The thought of launching a short term rental far from where you live might seem a bit daunting, but many remote hosting veterans would argue otherwise. With some strategic planning, it can actually be a source for stress-free, passive income.
Of course, hiring a property manager is always an option if you’re looking for a more hands-off approach. On the other hand, a lot of people like the idea of self-managing and saving on property management fees. If you don’t have boots on the ground at your rental property, there are plenty of strategies for maintaining a local presence and for operating your rental from the comfort of your own home.
Here are some remote hosting tips to consider:
Smart Products (and smart savings!)
- Guest entry is probably the biggest obstacle to work through when hosting remotely, but it doesn’t have to be. Investing in a smart keypad lock like Kwikset Halo that you can find at ACE Hardware will allow you to create unique codes and control entry from afar. HostGPO recently partnered with Ace Hardware to bring exclusive discounts to hosts. Learn more about HostGPO.
- Get a smart thermostat. You can monitor the temperature while guests are there, while still allowing them to control the temperature during their stay. This also allows you to turn the thermostat off when guests have left to save on your overall electric bill. This Honeywell Smart thermostat from ACE Hardware is a great choice.
- Hide a spare key as an extra precaution. You never know when you might face an unforeseen technology malfunction! Having a backup key ensures your guests can still enter the unit and buys you some time to remedy the keypad issue.
- Invest in contract-grade furniture. It has proven durability, as it is constructed to withstand commercial use, ensuring less often replacement purchasing. West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma all have sections on their websites dedicated to contract-grade furniture. It is well worth the investment! See how to get the best bang for your buck with these brands!
- Purchase washable rugs instead of regular rugs whenever possible. If a guest tracks mud all over the rug, your cleaners can throw your RugsUSA washable rug into the wash instead of having to coordinate a remote rug replacement. Time is money, people!
- Hire a trusted cleaning service and always have a backup. Consider conducting interviews to ensure you and your cleaning team are on the same page regarding the specific needs for your unit(s). A great way to accomplish this is to share a google calendar with your cleaning service with all of the guest check-ins and check-outs logged as they are booked, so your cleaner will know what to expect ahead of time. A backup cleaner is great for any last minute bookings when your primary cleaner isn’t available. If you can’t be on the ground to inspect their work, consider implementing additional tools like cleaning checklists and bonus incentives for 5 star cleaning reviews from guests.
- Add a co-host on your AirBnb listing. AirBnb offers this option for hosts who are looking to split hosting responsibilities with someone else. If you don’t know anyone local that you can add as a co-host to your listing, there is a platform called CohostMarket that allows you to search for a local. With them you get to dictate the co-host responsibilities and compensation structure, not AirBnb!
- Have a trusted local handyman or a home warranty company on call to cover all repairs. Things happen – an appliance will break, your dryer vent will need cleaning, or a pipe might leak. Having a handyman in the area that you can call or text is the most convenient remedy, and allows you the chance to assure your guests that you are working on immediate solutions. Thumbtack is a great app to find local services in any category, and it gives you the ability to read reviews and receive quotes from each prospective service provider. Signing up for a home warranty, like Select Home Warranty or Home Warranty of America, is another great option where you would pay a yearly or monthly premium to cover repairs quickly and at very affordable prices.
- Keep a locked closet in the house that only your cleaner has access to. Stock it with extra linens, supplies (including all your extra Public Goods toiletries and cleaning supplies), toilet paper, paper towels, and extra laundry detergent so your cleaning team can replenish whenever necessary.
- Have all necessary mobile apps with notifications turned on, and place them all in the same app folder. This can include your STR listing platform, Smart Lock app, Smart Thermostat app, and Google Calendar. Having everything all in one place is a dream when in a panic!
- Write a detailed house manual to post on your AirBnb listing and account for every question a guest might have. Include specific information and photos related to location, parking, entry, WiFi, and where extra linens and supplies are stored. You can also schedule emails to your upcoming guests through AirBnb – ask guests to review the guest manual beforehand and to send any questions your way before their visit!
Other Things to Consider
- If it’s possible, factor in at least 2 property visits a year into your budget. If you track travel and save any receipts related to these trips, you should be able to write these expenses off on your taxes!
- Use any time spent local to your rental to become friendly with your neighbors or anyone else who lives in the town. Exchange contact information with them so they can be a resource for you as you’re hosting remotely. Not to mention, enjoy your property and all the hard work you have put into it!
- Accept that things will go wrong, but the more you prepare on the front end and stay engaged remotely, the more smoothly it will go.
- When in doubt, over communicate and over prepare! Try to keep everyone in the loop, whether that’s service providers, guests, or co-hosts. In addition, try to foresee issues before they happen, and have solutions ready.
- Keep in mind that hosting takes some getting used to, so give yourself some time to figure out what works best for you.
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