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Hello - New Host in Vermont!

My husband and I decided a few weeks ago that we were going to Airbnb both our 2BR apartment in Brattleboro, VT and our efficiency condo in Dover, VT. Brattleboro is a really cool town in southern VT with lots of great restaurants, art galleries, speciality stores, farms…its wonderful. Dover VT is a ski town with the Mt. Snow ski resort, recently bought by Vail Resorts so now its covered on the EPIC PASS! Woo!

So we are new hosts, with two new listings. The first one (Brattleboro) is going live TONIGHT. The second we are currently living in and renovating (Dover).

We have already gotten a lot of bookings and we don’t have any reviews yet, and I’m pretty nervous about making this work. We are planning to leave the Dover listing in a few weeks to head out on great adventures out West. Obviously, we are hiring a property manager and house cleaners for both units.

But if anyone has any stories, words of wisdom, tips/advice on hosting remotely, I would love to hear it.

Also please send feedback on our listings - The links to both are below. We don’t have photos of the interior of the condo in Dover, but that has not deterred bookings in the least and it actually has a better booking rate than the one we do have photos in!

Thanks in Advance!
Brattleboro, VT
Dover, VT

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Welcome to the forum!! I hope it works out with the property management and cleaners. I did the same thing 5 years ago but soon ran into problems with the managers and cleaners. I finally found a cleaning lady that is honest and on schedule. But I manage my properties remotely only using my smartphone and laptop. I am saving thousands of dollars in management fees over the years. I am not allowed to share my methods of managing in this forum but research how to do it online using your phone. Also you will need to have a handyman in the loop in case a hot water heater needs to be replaced and etc.

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Oh very cool!! Yes I will definitely check that out. We are hoping to be 100% remote/automated so that we can kind of just travel and coast and have the Airbnb fund the travels!

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Curious - I don’t know this rule, can you share why?

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Hi Kate! I’m also a new host but I’m a frequent AirBnb guest (and I was recently in Brattleboro, which was awesome), so I looked at your listing through my guest-lens.

The second listing obviously didn’t have pics of the apartment yet which makes sense. I would suggest taking professional photos when it’s time to photograph, though.

The Brattleboro listing looks like a place I would likely request, but I think your photos could be sleeker. Some of them are a little dark, and, as cute as your child is, having a blurry kid in the corner of one of the bedroom photos was a little distracting (I thought it was a nice touch on the changing table photo, though). If you can’t take new photos or spring for a pro right now, you might want to brighten the darker ones using a photo-editing software.

I’m sensitive to this because I have to have pro photos done of my rental. The rooms on the lower level get ok light but not good enough light for the photos to look anything but dingy. It’s a bummer but in order to better represent what you have, this is something you might want to consider.

I found the language about parking in the Brattleboro listing a little confusing so maybe you want to give that some editing. Even if it’s just “Parking is available and details will be provided before check-in,” you want to simplify what you wrote. I had trouble understanding what you were trying to say there.

I would play up the opportunity for ski lessons in the second listing, too. Maybe end with it? Also if you can offer some sort of discount to your renters on the lesson, that’s a great incentive for everyone!

Good luck! If I pass through Brattleboro again, I’ll see if you’re free.

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Thank you so much for the reply. The photos in the apartment were hard, its not easy to get good light in two of the rooms. But I will edit them and brighten, that’s a great tip. I never even thought about having a professional do the photos, which is really ironic because I’m a realtor and I literally hire people to take photos of all my listings! DOY!

And good tip on the parking, I will change the wording on that too. Thanks again for the advice!! And I’m so glad you liked Brattleboro, whereabouts did you stay before?

Gotcha. I will check out the apps though, thanks again!

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Raise your price a bit you are too low.

Welcome to the forum, lots of good stuff here I look forward to learning with you.

RR

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You need to stage your Air photos more carefully than sale photos. When you do, make sure that you don’t include any items (especially in the kitchen) or amenities that are not going to available to guests.

And as everyone here who rents somewhere other than where they live will tell you, you need outside security cameras (disclosed in your listing) to ensure no partying or extra guests.

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Hi Kate,

Welcome! I’m one town up from you in Putney. I’m pretty new too, but have been on a learning crash course since we started. Here’s a few suggestions on your Brattleboro listing.

1 - raise your prices!!! $40 is way too low for an entire 2 bedroom place. I’d say at least double, check comps in Bratt. If prices are too low, you may attract guests who aren’t as respectful of your place as you’d like. Plus, money.

2 - up your game on your beds. They could be made more simply/neatly and I’d consider getting new linens that are white or light, or at least all one color.

3 - cut down on clutter in almost all pics. If you get rid of all/most toys and surface objects, other than a few, (no Cheerios!), your place will look more inviting. You could have one shot showing a tidy toy box if you want to communicate that to guests.

4 - more light in your photos! You can do this in iPhoto or your phone, it can be pretty simple. Look up articles about taking good photos for your listing.

Good luck! There’s lots of visitors to our area, and it’s a great way to earn some extra income.

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Thank you for the reply! Yes I’m going to re-take the photos this week, thank you for the tips!
So, I did change my minimum price via “smart pricing” to $75 last week, but it still is showing it as $40 when I preview it.

I manage a 16+ guest home in Stowe. I was asked to do it as a side gig for a friend of mine that owns to many houses… I got the DSLR out and took about 50x shots of the house/grounds. We got it listed, and both kind of blindly stumbled into it. We made some mistakes for sure, but we learned!

It’s a very unique property, so it’s been doing quite well. We are 2x months in, and generated 11k in bookings for 2019.

We use nest! We love the nest. A camera pointed at the driveway keeps people honest (we like to think)

Oh very nice!! I feel like I am making a lot of mistakes already. We had bookings scheduled for after everything was supposed to be done, but of course people and parts and coordination delayed and we have had a few bookings where everything we had promised was not ready. The gas fireplace was scheduled to be installed the 2nd week of October…and its still not in there because apparently they are waiting for the HOA to sign off on it! Feeling pretty anxious about displeasing people - so far everyone has been really great but I keep waiting for the angry message of utter disappointment

I’m sure you’re being careful to inform everyone who makes a reservation about exactly what isn’t there yet—or, later, what might happen to be broken—before they arrive. And keep ALL your correspondence with Airbnb guests on the Airbnb platform. Don’t use regular texts, phone calls, emails, Facebook, or any other method.

If your site shows things or describes things that aren’t yet working or fully installed, revise your site immediately. List them and show them only when they’re 100% ready.

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We updated our site as soon as we heard about the delays, and then either discounted or reduced our rates for those interim dates. It’s been frustrating for us but the guests seem ok. I think being a people pleaser and perfectionist is good as a host but also terrible for a hosts anxiety

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I understand the problem. My husband and I are both confirmed introverts and perfectionists. With effort, we turn ourselves into hospitable people-pleasers.

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