Your home is one of your greatest financial assets, and not just because of the payoff you hope to receive if and when you sell. For many who vacation or travel to see family for the holidays, renting the house can lend some relief to holiday spending, or even help you pay for the trip you’ve always dreamed about. While the idea of renting out your home to strangers once seemed risky, home sharing services like Airbnb and VRBO have streamlined the practice and made it easier than ever.

Aside from providing basic amenities and tidying up beforehand, hosting takes very little effort. Guests are charged before arrival, so you never have to worry about receiving payment. If this sounds like something that could benefit you, check out our recommendations to get started.

Creating an Appealing Listing

When you book a hotel, you probably view pictures of the room before making your reservation. Guests searching for a home rental are no different. A descriptive listing with lots of pictures will attract more guests because they’ll know exactly what they’re getting.

In addition to taking photos with good lighting when the house is clean, be sure to include information like where to park, whether or not smoking and pets are allowed, what appliances are available, and where guests can find a first aid kit.

How It Works

After you create your listing, your home will be available for guests to book. Prepare your home and reach out to guests ahead of time (if you want to) through the booking platform. Check in can be done in-person, or you can simply leave a key or gate code for your guests when they arrive.

Small Touches = Happy Guests

While Airbnb requires certain essential amenities—toilet paper, soap, bed sheets/linens, one pillow and one towel per booked guest—going the extra mile to provide a positive experience will get you excellent reviews. Providing toiletries like travel toothpaste and toothbrush, or practical items like iPhone/Android phone chargers may make your guests’ stay more convenient and enjoyable.

What NOT To Do

Don’t cancel a guest’s reservation unless it is absolutely unavoidable. As with other hospitality arrangements, it is assumed that once a reservation is made it is locked in.

Being unresponsive to inquiries about booking is also a no-no. Airbnb has a 24-hour rule that asks host to respond to reservation requests within one day as a courtesy to guests.

Whether you’re looking for short term or long term savings, we have a range of programs at Open Mortgage that can help you financially, through the holidays and beyond. Contact us today to find out the right option for your family.

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