This blog post was written by our friends at GUARD HOG.
Thanks to Airbnb’s incredible transformation of the tourism industry, more and more people are able to get involved with sharing their home as a way of making some serious extra income. That being said, we understand that letting your home out to strangers can be a bit daunting, you are literally giving them the keys to your kingdom and no matter how careful your guests are, accidents and home emergency can happen. We know that the last thing you want to be doing while you’re sunning it up on the coast of wherever is worrying about any damage that might be caused by the folks having their own holiday at your place, so here are a few quick and easy tips to guest proof your place and keep your mind at ease…
Store anything of sentimental (or high) value
As we said, accidents can happen, so is it worth risking something sentimental? Most damages caused by guests are totally by accident, and while they may offer to pay for a replacement, some things are just completely irreplaceable. We recommend that you store anything with sentimental or high value in a place that is inaccessible to your guests. This could be at a specialized storage facility or just a place within your home that the guests won’t have access to, like the loft or the basement. Removal of priceless possessions for short lets has become a massively important part of the home-sharing ecosystem, so there are plenty of options out there for you to consider if do have something that needs removing and storing.
Don’t risk your breakables
Try not to give your guests access to any of your expensive crockery or glassware. This stuff is super breakable and again, accidents can and likely will happen at some point. Nobody wants to come home to find a plate from their Bernarduad porcelain collection in the bin because a kid thought it was a frisbee! The best thing you can do is lock it all away and get yourself a more budget set for when guests stay. At least then if a plate gets broken, you won’t have to remortgage your house to replace it!
Do your research if you’re planning to use vacation rental software
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and purchase some vacation rental software, then make sure you check and double check you’re going with the best one for you. Vacation rental software really is a fantastic investment if you’re juggling a large number of properties and bookings, you can manage all your calendars, services and more from one place which dramatically reduces the time it takes to manage the whole process, sounds like an absolute dream right? That being said, we’re not kidding when we say there are way more of these things out there than there needs to be, and all of them will come with there own set of pros and cons… you need to find one that ticks as many boxes for you as possible without settling for a plethora of downsides! There will be a perfect one for you out there, you just need to do a bit of work to find it. The most important things to check are the price, and if there is a percentage deducted from your earnings to cover their costs, where they say their specialist areas are and of course, any previous customer reviews on sites like Capterra. You’ll also find that free trials are available for this kind of software, so you can take full advantage of that and test everything out for yourself before making your own decision.
Prepare for any home emergencies
Imagine spending your holiday on the phone to a plumber because a pipes burst while you’ve got guests staying at your place back home… it’s definitely one way to ruin some probably much-needed relaxation time! We recommend that you leave your guests a few home emergency numbers (like a plumber or an electrician) that they can use just in case something happens, with an agreement in place that states any cost will be sorted on your return of course.
Make sure you have insurance
Don’t forget that short term letting technically counts as a commercial activity, meaning that any damage caused by your guests won’t be covered under your normal house insurance policy. Companies like Airbnb strongly recommend that hosts take out their own comprehensive insurance to ensure they’re covered because after all, it doesn’t matter how much you guest proof your pad, accidents do happen and things can go wrong in a really big and expensive way. GUARDHOG, for example, provides an automated insurance experience for those getting involved with home-sharing. Their flagship product, HOSTCOVER, is a pay-per-stay policy that allows a host to cover their property while guests are staying while ensuring there is no charge while the property is vacant.
Covers like this generally require you to have underlying buildings and/or contents insurance that they can mirror the limits of, so it is vital that you contact your home insurance provider before taking out host insurance to let them know you’re sharing your home. Making your home insurance provider aware will trigger one of the following three outcomes:
- Your policy won’t change at all
- Your premium may increase
- Your policy will be cancelled
If your policy does get cancelled, GUARDHOG also provides a home insurance policy called HOMECOVER that allows you to carry on sharing your home with the knowledge that you’re completely covered.