Let’s face it, swapping and renting out your home is a lot of work. It takes time and attention to advertise, field inquiries, screen potential guests, and work out the logistics of an agreement. Then, just as you’re busy getting ready to leave on your trip (and anxious to be away!), you have to get your home ready for your guests. The question is, what do you need to do – and not do?
Remember: your home is not a hotel!
Guests know the difference between a home and a hotel. When people choose to stay in someone’s home, they understand that not everything will be perfect. So don’t waste time trying to make it perfect. It’s okay to aim for “good enough.”
Focus on cleanliness
In my opinion, the one unforgivable sin is to greet your guests with a dirty home. If they want nothing else, your guests want the home to be clean. Scum on the bathtub, a gritty floor, soiled sheets, and an inch of dust on the windowsills is a real turnoff. Give everything a good scrub-down before guests arrive.
Make sure it’s safe
A window that doesn’t open is one thing. A window frame that falls onto your hands when you think it’s open is another. You don’t need to repaint your walls (unless they’re disgustingly dirty) or replace a shabby sofa (unless the springs are poking out), but replace or remove that rug you keep tripping over and the lamp that sparks every time you turn it on.
Provide the basics
It’s annoying to move into an exchange or rental home and find only one towel per person, not enough blankets for all the beds, no coffeepot or frying pan, only three plates, no hand soap, and only one nearly empty roll of toilet paper. Help guests enjoy their stay by providing the basic things they will need.
Clear away the clutter
Your guests won’t expect empty closets and shelves, but they will need room for their clothes and personal items. In fact, getting your home ready for guests is a great motivator to create some space by clearing away some of the clutter that’s accumulated while your back was turned. Who knows – you might like it!
What’s on your task list to get your home ready for exchange partners or short-term tenants?