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My family and I have been hosts for nearly two years now and had one simple question for the group here:
What are your main concerns when renting your home out to a guest?
For us, personally, it has been theft. Specifically, not knowing if items have been moved or taken from our home. We have a fairly large property, so its almost impossible to keep track of everything and honestly would probably not even know if something “walked off”.
Anyways, thanks in advance for your answers/feedback!
My #1 concern was that a guest would accidentally let one of the guest dogs out the front door and it would get away. So I spent about $16000 remodeling my home to put in a front gate and a separate entrance to the ensuite guest room. Now my #1 concern is that my local or state government will regulate my ABB business in a way that becomes so burdensome that it takes all the fun out of it and I stop doing it.
Also a dog related concern. My second guest left the front door open the first time they left the house (luckily I was there and saw it straight away). I have a cat which I only let out in the back. And a dog who will run away and explore. Theres no gate or anything.
We’ve been hosting since December last year on Airbnb but for several years before that. We’ve never had anything stolen or any problems. My main concern, as we’re usually back-to-back, is ensuring that guests check out on time. Luckily, they do.
…ooo, don’t get me started! I think pilferage is my #1 concern, although it’s more a feeling of violation to a ‘friendship’ than the cost of what they took, which has been fairly nominal.
I have a 4-ni. minimum but guests generally book a lot longer, a couple of weeks or more. I am not a drive-to destination so the reservations come in months in advance. During that time there are friendly emails flying back and forth with me providing all sorts of helpful info (I don’t do “tour guide” info either!). A definite friendly relationship is developed (ahem), by design.
My guests run the gamut of honeymooners to career peeps on vacation to retirees. I have had the same housecleaner the entire 6 yrs. and she knows every inch of that small condo and can tell at a glance what’s missing or damaged.
Doggone-it if there hasn’t been something gone or missing about every 10 guests or so during the last year and a half. It’s been mostly minor things…nail clippers, a new spiral “Guest Book”, an inexpensive but beautiful jeweled box from India, acrylic drink ware…for two (hmmm), etc. But the major items taken were a pair of expensive binoculars (aack!), and a favorite chef knife that cost $50.
Unfortunately, when the items went missing the housecleaner was in speed mode for back-to-back reservations so she didn’t want to pin-point which couple had the sticky fingers. I realize some people feel they need a “souvenir” of their stay, but what hurts is the extreme disappointment of misjudging someone’s character.
My biggest concerns? Guest injuries and damages from guests. I rent the spare bedroom/bathroom perhaps 25-35 nights per year. I sometimes rent the whole house if I am going away on vacation. I’m on track to make only approx $2300-$2500 this year from ABB earnings.
Guest injuries/getting sued—is my biggest fear as I do not rent out or make enough money to cover insurance costs from something like Comet insurance, so it would just be a disaster to my life!
Damages–I’ve had one incident where a guest vomited red wine all over the bedroom down the hall to the bathroom, ruining the linens, throw rugs, pillows etc. Required replacement of many items AND professional cleaning of the carpet. I was lucky that she covered the damages in full through the Resolution Center. I don’t know if ABB would have covered all damages had she not been willing to pay. Total was $532.
At the time of those damages, I had only made $360 in ABB earnings for the calendar year. So, if I had to pay out of pocket for all or most of those damages, it would have been a very unsuccessful year for me.
This is a very good question and in thinking about my answer it has made me re-evaluate a few things at the cottage. My biggest fear is FIRE. I am two hours away in New York City when people are renting my beloved cottage and burning the whole freakin’ thing down due to any careless actions is my biggest fear. Which makes me wonder WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE CANDLES AND OIL LAMPS available for a blackout? Yes, the electricity does go out, but I can count on one hand how many times in 6 years. The first thing I am gonna go when I get up there is get rid of all of that.
That the automatization that I have set up (cleaners go there without my presence, self check-in) fails too often (because of unpredictable circumstances like damages) so that I have to spend too much time with it.
Yes, I allow pets (cats and dogs) and I always go there with my own cat in tow from New York City, which I have clearly stated in my listing - so if you’re allergic to cats my place would not be suitable.
This year my rentals is down just a tad, but last year was my best ever - we will see what the rest of the summer and fall bring. That’s my real high season. We completed an addition of an additional bed and bath to rave reviews, but our area - the Catskills north of NYC has seen an explosion of rentals and new home owners. Every second house owner throws their place up on Airbnb, some at ridiculous prices, most with the same brooklyn hispter aesthetic - all white, MCM interior with carefully “curated” vintage pieces and antiques. (Everything is “curated” if you didn’t know.) The cat thing might be a deterrent to some, but I am definitely not changing that.
Phoenicia is hot hot hot. One of the hottest towns in the Catskills these days, despite, or maybe because its lack of cellphone service. The basic driver here is that there is a huge ‘creative’ class of worker in New York that has realized it does not need to live in New York City to work. They all work remotely - they can take a bus down to the city for client meetings. Kingston is being called the new Brooklyn. The stockade area has exploded with hip shops. Mary Stuart Masterson, of Fried Green Tomatoes, is building a production studio there. The founder of Etsy is remodeling an old factory in Catskill. It is all very exciting.
Very exciting. That’s right, the Internet, which has happened since my days there. So they can work from afar and go to NYC only when have to. Why should I be so surprised, I write this from an island in Belize via the same medium.
There is also been a shift in tastes as millennials and Gen Y come of age and buy property - the Hamptons represent a lifestyle rejected by younger folks. For those that are buying out on Long Island, it is the North Fork they want, with smaller towns and what’s left of the potato farms. The appearance of simplicity and, in my opinion, pretentious un-pretension are what they’re looking for. Woodland Valley, by the way, is super expensive. I doubt you can buy a home there for under 400K. Most way more. That is where the investment bankers end up, if not in Woodstock.
@CatskillsGrrl, you have candles and oil lamps because it’s part of the package and fits the theme and style of your beautiful and unique cottage! However, I recommend you put those away and only take them out when you are home! I had these or something similar on my wish list on Amazon, and my crafty and very thoughtful sister bought them for me as a birthday gift! You can leave these available for your guests! You will not have to worry, and yet your guests will have access to lighting in case of power failure (which I hope happens to me when I rent your place!)
Edited to add…there are even nicer ones on the market. Keep shopping and you will find some you like.
My number one concern with all the back to backs I get is a guest bringing in bedbugs in their luggage. I have taken steps to protect myself as much as possible but still have nightmares about it happening to me.
Fascinating. I just Googled it; The old Hallenbeck Mill is gone, so is our cabin (replaced) and even the fishing pond a little ways upriver from Muddy Brook Road also gone, where we would fish for trout. A whole 2nd generation of young fly fishers came from those streams in the 60’s, then we slowly emigrated West to Montana, Idaho. Wyoming etc. and we took that sport to its 2nd ‘Golden Age’. Great area, good memories.