New Host, Need to know pros and cons, Pitfalls and Warnings from experienced hosts

hi. very new to air bnb. im over 50. we have recently bought a resale vacation property for our family to enjoy (kids 10-16). my husband thinks its a great idea to share our property with others to offset costs of running this property. i think he is crazy. i really dont want people using my condo. does anyone have any advice for me regarding rules, contracts, air bnb set up (it appears very Unfriendly to owners and pro renters), my own stuff, personaly property, rules, what to lock up, use of towels, bedding. we live 2 hours away, and he seems to think all i have to do is get a cleaning lady to come in.

should i have an inventory list? a property manager? someone to turn up the heat before people get there and turn on the water? do i want to offer internet? what can people do to my internet useage?

any kind of help would be good. guidance, a mentor. thanks tons.


Your question is just far too large and expansive to be able to answer it effectively. With Airbnb there are no shortcuts; you will need to start by doing your own research into your area, what your direct competitors are offering and how you can offer something unique.

The forum is here to help for specific questions you may have or issues you may face. There’s nothing that hasn’t been discussed in these forums so in the first instance feel free to read as many relevant material threads as you wish.

Bear in mind you will see the worst on here not the reality of hosting. We post on here when we have a problem not when everything is going well so it will give you a slanted view. I for example have been hosting 2 years and in that time only had two cancellations. I’ve had one breakage that resulted in the sink needing to be replaced and I have had my carpet singed with hair straighteners. I have therefore done very very well in my opinion and I’m very happy with Airbnb.

Do check local laws in your area to see if you can STR all year round, or if you have the correct zoning. If you have an HOA check they allow Airbnb. Most live out hosts are facing significant challenges in that area.

1 Like

Hi Sue, I’m new host as well. My experience is very limited but I’m happy to share. 2 hours is quite far so you do need to find a good cleaner who is responsible and charges reasonably. Also, you may want to use keyless entry and let your guests self check in, otherwise it costs money for property manager to greet your guests. You may also want to install a camera outside so you can make sure guests check in with right number of people. It is definitely challenging to manage your listing remotely, or you can try to find some local management company who does all the job for you but also costs you some money (25% of total booking fee in my area and it is just for management, cleaning and stocks cost extra). Or you can try cohost function, which I never used, and I have very limited knowledge about it.

Also do some research before you decide to list your holiday home, try searching your nearby areas and see if they are fully booked and the price they charge. Because you need to invest some money so you should make sure you have a good chance getting the money back and make some extra.

For internet, I think it is quite necessary nowsdays. I have unlimited usage so I don’t have to worry about some guests downloading excessive amount of data.

Further I suggest you lock up valuables. Removing these from the property is better. If you have expensive kitchenware, or decorations or paintings, you may want to replace them with cheap ones.

Good luck!

Hi @suep

Have a look at the information BNB provides for hosts on its website and help section as a starting point.

It does have mentors I believe you can apply for one via their website

By the way if your husband wants to let the place …then let him do the work :slight_smile:

I would suggest you have a cleaner and if you don’t want to look after the management a property manager too.

Have a look in the area at what accommodation rents out for and the market. Do your sums taking into account costs then make a judgement call.

BNB isn’t for everyone

Hello @suep, and welcome to our forum.

As @Helsi said, hosting isn’t for everyone, but if your 2nd home is in a tourist or traveler destination, it can be a fabulous way to help with the cost of owning it.

It will take time and effort, but with the right mindset and with a lot of preparation, it can be done and can be well worth the time/money investment.

If you decide to go forward, feel free to share your listing on this forum if you’re comfortable doing so. People will be happy to offer advice based on experience in terms of what works and what they think could work better for you.

I recommend you start here. The books you can borrow from the library.

Since you actually did ask a couple questions, I’ll try to answer them, based on my experiences as a guest and a host.

“should i have an inventory list? a property manager? someone to turn up the heat before people get there and turn on the water? do i want to offer internet? what can people do to my internet useage?”

Inventory list? I certainly would, if only for your own peace of mind. I would have nothing at the rental that you would cry about if, Murphy forbid, it should get stolen.

Property Manager? Since you are two hours away (I personally think that that is much too far, but that’s me) I would have someone (you can call him/her the “property manager” if you want) within 15 minutes of the place who can, as you say, turn on the heat or AC, water, electricity, make sure the place is locked up when guests leave, be “there” should something unforseen happen, etc.

