Written By: Holli McCray
Did you know that Airbnb is active in more than 65,000 cities around the world with upwards of 4 million listings? Homeowners around the world are experiencing huge success with short-term rentals, and the same is true for the greater Knoxville area. If you’re thinking about turning your home into a short-term rental, here are a few things you should consider first…
Preparing your home:
Clean sheets, towels, and toilet paper are must-haves, but to score the highest ratings, you’ll need to go above and beyond those basics. Consider installing a keyless lock to make check-in easier. This also provides an added level of security because you can keep track of when people go in and out of the house.
Include additional appliances such as a microwave, toaster, and coffee maker along with all of the kitchen essentials (silverware, basic cooking utensils, pots, pans, plates, and bowls).
Make sure to have a comfortable main living area with comfortable seating and a TV with either an active cable subscription (or streaming service) as well as a DVD player.
We recommend using durable furniture to furnish the house. You can find some great stuff on clearance at your local wholesale furniture store and online at places like Facebook Marketplace.
High-speed WIFI that guests can access is a must! In today’s day and age, having “good WIFI” is one of the most essential amenities for guests.
Include a guest book, and encourage reviews online for future guests to see. It’s also nice to leave behind a binder with key phone numbers, local restaurants or favorite to-go menus, and suggestions for what to do around town. Travel Advisor’s Knoxville List is a great place to start!
Keep in mind that the more effort you put into your space to make it as clean, beautiful, functional, and comfortable as possible, and the more time you allot to being available to respond to your guests’ inquiries, the better your reviews and ratings will be. You’ll also have the opportunity to make more money by being able to charge higher rents! People will generally pay a little more for a space they know is clean and comfortable with the proper amenities.
Finally, make sure you haven’t forgotten to do anything by following Home Away’s step-by-step checklist.
How much will I make?
You may be wondering if all this work is worth it. Your true earning potential depends upon how much you charge for your space, and how often you can rent it out. Keep in mind that if you’re renting out a room in your house, your roles, responsibilities, and expenses will be much different than if you need to furnish, and perform upkeep on an entire home. Both of which are ultimately dependent upon how much time and money you can spend on furnishing and maintaining your home.
For short-term rentals of entire homes, condos, or townhouses, we strongly recommend hiring a cleaning crew that can get things ready between guests. We found a fantastic resource online that includes dozens of cleaning checklists templates for short-term rentals.
It’s also a good idea to have an established relationship with a reliable handyman who can take care of any repairs in a timely fashion in between guests.
Airbnb’s metrics can show how your nightly prices compare to other homes in the area, or when you might want to consider lowering (or raising) your prices depending on the day of the week or expected surges in demand. You can also set minimums for the number of nights people can stay at your Airbnb—a weeklong minimum, for example, helps offset the cost of turning over the house.
If you decide to manage your short-term rental outside of an online resource such as Airbnb or Vrbo, we recommend using a service such as PayPal, Quickbooks or Venmo to collect payments. Cash or personal checks from people you do not know is generally not a good idea.
Taking the Leap
Think you’re ready to list? First, decide which site is best for you by comparing contracts, fees, and insurance guarantees. In addition, don’t forget to obtain all permits and licenses prior to listing your property. The City of Knoxville’s Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance went into effect in January 2018. STRs include listings booked through online platforms, such as Airbnb and Home Away, by which people rent out part or all of their property for short periods of time. You must complete the city’s application to obtain the proper permit to begin using your property as a short-term rental.
Thinking Bigger Picture?
We firmly believe that real estate is one of the best ways to build your wealth. If you’re considering buying an investment property or turning your existing home into a short-term rental and purchasing a new primary residence, check out what’s currently available on the market. We also have an expert staff on hand to answer any questions you may have about short-term investment properties, so you can confirm that you’re making the right decisions…