for a smoother experience for everyone.
Enroll in the Right Insurance Policies
Having home insurance is essential for Airbnb hosts, particularly if you plan on hosting in a home you aren’t keeping a personal eye on constantly. Although Airbnb provides a Host Protection Insurance program that protects against third-party injuries or property damages, it is recommended that you also consider acquiring supplementary insurance.
It’s a good idea to contact your local insurance agent to guarantee that you have adequate coverage before your initial guests arrive. You’ll also want to ensure that you not only have coverage but have the right type of coverage for your situation.
In some cases, a home insurance policy will suffice. For others, you’ll need landlord insurance. Furthermore, there are times when commercial policies may be the right solution. Failing to have the right policy leaves you open to a variety of lawsuits, so it’s imperative to clarify these requirements with a licensed agent before listing.
Know Your Market
Market research is going to be key for your Airbnb hosting venture. This is true of any business, but especially for real estate as you’re going to want to know about the type of investments you’ll need to make from a marketing, renovation, and general expense standpoint. Additionally, you’ll need to understand the pricing in your area to remain competitive.
But renting your home as an Airbnb is also complicated. Remember, there are various regulations that continue to pop up to regulate such ventures. This can be local ordinances, state laws, city restrictions, or even bylaws for your neighborhood. Do your research to avoid issues.
Create Operating Procedures
Things are going to have to happen. You aren’t going to simply list your property once and move on, collecting checks all the while. Properties need to be cleaned, maintenance conducted, money will need to be managed, and more.
Furthermore, from a guest perspective, it’s very important to solidify the process of booking, checking in and out, and canceling your property. Have a consistent plan for each of these phases and abide by them at all times.
Take Flattering Pictures of Your Home
The first impression your guests will ever know of your home will be through a screen miles away. Making that first impression count is going to hinge on high-quality photography. If you’re set up for such, go right ahead, but investing in real estate photography is a worthwhile venture as getting the angles right is unfortunately a bit more complex than your latest selfie on Instagram.
Provide a Home Manual for Guests
You know every nook and cranny, but to your guests, this is a foreign land. For some, this sentiment could be quite literal. It’s important to provide as much information, especially in homes you aren’t living in or occupying when guests are booked. Having the WiFi password, rules, knowledge of shut-off valves, and emergency numbers can help your guests remain more independent and empowered.
As an Airbnb host, offering insider knowledge to your guests can be highly appreciated. Sharing information about the local area, including restaurants, hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and other attractions in the area, can be particularly helpful for guests from other countries.
It is essential to ensure that your guests feel comfortable with the surrounding area and are aware of nearby amenities if you want to provide a positive Airbnb experience. So, be sure to take the time to share your local knowledge and help your guests feel at home.
Maintain Your Home
Keeping up with the dirt and grime is important, but you also need to make sure things are in working order. This means getting your HVAC checked out once or twice a year, ensuring the lights work, unclogging drains, changing air filters, fixing broken items, etc.
Have an Emergency Plan
The hope is that an emergency never occurs, but it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard by an event that demands immediate attention and you and your guests don’t have a plan. This can include any and all types of emergencies including burglaries, natural disasters, car accidents, etc. You’ll also need to provide supplies just in case an injury or the like occurs.
Make Your Home Inviting
If you want to stand out and attract guests, you’re going to need to make them feel at home while delivering quality hospitality. This means creating unique, comfortable experiences for them on your property. It can be as lavish as an infinity pool with an irreplaceable view, or simply a reading nook that’s cozy and stocked with literature.
Additionally, adding cozy elements and expected amenities is essential to a successful Airbnb. Things like WiFi, streaming services, games, comfortable blankets for living spaces, and more are going to not only help you retain a high rating but even book a guest in the first place.
You’ll want to think twice, however, about making the home too personal. While showcasing your personality and making your home inviting is always a good idea, too much of it can make someone visiting feel more like they are staying in a stranger’s home, which they are, rather than enjoying a relaxing getaway.
Be Sure Your Personal Items Are Secure or Removed
If you are in a shared property, having off-limit rooms is important to provide healthy guidelines for you and your guests. It may also be a great parameter for properties you don’t live in as well. But either way, while we wish to think the best for everyone, secure your personal belongings and protect them from harm.
You may simply need to remove them altogether. For starters, it’s a great way to protect your personal property, but it also takes away clutter and provides extra space for your guests to enjoy. Maintaining the essentials or personalizing a space with items you can afford to lose is one thing, but personal belongings should be removed or secured when hosting.
