Renting out apartment on Airbnb while traveling

#1

What are some good strategies on taking care of Airbnb managment while on traveling mode?

//Chris

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#2

I don’t have personal experience but I was reading this site today that has some good info - http://rentingyourplace.com/

#3

This may have some interesting information: http://needwant.com/p/buying-apartment-airbnb/

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#4

*my post is specifically about a house, but most items will apply…
a few years ago i went to europe for 3 months and listed my house on airbnb.

  1. make sure your landlord knows what’s happening. no guest wants to get kicked out or be denied access because you’re not allowed to sub-let.
  2. make sure your neighbors know what’s going on. no one wants to come home to see a stranger wandering the halls or entering someone else’s apartment.
  3. if possible, get a remote door lock that you can program with unique codes. (this is what i did and it eliminates having to find a friend to drive across town to wait for guests to arrive to hand off a key.)
  4. hire a maid that will come after a guest checks out to tidy up - sweep, vacuum, wash/change sheets, etc.
  5. make sure anything you really care about is out of the house / apartment. things have a tendency to wander off and since you won’t be around after each checkout, there will be no way to prove which guest took something.
  6. i only told guests i would not be available to meet them on the day prior to their arrival. since i was renting the entire house, no one complained about my lack of visibility.

you might want to look in to a task rabbit or other service (there are specific ones for airbnb hosts) that handle a lot of those tasks for you. they can be more expensive than what i did or not.
additionally, you might contact other hosts in the area and tell them you’d be willing to split the reservation fees you get in exchange for them looking after your place.

#5

Hi
I will assume you have the right to rent your apartment before going further :wink:

I’ve been traveling for a year and now I’m settling in Asia while I own an apartment in Paris. I didn’t know if it was going to be permanent so I used airbnb to rent my place with some flexibility.
I had 3 main problems to solve :

  • give keys to guests and ensuring you retrieve them
  • do the cleaning
  • urgent handy interventions

and bonus

  • small repairs

I go through these topics and then to some underlying points that had helped me practically

  • for cleaning : you can have an arrangement with a cleaning company. Last minute cleaning is difficult to find at Ok price but after some time my apartment has good reputation and people book in advance, so no more last minute (you can also automatically prevent last minute booking in your parameters)

  • for handing keys to guests, while 3 startups where known to welcome Airbnb guests in Paris, only one remained alive it was Bnbsitter (I’m quite happy with them). Eventually you’ll find an equivalent in your city. I book them on a per-intervention base. They welcome my guest with the keys, and eventually I can hire them for a full checkout intervention at the end (checking TV, appliances still working, counting coutellerie, etc). They also do cleaning so I use them for previous point.
    There may be other options, like having a friendly neighbor bar/shop to manage your keys but in case of late check-in time or if your guest’s flight has been delayed the limited opening time of a shop becomes a problem. Airbnb site has a lot of fancy tips for managing the keys while you’re away (secure boxes with codes that you control online to leave your keys, etc), but I found many of them were experimental when digging.
    I also seen existing door locks with remote codes, that’s the most viable opstart to me but requires an investment

  • regarding direct interventions on the spot, eventual repair and all, well I have a friend nearby but I can’t ask him anything anytime, he has kids and all and I’m not feeling to abuse of his time. I still need to find a local professional I can trust eventually. There are some online places to find some pros but I didn’t take the time to cross check reviews and trust this system.
    If you are away for short term only you may not need this.

So, underlying points I faced.

  • This all took a learning curve : using coursier, having service guys coordinates with your janitor / guardian, who gives the keys to who, etc. But now it’s smooth.
    It is a fun game actually to liberate yourself from being there. I consider it a nomad skill.
    So after a time you will have all figured out, just don’t take the first hassles as signs to give up

  • getting a local land line phone number through Skype helped me a lot. I can be called anytime “old school”, and not only whatsapp / Skype or internation call.
    Now my French mobile provider Orange has a mobile system (Libon) for calling in France at local rate like it’s my local mobile (I still have a contract). People see that as my French mobile calling, it helps being trusted when I call

  • I made extra keys for friends, janitor, and then 2 with me abroad in case I need to send one set in emergency if all else fails (while keeping my set) (I learnt it the hard way)

Other tips are about the “product management”

  • build a host reputation to raise your fees up to a comfortable level for you (By being friendly to people and starting with shy prices first)
    I have now the financial margin to easily hire people to help in case of emergency, guest appreciate. I had a mother with 2 kids willing to chill out for Christmas in Paris and my TV died (was to be expected, I should have trust the signs earlier of this piece of crap). Chilling out with kids without kids chanel? nope. I bought online a new TV at a local reseller, then sent someone to pick it and install it (then subscribe for kids anime channel)
    Not being too concerned about my return on investment was key to go fast and remain nice to my guest in crisis.
    Being away you can only delegate to people to help you, so that comes with a financial comfort.

  • get serious guests by constraining the type of stay. I now only accept 5 days minimum, it keeps away party goer or non respectful people (been there, had problems). Interesting realisation : when people pay more they are more respectful. It came from my first experiences : don’t set a price which says you don’t care about your place.

  • dirty tip to test your prices : open booking weeks or month before you leave so you can sbefore your guests. Deactivate instant booking, play with the price : if many people want to book, decline and raise your prices. not nice but it helped me dare a comfortable fee for my flat.

Final note on the type of product you’ll rent : invest in having a good place, well maintained (so fix stuff before you leave), so guest appreciate, won’t mess it up, leave you good reviews, and won’t comment on your price if they are happy. Makes the product worth it, that’s a virtual circle.

I guess that’s it

Hope it helps!

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#6

Wow, it blows my mind that you can buy a decent apartment in the US for $40K.

#7

Thanks guys!
Great insights, especially what tonycarreon and guillaume_duquesnay said.

//Chris

#8

You need someone local who can take care of check-in (check ID) and for emergencies. That can be a friend, a cleaning lady (if she is clever) or a service for airbnb hosts (more costly).
You can do the communication and marketing yourself or through a service (expect like 5-10 hours per week of work) or a service provider.

Do you want guests staying for weeks and months or short like a few days or a week. The first you can run yourself even while traveling, the second is more demanding. If that (the second) makes sense, depends on your property. A good location means a good income from hosting, a bad location can mean you are not even covering the costs plus a usual mid- or longterm rent.
I hope that helps.