Are you looking for a side hustle? Ever thought about turning your home into an Airbnb? Or are you possibly buying a home in a high tourist population and want to turn it into a short-term rental? Maybe you’re just curious about how they work. Regardless, they can be huge money-makers if done right. Investing in real estate is exciting when you know you have the knowledge and the team behind you to turn a profit. As a successful real estate brokerage, we know a thing or two about running a successful Airbnb business and operating rental properties both locally and abroad.
Airbnb is a platform for individuals to rent out their primary residences as lodgings for travellers. Renters typically seek accommodations with a homey feel that hotels don’t provide, with the main goal of hosts being able to supplement their income. The majority of Airbnb’s revenue comes from service fees from bookings charged to both guests and hosts.
Essentially, anyone can rent out their home on Airbnb, but reviews matter and good reviews contribute the big bucks helping you generate enough revenue to make it worthwhile.
As real estate experts in the GTA, these are our top tips to maximize the return on your investment. And, if you’re just getting started on this adventure, ask us to help you find the perfect home to turn a profit on.
Professional photographs are key
You can throw the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover” out the window when scrolling through the app to find a place to stay. People WILL judge immediately by the photos. Invest in a high-quality photographer to take pictures of the residence you want to list. The location will look much more spacious. They will look at every nook and cranny in your home to establish what the best shots will be to showcase the characteristics that sell your home visually.
And we’re not talking about “Oh the window is crooked, it adds character!” We’re talking cool colours, funky plants, and maybe the gorgeous soaker tub in the bathroom. If someone is looking for a simple home to rent for a night, they may be more attracted to staying in a hotel. Many people rent out Airbnbs, not just because it’s normally cheaper, but because they like the “homey aesthetic” instead of being cooped up in a hotel room. Rooms with themes or unique amenities are top sellers; that your photographer should focus on.
Make sure you answer messages promptly.
It’s extremely easy nowadays to book a hotel online without talking to a single person. That is the norm. Make sure the people who express interest in your Airbnb get a quick response from you so you don’t miss out on a sale. Be prepared to mark a specific time out of your day to respond to messages to reduce the amount of waiting time for your guests. You will need to be prepared to respond at any given moment. Remember, time zones exist! It’s an around-the-clock customer service job.
First impressions matter
You’re essentially working in the service industry when you become an Airbnb host. You want to ensure you treat all guest inquiries in a friendly manner. Many people will ask questions that you have clearly stated in the description. Don’t let that frustration rub off on the guests. Build a connection with friendly responses and a happy-go-lucky attitude; this will increase your chance of guests choosing your rental over the competition.
How will you stand out?
We mentioned this earlier, but unique homes, furnishings, or custom amenities will stick out to guests scrolling through the app. Think of the type of experience you want for your guests. Will families be staying there? Will couples be going there for their honeymoon? Is it near a popular tourist destination where people will only be there to sleep? Think about the target audience that you want to attract. Make sure to highlight features around the physical location of the home like walking distance to public transit, popular tourist attractions nearby, and popular restaurants to visit. You will gain more attention this way by being a local guide for your guests.
Include board games, books, movies, and entertainment options for your guests at home as well. Provide complimentary tea and coffee in the kitchen, and possibly even a bottle of wine. A simple gesture can go a long way. You want to give them something to talk about… and make sure it’s not the lack of toilet paper or missing paper towels!
Keep the price reasonable
One main reason why individuals rent an Airbnb property is that it’s more cost-effective than staying at a hotel. Look at the going rate of similar rentals in the area. A good review from a past renter can go a long way but, price plays a big role as well.
Install a lockbox for easy access.
Many of your guests may arrive late due to travel delays. Installing a lock box or a smart lock makes it easy for guests to get inside during odd hours. It saves you time from having to schedule a time to meet, and potentially be left hanging. It also makes it easier when they leave if they don’t have to lock the door on the way out, that is if you can automatically lock it for them.
Make sure you know the laws
Many condos won’t allow Airbnb units and you could be subject to a fine if you don’t follow the rules of your condo building. In 2020, Toronto introduced new rules to Airbnb that they must register with the city for short-term rentals to ensure the safety of renters. You are not allowed to list your property on short-term rental sites (like Airbnb) if it isn’t your principal residence to encourage more long-term rentals in the city. If you are registered, you are required to display your registration number on all your listings and will be subject to a tax. In the long term make sure you keep up to date on all the laws that are necessary so you stay out of the hot water. There are also areas and buildings that are specifically zoned to allow for short-term furnished rentals – if you’d like to learn where our team can share the most current and compelling options that are available in the market.
To hire a cleaning service? Or to do it yourself? That is the question.
Cleaning the rental yourself is the cheaper option. However, it is time-consuming and you don’t want to skip sanitary steps to ensure the cleanliness of the next renter. If you’re not a fan of picking up after others, it may be easier for you to bite the bullet and hire a cleaning company to clean after every stay.
Find the perfect residence to turn into an investment property by working with Shirriff Wells Real Estate.
Airbnb has significantly altered the nature of the short-term property rental market. Running an Airbnb properly can be a fantastic way to generate a successful income. If you’re looking for a home to turn into an Airbnb, give us a call at 416-495-2746 and we will help you find the perfect place to list and can help you take care of all the details. As experts in Toronto and the GTA, we know the best spots and how to make your listing unique to your guests looking to stay in the city. Have a question? Feel free to ask, we’re always here to help.