Don’t Forget About Storage
Particularly for smaller hosts that may only rent a room and share the property, it can be easy to forget that your guests need storage accommodations. But you’re going to want to ensure that they have enough space for their personal belongings no matter the size of your property.
Obviously, this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There is a difference in the space available in a five-bedroom suburban home compared to a small, shared loft downtown. But knowing your market and providing amenities includes preparing storage for your guests.
Begin Screening Potential Guests
Welcoming strangers into your home is a jarring concept no matter how much more normalized it is in today’s world. You’re still going to want to conduct due diligence by assessing your guest’s Airbnb profile, comments, their rating, and even by talking to them before they arrive.
Accept Trip Requests
Finally, after all of the preparation, marketing, investment, and screening, it’s time to welcome your guests. Again, you’re going to need a smooth process in place for success, but once you do, your guests can arrive safely and comfortably at your Airbnb property.
Airbnb Host Requirements
Becoming an Airbnb host means following the platform’s requirements and guidelines. Because Airbnb depends on a variety of property types throughout hundreds of countries, whether or not you can use your property comes down to local laws, your lifestyle, and being a hospitable host. The guidelines for Airbnb are as follows:
- Responding to inquiries and trip requests within a 24-hour period.
- Accepting trip requests from qualified guests as often as possible.
- Avoiding cancellations whenever necessary.
- Maintaining your rating as high as possible.
Additionally, while not as strict of a requirement, there are several essential amenities recommended for every host. These include things like bedding and toiletries. Enough for each guest. Failure to do so will ultimately lead to negative reviews and ratings, so this practice is essential regardless.
How to Airbnb Your House
Knowing how to start Airbnb for your home is more than just getting started and posting the listing. You’re also going to have to maintain it as guests come to your property. But don’t worry, we have you covered there too. Here’s how to host Airbnb at your home for the long haul:
Cleanliness Is Paramount
Maintaining a high level of cleanliness is crucial for any successful Airbnb rental, and quickly sweeping or spraying your toilets won’t get the job done. You’re going to need to thoroughly clean each room on every surface, fixture, and anything else you can think of. Remember, you’ll be judged on this by your guests.
The cleaning process can be frustrating for hosts, especially those that live within the home, but put the show on the other foot, and you realize how important it is. Emptied trash cans, fresh laundry, clear windows, and properly disposing of waste from pets are just a few of the starting points.
Again, cleaning can be a significant task, which is why many hosts invest in having a cleaning company for the job. This can be harder for newer hosts but if you take the time to find the right company, preferably local with a good reputation for ease of use, you’ll see a return on that investment through your guest bookings.
You’ll also want to consider similar practices for your maintenance. This goes back to developing a plan. Remember to do so, and you’ll have a blueprint ready to use and ensure that water filters are in place, the AC is running, and the lights remain shining to welcome your guests.
Make Your Guest Experience Top Notch
A lot goes into hosting and a big part of that is remembering that your guest is staying in your home but is looking to relax and unwind. It doesn’t matter if it’s business or pleasure, while they are at your Airbnb, it’s their place of recovery and refuge.
This means making the experience as convenient as possible. Offering small amenities can truly add up, such as access code entryways, meeting your guests at times favorable for them, or even providing a welcome basket for their stay.
Arranging accommodations for travel or simply providing breakfast can go a long way. Whatever you do, keep in mind that your home is now a place of hospitality to others and should be treated as such to help make them feel at home.
Add to Your Amenities
Investing in your property is a must to maintain a working home, but it’s also important to ensure that you’re meeting the needs and expectations of your guests. This can mean upgrading technology, adding new, fun features to your home, expanding your library, etc.
There is no reason to go overboard, but simply keeping up with amenities is important in and of itself. Food runs out, things get lost, items break, the WiFi goes out…things happen. Keeping up with trends, maintaining your home’s amenities, and staying on top of the guest experience are going to go a long way for your ratings and marketing.
Work on Your Customer Service Skills
It’s always important to make sure that you are not only personable but courteous to guests. Providing customer service requires various skills revolving around hospitality and being kind to your guests will go a long way. It’s the little things.
A nice smile when you welcome them, a genuine handshake, or a small welcome gift can make an immediate impact. People remember when you go above and beyond and it will reflect in your overall bookings as well as your ratings.
Update Marketing and Other Materials for Communicating
Things change including the guidelines and policies that may be involved with your property. You’re going to want to make sure that these materials are up to date. You’re also going to want to be sure that your home’s description and photos are as pristine as ever while accurately depicting your property.
You can’t blame someone for bringing too many guests if your listing isn’t updated, nor can you expect your investments in added amenities to pay off if people never know about them to begin with. Proper marketing is essential in how to do Airbnb management the right way.
