Things to Consider Before Listing a Vacation Rental Property


In past decades, a vacation home was a luxury that only the wealthiest families could afford. Now, thanks to platforms that let you to rent your property to people when you’re not using it, your second home can actually pay for itself — and can even be a source of long-term passive income. But that doesn’t mean every property or host is cut out for the job.

Before you list your primary or secondary property as an available accommodation for rental, consider these factors.

Would you be a good host?

As attractive as the idea of having people pay you to sleep at your house may sound, the reality is that it’s not that easy. Guests can be loud, destructive or unreliable. You may be too protective of your dwelling and its contents. You may be too busy to respond to emails or resolve emergencies.

“Listing and running a successful Airbnb listing could take much more time and effort than you expected,” warn the experts at LearnBNB. “Expect to be on call for emergencies whenever you have a guest staying with you. Do you have the time and the flexibility to do what it takes to succeed?”

Hosting a vacation rental property is a time commitment that requires patience, quick response and resourcefulness. Make sure you’re ready for the challenge.

Have the proper insurance

The type of insurance you should have on a rental property is different from the coverage you have on a property that only you and your acquaintances frequent. If you’re letting strangers stay on your property — especially if you’re not present — make sure you change your insurance coverage to reflect that.

In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Brand Innovation director at Allstate Insurance Lisa McWatt said, “Be proactive. All insurance coverage has limits. Have the conversation with your insurance advisor so you don’t make assumptions around your coverage. If you decide to take that risk, it’s an educated risk.”

Create an accurate, thorough listing

When it comes to rental properties, surprises are never good. Bad surprises result in negative reviews from tenants. Good surprises mean that you’re omitting some of the highlights of your property that people don’t discover until after they’ve booked.

Either way, avoid surprises by creating a detailed description of every part of the property and taking detailed, unobscured pictures of every area — inside and out.

“One of the most important things about getting your listing right is making sure you’re very clear what you’re offering and what you’re not offering,” said Airbnb superhost Dana McMahan in an interview with Realtor.com. McMahan recommends having professional photographs taken and identifying every potentially frustrating component, like stairs and parking.

List on a reputable website

Avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous renters. Post your property on a well-known, proven website, like Airbnb. If you post your rental property through your own private website or through lesser-reputable platforms, you could be setting yourself up for trouble. Major rental marketplaces like Airbnb require guest payment up front and have procedures in place to vet and track problematic applicants. Listing on a major website also gives you more exposure to searchers than you would receive posting on an obscure or private site.

If you properly prepare before posting and hosting, your rental property experience will have fewer problems down the road. That way, you can enjoy the extra cash as it flows in.

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