Thanks to the ever-expanding sharing economy and the ease to access it, people are taking advantage of their assets to the fullest. Particularly older adults, who often find themselves in houses bigger than they really need once their adult children have moved out. Before the concept of the sharing economy was born, most people would shut the doors of unused rooms, or turn those rooms into a spare office, gym, or library. Today, however, it has never been easier to rent your room out, or entire house for that matter.
If you've decided to take the plunge, you may not know where to start. So, we've compiled some tips to help you get the process started and increase your chances of succeeding.
First, you'll want to decide where you're going to list your space and check those websites for resources. There may be specific guidelines and rules in place that you'll need to follow, so be sure to educate yourself up front, so that there are no surprises down the road.
Second, in order to list your room or house, you're going to need really good photographs. This point really cannot be stressed enough and the effort you put into the photographs of your space will be worth it. If photography is not your thing, consider hiring a professional photographer or at the very least enlist the help of a friend who may be better suited for this task. You'll want to ensure there's proper lighting and the more natural light, the better. Highlight the best aspects of your space, but be sure to include pictures of every room, because renters will be looking for them.
But hold on! Before you take pictures, you'll want to clean your space really well and get rid of any unnecessary clutter. The goal here is to get rid of personal property - think picture frames, knickknacks, books - so that potential renters can see themselves (not you) in the space. People usually don't want to rent a space that looks like it's currently being lived in. If you want to step it up a notch, consider hiring a designer or stager to really make your space stand out from the competition.
You'll want to complete any necessary repairs before listing your space and fix any hazards. Remove any valuables in your space and store them elsewhere or in a locked closet. If you need help clearing out big items or just a lot of boxes, consider hiring a moving company to do the hard labor. You can easily find one in your area with a quick search online. If you live in New York City, for example, trying doing a search for Movers NYC.
Now, you're ready to equip your space for guests. The following should be included for safety purposes: fire extinguisher, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarm, first aid kit. Most guests will expect easy internet access. There are many other amenities you can consider including, such as towels, sheets, dishware and cookware, basic toiletries, iron and ironing board, coffee maker and the list goes on. If you're near a beach, beach chairs would be a nice touch. Do a google search for more ideas of what you can include. You can also consider charging a higher rate if you offer your renters more.
Finally, type up a set of instructions for your renters. Make sure your contact information is on it and include important information like how to access any locks or codes, how to access the internet and any necessary operating instructions for appliances. Let renters know what to do with the trash and recycling, where they can park, and consider including a list of nearby stores, restaurants etc. Be sure to have any house rules listed, as well.
Once you’ve done all the prep work, it’s time to wait for a renter. Be sure to get the word out among your social circles, in addition to listing your space online. Do some research on what makes a good host while people are renting your space. Some hosts go the extra mile and leave a welcome basket with some bottled water, fruit, chocolates and some “starter” toiletries. All of these touches can help you achieve good reviews, which are really important to potential renters.