Managing an Airbnb vacation rental property can be a daunting task, particularly for hosts who live far away from their properties or have multiple properties to manage and who also don’t have the time required for full-time hosting. For homeowners looking to be passive hosts or just passive earners, there are several options with varying degrees of involvement available. They can:
A property management company will handle all aspects of managing your Airbnb property, from cleaning and maintenance to marketing and the guest journey, and tax and regulatory requirements, so you don’t have to.
Property management companies will generally carry liability insurance which will provide protection against accidental guest injury and damage that may occur at your property.
As a large business, property management companies will generally not only have better coverage but also have access to better legal advice and lawyers in case of a legal issue that may arise from guests and neighbors.
Property management companies can not only afford a variety of vacation rental tools and technologies, but also enterprise-level access to them, allowing your property access to automations and detailed data that can provide your listing a greater competitive edge.
Property management companies generally have access to local knowledge and expertise that you will take years of experience to acquire.
Property management companies charge high fees for their services that can range from 10% to 50% of the rental income earned by your property. This is a significant amount of the profit that your vacation rental accrues.
Hiring a property management company means relinquishing control over the management of your property. This can be a disadvantage if you have specific ideas or preferences about its management and the type of guests it invariably attracts.
Unlike co-hosts or property managers, it can be difficult to expect a property management company to keep you constantly updated on your property. Contact will likely be through a general system and expecting quick responses to your queries is unlikely.
A property management company is only renting your property, in a sense, and won’t have the same level of care for your property as you would. Thus, wear and tear of your property and belongings are likely to be greater.
If you have chosen the wrong property management company you are likely to be bound by contractual obligations for the entire contract period.
Do your due diligence by researching your options and comparing them against each other to find what works for you.
Compare the full scale of services offered by each of the companies you are considering. Figure out what services and KPIs are essential to you and what are not. Find the best fit for your needs.
Evaluate the cost of working with each property management company. Don’t only look at their fees but for hidden costs that can add to your cost over time.
Look at reviews by other homeowners across profitability, quality of service, communication, property care, and other factors.
STR groups on Facebook can be a great way to connect with other homeowners to ask for their firsthand experience of the companies you are considering.
If you find it difficult to understand the pages of legalese, consult a lawyer or other relevant professional. Make sure you are fully aware of what you are signing up for.
Make sure you fully understand their fee structure and any other costs that may be termed as your burden.
Ensure all the services they have agreed to provide for your property are mentioned in the contract. A sales pitch is not a binding contract.
Make sure your communication requirements are met and spelled out clearly in the contract including how you can contact them and vice versa, how soon you can expect to receive a response, and how often they will provide updates on the property.
Make sure the contract lists the types of insurance carried and the value of claims that can be made. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance prior to signing the contract. Don’t expect to rely on Airbnb's AirCover.
Make sure the property management company does not place liability for guest injury, guest property damage, violations of local laws and regulations, etc at your door. Remember that they are able to charge higher fees because they take on these risks.
Ensure the property management company cannot change the terms of the agreement at their whim.
The quality of service provided by property management companies can vary. Make sure you have picked a company that provides a high level of customer service.
A property management company that has knowledge of your state, city, and neighborhood may be better able to market your property and maximize revenue.
Make sure the property management company uses a proven property management system like Hostaway which includes all the features they would need to operate a successful listing.
Make sure you have access to some information on the state of your listing, such as bookings, pricing, reporting, etc. Companies that use Hostaway can customize the access provided to owners while owners enjoy easy and secure access to the information they need through Hostaway’s owner portal.