What is involved in renting my apartment with Airbnb?

  • A welcome packet is always a good idea if renting a room through Airbnb

    A welcome packet is always a good idea if renting a room through Airbnb

Dear Heather,

I have a small guest apartment attached to my house and I am thinking of renting it out as an Airbnb to get a little extra income. What is involved?

Airbnb Curious

Dear Airbnb Curious,

We are seeing people buying homes with the thought of using one of the rooms or apartments specifically for Airbnb. Airbnb is a vacation rental website where people looking to rent out their home or spare bedroom can connect with those who are looking for a place to stay. It’s an affordable alternative to staying in a hotel, plus a way for you to make some extra cash!

The first thing you need to do is go on the Airbnb website and create your listing. Describe your space and give details about what you have to offer. Is it a quiet place near the beach? Something closer to Hamilton? Try to list the amenities that set your place apart from others. Be sure to add photos that bring your listing to life. Creating a listing with Airbnb is free, which means you will not be out of pocket if your rental stays empty for a couple of months.

Do some prep work. Look around the room and make a list of items you need to make it functional and homely. Do you need extra towels and washcloths for your guests? How about a guide of popular restaurants in the area? Before you get too fancy, don’t forget about the most important thing: cleanliness.

Airbnb lets you set the price of your listing. You can adjust it throughout the year based on travel peaks in Bermuda like sporting events, holidays and the in-demand summer season. Airbnb will make pricing suggestions for you based on your location and type of property.

Luckily, Airbnb handles the money side for you. They will send you payment through PayPal or direct deposit — after they collect a 3 per cent service fee. Although your guests are charged when they make the reservation, you will not be paid until 24 hours after they actually check in. You will want to keep that in mind when you are planning out your monthly budget.

There is a list of basic requirements that every Airbnb host must follow including being responsive towards booking inquiries, accepting reservation requests and trying to maintain a high rating.

If you can, welcome your guests when they arrive. It is best to be there in person and give them the lay of the land. But you could also do this through an e-mail or printed welcome packet. Let them know where they can find things they might need like dishes, towels and the TV remote.

This is also a good time to go over house rules. Are there areas of your home that are off-limits? What are they supposed to do with wet towels? Can they use your washing machine? Know the answers to all these questions before your guests show up (and maybe even include them in a welcome packet). Provide a clear set of guidelines for guests to follow.

While listing your room on Airbnb is free, there are other costs to weigh, from maintenance, cleaning, decor and supplies right down to the soap and toilet paper. Another thing you may want to consider is installing a couple of electric rental vehicle charging stations.

Airbnb offers accidental damage coverage on your home (up to $1 million of coverage to be exact). They also offer Host Protection Insurance in case a guest gets hurt while staying on your property. Just make sure you read their terms and conditions to fully understand what is covered. Also check your own insurance policy and make sure it is up to date and that you are properly covered, particularly for liability, damage and contents.

Having an extra revenue stream like this can help you financially, however, make sure the trade-offs are worth it. It does take time to clean up after guests and prepare for the next ones. If you find that you are shelling out all your time, energy and money getting your space ready, then maybe you need to rethink being an Airbnb host.

You do need to be the bona fide owner of the property to be an Airbnb host; your relative or landlord will not be impressed if you start renting out the “spare room”!

Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty offers vacation rentals but they tend to be large luxury homes. There are other companies on the island who will manage your Airbnb property for you if you wish. Bermuda itself is introducing The Vacation Rental Bill 2018. This means there is likely to be a 4.5 per cent tax imposed on Airbnb rentals. Any property that falls under rent control will be handled by the Rent Commissioner; otherwise this will be handled by the Ministry of Tourism. Please contact those departments for more information once the Bill takes effect.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Look for Ask Heather Real Estate on Facebook

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Published Jun 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 26, 2018 at 11:40 am)

What is involved in renting my apartment with Airbnb?

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