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Short Term Rental Dos and Don'ts

Let's talk short term rentals (aka Airbnbs)...


Since starting with our first STR last year, Carson and I have been asked TONS of questions about our experience thus far.


It's a lot of work, but worth it if you do it right! Here's a couple "dos & don'ts" we've learned along the way that we are excited to share.


Dos:

1. Invest in smart home technology! You absolutely NEED a keypad on your front door for easy check-in/out (we love the Wifi Schlage keypad), security cameras around your property (we prefer Ring brand so we can connect it to our Ring doorbell), a smart thermostat (we love Nest &&& you can usually get a great price on it through your gas company!) and a smart TV with the ability to load all popular streaming services/apps so that your guests can log into their favs.


2. Research your local market! This is something that should start before you ever buy a property with STR in mind or before you decide to furnish one of your current investment properties.


Why are people visiting your area? What are they in town for? Where are they typically coming in from? What is there to do nearby? What does your location have to offer different groups of people? What pricing do other STRs in your area seem to be getting? What is the demand for STRs in your region? Do. Your. Research!


3. Develop a strong management team! This is HUGE! Whether you are managing it on your own or hiring out, make sure that person is passionate about short term rentals and has customer service at the forefront of their work ethic.


Your no.1 team member is your cleaner. This is not the same type of cleaning that most maid/cleaning services offer. You will have a set budget based on what you charge for your cleaning fee from each guest and if you're paying someone else to do your cleaning and you pay them per hour, you need to train them to hustle and how to efficiently clean and turn over your STR.


You need someone that will turn over the laundry. This is the most "challenging" part of the cleaning. Fun fact: not all cleaning companies will do laundry! Actually, I have found that most of them don't! This is an essential part of your STR business.


When furnishing your space, it is extremely helpful to provide your own washer and dryer. Not only is it a value add for people booking your place for their own use, but this is how you clean all of your linens in between guests! Trust me, don't go cheap on this item. The better and more quality your washer and dryer are, the easier it will be to maintain your place.


Another huge part of your management team is your maintenance person. When something malfunctions, which will inevitably happen no matter how hard you try to be proactive, you need to have systems in place to address issues ASAP.





Don'ts:


1. Don't use amateur photos! Hire a professional to shoot great photos. For about $200 you can get 5 star pictures of the place you have worked so hard to transform and trust me, it's worth every penny! First impressions are everything!


These photos should not be like traditional listing photos when you sell your home. These should focus on the decor and amenities that your place offers guests. Take a closeup photo of all the kitchen gadgets and appliances so they know what your place has to offer. Get a closeup of your coffee bar and make sure you showcase your fresh white linens. Lastly, be sure you have an exterior photo so they know what to look for when they pull up and where to park!



Airbnb recently made several big changes on their platform. They have realized that potential guests spend less time reading about your place, and are more likely to judge whether or not to book based on your photos. Quality photos with descriptive captions are sure to boost your listing on Airbnb's site!


2. Don't accept every booking request! Set some standards and stick to them! Some of the STR sites (like Airbnb, for example) allow the host to rate the guest, as well as the guest rating the place. If someone doesn't have any reviews on their profile, be reluctant.


If someone sounds "sketchy", do yourself a favor and go with your gut! Another, more pre-approved, guest is sure to be waiting to book in their place.


Learn from our mistakes. If someone wants to book for 1 night and it's over a notoriously party-oriented holiday (like New Years or Cinco de Mayo), they are throwing a party...and the clean up won't be fun!


3. Don't neglect your listing! Read up on any blog, book, or listen to any podcast about short term rentals and you will hear that you need to be constantly updating your listing on these STR sites.


Just like social media, these sites have algorithms of their own, and the more updated your listing is, they higher up on searches you will remain. Get in the habit of changing up your title, photo order, cover photo, etc. 1-2 times per week+ We have noticed this boosts our listings more than being Super hosts and Premier hosts even does!


These are only a few of the many things we have learned about how to properly and successfully run a short term rental. I can't wait to share more things with you later!

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