If you’re a homeowner, you know that there are a lot of costs that come with owning a home. There are expenses like heating and cooling, electricity, water, internet…so on and so on. Not only the price tag, but also the maintenance of a home can make going on vacation difficult. But have you thought about renting out a spare room? Peer-to-peer renting marketplaces are changing making it so much easier for homeowners to not only travel, but to also have their costs covered by renters. Renters and homeowners are using websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO or Wimdu to either rent out their homes temporarily, and to find nicer, more affordable places to stay at on vacation.
What is Peer-to-Peer Renting?
Peer-to-peer renting is part of the uber popular sharing economy that created businesses like, well, Uber for example. All these businesses that allow private people to use their own assets – a car, a home, personal services – in the way of a collaborative consumption. A homeowner rents out their home or part of their home; and a renter is able to stay in these accommodations that are usually cheaper than a hotel room. For homeowners, it’s a great way to make supplemental income or save money for traveling. Basically you can cover the entire cost of your trip if someone rents your place while your gone.
And travelers also benefit from peer-to-peer renting. The average hotel room costs $137 per night. In comparison, a house on Airbnb can cost as little as $80 per night, depending on the location.
Peer-to-peer renting: Why you should try it
Peer-to-peer renting is transforming the rental market in a huge way. Extra income like this was simply not available a few short years ago, and has made it easy for homeowners to get support with paying things like home insurance, bills, electricity and maintenance costs – or, as I’ve said before, save money to travel. Using Airbnb, the average homeowner makes $7,350 per year just from temporarily renting out their home, which is not an inconsiderable amount.
Location plays an important factor in demand. Popular U.S. cities like New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington D.C, Charleston, New Orleans and Honolulu are easier than others to rent out, but even if you live in a less ‘desirable’ location: don’t get encouraged by this! It doesn’t take much time to list your home on AirBnb, and it’s completely free of charge. So why not give it a try?!
Top tips for successfully renting out your house
If you decide to rent out your home, get your spare room in top condition first. If the renters share bathroom or kitchen with you, make sure that everything is not just clean but also in great condition. First impressions count more than you think – and can make or break a successful rental story. Investing a little money upfront, into topnotch vanities for example, can go a long way. Fluffy towels, nice sheets, sample toiletries – things like that won’t go unnoticed. The same goes for overall cleanliness. Peer-to-peer rentals rely on customer reviews, after all, and you want to make sure to get the best rating possible for your place – splendid reviews are what attracts guests more than anything else!
My top tip: Always go the ‘extra mile’. And by that I don’t mean you have to go over the top with what you provide your guests with, but a small gesture like a kettle in the room or simply a ‘snack box’ on the table with some sweets will make you stand out and makes it more likely that your renters will give you a 5-star rating and recommend you to their friends and family.
If you are thinking about listing your spare room on Airbnb or a similar site, make sure you are aware of all risks involved, of things like taxes and insurances, safety and handling payments. This article is a comprehensive resource to get you started – and to grow your travel funds!