The rise of the so-called shared economy has opened many doors for those looking to make their properties make money for them, but there are some tips to take note of before listing your home on Airbnb.
Opening your home to others can be exciting and a good way to earn extra income, but you must go about it in an open-minded way and pay close attention to the regulations that apply, warns Bruce Swain of the Leapfrog Property Group.
Lay of the legal land
You need to ensure that you’re legally allowed to be an Airbnb host. Familiarise yourself with local zoning regulations or consult the Home Owners Association, if you belong to one.
Currently, South African cities don’t have Airbnb-specific by-laws as they do in cities like Berlin and Paris, but it’s still advisable to contact the relevant bodies to ensure it’s all above board.
For most people the goal with Airbnb is to make money, but remember that income earned is income taxed. The amount of tax payable will depend on how much you’ve earned from Airbnb.
Be sure to ask your accountant or a tax adviser about the most efficient way to declare Airbnb income and pay the associated tax.
Rules are there to protect everybody, and ultimately ensure a more pleasant Airbnb experience for both hosts and guests.
Airbnb has useful advice and guidelines for setting house rules, which are worth taking note of and incorporating into your own policies. House rules are especially important if you live in the home you are sharing.
Be clear about the spaces and amenities guests are allowed to use, when the quiet hours are, and how you expect them to behave in your home.
It’s very important to consider your neighbours. They didn’t choose to live next to a hotel or guest house, so as Airbnb host, you need to ensure that your neighbours are considered and respected too.
Make sure the house rules you put in place take your neighbours into consideration. This could include guidelines around playing loud music, no unregistered guests, no pets and the like.
At the end of the day you need to ensure that your guests are safe and your neighbours are happy.
A common courtesy would also be to inform your neighbours of your Airbnb arrangements, and to assure them that you won’t tolerate unruly behaviour from guests.
Enhance the experience
The ultimate objective with Airbnb – beyond making money – is to offer guests an interesting and enriching experience. It’s about opening your home to others as a way to give them a glimpse into your life, your culture, your neighbourhood, your ways.
Simple value-adds like compiling a brochure on what to see and do in your area, or putting a little treat from the local chocolatier on their pillow, goes a long in making guests feel welcome.
It also goes without saying that everything should be neat and clean. While the idea is very much to open your home to others, a respectable level of hygiene and order should be maintained at all times.
Great reviews are the currency of the sharing economy, which is why you need to ensure you get as many five-star reviews by guests as possible, to ensure you keep getting the traffic to make it worth the effort.
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