The Best Investments for my Airbnb

The Best Investments for my Airbnb

Some conveniences are worth paying for, but some conveniences end up paying for themselves.

Front Door Code Lock

In first place, the code lock on the front door makes it so easy for me to have guests coming and going.  I can provide the code to the guests the morning of check in, and they are able to come in at whatever time works for them.  When the guests leave, they simply press the lock button, and there is no need for me to be there to take a key.  It’s very little effort to change the code in between guests, but you can get one that allows you to change the code remotely.  A code lock ensures that I don’t have to worry about lost or stolen keys, and gives me peace of mind that no one’s out making a copy of my key.  If a group of guests is staying and wants to leave for the day, they can go their separate ways and don’t have to coordinate who needs the key based on who will be home first.  It makes everything so much easier for me and them!

At $90 for my deadbolt (not including batteries), it would take 18 $5 replacement keys before it paid for itself with “money.”  However, time is worth money, too.  If you value your time at a paltry $5 an hour, and assuming an hour for check in and an hour for check out (but let’s face it, often guests are hours late), your lock has paid for itself after only 9 stays.  If you are working a 9-5 job and a guest wants to come while you’re at work, you don’t have to go home and unlock the door, and your guests don’t have to wait around.

I liked the convenience of not having a key so much that I bought a second one for my back door.

Nest Thermostat

This one is definitely situational.  The Nest Programmable Thermostat might sound too techy or expensive considering there are plenty of cheaper alternatives for programmable thermostats.  However, now that I am doing Airbnb, I can guarantee the Nest has already paid for itself in my house.

When you have an old fashioned thermostat in the hallway, guests can walk up and adjust the temperature to whatever they want, whenever they want.  I had multiple guests come into the house and adjust the thermostat to from 78 degrees to 60 degrees before immediately leaving for the entire day.  I am all for being comfortable when you get home, but that’s an insane waste of electricity (and ultimately my money) and in no way comfortable for me (who likes it at 80… my house and my bedroom are still connected).  Honestly, who wants to come home to 60 degrees and put on a sweatshirt?  Why even come to Florida?!  It’s just a lack of understanding as to how the a/c system works, but it’s annoying all the same. The Nest conquers both the “range” and the “leaving” problems easily.

Once you install the Nest, you set it up to connect to the wireless network in your house.  Then you can monitor the system remotely from your phone.  Using the app, you can set a temperature lock.  During the summer months, I set the lock to “cool” with a temperature range from 74-82 degrees.  During winter, I lower it down to 70 degrees since it’s usually much cooler anyway.  I only switch it to “heat” when it’s actually cold outside, and lock the high around 70.  I do not use the “heat + cool” feature, as there is no reason the average guest can’t handle being a little colder or a little warmer.  I’m happy to change it down further remotely on my phone if a guest asks.  I believe two rounds of guests have somehow overridden the lock (I don’t know how), but your average guest won’t know or care.

In addition to blocking guests from setting the temperature to extremes, the Nest has “Eco mode” which kicks in when no one has walked past it in two hours.  I have my eco temperatures set to 64 degrees if the heat is on or 82 degrees is the air conditioner is on.  It’s a huge cost savings to not be heating/cooling a 2,300 sq ft house that no one is even in.  When usage goes from 20+ hours a day to about 7 hours a day, you know that the unit is paying for itself.

Keyed Doorknobs

I changed out the door handles on my bedroom, my closet in the hallway (stores all my games and movies), and my main pantry in my kitchen (stores all my fancy kitchen electronics and fragile breakables) with doorknobs that have a keyed lock.

At $15 each, they’ve all paid for themselves in peace of mind, in things not broken, and in privacy not invaded.  I definitely recommend putting away any fragile breakables or any items that you’d be sad to say goodbye to.  I’d definitely be bummed if my awesome board game collection was attacked by sticky fingers.  Also, it makes cleaning up after guests far easier because there are less things potentially out that have to be put away.

Runner up: Garage Door Opener

I had to replace my old broken garage door opener when I moved in, and I went with the high tech Chamberlain wireless-enabled model with a battery backup.  I get pinged if my guests open or close the door (which they really shouldn’t be doing…) and can tell if it’s left open for a substantial amount of time, in which case I close it remotely.  Perks for me include easy open and close when I go on a bike ride, thanks to the awesome phone app.  Additionally, it serves as a backup entry for guests in case the door code isn’t working for some reason.  They can ping me and I can open the door from my phone, and then when I get home I can check on the door code.

I wouldn’t go out and buy it specifically for Airbnb hosting, but it’s really a nice convenience if you’re replacing the garage door opener anyway.

What have you found that makes hosting easier?

5 Replies to “The Best Investments for my Airbnb”

  1. Hi! Thank you for so many useful tips! When traveling I often book apartments with Airbnb, and recommend it to all travelers.

  2. These are all good tips! I’m applying them all now with my Airbnb. The Schlage Sense lock is a royal pain to setup, but I’m excited about the ability to remotely set entry codes.

    1. That is great to know for future planning! If I was going to expand my business and have a cleaning crew come in, a lock with the ability to remotely set entry codes would be exactly the kind of thing I would want. Since I usually only host one group a week and clean myself, I currently just include the 5 minutes to reprogram the lock code as part of my house-flipping routine. Open door, unscrew the back, delete the old code, add the new code, screw the back on again, close door. It isn’t too bad, but if you scale up, the time savings of the locks you can program remotely will likely add up!

    1. Definitely what makes sense for a host 🙂 By putting myself and my needs first, I’m ultimately putting the guest first. (My needs: to not be complained to, to not be complained about, to have the house running a certain way.) It makes such a difference when you are clear with your expectations!

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