In these challenging financial times, we find ourselves in, many people have adopted a side hustle to supplement the income of their main job.
Some people choose affiliate marketing or selling homemade products online. While others moonlight as freelancers on platforms like Upwork or the Croudie Network.
There are even large numbers of people that use sites like Only Fans to generate extra income too.
However, one of the most popular, and lucrative ways of making extra cash is by renting out your property. Either via the likes of Airbnb and Vrbo or in the form of corporate accommodation.
Doing this can make you a tidy sum of money, depending on where you live, the standard of your home and how many bookings you take.
If this is something you are interested in doing, here is a quick overview of what you need to do as a homeowner when providing accommodation to those who need it.
1. Research the market
Before diving in headfirst it is worth researching the market to determine exactly what you will be offering.
If you live near the CBD, or an airport you might be better off setting your accommodation up for a corporate guest.
Similarly, if you live within easy reach of several tourist attractions, you’ll know the Airbnb and Vrbo markets are more appropriate for you.
Once you have determined this, try and get a feel for what the rental prices are for properties like yours. This will give you an indication of your competition, but also what you could expect to yield in the way of returns.
2. Check the legality of renting out your property
Once you have established what you can offer, you will need to double-check that you can legally do so.
In many cities around the world including the likes of Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Santa Monica and Miami, local regulations enforce strict policies as to who is able or unable to rent out their homes as accommodation.
Other places like London, San Francisco, New York and Berlin, provide a bit more flexibility but are still regulated.
You will need to check with your local council, as to the relevant bylaws that will affect you.
3. Give your place a design makeover
If you plan to provide accommodation, whether it be corporate or Airbnb types, you will need to ensure that your space is appealing to a broad market.
You might enjoy the space just as it is, but your guests might not. So, it is important to redecorate and set it up in a way that will be homely, comfortable and inviting to those who end up staying there.
The first thing to do is free it from clutter – it’s better to err on the side of minimalism. Then it wouldn’t hurt to spruce it up with a lick of paint. You will also need to ensure the furnishings are fresh and modern, and if necessary, replace them with something brand new if it is not up to scratch.
The key thing to remember is that you are competing with other accommodation providers, and if yours looks dull and uninspiring, then you won’t get many bookings at all.
4. Take some amazing photos
For many listings on Airbnb, Vrbo or other corporate accommodation sites, their photographs are the difference between a booking being made or not.
If you can afford it - especially if this is going to be a long-term venture for you - it's worth paying a professional photographer with experience of doing real estate work, to capture your room in the best way possible.
Most people are very visual, so if they see photos they like of a well-presented and beautiful space, there is more chance they will make a booking.
When the photos are being taken, ensure they highlight some of the more crucial or unique elements of your space. Be sure to include shots of the bed, bathroom and shower facilities and other décor that give you a point of difference.
After all, the only way guests will see your property prior to them staying at it is digital.
5. Write a killer listing
Alongside the photos, the listing is a critical thing to get right.
Those reading your listing know nothing about your property, so it is important to give them as much information as possible, in the most concise and easy-to-digest manner.
Be sure to mention who your accommodation is best suited for. Also specifically outline all the key amenities you offer, for instance, an innerspring hypoallergenic mattress, a 55-inch Samsung Smart TV, or a Nespresso coffee machine.
It is also well worth outlining the proximity of your accommodation to major tourist attractions in the area (which after all is probably what guests are coming for) as well as how to get there, especially if they don’t have a car.
Try to set expectations with what you write and then exceed them with what you actually offer.
6. Set yourself up for good reviews
When your property is rented out guests will be able to leave reviews of it. These reviews will be crucial for you in terms of receiving new bookings. So, it is imperative you do everything you can to ensure you will be given a 5-star review.
The first thing to do is ensure the property is always squeaky clean, every time you rent it out to a new person. If this is something you can’t manage yourself, hire a cleaner to do the work for you. Untidy properties that are full of dust, stray hairs and questionable stains are a surefire way to a poor rating.
To get those all-important 5-star reviews you will need to offer top-notch WI-FI for free. As well as a range of quality amenities like luxury soaps, shampoos and conditioners, toilet paper, towels and a nice range of breakfast/food amenities.
In this respect it is worth staying a night at some of your competitors, to see what they are offering – so you can beat or at least match it, whilst staying in profit.
7. Offer a seamless check-in and customer service experience
Anyone who has stayed at an Airbnb, Vrbo or corporate accommodation before will tell you there is nothing worse than arriving at a property and, either not finding the entrance to it, or being able to access it.
For this reason, it is crucial to have a seamless check-in experience, otherwise, you will risk a negative review.
As soon as you receive a booking be sure to provide the guest with your contact information in case of emergencies and answer any queries they may have as soon as possible.
It is also worth setting up a digital entry keypad to your home, so you can email them the code just before they get there. Alternatively, put the key in an easy-to-use digital lockbox near the entrance of the property.
8. Protect yourself and your investment
It is important you take out insurance to protect yourself and your investment from any damage that might occur during the time your guests are renting the property out.
It is also worth asking your guests for a fully refundable security deposit, which you can use to pay for the cost of any breakages or other mishaps.
Be sure to meet all health and safety requirements too, like fire alarms and extinguishers, to prevent yourself from potential lawsuits or criminal charges.
9. Consider refinancing your mortgage
One of the best aspects of providing accommodation as a homeowner is that it gives you a fantastic opportunity to generate extra revenue that you can use to pay off your mortgage quicker.
Through renting out your property as an Airbnb, Vrbo or corporate accommodation, hopefully, you will be in a position where your rental yield is greater than your mortgage.
To give you a further helping hand to get into this position, it is worth using competitive home loan providers to refinance your mortgage - lenders with a streamlined pre-approval process, an example being Homestar Finance, are a good place to start.
This will reduce the amount you must pay off overall and could potentially save you thousands.