Primary residence and AirBNB

Hi everyone,

I’ve been lurking on the forums since I discovered it last week. Unexpectedly, my husband and I will be leaving renting behind and purchasing a new primary residence sooner rather than later!

We both travel often and extensively for work. Therefore, I’d like to list our home on AirBNB during the times we are both away. However, I wanted to hear from those of you who do this yourselves and your tips and tricks for making it work.

I’ve searched the forums and read a few posts, but would really love to hear how someone “guest proofs” their own personal space. It seems I could lock our master closet and maybe other closets, I would purchase separate linens for bath and bedding to use for guests, etc.

I’m curious what you do with your food, etc? I Keep most things frozen due to my travel schedule - so I’m mostly worried about the freezer food. Most likely we’ll purchase a condo or loft without a garage (so no outside freezer) and it could be one bedroom, there is a small chance it would be two.

Again - any help you could provide from your own personal experience - I would greatly appreciate. I’ve enjoyed your conversations and eagerness to assist others to learn so far as I’ve read through many of your posts!

With gratitude,


Also - if a loft or condo is how we go - how do you handle key access? I’ve stayed in AirBNBs where the keys have always been in lockboxes - just not sure where I’d put one of those in a condo/loft building? Thanks!

Hi Tony, where are you based? A lockbox can be attached to a bicycle which is then attached to a bike rack. This obviously depends on the security of the area, whether Bike theft is common, council laws etc. Does the building require a security fob for entry? If not, you can install a smart lock, with the blessing of your body corporate. I would also recommend a house manual , and putting all personal items away, like family photos etc. The last point is subjective of course , but that’s what I read from various articles. Not my opinion.

I personally rely on my own cleaner to perform key exchange . The whole process goes something like this:

  1. Send your guest details and estimated arrival time to the cleaner .
  2. Text your guest to contact the key handler at least 24 hours in advance
  3. Guest contacts key handler directly, but may call you if they have trouble e.g. can’t find your parking lot.

I have a private bedroom in my home, but my parents have a condo out of state that they rent as an entire unit when none of us are using it. They keep one, very large lock box in the master suite walk in closet for personal items. The linens and towels are all shared, and sadly they have lost some towels over time (beach and bath). Not much is in the refrigerator, but when we (our parents or us four kids plus our friends/families) are there, we usually try to label things we’ve put in/opened (jelly, salad dressing, etc), just to know how old it is. Every couple of months we do a major toss to keep things clean and fresh. Nobody seems to touch anything that’s frozen, but it’s added to over time. Ice packs are the only thing that seems to disappear, although at my rental, I’ve recently had a guest help himself to fridge items, but that’s not my norm.

My parents use a smart thermostat to monitor, and control if needed, the heat and air conditioning from home via their computer. I have one programmed light in my front room near the entry that comes on before dark, and just after sunrise each day, as well as a smart light in my living room I can turn on via my phone if I know a guest is coming and I’m not home. I use a Nest camera at my entry to know when guests come in. Do make sure you are VERY clear about its presence/use in your listing, however!

As far as locks, I use a key code entry system that I love. My parents are in a gated community, so guests pick up/drop off keys with the gate attendant.

The first thing to find out is what the rules are where you want to buy.
No point in doing all the research and planning to find out it isn’t permitted ( Like the guy who bought in Vegas!)

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Good advice. I absolutely will make sure all of it is allowed wherever we purchase! I’ve already begun researching the local ordinances/laws pertaining to this subject.

What is the keycode system you use? Do you mind sharing?

Thank you. I was planning on cleaning it myself upon returning home (I like to clean believe it or not!) but could explore what it costs to have someone manage this for me - especially if I’m traveling extensively and not returning home every few days. I wouldn’t trust locking up a bike and then a keybox to the bike.

Hi Tony, how would you clean in between guests? Or are you planning to set the minimum stay to coincide with the length of your trip? Cleaning costs differ between countries, states, but mine charges between $70 and $90.

Just a handle/lock I got from Amazon. You can program different entry codes (family can have one, guest can have one), and you can change the codes anytime. It also comes with a key if you prefer that for yourself. I’m a fairly handy-ish chick, and didn’t have any trouble installing it myself!

Thanks. I travel many short trips per month - so I’d try to clean as many times as I could without needing someone else to clean for me. That was the plan in my mind, anyway! :slight_smile:

This is going to make a scheduling nightmare unless your “many short trips per month” are very regular. How can someone book your place now for December? You can’t depend on book-today-stay-later-this-week sort of guests…

Thanks. My trips are not last minute and are scheduled well in advance. They’re also very regular :slight_smile: But I can see how booking will reduce flexibility - but I’m sure that is a tradeoff many face?

98% of guests will be spectacular and 2% will cause trouble. Make your space comfortable for the 98% and have some safeguards against the 2%.

Secure your personal belongings in a closet or separate room that’s labeled “PRIVATE”. Don’t leave anything in the guest space that you’d cry over if it were damaged or stolen. If you’re letting out your master bedroom, as opposed to a guest room, de-personalize it and leave some wardrobe/dresser space for guests.

Food will be fine so long as you give guests clear, easy directions. Leave ample space in the fridge and enough freezer space to store a couple items. Some hosts label the shelves so guests can clearly see what’s shared (condiments are nice to share) and what’s off limits.

I echo the keypad lock. We reset the code to the last 4-digits of the guests phone number when we finish cleaning.

Additional “smart home” items are helpful if they alleviate worry for you. The door between my space and the guest space has a smart sensor that lets me know when it’s open. I also have a leak sensor in the guests’ bathroom and a smart doorbell so I can see who is coming and going.