GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — With big events like the RNC and the NFL Draft coming to Wisconsin, many homeowners are thinking about how they can rent out their homes and make some extra cash.
Laura Bebee and her husband Rod are VRBO premier hosts and have been renting out a Lambeau view duplex for the last three years. They are keeping a steady stream of renters with nearly all 5-star ratings. Laura says, going above and beyond can make all the difference.
"We have done things like a concierge service," Laura Bebee said. "I will offer if they pay and order meats from a local meat market that we will go get it and have it waiting in the refrigerator for them when they get here."
Thoughtful touches like coffee, small toiletries, and bottled water can go a long way but Bebee says there are a couple of things that can make or break your business as a host.
NBC 26 asked some experienced Airbnb and VRBO renters what is most important to them when booking a short-term rental.
"We look for good reviews, first of all," said experienced renter Kara Cain.
"A big red flag is probably reviews. So, if they've gotten a number of bad reviews," said traveler John Baylock.
"Really bad communication is a big red flag for me," said Karen Nickel. "When we rent we really like to hear back from the people right away," Nickle added.
Laura Bebee says she has learned with her renters, communication is key.
"I always try to communicate with them within the first 24 hours. You know, [ask them] 'Hey is everything good, do you need anything?" Bebee said.
When done correctly, short-term rentals can bring in extra cash with Airbnb reporting last year new hosts earned more than $5.5 billion in income from around the world.
If you're ready to list your home for the first time, Airbnb's online set-up can connect you with a highly rated host or "super host" to guide you through the process.
"Roughly half of the listings that were activated and booked last year received their first-ever bookings within just three days," says Airbnb Communications Director, Haven Thorn.
The fees range depending on which platform you choose. According to Bebee, Airbnb charges a 4% fee, while VRBO charges around 10%, which could impact your pocketed income.
According to Bebee, VRBO uses third-party advertisers to expose your property to more potential renters but in return, they increase their fees. She says to offset the 10% VRBO charges, her listing price is higher on that site than it is on Airbnb.
Laura Bebee and her husband own Lambeau View LLC, which lists several Green Bay properties they rent on both Airbnb and VRBO. And while the investment into the business can be profitable, Bebee says it's important to consider the many costs associated with owning a short-term rental.
- Utility bills: aren't concerned about keeping the air conditioning or heat bills down so monthly bills are often higher with short-term rentals.
- Property taxes: Consider this annual cost in your budget
- Snow plowing: If you don't own your own plow, this can add an additional cost for seasonal upkeep.
- Lawn Care
Whether you choose Airbnb, VRBO or another rental platform, before you get started down the rental road take this advice from a Premier VRBO host;
"Best bet would be to rent an Airbnb or VRBO. Go in and stay. Find out what things you are missing. What do you need? What's great to have when you get there," adds Laura Bebee.
For more information about Lambeau View LLC email Laura and Rod Bebee at Lambeauview@gmail.com
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