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How to become an Airbnb host
If you’re thinking about becoming an Airbnb host, we don’t need to tell you the benefits of renting out your house, spare room, or curious cabin. But there are some things you should know about getting started.
Keep reading for tips on preparing, listing, and pricing your Airbnb. We’ll also highlight standard Airbnb charges and the importance of suitable protection for your property.
Decide if you want to host on Airbnb
Before you commit to becoming an Airbnb host, it’s sensible to ask yourself a few basic questions. Regularly hosting guests isn’t for everyone, after all. So firstly, consider whether the space you plan to rent out is suitable for guests.
- Are you prepared to host strangers?
- Does your area consistently attract tourists?
- Do you have the time to deal with enquiries and upkeep?
- Do you have permission to list your property?
- Are you suitably protected if you run into a problem?
Consider the costs of hosting an Airbnb
You’ll also need to consider the costs that arise from Airbnb hosting, including service fees and utilities. Calculate the following costs and assess whether renting out your property is financially viable:
- Airbnb service fees – charged to help Airbnb run services, such as 24/7 customer support
- Taxes – your tax obligations will depend on your circumstances. Airbnb recommends researching your obligations or consulting a tax professional to find relevant information1.
- Upfront costs – initial investments you make before the property is listed. Renovations, new furniture and appliances are classed as upfront costs.
- Ongoing costs – items used by guests that will need replenishing, such as toilet paper, towels, batteries, and bed linen.
- Maintenance and management costs – for keeping your space liveable, such as cleaning and repairs.
- Insurance – although Airbnb provides insurance, you may not be covered for certain issues. In need of suitable protection? Get a quote online with Intasure.
Once you’re finished crunching the numbers, consider whether you’re comfortable with the costs and still have room to make profitable financial returns.
Find out if you need permission
It’s nearly time to get your property guest-ready. But first, you’ll need permission from your landlord, co-op board or homeowners association (if relevant). To find out whom you need permission from:
- Read your housing lease, as it may include information on subletting.
- See if your homeowner’s association has restrictions on short-term sub-letting your home, as rules can vary from city to city. For example, properties can be rented for 90 nights per year in London. You can find more information on city-specific regulations on Airbnb’s website.
Failure to get permission from your landlord or comply with local regulations can have considerable consequences. For instance, if you sublet your property without permission, your landlord can take action to evict you. In some social housing, it’s a criminal offence for tenants to sublet their homes. You could also face a fine or other enforcement if you fail to comply with local regulations, so check beforehand2.
Prepare your space
Now, it’s time for the fun part: getting your space ready for guests. The obvious place to start is clearing out personal belongings and clutter, but there are also a few questions you should ask yourself before grabbing a dustpan and brush, including:
- How will guests enter the property?
- Do you need to install a key lock or a keyless lock?
- Is your property currently safe enough for guests?
- Do you have desired amenities for your guests? Ensure items such as toiletries, clean towels and linen are provided.
- Is your space personalised? Turn up the charm with books and posters. Leaving complimentary gifts can also make a lasting impression on your guests.
- Do you have house rules? A list of house rules allows you to set expectations with your guests, such as pet and smoking permission.
- Are Wi-Fi and streaming services installed? Guests typically want to relax, watch television, and use the internet, so Wi-Fi is a must.
Set your Airbnb’s price and know your fees
How much you charge guests will depend on several factors. To determine a value, you could look at similar listings in your city and neighbourhood — Airbnb features a handy map to help you do this easily.
If you’re still stuck, Airbnb can set the price for you. The company’s automated tools consider local events, seasons and competition to generate a profitable rental price for your property. However, in some cases, the price calculated may be less than what you would otherwise charge, meaning you could earn less per reservation.
If you’re new on the scene, consider setting your prices lower than local competition to make your property more desirable. Airbnb also offers a New Listing Promotion, which applies a generous 20% to your first three bookings.
Just a heads-up: don’t forget to consider additional expenses. Airbnb charges service fees, and you may be required to pay a security deposit. For more information, check out our guide to Airbnb service fees.
How to list a space on Airbnb
So, you’re ready to list your space? The next step is to create a profile, log in to Airbnb’s host portal, and add a listing. Airbnb will then ask you to:
- List your home — choose the type of property you own.
- Insert your listing type – specify whether you’re renting out the entire property, a private or shared room.
- Provide your location – insert the address of your property.
- Insert the number of guests – insert the number of guests, beds and bedrooms offered at your property.
- List your amenities – try to list as many as possible, as this might sway guests.
Airbnb listing tips
When listing, you should seek to show guests how your property can be the perfect match. That means focussing on the following areas:
- Photos — your first three pictures can be crucial. Take high-resolution images that highlight your property’s selling features. Is there anything unique about your space that will help it stand out?
- Title — you have 50 characters here, so make them count. Use adjectives to describe your space and include common keywords relevant to your property, such as ‘cottage’, ‘barn’ or ‘campervan’ etc.
- Description – a summary that sells can go a long way. In 500 characters or less, describe why your place is worth a visit. Remember to keep it snappy, breaking up text into short sentences and bullet points — you don’t want guests to lose interest.
Decide how you’ll host on Airbnb
Using Airbnb’s calendar and booking settings, you can block out the days when your property is unavailable. It also allows you to choose specific check-in and checkout times and set a minimum and a maximum number of nights guests can stay.
Airbnb allows you to add up to three co-hosts. Co-hosts are usually someone you know well, such as a family member or a trusted friend, and they can assist with things such as:
- Emails and communications
- Repairs or requests
- Emergency issues
- The check-in admin
- Travel tips for guests
Ensure whomever you pick understands Airbnb’s Co-host Terms of Service. Also, decide how much you plan to pay your co-host per reservation.
Get suitable Airbnb host insurance
Consider taking out insurance for Airbnb hosts, cover that has been designed to meet the needs of letting out your property. Depending on the policy chosen, you could have protection against damage, theft, and liability during guest stays. Without this additional insurance, you may be liable to cover damages or associated costs, which could be disastrous for your business.
At Intasure, we can tailor policies to suit your specific property and needs, including:
- Building contents cover
- Liability protection
- Loss of rent cover
- Theft of property
- Cover for keys
Get your quote online, or speak to one of our friendly UK-based representatives by calling 0345 111 0680.