Offer Internet? Yes certainly; it does not have to be ultra high-speed. You will certainly want Internet for yourselves when you stay there. Guests cannot ‘hurt’ your “internet useage”, you are not paying by the minute or hour.

A property manager of some sort is essential. Anything can happen during a guest’s stay so you need someone who can respond quickly if there are any problems at all. That person will need to have plenty of skills (and/or the phone numbers of responsive plumbers, electricians etc.) plus be able to meet and greet the guests if possible.

It’s also a good idea if that person has Airbnb experience. Airbnb guests are a little different in that they have expectations that a regular renter might not. If you find the right person then hosting can be very easy for you as they’ll stock the rental, arrange cleaners, organise the laundry and see to any maintenance problems that might arise.

It’s also a good idea if that person is a neighbour so that they can keep an eye on your rental without appearing to be spying on guests. Be sure that they have the gumption to tackle guests if they are being noisy or breaking house rules.

It’s a good idea to spend as much time as you can looking through this forum as members here have loads of collective experience.

1 Like

I’m new too. I bought my vacation home about 9 years ago with the intention of using it for family. I decorated it with a style I call “Early Craigslist”. Ex my leather sofa came from a gym that was going out of business. My Ralph Lauren sofa came from a guest house remodeling in a ritzy area of Atlanta. My 2 Temperpedic beds came from foreign students who were dropping out of Ga Tech after 1 semester. My piano was free but I did have to pay a piano mover to move it.
All said and done, if a guest causes a problem with the furniture, I’ll hopefully not shed a tear. My personal items though…that’s another matter.
The 12 string Ovation guitar that my son learned to play with…its going home. I’ll soon probably replace it with a cheap guitar that musically inclined or curious guests can plink.
My two skeet shotguns are also going home. I’m looking for suggestions for something to take their place on the wall. I’ll have two empty gun racks. I’ve thought about boat oars but my str is in a small mountain town near gold mines and wineries.
Basically so that you worry less, I’d recommend you leave your great grandmothers fine China off the inventory list. That way you’ll worry less and not be to upset if one of your children or their friends has an accident.
There is so much great advice here. The search function is your best friend. Before you buy anything, research it here. So many people have good and bad news about everything…pillow covers, mattress covers, sheets, makeup removal cloths, Costco vs Sams vs big box finds, etc.
Like has been mentioned, research your completion and see what is working for them. Modern, Rustic, Shabby Chic, or maybe Early Craigslist. A property manager can be expensive thus I’ve read many will find an honest house keeper to be their boots on the ground for checkins and outs. You’ll also need access to a dependable handyman who can respond for all emergencies.
I hope it goes well for you as it has for most in this forum. I’m counting on that too.

1 Like

You might want to consider listing it with a traditional property manager who can worry about all the things you mentioned. They typically take 20-30%. Here in Hawaii, so many off island owners tried to do it themselves, only to run into constant issues. Or tried to get a friend or neighbor to watch the place. Friends of mine counted on me for like five years to oversee their beach house place and it turned into the mother albatross. I did everything… From buying stock like TP to overseeing cleaners to scheduling maintanance and repairs to dealing with guest complaints. All for free, I might add. I finally got a raise to $80 a month and it was still a crazy amount of work. I would spend all day on calls or emails dealing with crap that wasn’t even my own. When a guest called to yell at me and tell me to come move their lounge chairs, I quit. Last straw. I asked to be paid what a property manager would get and she found someone else, another friend who did it in return for using the house. They have just quit and no there is no one again. Honestly, I suggested she needs a professional for the place since it is so busy. You can’t put it in the hands of the cleaners.

If you think about it, 20% is money well spent. Just raise the price to cover their fee.

Hi everyone!

I’ve listed our condo. had some success. Have been learning along the way.

Am probably going to change my cleaner, as she always charges more than I charge my renters. she stays to do all laundry.

I’ve been limping along learning all of vrbos new features. changing photos, renoing, cleaning, updating prices (ive lowered by 10-20$ to my next competitor), Ive updated my blurbs.

Id really like to get to the top of the heap, but am unsure how to do it.

I have started accepting all offers that I can. I respond quickly, dropped prices.

anyway, any critiquing would be appreciated.

here is the listing link

Sue PS its in Windermere, BC the resort is Akiskinook and its a 3 bedroom 2 bath condo.