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Most people we know get over their Airbnb concerns once the money starts coming in. Still, taking that first step can be scary. That’s understandable, given that you are inviting complete strangers into your home to do as they will with possibly your most valuable asset.
The good news is that there are a few simple ways to mitigate the risks. I’ve outlined them below. Following this approach has protected us. Hopefully it will also help you.
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1. Check Reviews
The beauty of Airbnb is that there are a couple of safeguards built in. First, the company requires that all users upload a profile photo. Second, the review system allows not only for guests to review hosts, but also for hosts to review guests. This is a wonderful feature. It incentivizes everyone to be honest and respectful (and is not available on all short-term rental sites; VRBO (to learn more about how to rent your place and list for free on VRBO, click here), for one, does not offer this feature). Finally, there are ways to limit your guests to those who are verified (verification on Airbnb can be through government issued IDs or social accounts). This extra measure really helps limit fraud on the site.
2. Lock Up Your Valuables
We added a lock to our walk-in closet to help limit risk at our primary residence. You can easily Google a list of what to lock up, but here are a few ideas: your laptop and other expensive electronics, your checkbook, your passport, and your underwear. Basically, anything valuable, anything that could compromise your identity, and anything that just isn’t meant for a stranger’s eyes.
3. Get Insurance
Yes, yes, Airbnb offers an insurance product, but since it caters to both hosts and guests, we recommend getting an insurance product designed to specifically help you. [Note on this: your homeowners insurance may not cover short-term rentals, and you may even get boot you from your policy if your insurance company finds out you are doing them. Instead, Google short-term insurance products on line, explain your situation, and get yourself covered separately.]
What ways have you protected yourself and your property while hosting short-term renters? Share your ideas in the comments below!