Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Before I listed a property on Airbnb, I did a lot of research on what I needed to know, along with best practices. Although a lot of it was helpful (and implemented), the majority of it was common sense and consisted of things that I would have figured out regardless. It was all stuff like, "decorate it to be appealing to broad audiences", or "don't forget forks and spoons in the silverware drawer." You get the idea.
Since listing my property on Airbnb and hosting to dozens of people over that time, I have realized that there was a lot that I wish I had known beforehand, and that I would not have thought about without jumping in.
1) Keep an Itemized List
The first thing I learned was that people steal things. I like to see only the best in everyone, so this one took me a long time to accept and determine a way to handle it. Even if you have their name and credit card on file, they are going to steal things. Save yourself the headache and make sure that when you are setting up your short term rental, you keep receipts to everything and create a laminated booklet with an itemized list. Beside each item, list the cost to replace if it should go missing or be damaged. This will prevent you from dropping tons of money on "lost" and "misplaced" towels, lamps, blow dryers, pans, etc. in the long run and will prevent any confusion when discussing the cost of each item as it is clearly listed. Make sure it is somewhere conspicuous like the kitchen table or on top of the bed.
Pro tip: put it in the house rules online as well so that when they read them and agree to follow them when booking, they know what to expect.
2) Don’t Get White Towels
White towels, sheets, pillowcases, etc... DON'T GET THEM. Get a charcoal gray or navy blue. When people fall asleep with their makeup on, white pillowcases look like a murder scene the next morning and that will lead to either a permanently damaged pillowcase or unnecessarily wasted time getting stains out that could have been saved if you opted for darker fabrics.
Same with towels -- eyeliner, foundation, and red lipstick seems to have a magnetic attraction to pristine white towels. Avoid the headache and the bottles of bleach and Spray N Wash that you will inevitably go through each week and get some navy blue towels. Pro tip: leave makeup remover wipes on each bathroom counter to save them the hassle of bringing their own or roughing up their skin with a towel, and you might even save some towels in the process.
3) Double Up the Essentials
If your guests are like mine (and most other short term rentals), your checkout time will be 12:00 pm and check-in will be at 3:00 pm or later. This leaves a short period of time to do a thorough cleaning, so make it as easy as possible. If you can afford to do so, get two of just about everything that has to be redone, laundered, or cleaned and takes a lot of time such as bedding, towels, kitchenware, etc.
Come with a change of sheets, blankets, pillowcases, all of it. Every time you turn the unit get in and begin treating towels and soaking or washing them while you begin tearing off bedding and replacing with the fresh bedding you brought with you (because you're smart like that). Once you're done with this you can focus on bathrooms, the kitchen, the floor, and last but not least trash while the laundry finishes up and dries.
It takes a couple attempts to figure out the most efficient sequence, but once you get it down it will pay off since you will be able to have same day check-outs and check-ins and bring in even more income from your short term rental.
I hope that these tips have been helpful to you -- I definitely wish I knew them before I got started! If have any questions or want to talk about building a portfolio that has AirBnBs as part of it, shoot me a message. I want to hear below what other tips you have that I didn't think of that will come in handy to other Airbnb'ers!
Matt Moreland, Realtor® is a real estate agent serving the Lubbock, Texas and the South Plains. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with a concentration in real estate from Texas Tech University, he began practicing real estate full time at McDougal Realtors in Lubbock, Texas. Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and their dog. Some of his hobbies include investing in real estate, elk hunting, backpacking, barbecuing, and playing guitar. To schedule a commitment-free consultation please call 469-744-3610 or fill out this form to get started.