I’m going to be a new owner/host. Our property will close on March 1, '2022. 1. The previous owner has stopped taking bookings after March 1, but still has an active listing. Before escrow closes, when can I start future booking for March '22 and beyond? 2. Does the owner have to stop the listing before I can start mine? 3. How does the new site boosting work and how long does it last? 4. I plan to use previous listing photos for 2-3 weeks after escrow, then change to new professional photos after we change the furniture, fixtures etc. I would appreciate advice on how to make this change of ownership and listing work smoothly. Thank you.
Not a good idea. Wait and list the place after you have done all the changes you want to make. You will get marked down on accuracy or even run the risk of being accused of bait and switch if the place looks different when guests arrive than when they booked.
My best advice is DON’T HURRY. You don’t want to do things that you will regret later. Taking ownership of a previously successful AirBnB is not a plug-and-play operation.
@muddy is right. You should wait to list it until it looks like what guests will see when they walk in the door. That will also give you time to browse through the threads on this forum for useful info. Just click on the magnifier and enter a topic.
While you wait, you want to put your web browser in Private or Anonymous mode (so Air can’t see the cookies on your computer) and start checking pricing and availability for listings in your immediate area, using the map.
Look at your competitors’ listings, entering dates so that you can see if and when pricing varies, what their extra charges are, etc. Check their amenities and House Rules. Read the guest comments, which will quickly give you an idea of what guests do and don’t like. Read the hosts comments about guests. Oh, and also read the tales of woe here, since there are more posts here about problems than about successes.
Use hotel booking sites to check hotel pricing & availability for those dates. Check to see what kinds of festivals and events are happening that drive up demand, so you can raise prices for those dates. If it’s in or near a university town, check the sports schedules.
Do all the business license and tax stuff required by your state and local taxing authorities. Make sure it complies with zoning and/or HOA requirements, which I hope you did before closing.
We have a wide variety of experience and operate everything from hostels and home shares to fully staffed tropical beach homes and urban flats on every continent, so you will get expertise and opinions from many perspectives.
If you ask for advice here, be forewarned that many of the hosts are rather blunt and often opinionated. It should be taken, like a shot of Roca Patrón Reposado, with more than a few grains of salt.
No, but you need to be careful about accepting bookings for a property you don’t own. Escrow closings are frequently delayed. Also make sure you’ve handled all of the required legal stuff for your city/county/state, such as a license for short-term rental, a license to collect tax, building inspection, etc. Hopefully, the current owner is fully above-board and can point you in the right direction.
When your photos don’t match your listing, you can get lower ratings in the Accuracy category. It generally isn’t a problem when the changes to your listing are better than what you show in the photos, but keep it in mind.
I’ve brought two properties in the last year. Both times we started getting supplies, making up check in information, getting licensed, so when we took possession we were ready to list. New bookings came fast and quick. Really no need fo rush.
If you plan to list with Airbnb, take advantage of their FREE to you “Ask a Superhost” program. Airbnb recruits superhosts (called Ambassadors) to help new hosts get started by providing mentorship, guidance & helping them build their listing.
Airbnb provides tools that allow the Ambassador to access your listing & help review & build it. When you go live the Ambassador can no longer access your listing.
Full disclosure: Airbnb pays the Ambassador $345 after you start hosting stays. The new host pays $0 for this support.
I’m an ambassador with a remotely hosted listing in coastal SC. An Ambassador in your area is a good choice because they will know more about area specific rules, entertainment etc.
Wait. What? I could get paid for advice I’ve given for free for years?
Shut up. That’s it. Never posting again.
I listed while my condo was being renovated.
As Recommended AFTER closing post your listing.
What I did, use this info as you wish:
-Outside pictures only
-Rental description said “coming 6/1/xx. Home under renovation. I will post pictures as the work is completed.”
-Since leap of faith to book without pictures, flexible cancellation policy
-As soon as pictures possible posted some (for you-ok if from iPhone with professional pictures later. These are just to get started)
-As soon as pictures available notified anyone who had booked pics posted & please take a look to make sure listing will fit their needs
-As soon as pics available change the cancellation policy to be strict, or moderate unless you intend to stay flexible.
Yes. I’m working with two soon-to-be hosts now. I will cheerfully accept $690 from Airbnb.
I’m joking. As a public school teacher, I’m used to working for free. I’ll leave this site, but not today. But the day will come, someone will do what I’ve done for free and no one will notice.
Kudos to those who take advantage. (Shhh, don’t say anything nice about Airbnb here just to be on the safe side)
No, wait! Come back, we love you:heart:
Thank you so much for all your advice. This forum is a blessing!
Now I’m wondering whether I just should delay until the low season to do the reno/remodel and just keep the condo as-is for now. The downside is that I’ll miss out on the new listing boost opportunity for the upgrade that I was planning.
Thank you again for your kindness in helping us newbies. Happy New Year.
My renovation was during slow season.
I knew it was going to be a multi-year process to fully renovate so I posted the “story of the improving condo” on the refrigerator. I explained it was a joint venture with my dad & we were improving the listing as we had time & money. I invited guests to return and see the improvements we made every year.
