Your home is your home. Regardless of whether you own a condo or a house, it’s yours and it’s worth a lot of money. But you can potentially make a lot of money with it as well. If you’re thinking of putting your home on one of those vacation rental websites like Airbnb or VRBO, consider these things before you pull the trigger.
What Is Peer-To-Peer Rental?
Peer-to-peer rental marketplaces are websites that allow homeowners to post either bedrooms in their house or full homes (condos or houses) to be rented out instead of booking a hotel room. Some of the most popular websites include Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and FlipKey. By listing on these websites, you are reaching an international audience of people who are looking for hotel alternatives when vacationing. Make sure you read the fine print before renting out your place on any one site as there are rules, regulations and fees associated. Consider listing your property on more then one site. By having your place on multiple sites, you are increasing your visibility and therefore increasing the chance you’ll be busy!
Strata Rules Rule
Remember, if you live in a condominium or townhome complex, make sure you are abiding by your Strata Corporation’s rules and regulations. Each have their own and it’s important you follow suit, otherwise you could face fines and/or legal chargers or worse.
As this is considered an additional source of income, it’s important to find out about provincial and federal regulations and how you should report your earnings. If you have an accountant, they’ll be able to advise you before so you know just what to expect. And if you don’t, contact the Canada Revenue Agency to find out how this might affect your particular situation. If you end up having to pay too much tax, it might not be worth the trouble.
Before Your First Guests Arrive
Include a welcome binder at the entrance that will have information about the rules of the house, the nearby amenities, computer login or wifi passwords, emergency contacts, and more helpful information. Not everyone staying will be from BC or from Canada, so include things that might seem like second nature to you. TV channel listings, 911 and other important phone numbers. Local restaurant delivery services and 24 hour pharmacies. Include linens such as bedsheets and towels, and of course toilet paper, soap and shampoo and dishwashing liquids. If you have laundry machine inside your home, include how-to instructions as well as detergent. Buying items in bulk at Costco might be helpful as well.
It Takes Time
Once you list your property and rent it out, your job doesn’t end there. It’s important to remember that you are now responsible to communicate with your guests in case of emergency, you must also consider that you will need to clean your home before and after each guest. You also need to be available online or by phone in case potential guests have questions or concerns. Plus, you need to include shopping time to get those items discussed above.
Just like when you’re selling your home, it’s important to understand what fair market value is for your particular space. At the end of the day, the price you charge is up to you, however if you’re unreasonable in your ask, you won’t be very popular or have many renters. Find out what hotels in your area are charging, as well as scope out the competition on the sites you choose to list on. This will give you an indication of what others are offering and for how much. If you are offering more then just a place to sleep, you might be able to charge a little more. For instance, if you have a pool, this can warrant a few more dollars. And if you are near the SkyTrain station, or at the centre of town, this too will afford you more rent.
Be respectful and polite to your guests and give them their space. And anything you can do to go above and beyond will always be greatly appreciated (like baking fresh cookies, having a personalized welcome note, etc.). Peer-to-peer rental sites allow for both the property and host to be reviewed as well as the guests. So it’s important to stay on top of reviewing your guests as they need these reviews just as much as you do. These reviews of hosts about their guests help other hosts understand what they are getting as well.