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You worked hard for years to get yourself into a position where you could finally take that extended vacation of your dreams. However, there’s still the issue of what to do with your homestead in your absence. Given the rise of services like Airbnb, you might have considered using it to make extra cash. Should you rent out your home while you travel?
Doing so eases your worries about how to make your home appear occupied while away. However, renting out your home also has risks — how will you mitigate them?
Fortunately, modern life makes it more possible than ever to find the ideal arrangement for making the best use of your property while on the road. Here are four considerations to remember if renting out your home while you travel.
Frequency and Dates of Travel
When deciding whether to rent out your home while you travel, your first consideration is how long and frequently you intend to stay on the road. Like any other endeavor, earning extra cash with your property requires some work. It’s one thing if you want to spend a year traveling the U.S. in your RV, but it might not be worth the hassle for the occasional long weekend.
Assuming you don’t mind the extra cleaning and maintenance, your next question becomes how to manage your home rental listing. You have three basic options:
- Broker: Services like Airbnb are technically brokers, connecting potential short and long-term tenants with available properties.
- Home swap: Are you going to France for a year? Home swap services connect you with couples from that country spending similar time in the States. You can meet new friends and develop a level of trust with the people sharing your home.
- Private listing: Local classifieds and internet listing services like Craigslist and Nextdoor let you advertise private rentals.
Your Comfort Level
After deciding to rent out your home while you travel, getting mindful about your comfort level and having a heart-to-heart with your partner or co-owners should be next on your agenda. Whether you use a brokerage, house swap service or list your home privately will partially depend on your comfort level with the following things.
1. Collecting Payment
Brokerage services like Airbnb collect payments and remit the profit to you, minus their fee. Home swap services vary, but there’s typically no payment involved. Instead, they work as follows:
- Simultaneous swaps: You stay in their home while they stay in yours.
- Non-simultaneous swaps: You get into a network where you earn points by allowing other members to stay in your home while you are not there.
- Hospitality Exchange: You host each other in each other’s homes while present.
You’re ultimately responsible for collecting payment if you choose a private listing. Pro-tip: Insist on it in advance, like a hotel. Furthermore, write out a list of incidentals for which guests might incur additional fees, taking care to disclose them per the laws of your jurisdiction.
2. Enforcing Rules
Of course, you want your guests to obey certain rules when visiting your property. What do you do if a guest breaks something and refuses to pay for it?
Brokerages often have a resolution process and insurance coverage where you can apply for reimbursement. However, you could be on your own otherwise. Your only recourse could be working with area authorities, although jurisdictional issues can arise, making it difficult for you to receive compensation for damages.
3. Managing Evictions
While brokerages like Airbnb will try to assist if guests refuse to depart when their booking completes, eviction laws also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Often, you may have no choice but to go through the proper legal channels for your state, which could result in guests remaining in your home longer than you would like.
You have more protection if you only communicate through the booking app — it records your correspondence with guests for legal purposes. Otherwise, there isn’t much difference between your listing options here.
Your Home’s Unique Features
Now onto the fun part — how to get the most bang for your buck by renting out your home while you travel. You might not have any issues at all if you live somewhere like Manhattan or Las Vegas. Popular tourist destinations demand their own price. However, you can still turn a tidy profit with a property in a less trendy locale with the right approach:
- Modern conveniences: Blazing fast internet for those working on the road and in-room charging cables for various smartphone models helps those on business trips.
- Complimentary gifts: For example, a box of chocolates for couples on a romantic getaway or free dollar store crayons and coloring books for families.
- Special touches: Provide directories and guidebooks with useful local information for guests from other parts of the world and hypoallergenic bedding and towels for those with runny noses and watery eyes.
Another way to get the most for your property is to highlight your unique features in your listing. For example, does your house have a pool? Is it next door to a park where visiting children can play, or is there a swing set in your backyard?
Insurance is a remarkable concept. More is available to cover life’s unavoidable headaches when many people pool their resources. As much as you might not want to think about it, accidents occur. Guests can injure themselves while on your property, or damage like fire can occur.
Please don’t think that your regular homeowner’s insurance will protect you in all cases. Read your policy carefully — they may consider the activity running a business out of your home and limit your coverage or offer none at all for hosting-related incidents. Airbnb provides you with a million dollars in coverage through its platform. Those renting out their homes privately while they travel should speak to their agent about the appropriate policy for this use.
Renting Out Your Home While You Travel
You worked hard to afford your dream vacation. Your only remaining issue is what to do with your homestead in your absence. Should you rent out your home when you travel?
Doing so can help you make money to cover your journey, but it isn’t without risks. Consider these four factors before your departure to decide if renting out your home while traveling is right for you and find the ideal arrangement.