How to Turn Your House into a Rental Property Paradise 
Updated: Jan 19
Converting your property into an Airbnb, VRBO, or short-term rental home? Check out this guest post from Porch.com on turning your home into the perfect rental property in 2023.
Renting out your home to guests is an awesome way to meet new people, host travelers from all over the world, and boost your income. Whether you want to rent out your entire house or just a single room, this venture can be a great way to bring in some extra cash.
You don’t need to live on a tropical island to transform your home into a paradise for visitors. If you happen to live in an area that’s popular with tourists, you should have no problems renting your property to people looking for a unique and affordable place to stay. It’s the best way to offer curious explorers a more personalized, local experience. Read on for some helpful tips so you can turn your home into a rental property paradise people will love.
Note: As of July 2021, City Council made it a bit trickier to get into the short-term rental business in Virginia Beach. Work with local experts to capitalize on this still-lucrative investment opportunity.
Making Your Property a Paradise
You want to make this space a home away from home so guests will have an enjoyable experience. The happier your guests are, the more they’ll likely come back and recommend your property to other potential renters. Consider this rental checklist to make your property warm and welcoming:
Walls: Paint your walls a nice neutral color such as creamy off-white or gray. If you want to add a pop of color, choose one feature wall and paint in a bolder, brighter hue. Neutral walls will make your home feel warm and will make it easier to change décor and furniture as needed.
Furniture: Incorporate furniture that’s trendy, but also that’s extremely durable and comfortable. Invest in high-quality sofas and beds that feature solid hardwood frames rather than particleboard. Make sure your bed is large enough for your guests. Ideally, a queen- or king-size bed is best for bedrooms. Replace any old or worn-out furniture with something new.
Bedroom Essentials: Quality hosts should always provide their guests with clean bedding. Wash all linens before welcoming your guests and include an extra throw blanket and a few extra pillows. Make sure the bedroom has ample window coverings like curtains or blinds, so your guests have the privacy they need. Add a mattress cover to protect your bed and to prevent pesky bed bugs from getting into the furniture.
Bathrooms: Ensure that all bathrooms are freshly cleaned and well-stocked with toilet paper. You can also give your guests small travel-sized shampoos, soaps, and conditioners. Stock each bathroom with fresh, clean towels and washcloths, and make sure you have at least one of each for every visitor.
Kitchen: Stock your kitchen with clean pots and pans so your guests can cook if they choose. A coffee maker with fresh coffee, mugs, cream, and sugar is a must for guests. If you choose, you can include an additional “cleaning fee” in case your visitors leave dirty dishes and other messes behind.
Amenities: You don’t have to own a resort to offer great amenities to your guests. Stock the living room with cards and board games and offer free cable your guests can enjoy watching on a big-screen TV. A few snacks placed in a basket can also be an easy, affordable, and thoughtful choice.
Here are 6 trending features guests love to see in a rental!
Clean Home & Organization Tips
Make sure your rental place is always well-organized, clean, and sanitary. Follow a specific schedule that includes scrubbing toilets, showers, and tubs between visits. You should also wash all towels and bedding after every guest leaves. Vacuum carpets and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors and wipe down tables and countertops. Organize your rental home by adding some storage furniture like bookcases or a storage bench.
The key is to ensure that everything is clean, neat, and tidy before you welcome your next renters to the home. If you’re busy, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to help. This service is affordable, and it will help you make sure that your rental home is absolutely spotless.
The Legal Aspects of Renting Your Home
It’s vital to understand all of the legalities involved in renting your home. Many of these laws depend on where you live, so always consult with your local jurisdiction before pursuing this endeavor.
Not every home can become a rental, so check with your country, city, or state to find out what’s required. You may need to obtain a conditional use permit and/or a zoning permit in order to legally rent your home to visitors. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, check with them before renting your home. Some HOA bylaws prohibit owners from renting their property to guests, and it could get you into hot water if you don’t comply.
Most homeowner’s insurance plans don’t cover renters automatically, so you might need to purchase a rider or even a separate policy. This will ensure that you’re protected from liability and can be crucial to avoid a potential lawsuit later. Never rent your home to guests until you’re positive that you are fully covered.
