The holiday season is finally here (phew!) and while for some this can be the time when our credit card is hit the hardest, there is an alternative to holiday spending.
These holidays many families and individuals are opting to save money by renting out their home to holiday makers. In fact, I’m considering doing it too.
Is it safe? What is involved? How do I decide on pricing?
These are a few of the questions I set out to answer with the real question, of course being – Could this be the perfect money-saving solution for the holidays?
The major benefit of renting a room or home to a holidaymaker is the competitive rental rates you can receive as a host.
In my suburb in Sydney’s inner west, the price of a private room in a shared household on Airbnb ranges between $55 and $91 per night, with the average cost of an entire house upwards of $150 per night.
This came as a surprise to me. While I had expected holiday hot spots like Bondi and Circular Quay to be in demand, I was surprised my place a little outside of the city would be of interest.
I was also pleasantly surprised to hear about the positive experiences people have had on HouseSwapHolidays. This network, which helps thousands of homeowners negotiate ‘swap’ homes for short-term stays, is just as much about community as it is about cost-effectiveness.
As well as providing an affordable accommodation option, the site also fosters new travel experiences, encounters and a different perspective on the local landscape.
When looking at the cons, one major issue jumps to mind – security. How can you be sure you’re not letting Hannibal Lector into your home?
To avoid this risk Airbnb uses a rating system that ranks users according to their feedback from previous guests and hosts. Bad behaviour = bad rating.
Another source of protection is the Airbnb Host Guarantee. In the case of property damage, this provides all eligible bookings with up to $1,000,000 in coverage.
Note however that the Guarantee does not cover cash and securities, pets, personal liability and shared or common areas.
If you decide that offering your home to holidaymakers is a good way to save money for your home loan and deposit, there are a few points to keep in mind.
- Protecting your valuables is first on the list. Make sure you keep your belongings in a secure place for the duration of your visitor’s stay. If you really want to cross your ‘T’s and dot your ‘I’s I suggest you call your insurance provider for advice before proceeding. Homeowner’s policies vary from insurer to insurer and from state to state. Tell your insurance provider your plans, including how often you plan to rent your home, whether you will be home while renting and how many people you will host. Each of these factors can impact whether you are properly covered under your insurance policy.
- The second point is setting up a profile. Typically, listings with multiple photos attract the most attention. Using high-quality images, taken in a good light, will increase your chances of being booked. A good de-clutter and clean of the space will also be helpful!
- The final issue is deciding how much to charge. I suggest looking at other listings in your area and make a judgement based on comparison. It may be a case of trial and error – if you have no takers, try reducing your fee and see what the response is.
Time to give it a shot?
Now it’s time for you to weigh up the pros and cons.
What are your thoughts? Will you be Airbnb-ing your place this holiday season? I would love to hear about your experiences and your advice! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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