Airbnb has been a remarkable success story- and part of that success could be yours if you have a suitable property you’d like to list. Today Flat Fee Homes walks you through the intricacies of listing a South African property with Airbnb, and the pros and cons of deciding on this way of monetising your biggest asset.
How do I list my property on Airbnb?
Airbnb is a form of short-term rental for your home, bringing in a little extra money from your property without requiring any real investment on your side. It all starts with your first listing, of course- and that’s exactly what we are going to explain to your today.
The bulk of your work will lie in creating an attractive, appealing listing. Start by heading to airbnb.com, create an account with them, and follow the ‘list your space’ prompt. Here you will enter the basics of the place you wish to list. Their categories each have a clear description, so simply match them up with what works for your property. Room type is the most important, giving the potential guest an idea of the privacy they can expect. Remember that the ‘entire home/apartment’ category is made to include everything, including pools, garages and lapas. Set your ‘accommodates’ number as though you yourself were the guest- at the very least, your future users will expect their own bed, and enough space to arrive with luggage and not be cramped. The last piece is simple- choose your city.
Getting into the depths
Now we’re onto the meatier details of the property. Remember that a faulty listing cannot be changed without serious conversation with the anticipated guest, so take the time to get this right- you don’t want to earn bad reviews and angry guests for a little lack of care. The ‘preview’ button gives you an idea of how the listing will look to others, so use it. The calendar indicates how your property will stay listed, not specific guest dates. That could be a permanent listing, a one-time listing, or for fixed periods of time (like winter or summer). Airbnb will help you by suggesting prices based on the current trends of your area. Don’t be too unreasonable (or undercut) as that will make your property unmovable. You can start a little lower to get your foot in the door while you have no reviews, however. Feel free to do some research of your own for your area as well. You can encourage long-term rentals by making favourable packages, and should always bear in mind all the costs of having a guest in your home- including water and lights and cleaning.
Make a good impression with your title- something that will draw people in, and let the summary showcase all the great features you offer. Personality can help distinguish you from the competition here. Lastly, another important facet of the listing- the photos. Keep it simple- very few are going to look through a 40 photo gallery! Aim for 10 or so, which give a good ‘flavour’ for your place. Would you stay here, if you looked at those photos? Keep in mind the clientele you want to attract, too. Travelling couples are going to want a more appealing nook than a student needing quick lodging. The first 3 photos listed are the ones that will display the most, so put the key ones in that position.
Wrapping up your listing
Now list the special features (amenities) you can offer. Guests like to know what to expect, so be thorough. Now you’ll move through to the listing screen, which should be comprehensively filled in now if you’ve done the first pieces correctly. The last part will need you to enter the exact location. Don’t worry that this will allow privacy violations- it shows only to confirmed guests! Others will see only your neighbourhood and general area.
As you can see, the process is pretty simple, and the Airbnb site guides you comprehensively through most of it. Don’t lie or exaggerate when creating your listing- guests will review you, and lies can cripple your ratings. There’s nothing wrong with playing up your best features, though.
Is an Airbnb listing the right move for me?
There’s no doubt that Airbnb can be a nice way to earn some extra income from properties- or even just a room in your house. It’s not for everyone, though. Let’s look at some of the pluses and negatives.
- Income: Airbnb does allow you to generate a pleasant side income- but not a guaranteed one as you will have with a long-term renter. Income can be erratic. However, the money is a fantastic drawcard.
- Flexibility: You can withdraw your listing for periods when your own guests will be there, giving you the option to earn from the property when you don’t need it- and use it when you do.
- Service: You’re effectively letting your home as a lodging. Guests will expect basic cleaning and laundry services. You need to be willing to pay for these or do them yourselves. If you’re letting a room rather than a property, this means you lose some of your privacy and will need to be scrupulously clean while guests are there. Fortunately, very few guests spend a lot of time in their rooms- most are there for their own business, and just want a safe place to sleep and store their belongings.
- Time: You will need to monitor and respond to enquiries. You will also have to check-in guests, and care for the property. Do you have it?
- People: Most guests are fantastic…but there’s always the odd anti-social one. Are you ready to deal with potentially disruptive or quarrelsome people? Breakages and other damages can occur- but Airbnb’s insurance will cover you for that, unlike with a renter. You also need to realise you can’t please everyone- there will always be a moaner, no matter how good a host you are. Can you mentally deal with this? Of course, it’s also a fantastic way to meet people from around the globe so this can be a plus. You can also research guests through the platform, unlike with other letting forms, and may even end up with regular guests you get to know well.
- Marketing: Is handled through your listing, at incredibly low cost to yourself. The booking and payment system is also included, saving you from these added issues.
The short-term rental market, on the Airbnb model, is predicted to soar in the coming years. Is capitalising on this success the correct course of action for you? At Flat Fee Homes we are always happy to assist and believe that a successful real estate investor, is an educated one. For this reason, visit our website for any further information.