If you have a beautiful home, chances are someone would pay a handsome price to spend time there. You don’t have to turn it into a bed and breakfast hotel. But it could be a source of income to cover your own vacations away. And it means you won’t have to leave your home empty while you are away. Of course, this isn’t for everyone. But if you think it might be fun to house swap or simply use your home as a money maker, then why not give it a go?
There is a lot to consider when you’re leaving someone in your house with all your belongings. There are ways to run checks on the people that apply. In some places, you will need to register or even apply for a license to perform these checks. You will then be required to protect that data as per your local laws. You may be satisfied with just seeing recent utility bills and some photo ID. There are several reputable websites you can use to pick and choose the customers you have.
You might also consider installing some CCTV inside and outside of the property. You will need to make the people that stay aware that the cameras may be recording or monitoring. There are usually local laws that prohibit the use of cameras in certain areas where you would expect privacy. It might be best to use them at access points and in areas that you have locked to keep private. Make sure your insurance covers you for your preferred setup.
Your valuables are probably already in a safe. If you have any other items that you hold dear, put them in a lockable cupboard or garage while you are away. This prevents any accidents or other problems that may occur. You will also need to give a set of keys to your vacationers. You might need to find a service provider for key fob duplication if you include your garage or car in the package. This is handy if you have any RFID access doors at home.
Marketing your property is much easier if you have plenty of photos. Remove all the clutter from each room before you take the pictures. Dress the table ready for a dinner party, and make all the beds up with extra cushions. Your home decor skills will be really useful here. Potential renters will want to see all the entertaining spaces and the seating areas. They’ll be particularly interested in any special features or facilities you have to offer like a pool or a hot tub.
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Don’t forget to include plenty of details about local attractions and the best places to eat. If there are good places to shop or interesting entertainment venues, add those to the list too. Your guests may be interested in things you don’t normally think about. What activities could they do? Are there stables nearby? A spa? What about some cycle routes or walking paths? If you’re near the coast, add some pictures of that too.
Most of us are pretty house proud. We’re keen to show off our homes in the best possible light. You might feel the need to deep clean the whole house before you hand over the keys. Don’t forget you might be inclined to do it all again when you come back. It can feel weird knowing someone else has been sitting on your sofas and sleeping in your bed. One of the best things you can do is to leave all your cleaning devices and formulas somewhere handy for your guests to use. Chances are they’ll keep the place as beautifully as you do.
Some people who let their homes out for holiday rentals buy bedding and towels just for the guests. This can help you keep everything separate. It’s nice for the guest to have fresh, new linen as well. Remember, you’ll want to put out more towels than you would normally use for your own family. It’s unlikely your guests will be keen to do any laundry while they’re on vacation in your home. However, leave them the instructions for using your washer and dryer. It can be very handy when you have children!
You may also have specific plates and glasses that you’re happy for the guests to use. It’s worth packing up your own crockery and flutes if you don’t want them to be used. Finally, add a bottle of water, a bottle of milk, and some coffee to the welcome pack. After a long journey, these may be the first things your guests will want.
While You’re Away
It shouldn’t be necessary to check in with your guests but do leave them a way to contact you should there be a problem. Your neighbor may be kind enough to step in if there is anything your guests need. If your CCTV is web-enabled, try to avoid check up on your guests. You’re on vacation too, so relax and enjoy your time away. You’ll get a message if there is genuinely anything that you should be worried about.
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Of course, if you are doing a house swap, you might be in contact with each other a little more often. It’s good fun to catch up and see how you’re all getting on in each other’s homes. It might even feel a little weird! If something does go wrong, try not to cut your own vacation short if you can help it. Household emergencies can be handled by the trades people needed to fix the problem. Have a list of reliable suppliers with you.
House swapping is a low cost and fun way to see more of the country or even other countries. It’s also a good way to meet more people and see inside some lovely homes. If you’re comfortable renting out your home to strangers, then you may find it can become quite lucrative. It may even cover the cost of your own family vacation.