What You Need to Know Before Making Your Home a Vacation Rental

Three steps to make sure you're prepared to be a vacation rental host

Whether you’re looking for extra income or have stayed in a vacation rental through a site like Airbnb or Vrbo, you might be wondering if becoming a vacation rental host is an option for you. From your homeowners insurance to certain state regulations, there’s a lot to consider before letting others rent your property. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for renting your home on sites like Airbnb. 

What is a vacation rental site?

Vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway are online marketplaces that connect people who are interested in renting out their homes to those looking for accommodations in that area. While simply booking a hotel room used to be the primary option for travel, these sites have provided more opportunities for tourists and others spending time away from home.

Is making my home a vacation rental site right for me?

There are plenty of advantages to making your home a vacation rental. It creates a source of additional income, and it’s also flexible—you can rent out the property as much or as little as your schedule allows. However, there are a few challenges you may encounter when renting out your home as a vacation property. Vacation rental bookings can be unpredictable, so the extra source of income may not always be steady. There’s also a risk of guests causing damage to your property or breaking the rules you’ve set during the booking process.

Three Steps to Make Sure You’re Prepared to Be a Vacation Rental Host

If you’ve decided to make your home a vacation rental property, preparation is key. By taking a few simple steps, you can start your vacation rental host venture off right.

  1. Figure Out When and How Often You Want to Rent Your Home

    You’ll want to research your local home-rental regulations and the site(s) you plan to host on’s rules. Regulations can vary state-by-state, with some states more strict than others. For example, your state might only allow you to rent your home if it is your primary residence or there could be a limit on the amount of days per year in which you’re allowed to rent your residence out.

  2. Determine the Market Price For Your Home Rental

    It can be hard to determine what rate to charge, but a good way to start is to compare similar properties in your area to see what they are charging. This will help you establish a reasonable range. Adding up your basic monthly costs—mortgage, rent, utilities—will also help you determine what to charge each night.

  3. Ensure You Have the Best Homeowners Insurance and Liability Coverage for You

    While the vacation rental site’s insurance should act as the primary insurance and provide liability coverage to hosts and their landlords, you’ll want to discuss with your insurance provider before you become a host. This will help you better understand how the site’s policy works with your own homeowners or renters insurance, but also to make sure you have the proper coverage for renting your property.

Things You Need to Do to Get Your Home Ready to Become a Rental Property

Investing time and effort into preparing your home to become a vacation rental property will set you up for success. Follow these tips to turn your home into a desirable vacation spot.

Clean Your Home

When cleaning your home, keep in mind the standards that you would want if you were staying at a vacation property. This means more than just a surface-level clean; go through and deep-clean each room from top to bottom. You can also go above and beyond and hire a cleaning professional to prepare your home for guests. 

Lock Up Personal Items

Lock up any appliances, electronics, valuables and any other items that you don’t want guests to have access to. You could designate a specific room or closet to keep these items, or use a lockbox or safe—whatever gives you the most peace of mind.

Set House Rules

Setting house rules helps your guests understand the expectations for staying at your property. Some rules to consider include: whether or not the rental will be pet-friendly, if guests can access the washer and dryer, if your neighborhood has quiet hours and if there are any check-out procedures your guests should follow. Be mindful of setting rules that are truly necessary for a smooth stay, rather than ones that might appear overly stringent to potential guests.

Make Sure Your House Has All of the Necessities

Your guests will expect basic necessities such as Wifi, heating and cooling and fresh linens. Guests also look for properties with amenities like free parking, a pool or Jacuzzi, a full kitchen and self check-in. The more equipped your home is, the more likely you’ll be to fill bookings.

Create a Calendar

Creating a calendar will help you manage your booking schedule. By blocking off important dates like holidays, birthdays and family vacations, you’ll know the best times for guests to book and won’t have to worry about a booking happening at an inconvenient time.

Let SelectQuote help make sure you have the right homeowners insurance and liability coverage.

If you’re thinking about turning your home into a vacation property, we’re here to help you navigate questions about homeowners insurance, liability coverage and anything in between. At SelectQuote, we’ll take the time to learn about what you hope to protect and provide home insurance quotes from some of the most trusted carriers, saving you both time and money.

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