Tips for Hosting a Rental Property

Perhaps you’re thinking about becoming a host on Airbnb or VRBO, or maybe you’re already a host and you want to improve your revenue opportunities. As a former host and a guest at more than 100 properties, I’d like to share some suggestions for putting your property in the best light, and providing a great guest experience (if you’re looking for tips on finding a rental property, click here).

The Do’s

Your Listing:

  • Feature bright, light photos of your property. Dark photos are not inviting and don’t show your property in the best light (no pun intended)
  • Show every room. If you list your property as a two bedroom, show both bedrooms so prospective guests can see the beds and layout, and the condition of the linens.
  • Speaking of the beds, make sure they are made well in the photos and feature clean, crisp linens. Rumpled beds with cheap looking linens can be a big turn-off.
  • De-clutter. Photos should be void of personal items such as toiletries in the bathroom or clothing in the bedrooms. Toys should also be out of sight unless you are specifically showcasing a child’s room in your property. If you have a crib available to your guests, show pictures with and without the crib.
  • Assume your guests will want to cook in the kitchen and clearly show the space and appliances. Your guest may be disappointed to find out you only provide a hotplate and a microwave unless it’s clearly stated.
  • If you allow pets, make it clear so guests with allergies are aware.
  • Show a floorplan so guests can see where the bedrooms and bathrooms are in relation to the common areas.
  • Indicate in your listing if you will meet your guest in person or if self check-in is provided. Better yet, give your guests the choice.
  • Keep your listing up to date. If you rearrange the furniture or redecorate, update the photos. If your washing machine breaks, remove the washer from your listing.

Guest Services:

  • Provide some means for guests to prepare coffee or tea. An electric kettle with a French press is a good combination. And provide at least one day’s supply of coffee and tea. If you really want to go the extra mile, ask your guests if they would like some basic groceries provided for a small fee (cost of the supplies + a convenience fee).
  • Don’t skimp on towels or linens. Provide each guest at least two bath towels, a hand towel and a wash cloth. Linens should be hotel quality. I suggest a comforter with a duvet as the duvet can be cleaned after each guest.
  • Provide an extra set of pillows. I suggest soft pillows on the bed with a second set of firm pillows so guests can take their pick. Pillow covers that go under the pillow case should be used to protect the pillow and keep it clean.
  • Splurge on a good mattress that will last and provide your guests with a comfortable sleep. If you have a firm mattress (very common in Italy and Portugal we found), provide a memory foam or pillowtop mattress pad for guests who are not accustomed to a hard mattress.
  • While it’s not necessary to have a super-stocked kitchen, be sure to provide the basics: 2-3 sauce pans, 1-2 fry pans (non-stick is best) and a large pot. A baking dish is appreciated, as well as a couple mixing/serving bowls and one decent knife. Lots of big coffee cups will be appreciated too (at least by coffee loving Americans!).
  • Provide basic cleaning supplies as well as a vacuum and mop if you have hard surface floors.
  • Provide at least one day’s supply of shampoo, conditioner and soap/body wash.
  • Make your check-in / check-out process easy on your guest. Travel is stressful and having to manage a complicated check-in/out procedure will only frustrate your guests.
  • Provide a comprehensive manual for your guests. Be sure to include the WiFi network and password, what to do with rubbish/recycling, how to operate all appliances (especially the TV and washer/dryer), directions to the closest market & clinic, and restaurant recommendations.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t post bad pictures. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many listings I’ve seen with dark or blurry pictures, or pictures that are posted sideways or upside down (yes, really).
  • Don’t be misleading with your property. If it’s a basement apartment in your home, say so. Don’t list it as a one-bedroom when it’s actually a studio. Don’t try to pass off a sofa bed as a real bed. Don’t try to make the apartment appear larger than it is with deceiving photography.
  • Don’t post photos with your toiletries and personal belongings.
  • Don’t post photos of the apartment with your pets, especially with them sitting on the furniture or bed. Some people have pet allergies or may be turned off by the thought of pet smells.
  • Don’t get creative with your photography. Presenting close-up pictures of a vase or other décor isn’t helpful.
  • Don’t force your guests to have to contact you for every question. It’s a nuisance for all involved. Provide a good, comprehensive guest manual.
  • If you get a bad review, don’t write a snarky response. By all means correct misinformation, and if something really was bad, assure future guests that the situation has been resolved if possible. If your property is subject to street noise it’s unlikely you can rectify this, so be open about it in your listing.


I hope you found this helpful – best wishes on renting your property!

Feel free to comment with your own suggestions or feedback.

Until Next Time!


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