Vacation rental services like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway make it easy to rent out your home or a couple of extra bedrooms to make extra money on the side. You don’t have to be a full-time landlord to rent out your property occasionally.
Many people choose to rent out an extra bedroom or their full place during events that draw huge crowds from out of town. If you live near the place where the event is taking place, you can make several hundred dollars in a single night.
But if you plan to do this, you should be fully prepared for what’s coming. Renting out a property that’s not furnished with your things is one thing, but it’s another to allow someone access to your home.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge.
How big is the event in the community?
Before going to all the trouble of renting out your place, make sure it’s a viable option. If it’s only a small event that’s not likely to attract a lot of outsiders, it might not be worth trying to rent out your property—the inventory might be too great for your place to be chosen.
If it’s a huge event and your home is within 10 miles of the location, it could be worthwhile. For example, the Major League Baseball World Series travels to stadiums across the country, and more than 40,000 people attend each year. You can estimate that a little less than half will be coming from out of town, so it’s a good bet they’ll be looking for a nice place to stay, and you might be able to fill their needs.
What type of property and amenities are you offering?
You could rent out your whole place, a bedroom or two, a full level of the house, a garage/attic apartment, or another unit on your property. The most popular rentals will be full homes/apartments that include private kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas, although many people like the affordability of a private room and bathroom in a house, even if it means the owners (you) are present.
To make your rental look more enticing, advertise the better parts of your rental. For example, you might offer the use of a hot tub, your propane grill, free continental breakfast, or remote check-in. Identify nearby attractions that will make your property stand out as well.
Which listing service will you use?
There are a few services you can use to list a room or the full home. The most popular are:
Compare each service to identify which has the most pros and the fewest cons. If you’re only renting a room, Airbnb is probably your best option. HomeAway and VRBO do not allow you to rent out single rooms in a living space.
Each has its own fees for listing your rental. You stand to make the most on Airbnb because it has fewer fees, and Booking.com has the most. Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO are the more economical choices for temporary hosts.
If renting the whole place, do you have some place to go?
Renting out the whole place is a popular choice because it allows large groups to stay together and is more affordable than a block of hotel rooms. However, this is only feasible if you, as the landlord, have someplace else to go.
For example, if you’re going to stay in a hotel in another town (since all the hotels in your city will likely be booked) while you rent out your place, what you make off renting it out must be significantly more than what you’re paying for the hotel, travel, and food.
If you stand to make a great deal off of your rental, you might go on a vacation. Your rental income might cover all or some of your vacation costs. If you take a family vacation every year, consider scheduling it during the event so that you’re making money while you’re gone.
Is it safe to rent out your place?
Safety considerations are always important. It’s vital that you take extra precautions when inviting someone into your home, especially since you won’t be there. You might come home to damaged property, missing goods, or a huge mess.
Additionally, there are some legal issues to consider. For example, if someone gets hurt on your property, you could be on the hook for their medical and legal expenses. You might deal with “squatters” who refuse to leave as well.
Take safety precautions before trying to rent out your property. Speak with your guests before allowing them to book, change the locks after they leave, and make sure you have adequate insurance to cover potential property damage. You might consider hiring a short-term property management firm to help you out, just in case.
What should you charge?
The right price often dictates whether or not your place will be booked. If it’s overpriced, people won’t touch it. At the same time, an underpriced rental means that you’re losing out on potential profits.
The price for a short-term vacation rental depends on many factors like the size and amenities involved. Most important is the location. A rental that’s located near the event taking place will be worth several times the rent of the one located 20 miles away. You can compare the size of your property with others like it in your area to get a good number.
How do you ready your home for guests?
Most listing services, like Airbnb, have a checklist of requirements and suggestions to get your home ready to list. Evaluate this list carefully and consider both the requirements and the recommendations for good hospitality.
You’ll probably be asked to replace towels and bedding, so they meet a certain standard, provide extra bedding, make improvements if there are safety hazards, etc.
Remove any valuables or items you don’t want your guests using. Many renters put larger items in a padlocked room and instruct visitors not to enter. Printing out a detailed list of instructions is also highly recommended to help minimize problems and improve your guests’ experience.
Let Green Residential Help You Manage Your Houston Rentals
If you’re in Houston or any of the surrounding areas and looking to rent out your property short-term or long term, the property managers at Green Residential are a great place to start! They have all the experience and resources necessary to help you manage your rental without you having to lift a finger. For more information about what we offer, contact us today!