Top tips for short term rentals

The end of the year is fast approaching, and so are all the travellers, tourists and holidaymakers. For those who live near or own a property in a holiday-hotspot, the festive season also brings with it an abundance of short-term rental opportunities. Its a great way for property owners to make a few extra rand for their own holidays or to put towards their savings. 

If you’re thinking about renting out your home for the short-term, there are a few more important things you need to consider – other than saying ‘sign me up’ and advertising your home online. So, check out these top 10 tips that will help make the process a fuss-free experience for you, your home and your tenants. 
1. Go the extra mile with amenities  

While holidaymakers are usually happy with the basics, adding a few extra services and facilities will go a long way to help them relax and feel at home – while also keeping your home and its possessions in good condition. Plus it can help increase your rental asking price. Think along the lines of a washing machine, a dishwasher, a coffee machine or decent plunger (because holidaymakers deserve good coffee) and a cleaning service for those who will be staying for a few weeks at a time. 

2. Maintain it 

Your short-term rental property should be kitted out with the basic furnishings – meaning that your property will require less heavy-duty upkeep. However, make sure that small and regular jobs are done after every stay to avoid it adding up to a big clean-up business. These could range from garden work and mowing lawn to cleaning the refrigerator and washing any carpets and rugs. Remember, the more attractive your home looks, the more appealing it’ll be to holidaymakers… and the more they will be willing to pay! 

3. Screen potential guests 

We get it! There are few things as nerve-wracking as having strangers come into your home and, then, live there for a few days or weeks! So, it’s important make sure you trust the people who will stay at your property. We recommend making use of reputable homestay networks like Airbnb or enlisting the services of a real estate agency. And if you'd really like to go at it alone, try to meet your tenants in person or speak to them over the phone. 

4. Set some ground rules

It’s only natural that holidaymakers are going to want to let their hair down during their vacation, and as a short-term rental landlord you should understand this. Yet, it’s important to set expectations for what is acceptable behaviour in your home: state a (reasonable) time for guests to turn the music down to avoid upsetting the neighbours, stipulate where exactly people are allowed to smoke, specify what your check-out time is and list where they need to keep or take garbage or recycle items to. These boundaries will help put your mind at ease while also creating a safe space for your tenants to have fun in your home. 

5. Get price right 

Set your rental price too high and you might lose out as holidaymakers might choose other (more-affordable) properties. Set it too low and people might think there’s something wrong with the property. Instead, look at what other properties (similar to yours) in the area are renting at. Also, factor in any additional amenities your property offers as well as its location (if it’s a few metres away from the beach, you can certainly increase the price). A rental agent can also help you determine the best asking price – all of the relevant information on the areas in which they operate, and will help you determine a good asking price. 

6. Ask for a deposit 

You may have screened your tenant and asked them all the right questions, but one never knows when something could go wrong. It’s therefore pivotal to ask short-term tenants for a deposit amount that will cover any damages. The deposit can range between 50% and 100% of the full rental amount, and should paid back in full once the tenant has left your home in the condition you gave it in. Make sure you include deposit requirements in any advertising and/or communications with potential tenants. 

7. Draw up a contract 

It might feel strange to draw up a contract for someone who will only stay at your home for a few days at a time, but writing down and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the rental will not only protect you but also your tenants. More importantly, the contract doesn’t have to be long and complicated – it can include the basic rules of the property, the deposit amount, the duration of the stay, and an inventory list of all items in the house. A rental agent will be a great help in creating this document. 

8. Update your insurance

Sometimes things just go wrong and no one can be blamed – like a pipe burst or a power surge. So, before you lease your property make sure that the building and household insurance is up to date, and that you will be covered in the event of tenants staying there. This way you can rest assured that whatever may happen, it won’t have to come out of your own pocket. 

9. Inform your neighbours

Whether you are renting out the home you live in every day or as a seasonal holiday house, it’s always a good to inform neighbours accordingly. Not only will you show your neighbours that you’re considerate, but they might even offer to keep an eye on your property. 

10. Add a personal touch 

Make your guests feel at home by creating a space that’s warm and welcoming. This could be anything from a box of chocolates, a bottle of local wine or a guide to cool touristy activities and great restaurants in the area. Those simple extra touches will also help your property get a good review once your guests leave.

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