Improve Based On Feedback
The stay that your guests have is really made up of many parts and each of them counts. Therefore, you’re going to want to take into consideration the various types of feedback they provide. It may be a message, a review, or a note, either way, it’s important to take them into consideration.
Many guests might not even tell you anything went wrong, which can set you up for further failures in the future, ultimately hurting your Airbnb hosting venture altogether. Here are some examples of ways you can always improve:
- If guests are having a problem getting into your place, you may want to use a different access method.
- Complaints about your home’s level of cleanliness may mean it’s time to invest in a company or if you already have one, a new company.
- Lacking personal amenities? Consider throwing in some additional blankets, silverware, snacks, and games to make sure everyone feels at home.
- If your guests are surprised by what the property is like when they arrive, you may need to revisit your description and make adjustments accordingly.
- Guests that have negative interactions with neighbors or likewise neighbors that may have negative interactions with guests, could call for differing guidelines, vetting processes, and neighbor relations.
Whatever the process, whatever the issue, it’s always important to take the feelings of your guests into consideration. Without guests, you aren’t a host and if the experience isn’t great, you won’t be a host for long.
Can I Airbnb My House?
Whether or not you can Airbnb your home will depend heavily on location and part of your due diligence of discovering how to turn your house into an Airbnb will include finding this out. But beyond whether or not your city laws and local ordinances allow you, there are factors you’ll want to take into consideration:
- All ventures, such as Airbnb hosting, require a bit of risk. Are you capable of dealing with such risks responsibly?
- Hosting your home may be great in theory but not in actuality. Make sure to audit your lifestyle before listing your home.
- It’s also worth noting that you’ll want to consider the relations with your neighbors as well as how hosting can affect others that reside within your home.
- Be sure to manage your expectations as well. There are plenty of successes, but don’t rush into a decision for a quick buck and leave yourself in a terrible position as a result. Things take time and success is never guaranteed.
- Can you find affordable home insurance coverage that allows for such activities at your home?
Having an Airbnb is a great idea for many but the lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Your home goes from a solitary place of refuge and also coexists as a functioning hotel. You’ll want to view the pros and cons when auditing your lifestyle and the idea of hosting before diving in.
How To Start an Airbnb With No Money
If you’re looking into how to start Airbnb hosting without capital, while everyone’s risk tolerance and situation are different, this is generally a bad idea. For many, it’s impossible. Here’s why:
- You’re going to have to own the property you are hosting.
- Amenities, maintaining your home, upgrading, etc. will all take capital to make happen.
- Emergencies can happen and you’re going to need a rainy day fund to help cover those situations.
- In many cases, you’re going to have to pay a portion of your Airbnb hosting fee to your town, city, and/or local organization that deals with real estate in the area.
Furthermore, you’re going to need to have the right insurance policy in place. While there are many ways to save on coverage, you’ll still need money for your premiums each month and your deductible when making a claim. Fortunately, the team at Freedom Insurance Group is here to help you save as much money as possible in the process.
How to Host Your House on Airbnb and Stay Protected
The easiest way to put it is that when you’re hosting an Airbnb and rely solely on the protection the company itself provides, you’re opening yourself to unnecessary, expensive risks. This could include property damage, liability issues, legal fees, medical expenses, and more.
It’s also worth mentioning once more that situations like these are still pretty young and are often complicated to get right. Each home, city, and situation is different. As a result, different types of coverage are needed to ensure that hosts are properly protected when using Airbnb.
Becoming an Airbnb host will be anything but enjoyable if it’s not done correctly and protecting yourself is a must. The last thing anyone wants to have happen is to go into the world of hosting but destroy their home, investment, and finances rather than have a successful run.
Working with a licensed insurance agent can help you find the right coverage at the lowest price. When there are more factors to consider, it can be more difficult to find affordable coverage, which is why it’s important to work with an expert.
Insurance carriers are going to charge elevated rates when homes are being rented in any capacity. Where there is more risk, you can expect higher premiums, but hosts have options and methods for keeping these costs as low as possible.
Comparing your insurance coverages is imperative because each carrier is going to look at the risk of you hosting an Airbnb differently. As a result, you’ll also receive differing prices. A variety of personal factors are assessed and by comparing different companies, you can identify the best option for your needs.
Since 2005, we’ve been helping homeowners find the right level of coverage for the lowest price possible and we continue to do so. From helping you with how to start Airbnb hosting to providing the best insurance for your home, Freedom Insurance Group is proud to partner with more than 25 top-rated carriers that can help homeowners throughout Texas or Colorado. Give us a call today at the number above or fill out a home insurance quote form online.