We assume by now that most people have heard of Airbnb. It’s a simple room letting website that is growing in popularity very quickly.
In fact, there are 640,000 hosts on the website, offering short or long term rentals. Over 25,000 of these are in London, so if you are considering offering a room or your flat out, you’ll need prepare your home in advance to get great reviews and stand out.
Plenty of Airbnb hosts live in their home, advertising just one room or moving out for the short time it’s rented. If you’re planning on doing this, you’ll need to think about safeguarding your possessions, while offering a welcoming feel to your guests. It’s much like staging your home for a sale.
Cleaning your home
It goes without saying, but if you want to get a great review, the first impression of your home really counts. Although guests might not expect hotel standards, a clean bathroom and kitchen is a must.
Always check the bed linen for marks, ensure towels are freshly washed, give the house a good vacuum and dust throughout. Some hosts hire professional cleaners, but doing it yourself not only saves costs, it means you can check it’s done to your standards.
Clear the clutter
No matter how clean your home, piles of clutter will make it feel messy. While some ornaments and pictures add character and give it a homely feel, you don’t want to make your guests feel they are intruding on your space.
Do your DIY
Make sure that everything in your home works, and fix anything that’s broken or could be a hazard to your guests. Make sure your fire alarms have fresh batteries and you have fire extinguishers to hand. From simple things like changing lightbulbs, to dangers such as loose steps and trip hazards, your home need to be safe.
Fill the cupboards
Although you are not expected to feed your guests, there are some amenities that will make their stay more pleasant. Stock the bathroom with loo roll, put out some toiletries and cleaning products. Add tea, coffee, sugar, ketchup and other sauces to the kitchen, and include basic cereals and tins of soup, in case your guests arrive late and don’t have time to get a meal.
It’s not just about consumables. Make sure you leave out additional pillows and blankets, and, if your guests are not used to the British weather, you might find an umbrella can help them too.
Create a Guidebook
Well, two really. Firstly, put together a handbook for your home. Include things like how to use the dishwasher, how to turn up the heating or where you keep the spare key. Leave out the remote control for the TV and any instructions needed to work it.
Then create a guide to your neighbourhood. Where is the nearest underground station, which is the best bakery and your favourite pub – all the places you recommend can make your guests stay just a little easier as they find their way around.
Safeguard your possessions and identity
Letting a stranger into your home can be daunting, but if you take steps to protect your valuable possessions and, importantly, your personal information, you’ll feel more prepared. Items that you do not want breaking for sentimental reasons, personal photographs, valuables such as jewellery, your ID and bank statements – all of these things need locking up safely.
If you don’t have a lockable cupboard in your home, or somewhere you feel secure, then look at renting a storage locker. At Urban Locker the smallest space is 1m3, the size of a car boot. With short term contracts, it’s a convenient place to keep personal items and your excess clutter while your home is occupied.
Leave the necessary paperwork
If you have any rules, make a list and leave it where it can be seen. Is your home a no smoking zone, are parties or houseguests allowed and, particularly in flats, are there noise restrictions?
Leave out your contact information in case your guests have a problem. However, make sure you look after your own privacy – let your postman know not to deliver for a few days or, if your post is placed in a box, ask a neighbour to empty it for you.