We all know someone who has rented out their home for Derby or other major events in town, but how hard is it to do, and how do you do it right? We did some investigating, and it turns out it’s not that hard, but you have to do some work on the front end to maximize your renting potential.
We got great advice on listing a house through a Louisvillian who is renting her house out for Derby for the first time. She lives in Old Louisville and works in the rental business, which equipped her well for the necessary steps involved. She’s listing on Airbnb, and while she is in the process of renovating the house, it will be done before Derby weekend.
Some quick things to point out: when you list your house for rental, it’s not a situation where you take pictures of it on your iPhone and post with a few details. To get the full rental potential, spend the time and invest money in listing your house the right way. Just to compare, check out the current listings on Airbnb for Louisville during Derby. You can tell immediately the homes that are staged the right way and the ones that are not. So if you can handle other people living in your house for a brief time and want to put your house up for short-term rental, this is a perfect checklist for you.
How to Rent Your Home for Derby (or Any Event)
1. Clean and declutter your entire home.
This step is a huge percentage of the work you’ll put in on the front end, and it’s a crucial one to get the full potential out of your rental cost. Just like staging your home to sell, this is the same process. Clean every part of the house; it needs to be immaculate! As you clean it, declutter. Start taking everything off countertops, dressers, out of the bathroom, etc. Find another place for all your personal knickknacks for a while. Guests don’t want to feel like they are invading your personal space, so take everything “personal” out of it.
2. Get professional photographs taken of your home.
This shouldn’t be a big expenditure, but it makes a huge difference, as you will see in the photographs in this article. A professional photographer can shoot your entire home, and unless you have a drastic renovation, the photos will be good for a very long time. If you want to put your house on the market to rent or to sell in the future, you have the photography done. Prices vary, but generally you can get this done for anywhere from $150 to $300.
3. Find somewhere to go during the time your home is rented.
It may seem silly to state this, but it is an important point. Before you list your home, be sure that you have a place to go. It is nice to be able to stay with friends or family for free so that you won’t incur the costs of room and board for yourself during this time. Many people also go on vacation during this period and plan their dates accordingly.
4. Replace your sheets and towels for guests.
Again, you want to remove all personal elements from the equation here. Sheets and towels are way personal, and it is worth it to buy a separate set of guest sheets and towels and keep them separate from your own. Like forever separate.
5. Offer great amenities as side options.
Up the ante when you list your home for rent. Side options are great add-ons for your guests’ stay, and they’re also a good way to make extra money. Options may include:
- Maid service — It can be daily or whatever frequency they desire.
- Grocery shopping — It can be done before they arrive so everything they want is waiting for them. Plus, you can replenish daily if needed (and for an extra charge).
- Meal service — Have dinner ready when your guests come home so they won’t have to eat every meal out.
- Transportation to the track — This is a great amenity, and either you can drive them or you can arrange for a driver.
Here is our expert’s listing on Airbnb. She lives in a large house that sleeps up to 10 people comfortably. She is also only three miles from the track. Be warned: Her pictures will make you want to rent her house for Derby!
See the rest of her pictures here: www.airbnb.com
The only step left in the equation is you. Can you handle having people in your house? Our expert says she is untroubled by this. She believes that people that rent through Airbnb or VRBO are intentional about their travel — they do not want a hotel, they want a home. These kind of people are not there to trash your home. Rather, they are there for the event and simply want a comfortable place to stay with all the comforts of home.
If you are curious about pricing, there are no hard and fast rules. Simply browse around to compare how other homes your size are priced and set your price accordingly.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Photography in today’s article by Christine Mueller Photography
Additional furniture and staging assistance provided by Scout on Market.
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