Wednesday, December 02, 2015

How to Prepare for: Renting Your Home

It's the wave of the future present... We've done our fair share of using airbnb and vrbo as consumers and have been quite pleased. We tackled renting our home for the famous University of Notre Dame football weekends and have benefited from the all-too-unbelievable-tax-free-income (up to 14 days worth of your rental income is tax-free). (Our 2 bedroom, single family home listing gets us around twice the market rate for a hotel room on a game weekend.) 
As we've had success on this front, I've gotten lots of questions about how we get it all done when it comes to prepping our home. When we first started, I had one baby who was 6 months old and he happily sat in an exersaucer while I cleaned around him. This year was slightly more complicated, but even without two babies underfoot, completely cleaning your home while living in it and working a full time job can seem... downright crazy.
But! You can do it! And, given the lack of how-to posts on the topic, I figured I'd share with you what I have found works. We've done two years of football game weekend rentals (3 the first year, 2 this year) and here is my week-before-rental layout of what needs to be done, keeping in mind that you want to do as much as you can earlier in the week that will remain clean for the rest of the week, because the last minute necessities grow by the minute when it comes to wiping your floors while you exit out the back...

Assuming you rent your house for sometime mid-afternoon on Friday, I find the below schedule doable (even with two kids!), though I'd say that Friday is best done solo (i.e.-get a babysitter. And yes, the babysitter cost pays for itself and is totally worth it).

  • Quarterly type chores (Any mirrors that need windexing? Does the bird feeder need to be filled? Are there ceiling fans that need to be dusted? Any lightbulbs that need to be replaced? Are there broken things in your house that need to be replaced?)
  • Make guest bed
  • Print letter to renters (instructions and guidelines for while they stay in your home)

  • Clean guest room & basement (both areas we can stay out of starting Tuesday evening)

  • Dust
  • Move sentimental and valuable things to locked area (Grandma's china, favorite jewelry, and the rose I got on the day we got engaged- all irreplaceable and examples of things we move to our basement and lock up with a padlock.)
  • Empty bedroom side tables

  • Clean all floors
  • Put out towels, linens and paper products
  • Clean main floor bathroom (a half bath that we stop using after Thursday)
  • Mow the lawn
  • Put out new table cloth
  • Stop mail (Remember: this doesn't apply to UPS packages. Plan your Amazon prime shipments accordingly!)
  • Laundry
  • Start packing... because you get a weekend away!

  • Get groceries for renters: eggs, milk, bread, fruit, cereal and beer
  • Move clothes out of our room (We remove a fair amount and leave some, too.) (This is what goes in our third bedroom)
  • Strip and remake bed
  • Clean bathroom
  • Clean out fridge
  • Clean kitchen and kitchen floor
  • Run and empty dishwasher
  • Vacuum first floor
  • Empty all trash
  • Pack car
  • Put key box on door, lock basement
  • Last minute check of each room (I regretted not doing this once!) 
Start-up Costs
  • Any linens (we have "renter linens" in a storage tub that we don't regularly use). 
  • Lockbox for the door (which we have found useful all. year. long.)
  • Padlock for basement (or you could use a detached garage if you take the opener with you.)
  • Any food you leave for renters (always appreciated) plus paper products (which makes their vacation easier and your dishes safer.)
We have really never had a problem with anything in our home being broken or mistreated. I know the stories are out there, but with Notre Dame game weekends, the hope is that we rent to folks that we like and then continue to keep them as customers through the years. This seems to work well for lots of people and is a great way to make a little extra (vacation?) cash. :) I've estimated that it's 20 hours of work (after start-up work like buying linens)... 

If you decide to give it a whirl... Good luck!


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