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Short-term Renting for Beginners: How to Attract Vacationers

Travelers Today       By    Ernest Hamilton

Updated: Oct 24, 2019 11:22 PM EDT

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Short-term renting for beginners: how to attract vacationers

(Photo: Short-term renting for beginners: how to attract vacationers)

Got a great rental property and you want to earn some extra income? Are you permitted by your city and your homeowners' association, if applicable, to position your home as a short-term rental property? Here's how to get up and running with a short-term rental and attract vacationers to your property. 

Keep your expectations rooted in reality

Obviously, your goal with a short-term rental is to make recurring revenue by renting the house as frequently as possible. In order for that to happen, you'll need to determine how much money you need to make to pay the mortgage, utilities, property tax, HOA fees (if applicable), short term rental insurance and cleaning costs, and then a target profit amount. Price your property so that you will hit that target amount, but make sure you aren't pricing yourself out of the market. Look at similar short-term rental properties in your area and make sure your home is priced competitively with them. Keep in mind that the average rental income for an Airbnb host per month is just slightly over $900.

Also, Airbnb and VRBO (and other similar sites) will require a commission for each of your rentals. Airbnb, for instance, takes 3%. HomeAway charges an annual fee but also has a per-listing option of 10%. If you will have your home listed there continuously, it makes more sense to pay the annual fee. 

Last but not least, budget to replenish supplies at the house periodically. Keeping the home updated will also require some annual spending. Minor repairs, as well as major upgrades, should be planned accordingly.

Put your property in the best light

Photos are what will "sell" the property to prospective vacationers. Hire a professional photographer if your budget allows - this is your main marketing tool for your property. However, if that's not in the cards for you, then a professional camera is your next best option. Make sure you stage the home and capture the images on a sunny day if possible. This article assumes you're already versed in photography, but has some good tips on which shots to take, lighting, etc. 

Invest some time and thought into the description of your property and its amenities. This, along with the photos, will help the short-term renter imagine themselves enjoying a vacation there. 

Are you committed to communicating?

Ultimately, once your property is listed on the hosting site (e.g. Airbnb), you will need to stay engaged with the site to respond to inquiries. This will require regular attention from you, so factor your time into the overall viability of your short-term rental plan.

Do research

Those are the basics, but there's plenty more that goes into short-term rentals. Do your homework and decide if it's right for you.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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