I am new to hosting on Air bnb and created my listing in late February. (Spare bedroom within my home with its own bathroom.) My house is located in a forest setting, but within driving distance to major attractions and cities of the mid-Atlantic region. So while not directly in the hub bub of things, I am close enough to major attractions that I figured would draw occasional visitors with various intentions – business people, tourists, hikers, skiers, etc.
I am a teacher, the thought of meeting interesting people and bringing in some extra cash, especially during the summer, appealed to me.
So I created the listing with a lighthearted, but not uncautious, spirit. I mean I am 55 five years old and I teach high school. So I am flexible by nature and young at heart, but I also can spot and squelch trouble before it’s even a thought. I’m very intuitive in that regard.
So thus far I have gotten three requests – the first was a lovely writer from NYC who ended up not being able to book b/c of transportation issues. We truly connected with each other in our correspondences, and I am confident she will book again at a later date.
The second is a relatively local college student and he is booked/paid and coming out tomorrow for a night away from dorm life. So technically he’s my first guest and I am looking forward to his stay. My intuition is that he’s a top-notch sort of person – this was confirmed sufficiently for me by a brief search of his bio.
So my first two experiences as host I feel have been favorable.
But then a third request came in, and it was for the entire month of April, which might have garnered me a healthy sum EXCEPT I did not get a good feel about the requester. It was from a woman saying she needed temporary housing while seeking to relocate to and rent a place in the area. She said she was from a nearby county (which happens to be very affluent) and wondered if she could come out to see my place before reserving the room for the month. She also sent me her telephone number and requested that I call her to arrange the “visit”. She was savvy enough to write out the number using a combination of numerals and letters so that I could make out the number.
I felt uneasy about the request from the start, but I wasn’t sure why, Plus, I admit I was briefly tempted by the notion of making some additional income by accommodating a guest for a month. But I did not reply immediately.
I mulled it over and I let the request sit just a little over 24 hours. Then it occurred to me to do a reverse phone lookup. Well, the number did not match the name she gave and the location for the number was in a very sketchy part of the state known for high crime–definitely not the affluent area she mentioned.
And then it dawned on me that if I were to call the number and allow her to come see my home, she would then know my exact location. I wondered: Could this possibly be a set-up for casing my house for a burglary? Forgive me, but the old adage that when something is too good to be true, it usually is, kept running through my mind.
So I did not call the number. I simply declined the offer and left a message saying “Could not accommodate request.” And I don’t feel bad about that decision. I believe I did the right thing.
Then just this evening I looked for my listing without logging in and it is nowhere to be found. I had my husband look for it, too, from his computer with the same result: Our listing does not appear.
My calendar is blank again for the dates she had requested, so I know the decline went through.
But I am wondering:
1.) Have any of you ever had a “sketchy” inquiry like I’ve described?
2.) To what extent do you check out your potential guests? And
3.) What do you think is the reason my listing does not appear?
Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated.