Hosting from a distance

can i get any tips from others who do this? i will be away for 5 months and want to rent my place out while i’m gone. i know ill need a cleaning service, etc. this is also my first time hosting, so i would really appreciate any tips. My property is in a seasonal touristy town where people will most likely not want to hang around inside. A friend of mine around the corner started hosting successfully last october (though not from a distance), so i think it can be done. Ill meet with a cohost (and superhost) next week to see if thats a possibility. I couldnt find a property manager who is interested in doing this short term. thanks!

My tip would be don’t host from a distance until you have some experience hosting. I believe that I speak for all of us when I say that there is a steep learning curve and that not being on site to correct problems is a recipe for disaster. Also, if an early review is negative it is more harmful than if it is one among many positive reviews. A guest having to wait to get in touch with you to have a problem fixed or get information they need tends to result in a negative review.


@sweet66 You’re a brand new host – never hosted before - and plan on hosting a property remotely? From the way you phrased this it sounds as if you are not normally away from your rental property. Are you by chance simply offering your home for rent while you are on vacation? Or are you committed to being a host for the long term?

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If I was ever to rent my whole property while I was away I’d definitely hire an experienced property manager who could take care of everything, no matter how much hosting experience I had.

Not only will they handle check ins, checkouts and cleaning, but a good one will also manage any disputes.

Around here they typically charge 20-40%, so it is expensive but so worth it for peace of mind I think


I have been hosting from a distance for six years. I have a good team of people I can rely on who live near the property, but I do all the booking and communicating myself. My main workflow just consists of me, my cleaner and occasionally the neighbor who clears the snow for me. It can TOTALLY be done without hiring a dedicated third party. MOST hosts in the Catskills are hosts of vacation properties and we all do it remotely.


there won’t be an opportunity for me to get any experience. however, i saw that someone mentioned using a co-host, someone who is an experienced host, and i am going to meet with someone. she is a super host and has been doing this for a few years. she also lives 0.5 km from me so it could work out perfectly.

thank you for the positive feedback! i contacted a co-host and will meet with her next week. that should be all i need, besides a cleaner and someone to contact for emergencies (and i already have someone who can be called for emergencies).

i haven’t been able to find a property manager who is interested in a short term client. i did try. i’m going to meet with an airbnb cohost and see if that might work.

i will be away for a period of time and will rent my condo to pay my bills. this isn’t a long term thing, unless i decide to rent a room after that.

I have been renting out a small cottage near the beach from my home 900 miles away for a long time. I never meet my guests but I do communicate by email, text and phone. I let them decide how they want to do it.

• Put up a security camera in a visible spot outside your front door and mention it on your listings. It discourages dishonest people and most of my guests pretty much ignore it. I have mine set to take a few snapshots when motion triggered and sends them to an e-mail address I use just for this. I don’t bother with video or cloud storage.

• I have a local person I call a ‘guest manager’ who basically watches over the place, takes the first phone call for problems, takes care of minor issues himself and calls me if something bigger comes up.

• I have a professional cleaning company. They have to be extremely reliable and they have to be able to do same day turnovers without fail, sometimes on short notice. I let them know that if someone leaves a huge mess and they need to do extra work they should document it and they can and should bill me for it.

• I have a list of contractors that I use. Handyman, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, landscaping, pest control, etc.

• I furnish and outfit my place with middle level stuff. Nothing rare, extremely valuable or of high personal value. Stuff gets damaged, goes missing, wears out, etc.

• Definitely be available if a guest needs to contact you, especially around check in time!


@KIKC’s advice is sound, and the OP should be just fine if they have all of these safeguards in place.

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I wouldn’t advise hosting remotely if you have never done it before. I’ve hosted on Air for almost eight years. I left my place in the care of a co host over Christmas break and the guests freaked out over a minor issue and nothing he did made a difference. They nailed me in a review. I just went to the mainland for ten days and closed my place down during my absence. Way too many things can go wrong. The things that KIKC is talking about make sense but take a while to find and set up. He’s a very experienced host.

Hosting is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart. That I can tell you after almost eight years of steady hosting.

Im definitely not faint of heart. And those people may have been that way even if you were there. Thats how people are. Regardless, i need to do this. I tried posting it as a straight out rental (not airbnb) but i got no bites. Its only for 5 months, so its tricky. KIKCs advice was great.

I’d ask myself why you got no bites. If you have a nice property in a good location what makes you think that people will pay double (as is often the case) just because they are using Airbnb?

You’d have more financial security and peace of mind using your place as a LTR. You would get references from your tenant, plus an actual deposit in your hand. Your tenants would be credit-checked and would have to pay you first, last and security. To me, that would be a lot better than using Airbnb - your occupancy could be low especially as you’re a new host with no reviews.

When i asked myself that question, the answer is that no one wants a 5 month rental. I have a friend that started renting with no reviews this past fall and she’s now a superhost. Im inclined to pay more attention to the possibility that this can work. Most are so negative. I have a beautiful space in a prime location and the motivation to do this right. I was hoping for more guidance in that direction. Maybe i can be the host from a distance success story that motivates others in my position. I am being cautiously optimistic here. If i thought this would be easy i would have not asked for guidance. Or, if you have any ideas on how i can rent my space to one person for 5 months id love to hear them.

We’ve rented our place both as LTR and STR for many years and on several occasions the LTR people have been here on business, internships or for some other work-related reason. We’ve also had police guys who have been here on temporary assignments.

If I was looking for a five month tenant, they would be the groups I would target.

At one time, we had a guy whose wife was in a local hospital for an extended period and he stayed with us in order to visit her every day. On another occasion we rented the place for about four and a half months to a business client - because it was such an unusual time period, his company paid for a full six month rental even though he wouldn’t be using it for all that time.

There are many opportunities.

Where did you advertise? And If i start focusing on doing it this way, then it would take away from any time i would need to learn to do airbnb right. Which would be unfortunate if i cant find a tenant. I honestly dont take this lightly, and i am determined to make this work.

@sweet66 . What dates do you want to have a tenant or the start/end of your AirBNB experience? Do you have a university nearby?

June thru october. It will include all uitlities and furnishings. Not sure a student could afford it.

I was thinking about sabbatical… a place for academics, the professors and researchers, to find a place for their time sabbatical times. I am considering this for my house for the Winter Term 2018.