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  • Cherie Mclaughlin

How to Prepare Your Home for Short-Term Rental Guests

More homeowners and vacation homeowners are cashing in on the booming vacation rental market. And why not? If you live in a hot area, you could easily generate some extra income that you can put toward paying off your mortgage sooner or adding to your nest egg. Many people going this route buy a home that they then rent out.

Regardless, once you decide to enter the world of vacation rentals, there’s a lot to think about, and most important is preparing your home for rental guests. To help you along the way, Beta Abstract shares the following advice.

Know Your Short-Term Rental Customer

Short-term rentals are also known as vacation rentals, but vacationers aren’t the only ones booking temporary stays. Short-term rentals are popular with business travelers, contract workers, international students, and new residents transitioning to the area. Locals may even book a short-term rental to host a large group for an event or family reunion.

How you prepare your home for short-term guests depends on the demographic you want to reach.

Basic Steps to Prepare for Short-Term Renting

There are certain steps every property owner should take before inviting tenants into their home. That includes:

● Remember that you’re starting a business. As such, you’ll need to take certain steps like choosing a structure, registering with the state and applying for an employer identification number (EIN).

● Determine where you will market your rental, whether it’s AirBnB, VRBO or any other short-term rental site.

● Install a keypad lock or purchase a portable lockbox for convenient guest access.

● Resolve safety hazards like dim lighting, unstable steps, and loose cords.

● Keep smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers in working order.

● Store chemicals including cleaning supplies and lawn chemicals on a high shelf or in locked cabinets.

● Secure valuables, prescription medications, and other personal items.

● Rent a post office box to safeguard personal mail.

● Provide detailed instructions for guests including house rules and contact information.

● Market your rental by creating a website with photos and even a virtual tour. You can use a site like Airbnb or create your own website. Be aware that creating your own comes with the added task of making sure you have cybersecurity measures in place to protect your data and that of your renters from any cyber threat that may occur.

Must-Have Amenities for Every Type of Guest

Some amenities come standard in short-term rentals. Clean towels and linens, dishes, toiletries, and internet access are expected by guests. Many hosts also include coffee and tea, basic cooking supplies, and a selection of games and entertainment to make guests feel at home.

To attract a specific type of guest, include additional amenities like these:

Business Travelers and Students

● Business travelers and students choose extended-stay rentals with discounts for long-term stays. Include weekly and monthly rates to attract this type of guest.

● Fast Wi-Fi is a must, but don’t overlook multiple workspaces. With the rise of working from home, more couples are working remotely together. Provide multiple tabletops with good lighting, comfortable seating, and outlets.

● Provide local information to make guests’ stay comfortable, including nearby takeout and delivery restaurants and information on public transit and airport transportation.

Families With Children

● Extra bedrooms are a must for family travelers. Designate a kid-friendly room with toys and books, blackout curtains, and twin beds equipped with mattress protectors.

● KAYAK suggests childproofing kids’ rooms and common areas with outlet protectors, cordless blinds, and other safety measures.

● Parents rest easier in properties secured with alarm systems. Smart home alarm systems pair with flood sensors, smoke alarms, security lights, and other customizable components for homeowners’ peace of mind too.

● Stacked laundry units in the kitchen let parents do the laundry during breakfast for a convenient start to the day. Included laundry detergent is a nice touch.

● Highlight your rental’s proximity to family-friendly parks, restaurants, and attractions where families can enjoy a fun day out.

Travelers With Pets

● Avalara notes that 37 percent of households travel with their pets. Outdoor space is the top amenity desired by pet-friendly travelers, with fenced yards commanding top rates from dog owners. Pet owners also appreciate information on nearby walking trails and dog parks.

● Design your space with durability in mind. Choose hard flooring over carpeting and consider using slipcovers during guest stays. Slipcovers with separate covers for the base and cushions provide the best look while protecting couches from wear and tear.

● Providing food and water dishes and a dog bed is an inexpensive way to go above and beyond for guests with pets. Some hosts who live on-site even offer dog walking for an added fee.

Additional Thoughts

Using your home as a vacation rental means you’ll need to be prepared to find another place to stay, unless this is a vacation home. If you’ll be displaced regularly, consider the costs since this sort of arrangement could negate the benefits of offering a short-term rental. If it’s a vacation home you’re renting out, just remember that if you rent it out for more than 14 days, you will have to report rental income. Though the tables can turn a bit here if you choose to stay in your vacation home for more than 14 days a year. If you’re not sure where you stand, consider working with an accountant come tax time.

Are you ready to list your home on the short-term rental marketplace and book your first guests? Once you’ve outfitted your rental, take professional photographs and write a descriptive listing to attract your ideal guests. With the right preparation and in-demand amenities, you can create a positive guest experience and build a reputation as a top short-term rental.

As one of the premier providers of Title and Closing services in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut Beta Abstract has built a client base by maintaining a strict customer-comes-first approach. Contact us today for more info! 516-208-8707

By Cherie Mclaughlin from

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