What About My Stuff?

People renting out their personal residences for a short period are largely, but not exclusively, financially motivated.  For Austin, TX residents, renting our your home during SXSW or Formula 1 and leaving for a week is a great way to pay for a nice vacation.  Others might decide stay in town and crash with friends or family, then use the rental income to pay for their mortgage that month or even cover their property taxes for the entire year.

The reasons to not rent your home out are more numerous, but for most people it boils down to one reason:

People don’t like strangers touching their stuff.

It’s really as simple as that.  A good friend said “I don’t want someone using my toilet.”  It’s a common concern, but how much sense does it make?  When you stay in a hotel, you’re using the same toilet hundreds of others have used before you.  And if you didn’t buy your home new from a builder, the previous owners used “your” toilet for years before you did.  But if you hire a professional cleaner your house will probably end up cleaner after your guests than before!

An interesting exercise is to ask yourself this.  If your house was on fire and you had to evacuate, what would you take with you?  Photo albums?  Jewelry?   Important documents and files?  These days people might say their computer with years of baby photos and other records.  Whatever is on your list, this is what you’ll want to protect, and chances are you’ll be surprised at how short the list is of “things” that are truly important to you.  You can consider a safety deposit box at a bank for things like jewelry.  For most things, simply locking them in a closet will safely keep them away from guests.

Everything else in your house is replaceable.  Your couch, your TV, that vase.  Airbnb bookings automatically include a $1,000,000 host guarantee, and Homeaway offers optional damage protection starting at $49 for $1500 in coverage, however I do still recommend taking a security deposit.