Mine is people telling me to get rid of a particular piece of furniture, usually something other people love like the chaise.
I have neatly stacked books in the lounge and the bedroom. I get a lot of positive comments from people about the interesting library and it often sparks a conversation with a guest with a shared interest. I also provide graphic novels for teenagers (and adults) with short attention spans.
Cathy I was in a very similar position to you, holiday cottage on the west coast of Ireland (in the family so very precious to me) and I lived in London. I rented it over the years and had good experiences but early on I had a woman complain about personal effects there. It was and is a fully stocked house and had/has one photo of the house from a much earlier period. Initially it upset me but then I realised she was rather neurotic and decided to ignore her. I have hosted many people over the years, remotely and in person and have had mainly positive experiences so please don’t let this put you off. I think when you rent a house, especially one, that means something to you, you have to develop a thicker skin. Very best of luck.
Dear Cathy you’ve already got lots of good advice maybe you have all you need but here’s my two cents.
I know France had 4 holiday rentals there. I would NOT suggest going for a residential long term let. You cannot expulse renters in France for not paying, for destroying your home, you cannot get them to leave without lengthy court proceedings if ever you want to sell or recover your property. Don’t do it. Also do NOT rent as a holiday let to anyone over 90 days (check with local laws), or else they can elect residence in your property without your approval and you will not be able to get them out even if they stop paying.
Book a week or so to set up a personal storage area. In one case, we blocked off a shower room put a key on the door and put our personal stuff in there and never told anyone there was a 3rd bathroom. Block off a bedroom, bathroom or closet and then don’t put it on your listing. You can go for a week, bring in Ikea furniture and hire a locksmith for a half day to put locks on everything. While at Ikea buy some neutral artwork to replace what you are putting in storage
Take time to mention any issues ASAP when people are busy booking, if at all possible. Not hours later. If you can hop on a booking when it arrives people are responsive to what you say. After many people don’t read anything you send.
Make sure your pictures reflect what it really looks like. After that, if it’s clean what can they say? The pictures were in your photos so why did they book it if they didn’t like it!
As others have suggested think about increasing your price. I have noticed that people paying 50 a night and below tend to be difficult clients, want more discounts, complain about more things… than people who are actually paying more. Maybe upgrade your decoration a little bit get professional fotos and charge more per night.
I think you are taking too much to heart some inconsiderate comments. Many people make these comments thinking they are being useful. Especially people used to taking advantage and having things given to them.
I hope that on the review where the people said your house needed to be completely updated, you responded that they paid 49 euros a night which reflects the state of the property, and the property was completely confrom to the photos and description. Maybe mention you are planning on updating the house in the future but of course the price will then reflect the renovations. I would also mention that the local hotel charges 200 a night for anyone who wants a completely modernized updated property.
The house is in Scotland…
Hi - no, they are all paintings. The photos were taken off the wall when I let the house.
The house isn’t really a work in progress. It was my mother’s home. It is fresh and clean (much more so than my own home!) and I want it as it is, until I finally retire there. Thanks so much for your comment!
Such a useful comment. Will reconsider what we are charging, and see it in a more positive light!
As someone else has said. The house is in Scotland. I have a local agency in Comrie (the village) that can get £450 a month to rent (no bills to me and a proper rental contract). That means I would earn £450 and delete the £200 bills I pay every month. At the moment, over the entire year, this is more than I earn from Airbnb, but 2018 was our first year. I am still thinking. Thanks for your kind comment!
You are right - that’s the issue I need to consider.
So kind of you to take the time to really think about my ‘issue’. The house is actually in Scotland, and I have already been in touch with a bone fide rental agency (attached to a solicitor’s practice) abut renting it out. The pictures reflect the house absolutely (they even show one of the ‘offensive’ family portraits. The house doesn’t actually need to be redecorated. It’s pretty fresh and clean - a damn sight better than my own home in France.
As to neutral artwork - part of me knows you are right. The other part would rather be dead! Again - such a lot of input from you which is much appreciated.
This probably the most helpful comment of all, because you totally understand the situation! Thanks so much for your time. I’ve now spent 2 days over a Christmas break talking to my husband about whether we should change anything. The result? The house is in immaculate decorative order, the furniture is lovely (not black leather sofas!) and the pictures on the wall (original paintings) are my business, because actually it is MY house. Anybody else is in there for 3 days to a week/fortnight, and why would I change what I love and know to be excellent value as a result simply of someone else’s opinion? Very grateful for your comment.
I loved your comment and it is immense food for thought. In my literature for the house (on the kitchen table when guests arrive) I emphasise that this is a home, not a hotel. And, yes, some of the fine, precious threads of my life are on public view there. That’s hard, requires confidence to know that you still offer amazing value.
Special comment - many thanks! Everything that people have responded with here has allowed m a brilliant opportunity to ‘check the balance’.
That’s what I always thought about books too! I’m an addict. Maybe I’ve just had people who never read anything recently and don’t understand that books are a precious resource (especially in rainy Scotland!)
Oh goodness - I think you are probably so right. I am definitely going to read that article in the next two days. Thanks so much for input that allows me to weigh it all in the balance!
Well said - we are all special! But I think the person who mentioned that many people just want hotels these days was spot on.
This is actually a REALLY clever idea - so thanks!
Well i wouldn’t take them off then. I have a selection of my (small) collection of Japanese woodblock prints in my AirBnB and some people remark on how lovely they look as I picked the nautical themed ones.
I rent my vacation / weekend home filled with my personal effects and have been for the last 8 years. Everything is personal from the furniture to the kitchen collectibles, to the family portraits, to the clothes in the closet. Not a single guest has ever complained and my overall average rating is 5 stars.
It is all a matter of degree and leaving space for the guests. No closet is more than 1/3 full. Half of each dresser is empty for guests. I keep most of my food in a pantry so guests can have empty cupboards and I keep all of my frozen food in the garage. The fridge is usually left bare except for condiments.
I’ve said this in a number of threads, but I rue the day that guest and hosts alike started thinking that the anonymous investment property is the goal for which we strive. Absolutely not. It is my vision of my home that brings in my guests.
Good for you Cathy, that’s the spirit!!