Everything You Need to Know About Renting Your Home

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I get so many questions about renting our home on Airbnb that I thought it was time for a comprehensive post on the topic. Here’s everything you need to know:

Why On Earth Would You Rent Your Home to Strangers?

There are many possible motivations for renting out your home. We love traveling, and taking vacations, and traveling with a family of four can be pricey! Renting out our home while we are gone helps us fund our travels and enables us to travel more frequently than we would be able to otherwise. In addition, having renters ensures that our home is never vacant – our renters take care of our home and some even bring in mail and water plants. Thank you, strangers!

What do you Have to do to Prep?

I used to dream of having my own bed and breakfast, so I naturally take great pleasure in setting up our home for guests. I make sure the house is sparkly clean, the dishes are washed and put away, and the trash and recycling are empty. I also leave a fresh sponge in the kitchen, coffee by the coffee maker, and a few beverages and treats in the fridge to welcome our guests. We provide fresh sheets and towels, as well as back up towels and guest blankets in our linen closet. We empty our dressers into large IKEA bags, which only takes a few minutes, and I leave a dozen hangers in the master closet for guests to hang their clothing.

What About Valuables and Personal Stuff?

One of the benefits of living minimally is that we don’t have a lot of stuff to shuffle around when we rent out our home. We do have a small office that locks, which is where we leave our files and personal papers, the clothes we remove from our dresser and closet, and personal items from the rest of the home. I also remove products and toiletries from the bedrooms and bathroom to create a clean slate for our guests (I mean, who wants to look at someone else’s razor or deodorant? Not I).

Do You Have to Be Home When Guests Arrive?

I know this sounds crazy, but we have almost never met our guests. Our check in time is 3pm, and we have generally hit the road by then. Instead, we leave a lockbox on our front door with our keys inside. We have our guests text us when they get in so we know all is well, and we have a laminated list of house rules and instructions (and a handy guide to the neighborhood) that we leave out for them alongside their welcome treats.

What if Your Home Gets Damaged?

We’ve rented to dozens of guests from all over the world and we have yet to have even a mug chipped (knocking on wood as I type this)! We also bill for cleaning and set up a cleaning service to come the day our guests leave so we return from our travels to a clean house and fresh sheets. In the event that something did happen, we have insurance, and most rental companies (Airbnb included) also provide insurance for their renters.

Is it Worth the Work?

For the most part, the cost/benefit analysis of renting our home shows a net positive. I’m not going to lie, packing up a family of four while trying to simultaneously create an immaculate space for our guests can be stressful. It can also be tedious to have to return clothes and personal items back to their homes after a day of travel. But, overall, we love knowing that people are enjoying, and watching over, our home while we’re gone, and we’ve been able to fund trips to London, Paris, and Israel as a result!

Click here for my FREE home rental cheat sheet.

Images: Vivian Johnson Photography 

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