A surprising number of guests told me they read the story & were looking forward to seeing it evolve.
No one, no one made snarky comments in their reviews about things being dated or that a renovation was needed. My upstairs neighbor was going through the same renovation over time process and reviews on his property consistently mentioned old stove, old cabinets, dated furniture, etc. He failed to engage his guests.
Thank you for your advice.
Can a new host choose/request for a particular Superhost to be the mentor/Ambassador or does Airbnb assign the Superhost? What is the process to choose the Superhost of choice?
I’m new to this so I’m still learning
I connected with the soon to be hosts in my area because they mentioned on a local Airbnb/VRBOFacebook group they were considering STR. I suggested they consider an Ambassador assisting them. We connected on Facebook messenger and began communicating .
AFTER they create an account with Airbnb, I can look them up in Airbnb’s find a host tool which connects me to their account for the build.
I’m curious too so I’m going to message & ask Airbnb.
I think any Ambassador can help with 80% of your build they just won’t know your area laws, attractions & quirks.
For example in my area clear location is huge. North Myrtle Beach is a separate township a few miles away from Myrtle Beach, not a geographic location within MB.
I would most certainly list the property before escrow. There seems no significant risk, but significant opportunity. Concerns over photos not looking identical to the layout seem a bit academic, and I am quite sure guests would not complain if you provide equivalent quality - i.e. ensure you are not doing a bait and switch. Further, you can easily mention this in the listing text or to guests booking that you are ‘In process of rearranging the furniture’ following a purchase, but the quality and facilities should be of similar standard. Which is quite correct, and ensures guests are aware of this. No surprises then.
Concerns over delays in escrow are also a mute point IMO. Really, in the possible but a bit unlikely event you did have this occur, you could just fix the problem. Easily. By several ways. Ask the owner to be co host on your listing for the period, given it’s actually THEIR listing. Or even just change the account details and give to them, and let them update payout details. Easy. Or ask the guest to rebook under their old account, and refund the hassle fee + additional service fee from Airbnb for a cancel / rebook. This is not the preferred way, but is A way, if the old owner wants to 100% keep their old account, and not have ‘two’ Airbnb accounts over the change period.
OR you can use an alternate email address and Airbnb account, so in the unlikely event there was a problem, you would just cancel the few bookings and close your temp account. Then set up again once you take ownership. This avoids cancellation fees, and you can still prob switch the guests even so, or some.
Really, it seems a waste to not take bookings in advance, knowing how very easy it is to manage if there was a problem, and that the liklihood of problems is trivial. Being marked down for accuracy may be a vague possibility if the couch looks different, but I doubt that. Most will only do so if there is an actual IMPACT on their stay, where accuracy is involved. Why would they bother otherwise, and if they do you would not care. Marked down for accuracy in a few bookings won’t affect you in a long term way, but really, I doubt this is likely… and especially not if you proactively notify the guests that the listing WILL or at least MAY look different, if you are adjusting right now. Guests will understand this for sure, and if not, then I would not care as it won’t actually affect much.
I’ve listed plenty of properties creatively, even if I don’t own or lease them. I would go for it on this one for sure.
BTW if you were very cheeky, you rent a larger home than needed for your holiday stay, then create private Airbnb listings for the two extra private rooms in the place you are renting for the two weeks, and then find you are actually being ‘paid’ to rent your Airbnb, as the two other guests who stay are collectively paying more than the whole house listing.
This is not quite the same as listing a home you don’t own yet but kinda the same, but I think so long as you are within the law, and there is no obvious impact on anyone (guests or Airbnb), then being a bit creative is fine. There are always those who say you can’t, you should not, but life is not meant to be boring. Just because others may fear this arrangement and feel safe doing what the herd does, doesn’t mean you do as well. The herd can be good for a reason, but so to, the herd can fail to allow for creativity and opportunity that fits outside the norm.
You expect to own the place soon, so go rent it out in preparation now. Seems perfectly logical to me, and with no real risk I can see, for any laws, Airbnb policy or anything else really. That you may need to ‘adjust’ bookings if the escrow fails is just the same as the tree crashing down on the roof and you have to do major repairs. Life has things go wrong. If so, deal with them. The risk of escrow failing is not so likely or onerous… so it’s just as likely the plumbing fails or anything else that prevents you being able to host.
GO FOR IT!
Thank you so much for your guidance.
Thank you so much for your thorough explanation of the options. I will go for it.
I think there are 2 types of business approaches:
Complies with agreed-upon contract terms and legal requirements.
Where considered advantageous, does not comply with contractual agreements and/or legal requirements, multiplying the potential financial penalty of non-compliance by the probability of being detected and whether that is an acceptable cost of doing business in view of potential increased profits.
I mostly operate under category 1., because of internal rules or values, and because of reputation risk that could end up affecting all my personal and professional dealings, even if the source is only one transaction.
There are certainly areas of opportunity where a new or disruptive business idea, or loopholes where an existing business idea, can operate in an open environment unless and until law and regulation “catch up” and enforce societally-imposed standards of equity, fairness, non-exploitation, etc.
With my CPA hat on, tax avoidance is fine, tax evasion is not.