If you read my blog, you know that this year my husband and I decided to list our beach apartment with Airbnb. It’s a holiday apartment that we don’t personally use more than a few weeks per year but the expenses continue regardless. You know, government taxes, utility bills plus big property management fees, because the place is in a complex with beautiful gardens, two swimming pools and even an outdoor jacuzzi. Some rental income to cover these expenses helps!
Of course, to make the place really beautiful, inviting and competitive we had to do some renovation – painting walls, new furniture, new air conditioners, etc. (It’s interesting that we want to make it better for other people to enjoy whereas for ourselves we can live without these extra touches – but that’s another story.) So, I took a clean new notebook and started a list of the expenses – all the money spend on taxes and renovations. Thinking to save time and adopt some good ideas, I looked in Pinterest to find out how other people are planning their VRBO income. Nothing. Strange! I was surprised and repeated the search several times with different key words, but still nothing.
Ok, it looks like there is a need for this type of journal template. I am sure there are great online and downloadable programmes about rental property accounting, but I needed something more personal. Not only a list of numbers. I needed something inspiring too. And as a very paper-oriented person, I started thinking and drawing to create my own Airbnb Host journal which I’d like to share with you.
Here are some ideas and hope they will be helpful to you
First, I prefer to work based on a one year period. This will make it very easy to organize the different years by colours. So, I decided to choose a slim notebook – 40-60 pages – perfect for my needs. Maybe you will need more – it depends on how many rental properties you have and their type and on the number of expenses you may have. Maybe, if you’re doing a big renovation one year, you’ll need a thicker notebook for that year.
Second, working with numbers I prefer not to have a lot of decoration. I am a word, not a number, person, so decorations can easily distract me. Of course, this will not be a very big problem, because at the end of the year all the documents will finish up on my accountant’s desk and he’s a number person! But still the distracted mind can make mistakes and set unrealistic goals for example. This doesn’t mean I will not use colours of course! Oh, actually, I will use a lot of colours – for all the things which need to be visually separated.
Where am I
I think this is the most important page. You can’t make any predictions and plans and set any goals if you do not know your starting position exactly. So, on this page, you have to put all the initial information like price of the property; the average price of electricity, water, heating and/or cooling (if you have building heating/cooling or a percentage of power costs). Here you should also record things like the condition of the property – is it renovated or not; what type of area (expensive or not), is the location a holiday/seasonal area, or a normal city neighbourhood. Anything that will affect the value and the expected annual costs.
If you’re planning renovations remember to include the utility costs too, because while making the place nicer, you will still have these expenses. Maybe, during the “fixer upper” period you’ll will use even more electricity than on a normal “living” day.
I think is good to also mention whatever languages you speak or can use. Even a basic knowledge of other languages will be very helpful. If you speak only your native language, you might consider setting a goal to go “back to school” again and learn another.
The Goals page
After Finishing the Where am I page it will be easy to set the Goals page.
Put your goals here: “occupancy” by % and days; expected income; and to become a Superhost.
If, as in our case, it is a holiday place, especially if it’s your family holiday place, it will be a little bit unrealistic to set a 100% occupancy goal. Our place is exactly on the beach, which means a lot of people in the area in summer, and not so many in winter. If you are a romantic sea lover like us, you will really enjoy the solitude of the winter days, the morning coffee on the balcony when snuggling up in a hand knitted blanket and smelling the amazing mixed scents of salt water and wet grass from the gardens. I, for example, absolutely adore the winter sea. However, most people are coming to the coast for their annual family holiday and they prefer to have hot sun and warm sea water.
And I am sure your family will want to enjoy the summer too, so leave time for them.
So, I set our realistic goal for this year at 40 summer days occupancy. First, because the place is still new and people doesn’t know it. And second, because we will be happy to have our time there too for as long as possible.
The calendar pages
For me these are very important. Even though you are using an Airbnb app which has a calendar, these pages will show you visually, in colour, who is coming when, where your holiday time is and which are the cleaning days.
I suggest leaving some space for a few notes about your guests. Maybe someone has allergies, maybe someone is coming with little children and corner protectors will be needed on tables, etc. This space for extra notes is very important if you want to have happy guests and become a Superhost.
I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions or notes, please write a comment. This will help me and all the other readers to improve our service. Thank you! ♥