Newbie looking for management advice!

Hi there! My partner and I were thinking of buying a property near the coast and living there half of the time and letting it out through Airbnb when we are not there.
Can anyone give any advice about how to go about it?
I’ve looked into property management companies but they all seem to take over completely and give you no access to the diary or your own property. Is this accurate?
Bear in mind we have no experience in letting at all so would probably need some kind of professional help at least at first.
Thanks everyone!

2 Likes
  • Buy a property that you absolutely love and want to live in yourself.

  • Decorate it really nicely adding personal touches and give the property character.

  • Whilst you live there for six months, do a search for the most amazing cleaner that can clean to hospitality standards (not domestic or commercial standards but hospitality standards). You’ll likely need to pay them above the going rate because they need to be absolutely perfect.

  • As you develop a professional relationship with that cleaner, suss out whether they can also function as de-facto property manager when you are not there. That should be reflected in what you pay them so the more responsibility you give them, the more you pay them.

  • As you work yourselves through something like half a dozen cleaners and finding the cream of the crop, get some quotes from property management companies who specialize in AirBnB. I should say from teh start though, in my area the worst ranking properties (averages of 4.5 and below) or those managed by property management companies. Not all of them are bad but once you lose that personal report between yourself and a really good cleaner/manager, it’s very difficult to maintain an AirBnB from a distance. The property management company is your fall back option.

  • Assuming you worked out a good deal with an amazing and reliable cleaner, get them a pre-paid credit card or something like that so that they can purchase cleaning supplies etc. Don’t put them out of pocket.

  • Perhaps also explore the idea of a bonus system: for every 5* stay that they effectively host, reward them $20 or something like that. A review that gives 5* for all categories could be $50. Maybe also set up day, night and weekend call out fees. If they have to urgently respond to a guest request (water pipes damaged, toilets clogged … that kind of thing) you need to have a system in place where someone can respond at very short notice. I would caution relying too much on the friendliness of neighbours and friends in the area. Don’t use up too much goodwill all at once.

  • On the point of neighbours: develop an impeccable relationship with your neighbours in the first 3 months (gifts, compliments, favours … whatever it takes), and then slowly introduce them to the idea that you will start hosting to others in the second 3 months of your stay. Neighbours will forgive minor hiccups if they know what is happening to your place. And there will be hiccups. What neighbours don’t like is any unpleasant surprises. So you need to build up goodwill with your neighbours. I am sorry if this sounds alarmist but a disgruntled neighbour can really bring the entire operation down.

That’s all I can think of for now. Much of what you need to learn about hosting is things that you learn as you go along. Any questions?

8 Likes

What you can do is rather than look for a big property management company that insists on having full control of your listing, look for a co-host- an individual in the area who may already be doing that for others, has experience in the hospitality industry, or maybe has an Airbnb listing already themselves. A local Facebook group may be a place to put that out.

You should keep the listing under your Airbnb profile. That way you maintain control. Also the reviews and ratings are linked to the profile, rather than the place itself, so if you were to let someone else list it under their profile and decided at some point to end that relationship, all the reviews and ratings would stay with their profile, rather yours.

You need to decide which aspects of hosting you want to handle yourself, like being in control of the reservations and communicating with guests, etc, and what aspects you’d want a co-host to handle.

Also start reading this and other hosting forums on a regular basis so you get an overview of what challenges hosts face, and how to deal with various issues that come up. Better to be aware of that stuff before you actually start hosting than as an afterthought.

4 Likes

Also important (and I seem to say this to everyone who posts this question):

Be certain that you can afford this property year-round (mortgage/loan, taxes, short-term rental insurance, management, maintenance, utilities, HOA, etc.) even if you never get a guest.

Plus this: Do everything you can to research and carefully read the state and local laws, regulations, zoning codes, HOA rules, etc., before you buy. And be aware that all those things can change any time. If Airbnb is legal there now, it might not be tomorrow.

6 Likes

Solid advice. I would add to this - do NOT TRUST ANYTHING the real estate agent says regarding ANY OF THAT. They are not remotely qualified or licensed to answer such questions. Many will say “oh such and such is fine” when they have no clue what they are talking about. In short - you must do all your own homework.

2 Likes

Which coastal area are you considering? If in the USA you may be interested in this article.

