Get house 100% ready first, or jump in and improve as you go?

Just getting started. We have a house we are working on getting ready to list as a whole house (not where we live). Obviously it will be set up with the basics and major repairs will be done. But would you list a house if you knew you had plans to do some improvements? Or wait to list until improvements are done and its 100% perfect? For example, in our small house we plan to take down a wall between the kitchen and living room. So would you wait to list until that is finished? Or just list it now and then do that later? OR like the bathroom tile is poorly done and ugly, but functional- so fix it or before going live? Or decorating- obviously you need the beds, but could you wait on decor? Would it hurt ratings? I would retake photos after each improvement.

Are you a seasonal destination or year around? It becomes a pain in the butt to schedule multi-week repairs when you have reservations.

I would get everything on your 100% needs to be done list done prior to listing. We did a complete gut rehab on two lake cottages. Even doing this, there were some items that we decided were decent and left as is. This winter (off season) we are going to tackle those.

You don’t want to over improve if you are not certain your location can support rates for the money you are putting in. We are going to try to push rates next summer so are tackling some additional projects to make it better.

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I’d do the bathroom tiles before. People are very fussy and view old as dirty! I’ve been making improvements but by bit, as long as all surfaces are clean, freshly painted and any ragged, damaged items repaired I’d go ahead.
Bedding appearance is a big deal. Inexpensive, ie ikea duvets. Or similar new, bright bedding makes a big difference, not that it’s any better to sleep in than older, clean bedding, but people aren’t rational. You don’t want your ratings to be lowered by things that can be easily and cheaply (relatively) fixed.
Now I know my market, Ive just added a hot tub.

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Year around, with some seasons slightly higher than others. Based on a lot of research on the other listings in my area I expect to be booked at least 20 days a month once I really get going and have good reviews etc. That might be overly optimistic, but I do believe it is based in reality as best I could do. So that leaves 10 days, although of course then they wont probably be all at one time so…It probably easiest to get it all squared away ahead of time. I’m just eager to get started!

The tile is new, just the previous owners did it and well, they do not know how to tile. Plus they have bad taste and tiled it white with angular broken up black tile as an accent border, with brown grout :frowning: I personally think it is hideous. Plus yea, I suppose people might think the brown grout is just dirty.

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Your reviews won’t be stellar if the place is below average, appearance-wise. Reviews will also suffer when the place looks to be half-finished and it’s hard to schedule work and predict timeframes in between bookings, which will lead to complaints about fumes, debris, etc. Unless you don’t have the money to cover it, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just finish the reno and then list. It seems like you’re inviting a lot headaches and hassles by wanting to do both simultaneously.

I could barely get an ignition switch replaced in the oven – the repair took less than 20 minutes but I couldn’t find a repairman to come out in the time windows between guests and then guests didn’t want a repair person in the kitchen while they’re here on holiday (or I couldn’t be there with the repairman, which is necessary if the guests’ stuff is in the unit).


Look at the competition around you. When I started out 4 years ago, I was able to charge higher than what I do now with a room that was ummm, well, not nearly what it is now. But I used the $$$ from renting to pay for improvements. Bottom line: You may not have to improve much if you can get the market rate as is.

Triple, quadruple like.

@janeandcharley don’t have your want to get started and to generate income overcome common sense :slight_smile:

You want to get good reviews from the start and attract the sort of guests that are right for your property.

As @chicagohost says scheduling in repairs, specially major repairs when you are underway with your Airbnb is difficult. Workmen don’t always turn up when they say. Work takes longer than expected.

Do the key things that you need to do ie bathroom, decorate appeal to your target market first etc.

Then set aside time in the low season for say taking down the wall.

Difficult for us to comment without seeing the place, understanding your competition, target market etc.

I have this dilemma coming up in a year or so, once the 3 students have moved out, I’ll be airbnbing it. As long as it’s painted nicely and I charge the correct price I should be ok. I can then make some money on it, and do rooms up as I see fit: a new bathroom here, a fresh kitchen there.
Or should I do it all up first, then charge more from day 1?
There’s probably no correct answer…the thought of doing it all in one go fills me with dread, but there are advantages.

There is a market for people who are very happy to stay in no frills accommodations (i.e. no decor) for a cheaper price than other options nearby. You can get great ratings for giving great hospitality, as long as you are up front about the negative aspects of the space.

I will echo what others have said about scheduling repairs and other projects between reservations - it can certainly be a hassle. But you can always snooze your listing or block off dates more aggressively if, after you’ve started, you want to take time off from hosting to renovate. As others have suggested, it is probably not a great idea to do the renovations while you have guests.

When I started my listing was literally a futon mattress on a floor in an empty apartment, with 2 ikea chairs in the living room. Slowly but surely I have added more furniture, repainted, and replaced appliances over time. The place still needs work, and yes sometimes people complain about old shower tile looking “dirty,” but I am enjoying myself as a host. Most of the money I’ve made hosting has gone back into the property for improvements and I’ve met some cool people along the way. I’ve learned to manage guest expectations, and these days I usually get great reviews.

But it took a lot of learning. Learning what I was comfortable with, learning what kind of weird things guests do, learning my limits, learning how often I can host without driving myself crazy. If you haven’t hosted before, you might want to try it for a little while before investing serious money in renovations.