A Retiree’s Guide To Hosting on Airbnb

senior couple taking a walk outside
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In Airbnb’s latest annual survey, approximately 35% of hosts worldwide said they host to help cover the rising cost of living. Retirees are part of that group, and with the economy like it is, more and more retirees are choosing to rent out their properties on Airbnb. 

If you’ve never hosted on Airbnb, you might be apprehensive. After all, you’ll be opening up your home to complete strangers. And while you do need to do your homework before you list your property on the platform, choosing to be an Airbnb host can be rewarding in more ways than boosting your bank account.

Greg and Teri Gault, retirees and Airbnb hosts of Vasquez Mountain View Ranch in Agua Dulce, California, have never looked back since they started hosting. 

“Initially we were concerned about having strangers on our property, but every concern we had has been completely alleviated,” said Teri Gault. “We decided we had to take the plunge and listed our Airbnb just three days before New Year’s Eve and have been booked solid ever since. Every guest is welcome back any time, and we’ve enjoyed meeting wonderful people, dogs and even cats from all over the world.” Here’s what novice retirees need to know to get started hosting on Airbnb. 

Are You Retirement Ready?

Know What Makes for a Successful Listing

“If you’re thinking of listing your property as a retiree on Airbnb, there are a few things you need to do in order to make sure your listing is successful,” said Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, aka The Traveling Therapist.

“First, take some time to browse other listings in your area to get an idea of what guests are looking for. Then, take clear and well-lit photos of your space, highlighting any unique features. Next, write a detailed and accurate description of your property, including any relevant amenities and nearby attractions. Finally, set a competitive price that reflects the value of your listing. By following these simple tips, you’ll be sure to attract guests and earn top ratings on Airbnb.”

Stock the Kitchen

“Stock the kitchen with staples like coffee, cream, sugar, vegetable oil, spice rack, napkins, paper plates, toothpicks and salt and pepper,” said Gault. “List the goods you provide in your amenities so that your guests don’t have to overpack.”

Stock the Bathroom

“Stock the bathroom with shampoo, body wash and conditioner and [list those items] on the amenities,” said Gault. “Post a sign inside the medicine cabinet, ‘Forgot something? Take and keep it.’ Stock new unopened items like deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc. No one has ever wiped out our supply but only taken whatever they’ve needed.”

Are You Retirement Ready?

Make Safety a Top Priority

“First, be sure to thoroughly vet all potential guests in advance,” recommended Tolson. “This includes reading reviews from previous stays as well as conducting your own background check.” 

Be aware that Airbnb does conduct background checks on guests prior to their stay as long as an accurate first and last name and birthdate is provided.

“Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have a solid understanding of your insurance coverage in case of any damages or accidents that may occur during the stay,” said Tolson. “And finally, be sure to leave clear instructions for your guests on how to use any amenities in your home, as well as any safety features like fire extinguishers or carbon monoxide detectors. By taking a few simple steps, you can help create a safe and welcoming environment for all your visitors.”

Have Expectations for Your Guests

“Hosts should absolutely expect guests to keep a rental space relatively clean, behave themselves, and keep noise levels down,” said Leonard Ang, CEO of iPropertyManagement. “Don’t be afraid to put restrictions on things like parties, alcoholic drinks or renting to people attending certain events like sporting events.”

Be Available to Your Guests if Needed

“Expect that as hosts you will need to be available to deal with queries and problems at any time of day,” said Amy Stride, longtime Airbnb host and owner of Oakwood West Holidays. “Some guests will be completely self-sufficient and others will expect you to be available to assist them at all times. If you are renting out your home when travelling, you’ll need to have an agency or a local representative to deal with these. This cost will need to be factored into pricing. If you are renting out part of your home, it’s really important to consider the potential effect of being on call 24/7.”

Are You Retirement Ready?

Stride recommends giving your guests as much information upfront as possible to reduce their need to contact you during their stay.

Be Prepared To Give Your Guests Privacy

“Provide contactless check in and check out,” said Gault. “And know that some will want to keep to themselves. Other guests may initiate conversation which we’ve really enjoyed getting to know. Many return on a regular basis, and we’ve connected as friends. But again, let your guests initiate further contact.”

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