Becoming an Airbnb Host can be hard work, but fun and rewarding if you know what to do.
How to List your Home on Airbnb and be an Awesome Airbnb Host
There are many reasons to become an Airbnb host. Whether you have a vacation rental property or want to list your primary residence while you travel, Airbnb can be a great option for anyone wanting to make extra money or supplement the income from a rental property.
And if you would like to try staying in an Airbnb before hosting yourself, here is a coupon for $40 off your first stay:
If you think you might be ready to host your own home on Airbnb, follow these 10 steps to become a successful Airbnb host:
1. What Kind of Rental do I Want?
Your home can either be rented out as an “Entire Place” or “Private Rooms.” With the “Entire Place” option, your whole house will be empty and available to your guests without you there. With the “Private Room” option, you will be renting out one room at a time and either be staying at your home or have multiple parties staying in your home. This choice is 100% your decision.
We have chosen to only rent our house as “Entire Place” and only rent while we are away. This has worked out well for us, but we have had minimal interaction with our guests.
2. Pricing your Airbnb
Research the Market and Price Competitively
Before listing your home on Airbnb, be sure to do your research. You want to price your home at a price-point that will make it worth your while, but also not price yourself out of the market. People stay in Airbnb for two main reasons: 1. to have a home-like environment and 2. to save money.
Search similar homes in your area and explore the price ranges. Look at their reviews to see how popular surrounding houses are. Pricing your Airbnb can be a changing game, and may be different seasonally depending on where you live, but after a few months, you should have it figured out.
Even if you think people wouldn’t want to stay in your home, give Airbnb a try. We live in a tiny town in Northern California that really doesn’t have anything exciting to do. I didn’t think anyone would want to come here, but our home has been booked nearly solid for a year.
Set Your Pricing
Now that you have determined your pricing, it’s time to enter them into your listing. You can choose to list a set price or turn on “Smart Pricing,” which is a feature used by Airbnb to determine which dates are in higher demand. Smart pricing may charge more or less than your set price, but you can specify your threshold.
You can also set special pricing for weekly and monthly stays. Although this is essentially less money (usually…it’s up to you), this can be a real benefit. There is less orchestrating of guests, less cleaning and a guaranteed guest in your home.
3.List Your House
Prep Your House
You’re now ready to list your house! Give yourself a few months before you’re ready to have guests in your house to actually list your house. Most guests generally book several months to several days in advance, depending on where you live and the season.
You’ll want amazing pictures of your home. Make sure it is clean and clutter free! Your house doesn’t have to be perfect, but be sure to leave lots of open space and take pictures when there is plenty of light. Use a photo app or other programs like Photoshop or Lightroom to turn up the brightness. Take photos of each room in the house and label accordingly on your listing.
The more detailed your descriptions are in your listing, the fewer questions you will have to answer from potential guests. List each type of bed in each room, major appliances, size of the home, toys in the yard, etc.
Set Dates and Times
Using the simple Airbnb Calendar, select the dates you would like to hose by making them available. Be sure to set your check-in and check-out times to something that works for you. We have 11 am check-out and 3 pm check-out. This gives our cleaner 4 hours to work her magic!
4.Get Your House Ready
Getting your house ready to host on Airbnb is a bit like waiting for a baby to arrive. You know it’s going to come, but you’re not quite sure when or how it will go. It can be really nerve-racking! To pass the time, prepare your house for guests.
Your home doesn’t need to be perfect, but most importantly, it needs to be CLEAN! If you will be away while guests change over, find a cleaner you can trust! This will be one of the most important decisions you make and ensure that you are a great Airbnb host.
While you’re away, it can be easy to forget to do the little things around the house. Be sure to:
- replace burnt out light bulbs frequently.
- change the air filter regularly
- clean out dryer vents
Clear out a decent amount of open space and closet space. Guests like to have somewhere they can set their suitcase and hang their clothes. Create a locked closet or area of your house that you can store many of your clothes, toys, valuables or personal items in. We built a wall in our garage with a locked door so that we can access everything we need easily without it cluttering up the house for guests.
Be sure you have simple items that most hotels would have like
- an iron and ironing board
- hair dryer
- shampoo, conditioner, and soap
- matching, clean towels
- hand soap
- dishwasher tablets
- laundry detergent
- some basic food like olive oil, sugar, and spices
Locks on your Airbnb home are very important! I have found it easiest to use a key code lock. We change the key code with every guest (or our cleaner does it) that way each guest is safe. We give them the new code on the day check-in. We use this lock. It’s easy to use and is no fuss!
5.Get Your First Booking
Congratulations! You’ve just received your first booking on Airbnb! This is starting to get exciting, and it’s starting to get REAL! When you receive your first booking or booking inquiry, respond immediately to welcome the guest or answer any questions they might have. Let them know that you are excited to have them stay and that you will send them entrance instructions as the time comes closer.
6.Create an Amazing House Manual
Creating an amazing house manual will ensure that your guests look there for any information you need instead of bothering you while you’re away. I love Coral Life, which allows you to create a beautifully designed (and free) printable or online manual. You can send a personal link to your guests, or print your manual and put it in a laminated binder somewhere immediately visible in the house.
7.Have Excellent Customer Service
When you are an Airbnb host, you must remember that you are running a business and in any customer service-driven business, the customer is always right! Obviously, this won’t always be the case, but no matter what problems arise, be courteous and kind and try to be sure your guests have a fantastic experience.
8. Check in on your Guests
After the pre-arranged check-in time, send your guests a message to make sure everything is satisfactory and for any last minute needs or questions. This will help you avoid a million questions throughout the stay. Remind your guests to check the House Manual for any information they may need. Also, message your guests upon check-out to remind them about check-out instructions in your house manual and to ask if they have any needs or questions and to ensure they had a pleasant stay. These little touches go a long way for guests.
8.Give and Get Good Reviews
After your guests leave and the cleaners have come and assessed any damage, leave a prompt and positive review if all is well. This will encourage guests to leave you a good review as well. Guests will not be able to see what you have written until they leave a review.
9. Get Paid!
Yay! This is the fun part. You will be paid your full booking amount 24 hours after your guests’ check-in time. You can choose to be paid via PayPal or automatic deposit into your bank account. Honestly, they both take about the same amount of time and you probably won’t see deposits over the weekend or holidays, so prepare yourself if you don’t see it right away.
EDIT: I used to do direct deposit, but have found PayPal to be more reliable over weekends and holidays. I pay a 25 cent fee to transfer the funds directly to my debit card.
10. Run Your Airbnb Like a Business
Most importantly, run your Airbnb home like a business! Be professional and be smart with the money you earn. Consider opening a separate checking account for Airbnb deposits and expenses.
Becoming an Airbnb host is hard work, but can also be a lot of fun and rewarding, personally and financially, if you do it right.
I’ve been an Airbnb host for a year now and it’s been really fun to talk with and meet people from all over the world. We’ve been able to supplement our income, which has allowed us to travel more. If you have any questions about how to be an Airbnb host, please connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. I’d love to hear from you!