A smart way to finance your life’s adventures is to rent your home while you travel. When you offer your home as a holiday rental while you’re away, you can defray travel expenses or (gasp!) even turn a profit on your vacation. Whether you’ll be away for a few weeks or several months at a time, when you follow these important steps, preparing your home as a vacation rental property will be a breeze.
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How to Get Your Home Ready as a Holiday Rental (While You Travel)
CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn how to go about renting your home while you’re on vacation so you can defray travel costs or even profit while you’re away.
- Benefits of Renting Out Your Home as a Vacation Rental
- Adopting the Proper Mindset to Rent Your Home
- How to Decide How Much Rent to Charge for Your Home
- Where to List Your Home as a Vacation Rental
- How to Prepare Your Home for Renters
- Check Regulations and Insurance Coverage
- Hire a Cleaning Service
- Stock Your Household
- Store Valuables & Belongings
- Final Thoughts on Renting Your Home While Away
Benefits of Renting Out Your Home as a Vacation Rental
There are several benefits to renting out your home as a vacation property while you’re away. To name a few:
- It’s an opportunity to let others enjoy your environment
- Rent collected can defray your own travel costs
- It eliminates the need to hire a house sitter
- Since your home is occupied, it reduces or prevents home invasions
- Depending on your accommodations and rental duration, it could become profitable
Adopting the Proper Mindset to Rent Your Home
That said, there are downsides to renting out your home. It’s fair to say the biggest hurdle can be your mindset.
Here are some of the common sticking points some homeowners have. Thoroughly consider the answers to these five questions before you commit to renting your house.
- Are you okay with hosting someone in your home, using your stuff, sleeping in your bed while you’re away? Or are you super-protective of your space and especially anxious about renting out your home?
- How will you feel if damages occur while your home is rented? Can you live with the normal wear and tear that might take place while guests use it? How about accidents and breakages? How will you address those?
- Do you have a space where you can store your valuables and personal items, either locked on the premises or elsewhere?
- Does your town, county, or state allow the kind of short-term rental you’re considering? What are the regulations? What are the income tax implications?
- Will your insurance policy cover any rental damages or mishaps while you’re renting, or will you need additional insurance coverage? What if someone gets hurt on your property; what’s your liability?
Your answers to these questions are a good indicator of whether you will ultimately be comfortable renting out your home or not. Once you can answer these with confidence, you are ready to move on to the next decisions.
How to Decide How Much Rent to Charge for Your Home
Many factors determine how much money you should charge to rent your property, including the size, location, amenities, and overall quality of your accommodations. Factor in things like your home’s square-footage and number of rooms/beds, the outdoor living space, and the community.
You’ll need to do some research compare properties in your region and their rental market price to your home. One place you can look is on zillow.com, where you can find a monthly “Rent Zestimate®” based on your address. Check other online renting platforms, like AirBnB, to get a sense of the going rate.
Another option is to reach out directly to a realtor or listing agent for their input.
Also keep in mind seasonal or holiday shifts in rent, if you think that will affect the demand for renting your home, and adjust accordingly.
Finally, you’ll have to determine what feels to you like a fair asking price. This is a big commitment so make sure you’re happy with the arrangement.
Finally, once you list your home as a rental, you’ll need to test out the market to see how the response to your property and pricing is.
If it fills up too quickly, you might want to raise the asking price. Too little interest? Drop the price down a bit and see if that makes a difference. You can also look at other factors that might influence rental decisions, such as the photographs of your property or a lack-luster description.
When you first start out renting your home while you’re not using it, keep an open mind and take a trial-and-error approach to determine what price point works best.
Where to List Your Home as a Vacation Rental
These days, you’ll find a myriad of options when it comes to listing your home as a vacation rental.
Here are some of the most popular choices to connect with the right renters for your property:
- Home Away
- Trip Advisor/FlipKey
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local listing agents
- Word of mouth and street signage
Once you decide on the best place to list your property, make sure you fully understand the listing requirements, any contracts, policies, promotion strategy, and booking. Pay close attention to payment policies and fees, too.
How to Prepare Your Home for Renters
Now that you’ve worked through some of the more difficult questions and decisions, you’re ready to welcome guests into your home on a rental basis.
For the best experience, you’ll want to take the following steps to prepare your home for renters.
1. Hire a Cleaning Service
Many people choose their holiday home because of the view of the destination it offers. That could be a:
- stunning cityscape
- beautiful beachfront
- rolling countryside
- wilderness setting
Do not let the holiday makers down by spoiling the view with smudges, smears, or dirt on your windows. Instead, find the best window cleaning service that can clean windows in the area to an incredibly high standard.