Any money you make from renting your home is considered income. This could affect your property taxes, which may also affect the amount of your monthly mortgage. Speak to a tax attorney or an accountant about the tax and mortgage implications of renting your home before you start.
Financial and Legal Checklist
Use this checklist to ensure that you’re doing everything right in terms of the legal and financial implications of renting your home:
Talk to a local representative or real estate professional to find out if you need permits, and whether or not you are legally allowed to rent your home. Read our breakdown of Virginia Beach's short-term rental laws here.
If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, read your bylaws to confirm that you are able to participate in renting or home-sharing.
Examine your homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure it covers renters. If not, ask about a supplemental plan to make sure you have the right amount of coverage to protect you.
Visit your local bank or speak with an accountant to find out more about your mortgage and tax responsibilities.
Never book a guest until all of your legal, insurance, and financial issues are up to date and enacted.
Protect Your Investment Property
Renting is a smart investment that can give you a decent profit, so it’s crucial that you protect yourself from potential issues.
If you feel the need, lay down a few ground rules for your guests so that they understand boundaries and know how to be safe in the event of an emergency. You can also consider adding a non-refundable deposit fee to your rental contract. This will ensure that you get at least some money in the event that someone decides to cancel.
Go over your insurance policy and find out if you should add extra coverage. Raise your liability limits or increase your property replacement amount in the event of a serious emergency, such as an accidental house fire. Contact a handyman and find out about their services in case something breaks when your guests are visiting. Having a handyman (and a reliable plumber who can help in an emergency) ready at all times will protect your property and ensure that your guests always have a pleasant experience, even if something goes wrong.
Just because you're renting it out, doesn't mean you can't protect the value of your rental home. Here are 4 simple ways to increase your property's value right now.
Living and Renting
If you’re only planning to rent a small portion of your home or just one bedroom, living with guests can be a bit of a challenge.
Make sure your guests stay in an area where they have plenty of privacy. Offer the bedroom furthest from your own so you’ll both be able to get a good night’s sleep. Let your guests know they are welcome to use the kitchen whenever they need to, even if you’re at home. The key is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable while maintaining a good balance between being a great host and enjoying your personal space.
In most cases, your guests won’t be there during much of their stay since they’ll want to explore the area or attend business meetings. Be friendly and welcoming, but also set boundaries so that everyone is happy and respectful.
How to Market Your Rental Property
Once you’re ready to list your rental property, you’ll need to utilize some marketing tactics to get those rental confirmations booked. A good marketing plan will be thorough and give potential guests the information they need to make a sound decision.
Post clear, crisp, high-quality pictures of your property on your listing. Include a full photo of your home, the backyard, and all bedrooms, bathrooms, and the living room. Consider hiring a professional photographer who specializes in real estate photos to get amazing pictures for your rental.
Get to know your area, and include information about local tourist attractions, amazing restaurants, and information about access to public transportation.
If you’re able, consider offering your rental property as a child and a pet-friendly place.
Own a short-term rental in Hampton Roads? Impress your guests by adding a link to these top things to do in Virginia Beach this season in their confirmation email!
Amenities like free Wi-Fi, a hot breakfast, and laundry services can make your rental quite appealing. If you offer any of these services, be sure to include them in your listing.
When you’re ready, advertise your rental online, through rental apps, or via a real estate broker or property manager. The more outreach you have, the better the chances are that you’ll have several bookings ready and waiting.
Once you’ve had a few guests, ask them to post a review of their experience. You can use these reviews to entice new guests and to show that you’re a fabulous host.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Converting your home to a rental property comes with some challenges, but it’s also a great way to get more money out of your home. Always make sure you’re following the law and that you fully understand the tax implications of having a rental home. Make your home a paradise by providing visitors with a clean, beautiful place to stay. Market and advertise your listing using great photos, and get ready to see the cash roll in.
For professional assistance in converting your home into a rental property in 2023, contact a service provider at Porch.com! And as always, our real estate broker and consultants at CGP Real Estate are here to help you grow confidently with your investments.
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This article was originally posted on Porch.com.