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Help: Is this a red flag?

I’m sure most of you get from tiem to time a very silly question from your would-be guests.
I have 2 apartments in the same location and one of my guests is asking me which one is the best.
It seems like a very open question for me and carries no clear/objetive answer. Both have almost 200 reviews each and they are great so there is feedback from past guests there. Yes, I know, I could simply answer the best source for your answer are the reviews of my past guests but I’m afraid they seem kind of picky with this question. It makes me wonder that they are looking for a PERFECT 10.00 and I’m not sure I would like to host this kind of guests.

Other questions I got from this guests were:
How central is the location? Is it safe?
Could you recommend us things to do in your city? //(Yes, before the reservation is confirmed)//

They contact me first on April for a stay in March 2017. I told them I was not accepting reservations for stays that start in almost 1 year in advance. They contacted me now again to see if my place is now open. But they came up with this new quesqion of which of my apartments is the best.

Are this guests a red flag for you?

Hi @florbone,

None of those questions seem like obvious red flags to me, but I’m not so experienced. But maybe your concerns are based on your experiences. Have guests like this caused you problems before?

“Could you recommend us things to do in your city?” <- yes, that one is a bit silly, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something bad. Why not ask these people questions in return? Try to gauge their expectations? Often people will tell you about themselves if you listen carefully. Even if they don’t mean to do so.

And do these people have any reviews?

No, I do not see why they would be a red flag.

It is a valid question. If I would be getting this question, I would simply answer which of my own apartments I would prefer, and why.

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Not necessarily red flags, but I would decline if I thought someone else would book because I find guests with poor reading comprehension complain about features noted in the listing (thankfully usually in private feedback).

I never have guests ask if my neighborhood is safe, but I have a host friend in another neighborhood who is asked this often. She asks guests what they mean, and she often concludes they would not be comfortable with her multicultural urban neighborhood.

My first instincts; potentially high-maintenance.

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I think it’s silly for guests to ask hosts, “is it safe”? What host is going to say, no, it’s very dangerous…You’re probably going to get blown away in a drive-by shooting?

People need to take responsibility for their own choices. It’s very easy to find crime statistics for most places. In US cities there are up to date crime maps for specific neighborhoods. I would assume it’s the same in other Western countries. For other international destinations you can flip through a Lonely Planet guidebook, read travel forums and talk to locals. No one person can guarantee someone else’s safety. It’s up to people to do their own research and make an informed decision. Not rely on what the host says.

Of course the host will be the first person blamed if there is something bad that happens to the guest, even in an area with low crime.

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This reminds me of when I first bought this house and rented it long-term for four years. Prior to my first tenants moving in, my middle-aged cranky neighbor asked me, “What kind of people are they?” I was sooo tempted to reply, “They are former Manson family members who got our of prison early.” I told her the truth – a Broncos cheerleader and her boyfriend, who owned three Jimmy Johns.

(For you non-US – Jimmy Johns is a fast food chain that makes sandwiches and promises to deliver them FAST!)

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Exactly! Those are silly questions

Is the location safe?
Is your place nice?
Is your rental a good deal?

I´m also afraid that bad things use to happen to the people that expect it. A girl once asked me if there were power outages in the area and I instantly declined her because I was sure I will have one if she decides to stay with me. When someone asks me if the location is safe I would like to reply “Yes, it is but be sure to always close the windows to prevent any thief coming from the outside”.

They come across as fearful, which tend to be people suffering from some degree of paranoia and oftentimes turn out to be the exhausting types.

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What @Mearns said. I am sure they are harmless enough, but they sound exhausting already.

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Aye Cats…I get this all the time, the opening salvo is usually: “Is there anything in the sea that we should be afraid of?”. :rolling_eyes:

Well yeah; Great White Sharks, Saltwater Crocodiles, 1,000 pound Leopard Seals, up to 30-foot Giant Pacific Octopus and such assorted creatures. Fortunately, these creatures will have a very tough time swimming and surviving in the 1-2 feet of shallow water surrounding the island where you be staying.

Seriously, I told one lady about the lovable manatees that come into the blue hole in the atoll, which sometimes we get to touch, and she told she ‘heard’ they could be very aggressive. That is when I hit the reject button.

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I see reviews in my neighborhood where the guest slams the host because their car got broken into (or more commonly, because they got a parking ticket). I agree the host will he blamed if these careless guests have a bad experience due to their negligence.

