A new year comes with new beginnings and new memories just waiting to happen. If you found yourself hating your past job, it's time to look for a new one. Even if you’re just looking for a side gig, right now has never been a better time to start looking. Especially if you have a spare room in your house that only collects dust, it's time to start considering Airbnb. You heard that right, one of the most popular ways to either start a full-time business or grab some cash on the side. Not to even mention the high pay that comes with the holidays, Airbnb offers an excellent way to pay the bills while not overexerting yourself.
You may be skimming the article on how to begin, but we have to slam the brakes on right now. First thing is safety. After all, you’re bringing a total stranger into your home. Thankfully, Airbnb has a great screening process and lay out a set of rules for the guest and yourself to follow to have the safest and friendliest transaction. If you’re still on board, here are eight perfect vacation rental tips to get things off to the right start.
1. Protect your Mail
Your mail holds personal information about yourself including banking info, addresses, social security numbers, etc. The last thing you want is a total stranger gaining access to that information and possibly steal it. Not only does that pose as a serious situation to yourself, but your guest might get mixed signals seeing important mail documents in the open.
To keep everyone safe, just lock it up. Either buy yourself a secure lockbox or buy a lock for your room. That way no one but you will have access to it. Not into the security fad? Head down to the local post office and rent out a PO box. That way, you will receive your mail sooner and it's locked away and safe at a location that's easy to get to. However, if you’re not into any of that and are away while your Airbnb guest stays over, have your neighbor collect your mail. I mean a neighbor you can trust, remember, stranger danger.
No matter which decision you choose, all are highly recommended and are designed to make you and your guest feel safer. Even if it seems out of the ordinary it is always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Purchase a Safe Box and Proper Insurance
Safety and liability are super important when you’re letting guests stay over. Luckily, Airbnb has a decent insurance system that covers most damages, but what about your personal items like birth certificates, debit/credit cards, jewelry, etc. The best thing you can do is invest in a safe deposit box. These convenient boxes can hold anything from important housing papers to small keepsakes.
Most safe deposit boxes are arranged at banks but can be even installed in your home. I personally have one installed in my basement, but I highly recommend a bank since they can offer a higher grade of security. Even though it may be for a small fee, the added reassurance goes a long way.
Not to mention liability insurance, to put it in better words, get your own. Sure, Airbnb has the proper insurance but things happen out of the blue and don’t you want to make sure you are completely covered? Geico is a highly reputable insurance company and offers very low rates. But as always, check with an agent first since you already have Airbnb’s pre-existing insurance coverage.
3. Get a VPN Router to Protect you and your Home from Hackers
Hackers are the worst, and yes, you might run into one. Do yourself a solid and purchase a VPN router to protect yourself from being tracked or hacked by another individual. (Or guest.)
Say your guest wanted to score some sweet sneakers from the black market, they’ll use your wifi to do it making you at fault in case anything goes wrong. Luckily, with a VPN router, every computer or electronic device hooked up to the wi-fi gets an anonymous IP address. Now, if black market thugs go after you, they can’t because the IP address doesn't exist. Pretty clever, huh?
4. Establish Your Own Screening Process
Thoroughly check prospective guests before agreeing to allow them in your house or property. Gather all the information available to you about this person. Read their profile top to bottom, especially the reviews section. Try looking them up on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media account. You can learn a lot about a person by scanning their Facebook profile.
Remember, you get to decide who you want to rent to and who you do not. Go with your gut, aka if somebody seems sketchy, they probably are.
5. Create a Plan for Emergencies
Disaster can strike at any moment. It is vital for your house and your guests to be prepared should something go wrong. Provide a list of emergency numbers, all the house exits, fire extinguisher locations, and anything else they may need to know. Make sure this information is displayed prominently and that your guest is aware of it.
6. Install a Home Security System
Having a security system in place will allow you to watch over your home even when you are not there. You can keep an eye on what goes on inside your home and on the surrounding property. Doing this can actually help you get more rental bookings. It provides both you and your guests with safety and security, perhaps more so than other Airbnb hosts and vacation rental hosts.
It may be worth it to get a security system that includes home automation. This would allow you to do more than just monitor your home. You would also be able to control everything from the lights to the locks to the heating with ease.
It is also worth considering a system that can be controlled by a smartphone. This would allow you to control and watch over your home from a remote location. A smartphone system can also be utilized by your guests. Instead of handing out keys that can be misplaced or copied, your guest can simply use their smartphone to unlock the house. Access can be sent out easily and revoked even more easily when their stay is up. This would be a great system for vacation rental hosts who manage more than one property.
Before you start calling the installation technicians, you should brush up on Airbnb’s legal security policies. The last thing you want is for a guest to sue you, or worse. Do not under any circumstances install security cameras in guest rooms.
7. Ensure Your Home and Possessions are Not an Easy Target
Lay out the guidelines for guests as soon as they arrive. Let them know which rooms if any, they are not allowed to enter. Consider locking away valuables in a safe and installing security cameras specifically for high-risk possessions. This will deter thieves and discourage them from trying anything. They will know when a target area or item is too well protected to go after.
8. Ask For A Security Deposit
Consider including a security deposit in your Airbnb listing. This will help to cover any damage that may occur while guests are in your home. It will also give you legal protection if an accident were to occur on your property. If you ask for a security deposit, make sure you check the house in-person after every checkout.
Thinking about renting out your property? Message us below, we can help you keep your vacation rental safe!