[guestpost]This is a guest post by Hank McKinsey. Hank is a fun-loving, home industry blogger. He writes about all things ‘home’. Check him out on his blog and Twitter and see what he is up to next! If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest post guidelines and submit your post.[/guestpost]
We all have one way or another to make money. It is of the utmost importance that we grow our financial situation to keep up with our fast-moving lives. However, from time to time it is important to take a break from our fast-moving lives and go on holiday. What can we do to mitigate the cost of expensive holidays? My favorite tip (at least since buying a new rental property) is to rent out your home while you are on vacation.
This is easier said than done. Let me be the first to tell you that entertaining this project can be stressful on your family relationships. I have spent a lot of time on my new property and keep forgetting to keep my family in the loop. It is important to work together with your spouse on this ‘business’ and make sure you provide the best service while keeping your family (and the renter) safe.
House Sitter or Renter?
In today’s world, the stress of losing things that you hold dear can impact everything in our lives. From losing our job to losing a loved one, it is important to take the stress and channel it into something positive. A vacation away from these stresses is a great way to clear your head and reconnect with those around you.
The question arises—to keep my home safe should I hire a house sitter or have a renter? The benefits of online vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Home Away offer a great, money saving alternative to hiring a house sitter. Rather than paying someone to watch your house, someone pays you to use it. Here are some helpful tips to rent your home, earn some extra cash, and keep your home occupied during your travels.
The 4 Steps:
Step One: Choose your sites. If you plan to use Airbnb, FlipKey, and other similar sites, check with your city to clear whether your space is legal to rent. I suggest to stay away from non-vetted sites like Craigslist until you have rented to a few individuals.
Step Two: Make minor updates to your home that brighten it up, and make it look inviting for your guests. This is a great project to connect with your spouse and find new items you both love.
Step Three: List your place! Be mindful in the writing aspect as a good description is just as important as the photos.
Step Four: Vet your tenants. This may not seem important, but trust me it is perhaps the most important action item you can do. The expense of a bad tenant can be exponential and can take an emotional toll on you and your family as well. Screening services may cost a little up front, but the fee is far cheaper than unpaid rent, shady tenants, or damage to your home. I have used this resource in the past, but a quick Google search shows several additional options. If you are renting for more than a week, you should make sure to have a written contract as well.
Below are a few other helpful tips to ensure a pleasant experience:
• Create a PDF of the local shops, restaurants, attractions, and transportation options in your area for your guests to plan their stay with guided information.
• Keep tabs on the renter’s market and target your prices competitively to stay on par with other rentals in your town during busy seasons.
• Invest in a contract with a local cleaning service you trust to clean your home, change linens, and re-stock supplies while you’re away.
• Stock your home with treats, toiletries, and extra linens to make your guests feel pampered. These items can be purchased in bulk at wholesale clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. Going the extra mile to make your guests feel special is a small effort in exchange for gaining a great online reputation and 5-star reviews.
• For additional reading, try a great article from Houzz here.
Finally, remember to keep working toward whatever your family goals are. There will always be setbacks but you must keep at it. Challenges are just opportunities to learn and grow!
[reminder]Have you ever rented out your home while your family was on vacation? What other money saving tips have been successful for your family?[/reminder]
photo credit: Shell Game via photopin (license)