Security and Safety

5 Things to Know Before Listing Your Home on Airbnb

By Staci Parks 5.26.20

There’s much to love about Texas. From the Panhandle to the Hill Country, Texans and non-Texans alike frequently make the Lone Star State a travel destination. In 2018, Texas welcomed approximately 72.5 million out-of-state visitors, according to Travel Texas.

Travel is an important component of the state economy. (It made a $164 billion impact in 2018.) Many Texans have become part of the tourism economy by opening their homes as short-term vacation rentals on home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

Home-sharing can have benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to keep in mind the legality and the potential ramifications — such as theft or liability — of opening your home, as well as the required maintenance, security efforts, and time commitment. It’s up to you to weigh what all of this will mean for your household.

Before you list your space as a home away from home for weary travelers, here are five factors to consider.

1. The Legality

Make sure you understand local laws, guidelines, and expectations before positioning your home as a short-term vacation rental. Some cities require specific permits, zoning considerations, short-term rental licensing, and home-maintenance standards.

2. Maintenance Requirements

Now’s the time to get to any last-minute repairs. Fix that loose step and shaky railing before welcoming paying guests into your home-turned-rental. (This checklist can help you keep up with annual home maintenance.)

3. Security Threats

It’s also a good idea to take inventory of your valuables and invest in a monitoring device such as an indoor camera. (Airbnb has specific rules for this.) If you decide to keep art displayed, secure it to a sturdy base. Also consider placing any valuables in a locked closet or room.

4. The Time Commitment

You’re offering up so much more than your home. When you become a host, you’re also potentially giving up some of your free time. All the time it takes to tend to the property, manage bookings, and prep the home between guests can add up. Also, a good host leaves detailed instructions but is also available to answer any questions that might arise.

5. The Math

Depending on the location and demand of your property, it’s possible to create a healthy supplementary income from renting your space as a short-term vacation rental. For example, the average Airbnb host in Dallas-Fort Worth earned close to $7,000 in 2018. But there are drawbacks.

Operating expenses can range from 25% to 75% of a host’s overall earnings, depending on bookings and outsourced operations. Take into account fluctuating utility costs and insurance premiums. Also, you’ll want to keep in mind ongoing expenses related to home maintenance.

Measure the Risk

Opening your home to paying guests can leave you in a vulnerable position as a homeowner. Without properly screening your guests, you could leave your home open to theft and potential liability should a guest injure themselves or damage your property.

Before listing your home on a short-term vacation-rental platform, give your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent a heads-up. Although Texas Farm Bureau Insurance doesn’t offer short-term rental coverage, your Agent can administer a policy for you and help answer any questions you might have. The main thing is to make sure you have the coverage you need!

Take this quiz to find out if your house needs repairs.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance