You’ve probably stayed in an Airbnb at some point in your life. You may even have a friend, family member or an acquaintance earning some extra money running an Airbnb as a Host. If you’re considering taking on the job there are a few things you need to know before you open up your home to guests. I sat down with Chais Realty owner and Airbnb Superhost, Stacey Chais, and got the full scoop on the most important tips for transforming a property into a Airbnb and acting as a successful Host.

What does it take to turn a property into an Airbnb?

“An Airbnb is a STR or short term rental, meaning it’s a vacation rental, a spare room in a shared space or even a camper or boat! It takes quite a bit of work to turn a property into an Airbnb. The home needs to be fully furnished and functional for everyday use. It should offer a full kitchen and constantly be stocked with necessities, such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, towels, toilet paper, a blow dryer, etc. If you choose to make the home family friendly, items such as acrib or high chair should be supplied for young children. You should also determine if the home will be pet friendly, and if so, make sure you provide items to ensure a comfortable stay for pets.”

What does the role of managing an Airbnb look like? 

“As an Airbnb Host you have to make sure the home is cleaned, stocked and ready for guests. This means always making sure there is a large supply of everyday needs such a toilet paper, paper towels, clean bath towels & linens, trash bags, coffee, tea, etc. Make sure regular maintenance is performed, such as changing HVAC filters, and that you monitor the cleaning staff.  The yard of the property should stay clean, clear of debris, and landscaped at all times with exterior trash cans available. Confirm all items offered in your ad are available and functioning, such as a hair dryer for instance. Make sure nothing is missing from your home, it even helps to check if games provided have all of their parts and pieces.”

Is running an Airbnb profitable? 

“Managing an STR is still Property Management (PM), so covering costs and offering customer service is the key. Being organized and running a systematic business is crucial to any PM business, so having a platform for communication and keeping track of expenses is very important.”

How did you personally get into the Airbnb business? 

“I have been in the PM business for 8+ years now. Years ago, STR rentals were often in demand for areas such as the beaches and near the amusement parks. Over the past 5 years there has been a change in STR and now they are needed and used for a variety of reasons including work, concerts, athletic events, visiting family, or the military.”

How do you determine the proper area for an Airbnb? 

“I search for the proper area for an Airbnb the same way I search for any rental, by determining if there is a demand. Research rental rates and look at the competition.”

Things to look at:

  • Distance to the airport
  • Distance to colleges and universities
  • Entertainment in the area
  • Distance to venues such as Amalie Arena, Convention Center, Raymond James Stadium, etc.

How should you determine your rate? 

“To determine the rate of your Airbnb you should look at comparable properties and history of rentals in the surrounding area. Rates in Tampa Bay tend to change during events such as Gasparilla, sold out concerts, championship games, wrestling events, and the Super Bowl.”

How do you personally ensure that you maintain your Airbnb Superhost status? 

“As a Superhost I always make sure everything that is offered is available. Deep cleanings on a regular basis are required, even the tricky spots likes blinds, ceiling fans, cabinets, etc. Getting a bad review can take away your “Superhost” status for an entire year, so it is crucial to take care of any issues immediately! I once had guest that ran out of hot water, as the water heater needed to be replaced. I made sure that it was replaced in less than 24 hours even though it was a Saturday afternoon. HVAC systems often need attention so knowing a vendor that will go out to the property anytime is extremely important here in Florida during the summer months.”

How can you assist those interested in starting an Airbnb & what services can you offer to them? 

“STR is a very lucrative business. You must be organized, manage your time well and know how to delegate responsibilities. Managing people, marketing and scheduling is what makes this business. I offer everything from purchasing and set up to management.”

Any additional tips for people seeking this opportunity?

My 4 tips for those interested in starting up an Airbnb include:

  • It’s worth the risk due to the return
  • If you can’t be available daily, hire a management company
  • Do not cut corners or “cheap out”
  • Know your competition

It is plain to see why purchasing a property to take advantage of hosting or converting your current living space into an Airbnb could produce a great deal of profit. Airbnb could be the perfect tool to put some extra cash in your pocket but it’s important to understand the risks and rewards of being a Host before you make the leap into the business. Stacey Chais, an experienced Superhost, is here to help and guide you through the process of starting up your rental, or improving your existing one, and show you the requirements of successful hosting. For guests, an Airbnb is more of an experience than just a hotel room and demands much of your time and attention, but with the proper set up, you can thrive in this business and establish your credibility to control your availability and earn your new source of income.