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A guide to renting out your home on Airbnb

Ready to jump on the gig economy bandwagon and make money from your home? Read on for everything you need to know about becoming an Airbnb host.
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Renting out your home on Airbnb is a great way to make money. Forget selling odd bits of clothing that neither you nor the local charity shop wants. Forget eBay, car boot sales and exhausting yourself working overtime. The gig economy is here and owners of homes, big and small, are free to take a slice of the pie. Plus, isn’t there something charming about the idea of playing host? Of turning-out cooked breakfasts and cute pots of tea… and finally getting a chance to use those fancy guest towels? There will, of course, be a few of you that are screaming, ‘No!’ at the computer screen, and who would rather stick pins in their eyes than look after strangers for a bit of extra cash (although actually, according to Priceonomics, Airbnb hosts earn more than anyone else in the gig economy at an average of £665 a month). But the beauty of it is that you don’t even have to be home to get in on the action. The only real question that remains is: if you travel a lot, why aren’t you making money out of your home in the process? Whether you love the idea of being the host with the most or would rather keep your distance from your guests, letting your home on Airbnb is easy and rewarding. Here’s a quick guide on how to do so, and some tips on taking the leap onto the happy-hosting-bandwagon.

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1.Create an Airbnb account and list your home

To get started, set up an Airbnb account and simply follow the instructions to list your home – it’s really that simple. You’ll go through a range of options about what kind of property you have, how many people it can accommodate, and which dates your home is available. You’ll also be able to specify things like whether you’re happy for guests to instantly book the space or whether you want to receive a booking request first. Just be sure to respond as quickly as possible, as response-times are shown in your listings so those that take a long time may go down in rankings.

2.Provide Airbnb with payment details

You’ll need to provide Airbnb with payment details when you create your account so that guests can transfer money to you. When you’re up and running and you’ve got guests ready to stay with you, they’ll transfer the money to Airbnb who will hold it for 24 hours after check-in, at which point you’ll receive it. A three percent cut will be taken by Airbnb and rest goes straight into your own back pocket!

3.Upload some stellar photos of your home

This bit’s crucial, as the main selling point for your home will be the way it comes across in the images you upload. While location, guest reviews and price will go some way toward helping people make up their mind to stay with you, they’re very unlikely to book if they can’t get a good, visual idea of the place. Invest some time in whipping your house into a ‘show home’ state and take clear shots of each room – preferably from a few different angles. It can also help to take some pictures of the surrounding street/area to give potential guests a feel for its location too.

4.Decide how flexible you want to be with your refund policy

As a host, it’s up to you as to how generous you are with your refund policy, and you’ll be given the option to choose between five different grades. ‘Flexible’ means you’re happy to offer a refund up until one day prior to arrival (except Airbnb fees or other fees such as for cleaning). ‘Moderate’ means you’re willing to offer a refund a full five-days before arrival and ‘strict’ means you’ll give a fifty percent refund up to until one week prior to arrival.

5. Decide what kind of host you want to be

It’s up to you as to how far you want to go with the whole ‘hosting’ thing – but at the very least you’ll need to be prepared to offer clean sheets, towels and a tidy space. Some Airbnb hosts offer breakfast included in the cost, others provide round-the-clock advice about the local area and are even willing to book taxis, restaurants and provide other helpful support for their guests. It really all depends on how ‘into’ it you are – and whether you see this as a serious money-maker or would prefer to take a no-frills approach to keep effort at a minimum.

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6.Get your home guest-ready

Having paying guests stay in your home is obviously a little different to letting family members crash on the sofa. But that’s not to say you need to put rooms through a complete revamp to get them ready. In fact, it could be argued that this defeats the object of making money from what you’ve already got. If your home’s mattresses are looking a bit tired for example, instead of going for all-out replacements, invest in some mattress toppers to get them feeling fresh and comfy again, and to protect the mattresses from any future damage. Next, buy some new bedding to give the space an uplift and be sure to stock up on fresh towels too. Finally, give your property a deep clean and a good declutter (although part of the Airbnb charm is the fact it provides the chance to stay in places that are full of character, so if you’ve got interesting artefacts and accessories scattered about, feel free to leave them!). There’s no denying that the way in which we travel is changing. People are fed up of sterilised hotel rooms and bare-walled apartments. Instead they want to delve into life as a local in the destination of their choice, and they’re happy to pay to do so. So, don’t wait a minute longer to cash in on your home’s potential – not only will you earn money, you might just make some new friends too.

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