Home sharing is a great way to make a lot of money. Whether it be a vacation rental, short term let, or just have a vacant home you want to make a little extra cash from, Airbnb and other booking platforms are great options for this. Over the past 2 years it seems everyone is jumping on the ‘Airbnb train’, trying to make a quick buck, but not all are able to make it a success.

If you are serious about this and want to make it a profitable venture then there are some things you need to get right. There are a lot of things you will need to learn if you aren’t familiar with renting out homes, before you can build a successful rental for guests to come into your home.

House rules
Before you even think about listing your home on Airbnb or Booking.com, you need to set some house rules. You want your guests to have a good time but you also want them to treat your home as you would. No doubt you’ve heard horror stories of Airbnb’s gone wrong and you certainly wouldn’t want that being your home. Use these stories to learn and take the correct precautions to protect you and your home from any minor or (fingers crossed) major instances. Creating a list of rules on your public listing, your guest has to agree to before booking will go along way.

Insurance
Further to protecting your home from any damages, ensure you have the correct insurance. Airbnb offer a certain level of cover but it might if you read their t&c’s it is very clear that it is not an insurance policy and liability still lies on you the host. Under most standard home insurance policies, you are not allowed to use your home for commercial use, which includes having paying guests. Home-sharing insurance experts like Guardhog can offer great usage based insurance for hosts.

Landlord Regulations
Make sure you are up to date with the laws in your local area for renting out your home. Many places in the world now have strict rules around home-sharing and carry heavy fines if not adhered too. If you are thinking of using a management company to help you with your rental, make sure they too are up to date with the latest rules and regulations for your area as it is often the homeowner who is still responsible.

Income
Make sure you are reporting any income you make on your tax return. You are making rental income so this needs to be reported each year. You are solely responsible for this even if you have a management company helping you out.

Photographs
Now on to the more fun parts of getting started with your Airbnb rental! Many hosts underestimate the power of good quality photos. Think… your guest is heavily relying on the photos of your property when making their decision of whether to book or not. Professional edited photos will make your home stand out amongst other listings and almost guarantee you to see more bookings.

Local attractions
You should comprise a list of local attractions near your home your guests can enjoy whilst they are staying. Include any of your favourite local pubs, cafes or restaurants. Don’t forget to give them directions to your nearest tube and train stations.

WIFI
Pay the extra for fast WIFI! it won’t cost a significant amount more and if you don’t have WIFI or it is extremely so your guests will be sure to mention it in their reviews!

Competitive fees
The short stay rental market is extremely price driven. A good competitive price will help your property initially stand out. Once your Airbnb takes off you can increase your price. AirDNA is a great way to check average nightly rates in your area. If you want to go once step further Your AirHost offer a price algorithm to automatically update your listing to optimise your revenue and occupancy.

Don’t underestimate this. Running an Airbnb is a big commitment. You will need to be available to answer your phone 24/7 for guests and potential guest bookings. Last minute rentals are common so being alert and ensuring your property is always ready is a key.

Starting an Airbnb is a lot of work and sometimes is better off left to the professionals. Your AirHost is a London based property management company specialising in Airbnb listings; offering a full management service from listing creating and optimization, to 24/7 guest communication, insurance, cleaning and linen. Providing around the clock support for guests to solve problems and making sure you, the homeowner, feel your home is in the right hands.