How to Airbnb your Warrnambool property

Posted on 21/03/2022 by Andrew Morris in Finance, Mortgage Broking
Andrew Morris
Andrew joined Sinclair Wilson in May 2017 as Mortgage Broker, having spent the past 10 years in the banking industry. With a small business background - in hospitality, no less...

Always dreamed of having a successful side hustle? Have you considered joining the many property owners across South West Victoria who are listing their properties on Airbnb and pulling in extra income?

With Australia reopening its borders to international tourism and more and more Aussies beginning to explore the country again, now could be a good time to consider getting into the short-term holiday rental market.

There’s several benefits of hosting on Airbnb:

  • You can earn extra money
  • You can be your own boss
  • It can inspire you to get creative with your property or space
  • It’s an opportunity to meet new or interesting people from across Australia… or the globe!

So where do you start? It’s not just a matter of downloading the app and snapping some quick pics on your phone.

If you’re going to do it, do it properly – here’s our tips for how to get started.

1. Research, research, research

We’re always about research when it comes to buying a property – and we reckon it’s the best place to start when you’re considering listing a property on Airbnb, too.

You want to make sure you’re across what’s already available in your area, and the kind of properties that are in demand.

Is what you are thinking you will offer the kind of property that people want? Or that is hard to find?

It’s also imperative you research what your local laws might be, in relation to short-term holiday rentals; some municipalities require potential hosts to register, apply for a permit or gain a licence  before they list their property as a holiday or short term rental.

There could also be safety regulations to comply with, or body corporate by-laws. Best to know if this is the case, and what they mean for your plans before you get too carried away.

2. Work through the finer details

As already mentioned, adding a home or room to the Airbnb app seems a simple process, but there are other things you should consider before you do it – such as whether you have the time it will take to manage the listing.

Operating a short term accommodation option takes time: you will be expected to clean the property before and after visitors, manage check-ins and check-outs and respond to requests and questions from potential guests – and guests-in-residence. Is this something you have time for?

If not, you may need to look in to having someone else manage the listing on your behalf.

Then you need to consider whether the numbers stack up; where your property is, the size of it and what you offer will all determine what you can charge for people to stay there. Seasonal considerations will also dictate price. Look at what other similar properties are listing for, and make sure that forms part of your considerations.

You also need to be able to list and calculate the costs you are likely to incur. This could include:

  • Fees to use the booking platform (hint: it’s not free)
  • Cleaning fees
  • Council rates, including water rates
  • Electricity and/or gas costs
  • Do you need to purchase furniture? Or restore/repair what’s there?
  • Internet costs (its common for Airbnb properties to offer free wifi)
  • Maintenance of your property
  • Will you offer your guests streaming services? Do you need to purchase new, extra subscriptions?
  • Insurance – it might be worth looking into whether this will change your insurance, and increase your fees
  • Do you think you will need someone to help you manage the property? There will be fees to do this, that you will need to build into the fee to hire your property.

Finally, and most importantly, have you thought about the tax implications? We can help with all of the considerations we’ve listed here, but especially this one – Sinclair Wilson has a team of Property Specialists amongst our Accountants, who can step you through the tax implications of turning your property into a short-term rental. Get in touch and we will introduce you to our experts.

3. Make your property shine

This is the part that might seem like fun… but pay attention to how to do it properly.

If you are looking to rent out your everyday home, we suggest you remove as much personal clutter as you can.

Guests will be looking for a clean, fresh space that feels like an escape. Having some secure storage to put this (ideally on-site, but if not, somewhere else that’s easy to access, for when you return) is imperative.

If you aren’t sure where to start with the aesthetics, you could start by looking to match what is inside your house to what surrounds it; eg: if your property is near the beach, consider injecting a coastal theme with your decor. If it’s near bushland, then timber and natural furnishings might work.

4. When it comes to marketing and promotion, do it properly

The undeniable reality of Airbnb is that appearances are everything.

You really have one opportunity to sell what you are offering, and that’s done via the photos you use to show potential guests what you are offering.

Therefore, invest as much time and money as you can afford in getting photographs of your property that really show it at its best.

Prepare the canvas accordingly; make sure the pace is clean and tidy. Natural light is an invaluable addition, so use it as well as you can if you have it.

Is there anything unique that you are offering that other local properties don’t seem to include? Make a point of showcasing it, so that potential guests can see your property is a level above others.

Professional photography is certainly worth considering if you want to create a serious side-hustle. Quality photos that have been taken in a way that utilises space and light can (and often are) the difference between being booked and being overlooked.

When it comes to describing your property, be specific and make sure you mention what it is that makes your property the one to select above all others.

Another tip; sell the property first, and sell the location second. A listing with more photos of the locations and surround than the property features will make potential guests think there isn’t much to promote.

Finally, when it comes to the description, be specific. Make sure you mention what it is that makes your property special

5. Pay attention to the overall experience you are offering

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are just offering your guests a bed.

Successful Airbnb hosts know that what they are offering is an experience – not just somewhere to sleep.

Making your guests feel welcome is vital. It’s also important that you ensure they feel well-informed about how your listing and property works, and the local area they are calling home, even if it’s just for one night.

We suggest you don’t skimp on amenities and personal touches. Clean, fresh and good-quality linen (including towels), fresh soap, tea, coffee and even fresh milk in the fridge are details that all add up to a good review.

Speaking of reviews, if you get one that isn’t good, reply promptly and be courteous, even if you don’t agree. Consider the feedback to be constructive, rather than critical.

6. Protect your property

Make sure you look into Airbnb’s host liability insurance. This covers you up to a certain amount if a guest is hurt, or they have anything they own stolen or damaged while on your property.

Airbnb also offers host damage protection. This is different to the liability insurance, and requires you to follow a specific process before the protection can be accessed. Again, research is key; make sure you know the difference between the two, and what you need to do if a claim is required.

Ready to get started?

If you’re ready to buy a property and turn it into an Airbnb, we are here to help.

We can provide free property and area reports to help inform your purchase decision, and line you up with the right finance to reach your goals.

Get in touch today!