So you want to be an AirBnB host? Check with your local regulations, city ordinance rules/regulations, and any licensing you may need.

The third step you need to take before creating a listing or buying anything to improve the overall guest experience at your location is to talk with your local city officials and ask them what the rules are in your area, city, municipality, or township for renting space in your home or property to guests.

This is a very important step not to over-look and could have financial and legal consequences if you do not follow up on it.

Don’t be alarmed, and don’t let this step stop you on your journey to becoming an airbnb host. You will want to establish a good relationship with your building and code enforcement office before you become a landlord or before you embark on hosting your home to guests. Rules and laws vary greatly and are enforced very differently from state to state and city to city.

My recommendation is to call your local ordinance office and tell them you are thinking about renting some space in your home or property out and using AirBNB as a means to fill your vacant space, and you are looking to understand the rules for doing this. You do not have to give them your name or address, just tell them you are looking for their advice regarding the rules and ordinances. Some cities will not care, others may have you register your property with the city so they can keep track of the activity. In the long-run this step will give you the peace of mind that you are operating within legal limits, can help to protect you and your property against potentially harmful situations, neighbor complaints, and even filing your taxes and income statements (if necessary).

Believe me, this is a very easy step, is not as overwhelming as it may seem, and can be done without you having to provide any personal information or information about your property.

Now we move into the most fun part of the process! Creating Your Listing!
When you create your listing, think of the most attractive features and benefits you have to offer guests and show them why they would want to choose your place for their stay! Be mindful of the experience you want for your guest and write your listing in a way that it gives your guests a preview of what they can expect when when staying at your place. I like to put myself in the shoes of my guests and I think – “What would I like to know and see about the room, space, and environment?” Paint a holistic picture for your guest, as they will ultimately make their decision if they want to stay with you based on the information you provide in your listing to decide if they want to stay with you. Creating your listing is a very important step that you will not want to rush through. Let’s walk through some of the details you will want to include in your listing:

A. Listing type: The listing type will allow travellers to see what type of space they are booking. You will have the option to choose an entire home, a private room, or a shared room for your listing types. You an even host experiences but we will save that for another article. It is important to think about and be very detailed about the listing type you have because some people are only interested in booking entire homes, while others only want their own private room. If you have multiple rooms avaialble in your home, you will want to create separate listings for each room and you want to clearly state in the details that there are other rooms avaialble in your house, and the highlight the shared areas of the property that everyone can use while they are staying there. Try to be as specific and detailed as you can about the location, areas that will be used by guests, and areas that are off-limits to guest use.

B. Photos: Guests want to be able to see the space, and envision themselves in it. When a traveler is looking for a place to stay the spend a lot of time looking through the photos you put in your listing. A clean, uncluttered, and attractive space will show your commitment to being a great host, and can make an instant impression on the guest. Another way to make the photos more attractive is by adding captions and descriptions under each photo to tell the story of what they are looking at and how everything fits into the overall guest experience. If you are listing an entire house, take photos of every room, the exterior spaces, and the approach to the home. if you are listing a private room, focus on the private room and bathroom that your guests will be able to use. If you are listing a home that has shared spaces for multiple guests, take pictures of the entire home, the areas that are dedicated for guest use, areas that will be shared by guests, and then really highlight the individuality of the rooms you are offering. Equally important is to think about the neighborhood and surrounding areas of your home or location. Are there places of interest near by? Does your town or city hold special events and cater to certain types of travelers? Do you live on a beach or lake and can you provide a really unique experience for guests staying with you? Highlight these as well and try to include some of the surrounding areas into your photos and descriptions.

C. Write a description for your property and give the rooms that are avaialble unique names or themes. This helps to make your place more memorable and inviting. It may seem strange that I told you to take pictures first before you write descriptions, but believe me – once you take photos of your property, you will be able to go back into your listing and create a better story as you walk through the photos you took and think about guests checking out your location. Try to tell a story and order your pictures in a way that make sense to your guests and include descriptions about your location that also make sense and help the guest to virtually walk-through your location.

D. Listing name: the title can be one of the most critical aspects of your Airbnb listing. Be sure to come up with a catchy and attractive Airbnb listing name to increase your chances of getting reservations. If you have a pink house on a hill – work that into your title!

E. Pricing: Everyone always asks me about this, and it is one of the main reasons you are getting into becoming an AirBNB host – to make a little extra cash or to offset your property expenses. Pricing varies for everyone and is unique to your situation, but there are some baseline things you can do to research pricing and come up with some good ideas.

It’s also best to be upfront about any additional fees you may want to add from you or Airbnb. If you need help determining competitive pricing data, I can help you analyze your area, rental pricing data, and other fees and pricing data. Inquire how I can help!

E. Availability: The calendar on the listing will show when your space is available. Travellers will only be able to book dates that are not booked by other guests or ones that you have not marked as unavailable.

F. Amenities: People will want to know what your space has to offer. If your house has wi-fi, air conditioning, washer/dryer, or parking, be sure to let the guests know.

G. House rules: This part of the listing is a chance for you to let your guests know some of the ground rules for your house. For example: no shoes in the house, keep noise to a minimum after 10pm, and no smoking inside the house. Setting a few house rules will work to mitigate your worries as a host and homeowner, and let the travellers know some of the responsibilities of being a guest.

I.Profile: Put a face behind the listing — let people know who they’ll be staying with along with your story.