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Potential New Host with basic questions


#1

Hello Group, newbie here. I’m glad I found this site.
I have a 3 bedroom, 1800 sqft. home is a decent neighborhood in Riverside CA. Built in 1998, it’s in pretty good shape. It’s located about 10 minutes from the local University and Community College. I also have a second home in the desert that’s 90 minutes away. I’m older (63), and not working. I need some extra income so I’m thinking about renting my Riverside house on Airbnb. I have questions about doing that.

I would like to keep the Riverside home as my primary residence, living in the desert home when the Riverside home is occupied. But I need some advice, so I’m hoping that you experienced hosts can help out a potential newbie. If you are in a similar situation, I would really like to hear from you!

Questions:

  1. What personal Items can I leave in my home? Or does the home need to be like a hotel room with no personal items other than what my quests need such as towels, shampoo, soap, dishes etc. Do I need to pack up all of my personal items and move them to the desert or to the garage? I have a good size walk in closet, I guess I could move all of my clothes into that and lock the door??
  2. I have a 3 car garage. One of my bedrooms is currently an office, thinking about moving it to the garage and making the garage off limits? Good idea?
  3. The home is in a decent neighborhood, but it’s not great. Neighbors have occasional loud parties, how should I disclose that?
  4. I don’t think I want to be here when I have guests, but I’m not sure. I have one living room, one kitchen, two bathrooms and a very large dining room that I could make into a family room. I also have a very large backyard.

I know I’m rambling, but I wanted to give an idea of my situation and was hoping to get some sage advice. Thanks in advance. And if your new as well, if you’ve rented to a single quest, you have more experience than me so please reply :wink:

Paul


#2

Hi Paul and welcome.
The very first thing to confirm before all the other stuff is can you do short term letting in your area?


#3
  1. most home house rentals will be vacant. (no personal stuff). Although this is not a requirement. I would just make it very clear in your listing that you live in the space and there will be personal stuff. You may want to lock up valuables as things do go missing.
  2. Should work.

#4

Welcome Paul.

When renting a whole place, most guests prefer to have the entire space for their own things and not have the host’s personal stuff around. I like your idea of locking the closet door - keep your personal stuff in there. Do clear the house of any valuables though. If possible you might be able to combine this closet with a section for the consumables you’ll need to have on hand when your rental is turned over.

My brother sectioned off part of his garage to use as an office - he loved it :slight_smile:

If your neighbours have loud parties then you want to avoid anyone mentioning this is a review. The reason being that if a guest sees that the neighbours do it, they’ll think that it’s okay to do it at your place. Some hosts are happy for their guests to have small parties but most don’t because of the potential mess and the fact that the noise can be annoying. If you feel the same way, be sure to have a ‘no parties under any circumstances’ rule in your listing but do disclose that you live in a lively, rather than tranquil, neighbourhood.

Your last question is full of pros and cons but basically, if you’re there when your guests are then you become an active host (read nanny / policeman / doctor / cleaner / teacher / zookeeper / cook / etc. etc. etc.) which can take up so much time and be highly annoying. On the other hand, you’re right on the spot to make sure that your guest behave themselves.


#5

Thanks, just kind of advice I need!


#6

Renting it out on Airbnb would be a great way to get extra cash. In answer to your questions;

  1. Don’t keep anything of value (monetary or sentimental) in the home. Accidents do happen and things can be destroyed.
  2. I would not have a home office in the rental house. I’m assuming you keep important documents with personal information. God forbid, someone tries to steal your identity. Perhaps not your guests, but their guests. I have noticed that many guests that rent my home invite friends or family members.
  3. I would mention the potential for noise but also mention that I can provide a white noise machine or ear buds.
  4. Since you don’t want to be there, then provide a lock box so that they can easily retrieve the keys without the host being present. From my experience, whole house rentals are in demand.
    Best wishes

#7

Camera, camera, camera! Exterior cameras everywhere.

Disclose them: “exterior Cameras for your safety.”

Do not allow any extra guests at all. Don’t allow them to bring extras. This is always a recipe for trouble.


#8

My advice comes with a disclaimer - I’m still relatively new (9 months, 55 reviews, 5* rating, 95% occupancy)

  1. Sterilize the place of truly personal effects like photographs, documents, and ‘junk drawers’. Provide empty closets and drawers, or lock them. I maintain an ‘owner’s closet’ with a lock. Provide soaps, towels, dishes, etc and make sure it’s shown on your listing.
  2. Sounds ok to me, but only if necessary. LOCK IT DOWN!
  3. Describe the neighborhood accurately in the “about the neighborhood” section, but avoid the word “parties” unless you’re advertising your place as a party pad.
  4. Many travelers value an empty place. Mine is empty, guests seem to love it.

Another piece of unsolicited advice - jump in, make mistakes, adjust, assess, and then re-adjust. After you start piling up reviews things get easier. When I first got started I included a little questionnaire in the welcome book in the house. It said basically, “I’m new, please let me know what you like and don’t like and provide recommendations”. I feel like this headed off some early 4* reviews by giving guests a different and more personal way of providing feedback…


#9

I can help with this part.

I am also in Riverside County. Paul, you will need to apply with the county for a short term rental permit. The cost for the first year is $250, then I believe it’s $150/year thereafter. You will be required to pay a 10% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on earnings, paid to the county quarterly. When you know you want to move forward with Airbnb, apply for the permit because it takes weeks to get one.

Given the age of your property and noise issues, it doesn’t sound like you’re in an HOA that would prohibit doing Airbnb so that’s good news. You are also in a good area being so close to UCR.

Just a thought: Do you think you would do better renting by the room instead of whole house?

Also, do you plan to do your own cleaning? If not, you’ll want to start looking for a cleaning person. The Nextdoor app is good because lots of local cleaning people post their services there.

Congrats on doing your homework first. :+1:


#10

If I were that near a university, I’d consider renting to a quiet grad student…


#11

I have been renting my weekend home for eight years - very successfully to great reviews - and I have most certainly have my “personal stuff” in the house. My entire house is personal. Including clothes in closets and drawers, although every dresser has empty drawers for guests and plenty of room in each closet.

I make it quite clear that this is my part time home and Airbnb does have an option for making this quite clear. Some travelers may want an anonymous experience, but there is plenty of room in the market for travelers who want to experience someone’s beloved home. In fact, that used to be what Airbnb was all about - home sharing, not investment property sharing.


#12

Thanks for your feedback, leaving empty drawers is something I hadn’t considered.


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