As a travel addict, you’re always thinking of your next trip. These thoughts are always followed by wondering how you’re going to afford it! If you own your own home, then you could at least part-fund your globetrotting by renting out your property.
It doesn’t really matter where you are. You might see your hometown as a boring kind of nowhere, but business travellers might prefer some home comforts instead of an anonymous hotel. If you’re in a bit of a tourist hotspot, then you can aim for holidaymakers and if you’re in a university city, you might want postgraduates for longer-term rentals.
Of course, you’ll have some concerns about keeping the place safe and in good condition, especially if you’re going to be away for a long time, so here are the answers to common questions about renting out your home while you’re away.
How do I protect my home and belongings?
This is the biggest worry for many people and it’s quite understandable. The first thing you need to do is speak to your insurance provider, as well as your mortgage lender to make sure that you’re covered if a renter does damage something.
Another good idea is to make sure the house is occupied as much as possible while you’re away so intruders and burglars are dissuaded. You can also discourage cold-callers by putting up signs, including no soliciting signs, so that your tenants aren’t plagued by people knocking on the door at random.
Choose your rental service carefully
Look at things like the level of security deposit the service takes from clients, as well as at other security measures that it uses to protect you and your property. You should always lock away items that are especially valuable – sentimentally or otherwise – or put them into a storage facility.
You should also look for a property management company that’ll take care of bookings, payments, handle any problems and do the changeovers for you, as you’ll be a long way away! There may a local agency or you could use one of the national agencies that are working with Airbnb.
If you’re only doing short trips, you could probably do the legwork yourself, but long-term travelling means you’ll need someone on the ground to do everything for you.
Put together a handbook
If your guests have everything they need to know handily written out for them in a ring binder, they’ll be really happy. Everything from the Wi-Fi password to how to deal with a temperamental pilot light to the nearest craft beer emporium can go in there. This reference binder should also have emergency contact numbers and the details of friends, family, plumbers and so on who have agreed to help if necessary.
Lay down house rules
Be firm but friendly. If you insist on shoes off when people come in through the door, offer a freebie pair of slippers or slipper socks to every guest. If you allow well-behaved, clean dogs, make sure there’s a few treats and a special dog towel laid out for the four-legged guests.
Laminated paper is your best friend here! You can stick the sheets to the insides of cupboards so guests know where to keep things, as well as use it to explain how appliances work.
Use more detailed instructions for TV, internet, dishwasher and the alarm system in the reference binder, but leave prompts by the sides of these items so people don’t have to leaf through it all again.