Whether you’re renting out your investment property or your primary residence, there’s a lot you need to do to ensure that your belongings are safe when you open your doors to Airbnb guests. It’s not just about locking up your jewellery and removing documents with personal details, it’s also about setting strict house rules so that guests understand what is expected of them in terms of respecting your property.
If you’re new to Airbnb, you might not anticipate how many issues can arise when you are sharing your family home with travellers which is why we have put together some tips to help you project yourself.
1. Make sure you have insurance
This might seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many hosts find themselves in a pickle because they didn’t take out comprehensive insurance for their home and contents. You will also be covered by Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance for up to $1 million USD for any claims made against you for bodily injury. Most Airbnb management companies will offer further insurance protection as part of their Airbnb management service package.
2. Lock up your valuables
Items to keep locked away in a safe or off-site security box include expensive jewellery, antiques, family heirlooms, passports and birth certificates, private documents containing banking or investment information, family photo albums, and electronic goods such as computers or virtual AI assistants such as Amazon Echo or Google Home Assistant. Make sure you get a family friend or Airbnb management agent to come over and check the space, as they are more likely to spot precious items that you may have overlooked due to being so familiar with your home.
3. Remove items that are not for guests
Apart from valuables, there will probably be many items in your house that you don’t want guests to see or interact with. These items could include photos, underwear, diaries, as well as appliances such as shavers. The more items you leave lying around, the more potential there will be for guests to possibly use and/or break them. You should also think about food in pantries and whether you want guests to have access to it. Some hosts will set rules that outline which shelves on the fridge and pantry are ‘off limits’ to guests – particularly if they are sharing the space. Find a cupboard or storage space in the house that you can add a lock to and fill it with these types of items.
4. Redirect mail
These days there’s not too much that comes through the post but there’s always the potential for important documents to arrive while you’re away. If you will be gone for an extended period of time, redirect your mail or arrange for a neighbour to pick it up.
5. Make sure your guests have everything they need
If you don’t want your Airbnb guests rummaging through your cupboards looking for things, make sure that you anticipate all of their needs. Let them know where extra blankets are kept. Leave items out that they might need to use such as hairdryers, shampoo or coffee machines. Put a few umbrellas by the door. The more you offer them, the less likely it will be that they’ll feel the need to go searching through your things. A good way to give guests a few extra treats to make them feel at home is by creating a welcome pack with snacks, a bottle of wine and some fresh produce.
6. Set strict house rules
You might have a very expensive piece of gym equipment in your house that you don’t want guests to use or break. Don’t assume that just because the item is not in their bedroom that they won’t be tempted to use it. The same goes for any outdoor equipment such as barbeques or canoes. Make sure guests know what is available and what is off-limits and the best place to do this is in your House Rules.
7. Protecting your neighbours
You might not think of your neighbours as ‘belongings’ that you need to protect from Airbnb guests but having good relationships with those who live in close proximity to you is important. Neighbours who are kept awake because of loud parties thrown by your Airbnb guests are not going to be fun to deal with and they have the potential to make life difficult for you and your future guests. Always indicate noise restrictions in your house rules, as well as restrictions relating to the usage of your communal garden. This includes smoking.
8. Your furniture and curtains
Setting a strict no smoking policy will ensure that you don’t end up with curtains and furniture that smells of cigarettes. Some hosts will even put up posters on the walls and in outdoor areas to remind guests that their home is a ‘smoke-free zone’. Being too relaxed about guests smoking at your Airbnb could result in large cleaning fees for carpets, curtains and mattresses in order to get them smelling sweetly again.
9. Anticipate all situations
Nobody knows your home better than you do and it’s important for you to anticipate all situations in order to protect your property and belongings. For example, if you live in an area that is prone to sudden storms, you might want to write out instructions for guests about what to do if the power goes out or if flooding occurs. Always provide emergency numbers as well as contact information for someone to call for emergency home repairs in case you are uncontactable.
10. Invest in security
Always invest in quality locks and make sure that windows are secure. You might also consider installing security cameras in outdoor areas to give peace of mind. If you live in an area that’s susceptible to crime, consider installing an alarm but make sure that you explain, in detail, how the alarm works so that guests can turn it off with ease when they enter the property. Security lights are another way to protect your property.
The benefits of an Airbnb management company
It can be overwhelming to prepare your Airbnb for guests, particularly if you are a new host. GuestReady can help you create a safe and secure space to share with guests.