But don’t stop there.
You’ll want to make sure your home is spotless and disinfected before your guests arrive and after they leave. A cleaning service is a worthwhile investment so everyone has peace of mind.
While this may cut into your profits a bit, it’s money well spent. Today’s travelers are even more health conscious, and you should be too. Plus, thoroughly cleaning your home between rentals will likely lead to good reviews–and that mean a higher demand for your property.
2. Stock Your Household Supplies
One of the reasons a guest might opt for a holiday home instead of another type of holiday accommodation is the opportunity to save a few dollars by not eating out every night.
If you have a full kitchen, make it all the more useful by stocking it with high-quality cooking utensils. Even if cooking might not be your favorite activity, your guests may want to use your kitchen and will be disappointed if they can’t find a sharp knife or a can opener.
The same is true of basic spices and non-perishable cooking supplies, like salt, pepper, olive oil, flour, etc.
Likewise, it’s important to make sure you have a stock of trash bags and cleaning supplies, so your guests can keep your home neat while they are there.
If you’re worried about the added expense, you can always request that guests replace anything they’ve used up before they leave. Or, you might even charge a nominal fee to cover supplies. But in the scheme of things, the cost of these supplies is probably negligible.
3. Securely Store Your Valuables & Belongings
While you’re away and someone else is occupying your space, it’s a good idea to remove your valuables and other personal belongings. While most people are good natured, there’s no sense tempting fate.
So, you might want to pack up and relocate:
- your jewelry and other things of clear value, including cash, extra credit cards
- legal documents, like birth certificates and passports
- bookkeeping, bills, medicine, and other private matters
- clothing, so your guests can utilize dressers and closets
- mementoes, keepsakes, and other personally meaningful items
If you have a room under lock-and-key on the property you feel is safe, you can relocate your things there. Or, keep them with family member or a friend who won’t mind storing a few rubbermaid totes for you. But for long stay vacations, it’s probably a good idea to rent a small storage unit and keep the key with someone you trust.
Every place has its quirks. Think about your home and your community.
Do you have to turn the key a funny way to open the back door?
Neighborhood quiet hours?
Special direction for the remote control?
Write it all down.
Don’t overlook emergency information, either.
For instance, where is the water main shut off? The circuit breaker? Fire extinguishers? Make sure to have your address clearly noted, along with any emergency phone numbers. If you’re out of the country, who is the best person for your guests to reach in a true emergency?
Try to create a concise pack that is full of all the information your guests need to safely enjoy the stay. Remember, a good pack will also mean there is less chance of your guests needing to disturb you with their questions during their visit.
No one knows the area quite like a local, so be sure to share your best tips with your guest.
Think about the top tips you would offer to someone coming to visit. For instance;
- Is there a restaurant you would recommend?
- Scenic vistas at sunset?
- Best place to get groceries, necessities, or refill the gas grill?
- Great pizza?
You might also want to include information about public transportation and local entertainment.
Think about the information you get when you visit a hotel and try to cover the same bases.
Let the Fresh Air In
Before guests arrive and weather permitting, open your windows and doors to let the fresh air blow through your home.
This is especially important if you only use the house occasionally and the air that is trapped inside has become stale.
Opening up windows, even if only a few inches, will allow the home to breathe and freshen things up before your guests arrive.
Leave a Welcome Gift
If you want to get a lot of people viewing your property and making bookings then you need consistently brilliant reviews.
Try to set the tone of a guest’s holiday by greeting them on arrival with a small, thoughtful gift. A bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers says you want them to enjoy their stay and that you care about their time in your accommodation.
The gifts are an investment that will help you get top notch reviews, which in turn may allow you to increase your price.
Try not to think of the gift as an unneeded expense and instead think of it as a chance to eventually generate more profit from your small enterprise.
Go the extra mile, and it will pay off.
Final Thoughts on Renting Your Home While Away
Finally, remember your guests are on holiday. Keep your home clean and tidy, think of the luxury you expect from your holiday accommodation, and replicate it in your own home. Since you enjoy travel yourself, you might just find you have a real talent for hospitality.
Have you ever thought of renting out your house while you travel? Did these tips about how to rent your house as a vacation property help you? Let us know about anything we missed or that you enjoyed learning in the comments below!
About the Author: Jackie Gately
I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years. With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality. Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! Follow my social channels for more inspiration.
Photo credits: home interior – John Tekeridis (Pexels), window washing – Anja, Wine – p_kennedy123, home exterior – Barry D (Pixabay)
This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.