HOUSTON, Texas - If you're looking to make some extra cash and don't mind guests staying in your house while you are not there, then consider listing your home on Airbnb.
Mila Arzu has a business called Hostkeyper.com. She manages and cleans homes in the Houston area that get listed on popular site Airbnb. If you don't already know what it is, it's an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations. It's an alternative to a hotel and typically much cheaper.
Many homeowners leave the home when guests stay, but other Airbnb hosts stay while their guest is there. But Arzu suggests that you may not want to stick around.
"When people are traveling, they want the whole house, even though it might be expensive," Arzu said.
When it comes to pricing, Arzu also suggests to get your place noticed on Airbnb so that people can write reviews. That means you need to get your placed rented out.
"What we do is start the price cheap or the price low so that people can come into the house, rent the house and give you the review. That's when you start raising the price," Arzu said.
Arzu said that homeowners should break down whatever you pay a month to 30 days, and multiply by two to really cash in.
When it comes to listing, don't take photos. Airbnb will send a professional photographer free of charge.
With a potential customer, the host can decide to approve the guest. Arzu said a conversation on the app is a good idea to get started.
Here are Arzu's top five tips for new Airbnb hosts:
1. Have easy access to the home
Lockboxes and smart locks are great tools to use when you are a busy host. Do not have time to exchange keys. This way, guests can arrive at their convenience.
2. De-clutter your home
Although your home may be clean, many guests associated cluttered homes as "dirty," so take some time to put away your personal items in a locked closet.
3. Keep a Clean home
Unlike hotels, guests can't change their "rooms," so always keep it clean. You are sure to get great reviews from your guests, which will bring more business to your home. The more positive reviews, the more other guests will want to stay in your home.
4. Have plenty of supplies
Make sure you have everything a traveling guest would need. Some items that you should keep stocked are toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo/conditioners, hand soaps, hair dryers and an ironing board and iron.
5. Add your own personal touch
The special thing about home sharing is that every home is different, so you should add your special touch. Some hosts prepare a welcome basket with fruits, nuts, and chocolate, while others leave flowers or their favorite local beer in the fridge - something that says, "welcome to my home!"
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For future hosts who would like to get into more about renting your home, Hostkeyper is having a free info session Saturday at Start Houston. For more information visit website
www.hostkeyper.com or the event website.
To help cover the costs of running Airbnb, guests are charged a service fee every time a reservation is confirmed. The amount of this service fee varies, but it is typically 6 to 12 percent.