The Best Beach Towns To Invest in a Vacation Rental, Based on Your Budget

https://apple.news/A_hkIuREJS4G2Uz4YgULYVg

By a happy accident, my rental is in the 1st area listed. Condos and homes in my area are selling quickly to people from New York & New Jersey so they aren’t stuck in those areas in the fall. A Realtor friend told me almost all of her current sales are to people who want to rent their property when they are not staying there.

Property management companies tend to be different in resort areas with some giving owners access & Co-management while others want full control. You can shop around for one that is a good fit for you. If you want full control/responsibility you can go with Airbnb or VRBO.

1 Like

True that! I have seen properties listed in both cities where I own homes and do STR that have marketing language “potential Airbnb income” or “was used as an Airbnb” or “Airbnb and pay your mortgage,” where it is obviously not in compliance with local regulations or condo bylaws.

Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! Very good points, all especially being considerate about your relationship with the neighbours.
I’ve been advised that it’s possible to screen out potential guests who could be problematic at the booking stage, but I’m guessing it’s never going to be 100% effective. What are the processes concerning damage/theft? If someone breaks a window or makes off with your TV, is there any way to recoup the loss?

Ha ha! Yes, never trust a real estate agent is solid advice at the best of times… :wink:

Thanks for your reply. I’ve read about co-hosting but I’m not quite sure how that would work. If they also have properties of their own in the area, wouldn’t you and your co-host be in direct competition with each other?

We’re over the pond in England but I’m assuming any general advice applies just as well over here!

@Noobie
Perhaps there is a UK version of the “best beach investment” article? May be worth the web search

Well, there are people who co-host several listings in their area, so they are just basically earning a living with that job, just as a house cleaner may clean several houses. The more co-hosting jobs they have, the better, as far as they’re concerned.

And not every host in an area has a listing that would be competition. A private room in a home-share with a maximum of 2 guests isn’t in competition with an entire 2-3 bedroom house listing that sleeps up to 6 guests. They are appealing to a completely different market.

1 Like

You are asking some really basic questions here, which is fine, but I suggest you first search this forum on terms such as “insurance,” “Airbnb guarantee,” “co-host,” etc. then you will be able to refine and ask more specific questions that will be a best use of both your time and our time. Good luck!

1 Like

Short term rental insurance. Air has a "deposit’ they never collect, and their “million dollar host guarantee” is NOT insurance, it’s at the whim of the unavailable Customer Disservice person who is supposed to call you back but never will.

Yes, probably the best bit of advice in the topic. It’s all been done to death over the years…

JF

I’ll do a bit of searching as suggested. That’s plenty to think about…thanks for all your help!

Please think about your neighbors. If this is a quiet neighborhood you need to respect that. Make it clear in your listing and house rules: no parties, no noise after 10, no extra cars. If guests can’t abide send them elsewhere (like Newquay). Let your neighbors know you’ll respect their neighborhood vibe or you’ll be a pariah.

This is why your STR insurance is so important. However, be sure that you charge enough in your nightly price to cover such things. Your STR insurance will only kick in after damages to a certain amount - you need to be sure to include enough to deal with the smaller items.

One of the most common problems hosts have is that guests break or damage something and then the host spends hours and hours trying to get payment, posting here, calling Airbnb, stressing and worrying etc. whereas with good insurance and a well calculated nightly fee you’ll be able to sleep at night. Be sure that you guest-proof the property as much as you can - don’t have valuables in the house and expect them to stay intact. Don’t have hard-to-clean surfaces. People are people, after all. :roll_eyes:

Be sure to get all necessary permits and to pay any necessary taxes - another important component for encouraging stress-free hosting and sleeping well at night.

Don’t worry that adding a figure for contingencies will make your listing more expensive than others in your area. Give guests good value, which isn’t the same as a cheap price. We have two rentals which are amongst the most expensive locally, but we usually have both booked back to back. People don’t buy on price alone.

Before you start, remember not to rely on Airbnb (or any online STR service) completely. Consider your marketing plan and how you’d fill the rental if suddenly Airbnb disappeared - be in control.

I’m from England too but now in the USA. There are quite a few English hosts here though so you’re in good company!

This is the best advice.

Rent your property in Booking and Airbnb is super easy, but be sure you can do it and always think in the worst scenario
Good luck!

3 Likes