Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, and VRBO are becoming increasingly popular. Many homeowners are considering making some extra cash by renting out their homes. For some people, it may be for a few weeks a year to cover the cost of a vacation. But for others, especially if they have a second home, it is a full-time occupation. If you’re thinking of renting out your home, what should you consider first?


1. Your Area

Will the area you live in attract vacationers and travelers? You needn’t live in a tourist area. People travel for many reasons, including vacations and business. Is there a reason people may travel to your area? Are there any major attractions? Does your town host big events? Is there a large conference venue that attracts business people? If so, renting out your home might be a viable option.


2. Your Property

Do you have a property already or are you looking for a new one? If you’re looking for a new home and are considering renting it out, explain your purpose to your agent. A real estate agent like Heather Tibbetts will have a good understanding of the market and what people look for. They can advise you on the most suitable options.


3. Legal Issues

It is important to be aware of any legal issues. They may not be mentioned on the websites where you advertise your property. Laws will vary, depending on where you live. Make sure you’re aware of these to avoid hefty fines.


4. Decor

How is your decor looking? Your home will sell depending on the photographs on the host site. So if your interior design is looking a little tired, it might be time to update it. Rented properties that sell well tend to fall under the following categories:

– Homes designed around the area in which they are based. For example, beach houses, country retreats or city lofts.

– Homes that are spacious and not too cluttered.

– Properties with a quirky or unusual design theme.

– Clean, simple spaces, as they indicate cleanliness and modern living.


5. Facilities

What facilities can you offer? For example, do you have broadband, cable, etc.? If not, it might be worth investing in some of these. Do some research into your intended audience and find out what they look for in a short-term rental property.


6. Costs

Remember to take all costs into consideration when you’re working out whether renting is feasible. You will have some initial costs such as investing in new sheets, towels, etc. But there will also be ongoing costs to take into consideration. You will need to supply consumables such as soap, toilet paper, cleaning products, etc. It is also likely that you will consume more water, gas, and electricity and so you can expect larger bills. Tax is another important consideration.


7. Do You Have The Time?

Renting out a property, even if it’s just on a short-term basis and for a few weeks a year, can be time-consuming. Even after the initial preparations, you will need to spend time advertising, and marketing your property. In between stays you will also need to clean and ensure the property is ready for the next occupants. While your home is in use, you will also need to ensure that renters can contact you at all times in case of emergency.


As with any new project, it’s worth gathering all the facts before jumping in. Though short-term holiday rentals can be lucrative, there is a lot to consider.


Image Credits: Courtesy of Bennet Hofford Construction & by Patrick J. O'Brien.