FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What services do you provide?
We work together with the owner to create a detailed plan for getting the space ready for rent. If you choose, you may work with our redesign team that will help style and procure everything to competitively feature you place. Once the place looks fabulous, we create a compelling online profile that includes professional photos, a guest guide and listings on leading sites (Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.) We handle your marketing, bookings, cleaning, guest vetting and reviews, key exchange and 24/7 property management for a very affordable price.
How much $$ can I get for my place?
We will send you a doc with similar properties to show you what you might expect for income, which is dependent on location, amenities and season. If you follow our recommendations, your home will garner 1.5 to 2 times more than if it were a long-term rental.
What measures do you take to make sure my home will be safe?
We do our best to vet the guests by looking at their reviews, profile, and asking them questions about the reason for their stay. External cameras, lockbox codes that change with every guest and face to face visits decrease the likelihood of any untoward behavior. Although we list the properties on other platforms, we only book through AirBnB because they provide reviews, have stellar customer service, a $1M liability and a $1M property damage insurance policy. We make sure the home looks occupied by making frequent visits. We only to folks whom we feel would not be a good fit for your place.
I have just a small space, less than 500 sq. ft., would anyone want to rent that?
Several of our clients have less than 500 sq. ft. places. One of them has a 200 sq. ft. converted garage that pays her mortgage! If a space is designed correctly and “feels” spacious, luxurious and warm, it books readily.
How do you determine what to charge for renting a unit?
We research and assess similar properties in the area and then market it competitively. We also use a matrix to help us change prices weekly, so that you get top dollar when local events/holidays/etc. are happening. We lower the price for last minute bookings to ensure occupancy.
My place is not very exotic. Why would people come to rent from me?
We specialize in creating affordable, compelling places where folks thrive. The East Bay is ideal in proximity to San Francisco, the University of California at Berkeley, the Redwoods, wine country, etc. We feel very fortunate to be living in the very sought after Bay Area, which is why our properties do so well.
What type of people rent your properties and why?
People come from both national and international spots to sightsee and explore, join family reunions, births, weddings and take specialized classes.
What percentage do you receive of the profit from rentals?
We get 25% from the gross nightly rental. We pay 3% to the hosting site. The cleaning is paid by the guest on top of the nightly rate. We then deduct from your share the welcome basket and other re-supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries, coffee, spices, oils, etc. ($10 per guest per booking) Most laundry is done off-site at no expense to you.
Are there other separate costs, such as for insurance?
Damage insurance on the leading site is covered up to $1 million. Liability Insurance is also covered up to $1 million. We also charge a refundable security deposit, which, if there is no damage, is returned to the guest within two weeks. We require that you have a homeowner’s liability insurance policy as well.
What happens if a guest breaks something?
Within 48 hours of the guest’s departure, we start a resolution process with the site in order to collect compensation for damages. Please see our contract for more details.
Can I set a minimum or maximum number of rental days?
Yes. Any number of days may work, but a 2-night minimum is required and ideally includes Friday and Saturday nights.
How do you protect me from Squatters who don’t want to leave?
We limit stays to 28 days, which are considered short-term stays and do not give long-term tenants rights. If you were amenable to longer stays (especially during the winter months), we work with a company which has a contract for such an arrangement that protects you from the above issue.
What are cleaning costs?
This cost varies by the size of unit, but we charge the guest a cleaning fee. We charge for an initial cleaning that is done before we photograph. If you inhabit the home after this cleaning, then we charge for another cleaning right after you leave.
Does the cleaning cost vary depending on the length of the stay?
No. We have the place professionally cleaned before and after each stay.
Are we responsible for cleaning supplies?
Our cleaners bring their own supplies. We encourage the use of eco-friendly products to ensure everyone’s health.
Does the cleaning person use our washer and dryer?
The cleaner does need access to be able to do some laundry, but most of the laundry is done offsite at no expense to you.
How many changes of linens are best to have in supply and what quality should I get?
We ask that you provide at least two changes of higher quality linens, duvet covers and pillowcases and protectors per bed and two full matching sets (body, face, hand) of towels per each possible guest. We also require new bath mats and kitchen towels.
How often will my place get rented?
Our target goal for our properties is an 80-85% occupancy rate, between 20-25 days per month. This percentage is dependent on the season: Highest in the summer, robust in the spring and fall and lower in the winter.
How do you handle trash and mail when I’m gone?
We take out and return the trash when the owner is away. We also try to educate our guests about compost and recycling and water/electricity usage. Depending on the length of time you are gone, we recommend that mail be held by the postal service.
What happens if a guest needs something at 3 AM?
In case of an emergency, we are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Most issues can be resolved over the phone, but if need be, we always have an on-call person if we need to go to the property.
Can I request that certain rules be followed?
Absolutely. For example, if you prefer that no one smoke on the property, it is stated in the Guest Guide, in the Welcome letter and on the profile. People have had rules about shoes, age of renters, gatherings, etc.
How do I get paid?
We issue a monthly auto-deposit into your account within the first 10 business days of the following month.
How do you market?
We list your property on Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. We promote our website, target participants from local upcoming events and have a strong visibility on social network sites.
What if the unit doesn’t rent and I’ve invested in fixing it up?
In the unlikely event that your unit does not rent out as much as you’d like, you can always turn it into a long-term rental and charge a higher monthly rental than if it were unfurnished. You just need to notify us in writing 30 days before you’d like to terminate our services.
Do I have to pay taxes/get a license for this income?
Yes. Uncle Sam would like a share of your income. We will provide you with a 1099 form in January of each year. Some cities have worked with Airbnb and now charge the guest a tax that is handled directly with Airbnb. If your city requires a TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax), we collect that on your behalf and pay that directly to you. You are responsible for submitting that to the city quarterly. Some cities do require a business license, which we would be happy to obtain for you for a nominal fee.
I’d like to travel more and want to rent out my personal home occasionally. Can that work?
Yes. We have several property owners who love to travel and have been able to do so more often since their place provides extra income currently.
How long have you been in Business?
We have been fortunate to serve people for over 4 years. We have between 15-20 properties in the East Bay. Our staff and independent contractors consist of: Head of Operations, Head of Hospitality, handymen, gardeners, cleaning crews, a professional photographer and re-design experts. We also have an arborist, a plumber and CPA at our disposal.