Balling out on Airbnb – tentree

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Balling out on Airbnb

You may as well call me an Airbnb evangelist. I’m absolutely addicted to the website that was made to help people find short-term accommodation. I’ve used it countless times traveling across Europe and now I’m also renting out my own apartment too.

But what still blows me away is how many people don’t know about Airbnb or are weary of the idea of using it. The most common question I get asked since putting up my own place is: “Aren’t you worried about your stuff?” But the honest answer is, not really, as the company’s Host Guarantee covers up to $1 million in property damage. In some ways, it’s even safer than renting out an apartment to a permanent tenant.

I’ve had a few different guests at my home now while I’ve been away for a weekend or on holidays. I’ve always returned to my apartment in perfect condition – I’ve even had guests throw their covers in the washing machine and start up the dishwasher before leaving! To be honest, my place is still even cleaner than it would be after the proper cleaning it gets before hand. So the next few days after an Airbnb are always quite a pleasure.

So whether you’re just curious about Airbnb or keen on getting started, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve gathered so far along the way:

As a Host:

o Get the professional photos. I had to wait over a month for one of Airbnb’s photographers to come over and snap around, then another month for the photos to actually be uploaded. But oh my God, was it ever worth it. The photos he took were a thousand times better then the ones I did, and they were also stamped with Airbnb’s verified seal of approval (the service itself is also free). Right away, I started getting more messages from interested guests.

o Start out cheap. I was a little frustrated for the first while, as I wasn’t getting any quality response. I wasn’t sure if my apartment could compete with the hundreds of other listings that had already been renting for a long time and had plentiful reviews that pushed them to the top of the search engine. So I dropped the room down to €20 a night, less than half Airbnb’s suggested amount. I got my first couple renters, they left reviews and it’s been steady from there.

o There’s nothing wrong with nickel and dimes. Take advantage of Airbnb’s programmed settings, which allow you to charge “hidden fees” like cleaning fee, deposit and also according to the number of guests. If you rent out your room for less in the beginning, you can make up some of that in this way.

As a Renter:

o Get reviews and references. As a host, I’m always checking to see what kind of person is inquiring about the room. Sometimes, the profile has been the ultimate deciding factor in who gets to stay. Ask your friends to leave you references (find out who has Airbnb by connecting your Facebook) and always leave a review for your hosts, as they will likely also do the same.

o Have fair expectations. An Airbnb rental is not a hotel room. It should be spotlessly clean when you arrive, but there may be personal items around that are difficult to tuck and hide away. Some hosts leave goodies like shampoo and hair dryers for renters, but you can’t come to expect those things – rather, reward them with a good review.

o Browse wisely. The apartments that will come up first when searching are usually those with the most reviews. But that means you could be missing out on a lot of new, awesome apartments that are probably renting at a low cost, in the hopes of boosting their reviews and move up themselves. Use filters to search by price and take your time when clicking and scrolling.

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