I think there can be a few subtexts to the “is it safe?” question. One I think is paranoia fueled by prejudice. If being asked of an urban US neighborhoods (the type of neighborhood my own home is in), I think the guest may be fearful of the diversity you find in many American cities. I have in mind the type of person who posts on NextDoor that they saw a “suspicious” dark-skinned person going about their day, or calls the police on black teenagers for hanging out aka “loitering.”

I think the other subtext, which can be related, is stemming from entitlement and obliviousness: can I conduct myself as I would at home, and nothing bad will happen to me? I think these guests don’t want to modify their behavior to suit a new environment. They want to be able to walk home drunk in the middle of the night without getting mugged, leave their GPS or smart phone in the car without getting a break-in, or be able to leave the windows open and the door unlocked without attracting a thief.

I don’t like the “is it safe?” question because there are unsafe things to do in ANY city, town, or country getaway, and it doesn’t always have to do with crime. In some cities, it is unsafe to assume that cars will stop for you at the crosswalk. In bear country, it is unsafe to leave your food out. A smart tourist will research and ask the locals how to stay safe.

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Yes, Xena. Is a question that no host can´t answer. My area is safe and fortunately, none of my guests experienced an unsafe situation but there is no city with ZERO crimes in the world so I can´t assure it will be always for the one who asks.

Another one very hard to answer for me is if it is noisy. My place is quiet indeed but I´m tempted to reject someone who asks for this just for the fear of defrauding him if it happens that some of my neighbors decide to celebrate his birthday´s party in big. Guests should understand that total perfection is impossible to get. If you want to stay steps from the sea, you can´t complain because your washed clothes don´t dry fast.

I have never had this question. Maybe visitors assume that the People’s Republic of Boulder is inherently safe. But I just looked up the crime statistics and, yikes. I guess if someone asks, I could direct them to do the crime search themselves and then to make their own determination: https://bouldercolorado.gov/police/crime-statistics

The sarcastic side of me would want to ask, “Are you a safe guest? I need to reassure my immediate neighborhood that nothing bad will happen to them while you are staying her.”

(No, I wouldn’t really do that.)

On a happier note, I just fixed my Bosch dishwasher at my house that hasn’t been working for four days!

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I get the same. I work from home so can guarantee that this place is wonderfully quiet and peaceful — 99.9% of the time. But if I was to reassure a guest that it is quiet, you can be sure that during their stay someone would be revving a motorbike up and down the street, blokes would be digging up the roadway or there’d be noisy construction next door.

I’m on the international border with Mexico and our sister city, Juarez had an internationally known spate of violence in the last decade that appears to now be abating a bit. More than one person has expressed concern about it. El Paso though is one of the safest cities in the US and the crime rate is lower now than prior to 9/11 because of the increased security on the border. I’ve even had people ask if I had filtered water available because the water was unsafe due to our proximity to the border.

This is exactly what happened with my last guest. She very specifically wanted a quiet place to do some writing and I told her my neighborhood is usually very quiet but since it was labor day weekend I could not guarantee that one of my neighbors wouldn’t have a party. Sure enough, someone down the street in one direction decided to re-roof and someone the other direction had a tree removed. Neither one of those inconsiderate neighbors even called to ask my permission!

As for safety, anywhere can become a crime scene. In our general area there were several terrible home invasions where the whole family was tied up and shot (one of these has never been solved either, scary). Our neighborhood had an issue with marijuana grow houses and wasn’t everyone surprised at 5 am one morning when the feds rammed through the doors on multiple houses and pulled out millions of dollars worth of pot. Turned out the organized crime ring deliberately targeted our neighborhood because it was quiet and upscale and no one thinks that crime is happening there.

Yes, of course. In people´s mind, the suburbs are more dangerous than the upscale neighborhoods while neither of both is truth. It makes well sense that the upscale neighborhoods are a good target for the organized crime. I once received a review from a guest mentioning their concern about the safety of my location. They haven’t been stolen, they haven´t seen “strange” people walking around, they haven´t being scammed nor nothing but they thought that safeness was not a guarantee because they saw a few police officers around and the real fact is that there is a police station at just 2 blocks from the apartment. Having a police station at 2 blocks from your home does not make your place an unsafe one (most people could think quite the opposite). It is like saying that people living in your hood get injured more because there is a hospital close by.

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