Raj Patel is co-founder of My Property Host, a property management company handling all aspects of letting property on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites. GUARDHOG is delighted that Raj is sharing his advice about the importance of using a property manager if your short-term let is vacant…
Managing empty properties
In just nine years Airbnb’s value has grown to a mammoth $36bn, by creating a framework which allows individuals to unlock capital from their homes. Airbnb hosts offer a mixture of entire homes and home shares. The host experience for those that are sharing their homes is very different from those allowing guests to stay in their entire home. Many of our clients are travelling, between tenancies or moving home, which means they are Airbnbing their entire home.So, why is it important for hosts Airbnbing their entire vacant property to use a property manager?
Access to a range of services
Surrounding Airbnb, an ecosystem of companies has sprung up to help would-be hosts: key cafes, cleaning companies, management companies, software platforms and many more services. These companies help hosts list properties on different platforms; maximise revenues through use of pricing tools; manage communications with guests; check guests into properties; arrange cleaning; take inventory; and all other aspects of Airbnb management.
For busy hosts, managing all this can be a nightmare. Our advice: find a property manager that does it all – in other words, offers an end-to-end service. For hosts that are out of town, a reliable management company is vital – and a lot less time-consuming and stressful too. Maximising income is sensible, but only with peace of mind.
The importance of security
While many see Airbnb as a community and based on “trust”, the platform is open to all and security cannot be compromised on. There are numerous potential pitfalls: Airbnb accounts can be hacked, fake Airbnb sites are in circulation, keys can be stolen, guests can cause damage or decide not to leave etc.
A reputable management company, however, should help avoid these pitfalls and manage your property safely and securely whilst showing guests a good time too.
Do keep in mind that Airbnb and its eco-system are relatively new and there are no industry benchmarks for managers in terms of, primarily, safety and security but also hospitality. So, services offered by different managers vary significantly. Always be sure to do your homework and ask what procedures a management company has in place to avoid all of the pitfalls mentioned above before engaging them. Unlocking the value in your property makes sense, but only if done safely.
After almost 10 years practising law in the City, I established My Property Host (with Elena Lopez) with risk mitigation as the cornerstone of our business. Guest hospitality is, of course, important too and our team consists of professionals from the hospitality, property and legal sectors. However, we recognise that our clients are hosts so their interests and the safety and security of their property come first. Our procedures have been carefully designed with this in mind: we offer one service at one price and include comprehensive GUARDHOG insurance as a free client benefit.