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WARNING: Visiting Your Vacation Rental Isn’t a Vacation

Visiting your vacation rental might not be as fun as it sounds (picture more “working” and less “vacation-ing”).

I'm Sabrina, a short-term rental host coach who knows starting your own Airbnb biz can quickly get waaaay too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I help first-time Airbnb hosts like you go from overwhelmed to "Yes!! Another  booking!"
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As a short-term rental host, the importance of regular property maintenance can’t be overlooked. Taking the time to visit your rental property at least every six months will help ensure that you’re addressing small issues before they become disasters that impact your business.

That means that visiting your vacation rental might not be as fun as it sounds (picture more “working” and less “vacation-ing”). But don’t worry–with the steps in this super helpful short-term rental maintenance guide, you’ll get everything you need to know to make your visits to your Airbnb faster and easier so you can actually enjoy your vacation home as just that–a vacation!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I’m not affiliated with Airbnb in any way (other than being an Airbnb host, of course). Read my full disclosure policy here.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Short-Term Rental Property Maintenance

1. Check For Anything That’s Out of Place

When you first walk into your Airbnb after not seeing it for several months, you might find a lot of things out of place. First impressions matter to guests. After all, they’ve just spent hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to rent your property. They want to know right away that they’re getting what they paid for.

So, it’s important that your actual property is reasonably close to what it looks like on your listing. Ideally, you have the same bedding out, the same blankets in the living room, and the same items on your kitchen countertop. You might find some items have been left out that you don’t want guests to have access to – for example, several bottles of dish soap. Take the time to put things in their proper place. If something is high enough priority, bring it to the attention of your cleaning crew.

One of the best ways to communicate with your cleaning crew is through photos. Photos make it easy to communicate what goes where no matter who happens to be cleaning your property on a given day. Once you’ve put everything in the right place, snap a photo, print it out, and hang it in your supply closet (where your cleaning crew will see it but your guests won’t). That way, the cleaners can quickly see what the property should look like when they’re done.

If you do this, I recommend you also send an email to your cleaning crew, gently letting them know that you’d like the property to look as close to those photos as possible. Or, better yet, hire a co-host who will put everything back in the right place between guests.

2. Assess Wear and Tear

While you’re walking around and rearranging things, keep an eye out for any wear and tear.

You might find that your couch, rugs, and blankets are dirty (anything your cleaning crew doesn’t wash as part of their standard cleaning). Clean these yourself or hire someone to do a deep clean. There will likely be scuff marks, scratches, and even a footprint or two on your walls and furniture. These should come off easily with a Magic Eraser or can be covered up with these wonderful furniture stain sticks.

You might even discover a chunk of drywall missing (why you might ask, I don’t know…but it happens). This shouldn’t take long to repair with a bit of spackle and paint. These are all things that likely haven’t impacted your guests’ stays yet. But, if left unattended, they could result in a bad review or long-term damage that requires an item to be replaced. Now’s your opportunity to prevent that!

Recommended: The Best Room-By-Room Airbnb Checklist: 100+ Essential Items

3. Check for Plumbing Issues

There’s nothing Airbnb hosts hate more than an urgent call from their guests with a major (read: expensive) plumbing issue. But, when you own a short-term rental property, things will break. It’s inevitable. From time to time, a pipe might leak, your water heater might break, or your garbage disposal might stop working. Save yourself a ton of time, stress, and money by addressing any and all plumbing issues early.

While you’re at the property, do a thorough walkthrough to check your plumbing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, hire a plumber instead; ask them to check for anything that isn’t an issue yet but might become one.

Some things to check for:

  • Leaky pipes
  • Running toilets
  • Backed up dishwasher
  • Tap water that feels too hot or too cold

On top of being really stressful and time-consuming, plumbing issues could damage your property, require you to pay a plumber extra for emergency services, and require you to refund your guests for any inconvenience. So, addressing issues early on is worth it.

Here are the plumbing issues I had my first year Airbnb hosting:

  • My water heater turned out to be at the very end of its life and needed to be replaced. I will forever be thankful that I just happened to be at the property for a short-term rental property maintenance check when it stopped putting out hot water (Can you imagine if a guest was there when the hot water went out instead of me?!)
  • All three toilets started running
  • The garbage disposal stopped working
  • The (brand-new) dishwasher stopped working

I was shocked at how many plumbing issues I had in just one year! Visiting your short-term rental property yourself to find and fix these minor issues before they become huge problems is crucial.

Recommended: 10 Property Maintenance Mistakes Successful Airbnb Hosts Need to Avoid

4. Address Known Property Issues

Airbnb primary bathroom

Now that we’ve got all the initial work of the way, it’s time to address any known issues at your property.

If you’ve managed your rental for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly received feedback from guests (public and private) about small issues that might need your attention. I’ve gotten feedback from guests ranging anywhere from suggesting I provide sugar to letting me know that the towel rods in the bathroom fall off easily. Nothing urgent or impactful – but small issues that would make my guests’ stay better.

5. Find & Fix Any Unknown Issues

Even if your guests have been great about sharing issues they’ve run into during their stay, there are likely many other problems that haven’t been shared with you. For that reason, it’s important you stay at the property yourself (sleep there at least one night!) and take a thorough look around for anything that needs your attention.

Here’s what you might find:

  • Items are missing
    • For example, I used to provide two generous work-from-home setups for guests. Given that we’re seeing a major increase in guests wanting to work remotely from their Airbnb, I wanted to provide my guests with an exceptional remote work setup
    • Unfortunately, I found that a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI cable were all missing from the two desks after just six months of hosting
    • My rule of thumb: don’t leave anything at your Airbnb that wouldn’t be okay with losing
  • Refillable items that will be out of stock soon
    • Your cleaning crew should let you know when you’re out of stock on any basic supplies
    • That said, proactively checking for anything that will be out of stock soon and making a quick trip to the store will save you a lot of time later on
    • Making a quick trip to the store to get anything you need at once – rather than placing an online order each time your cleaning crew messages you about something running low – will save both you and your cleaners a lot of time
    • Read this blog post to make sure you’re not missing any essential Airbnb supplies (100+ items!)
  • Miscellaneous items left by guests
    • When your guests accidentally leave items behind, your cleaning crew should lock them away in your supply closet. If no one has asked you for these items, go ahead and throw them away or donate them
    • You might be surprised by how many items have been left by guests. After just six months, I found guests left two jackets, a t-shirt, a ring, and two beach towels. (Not to mention a phone that was urgently picked up by the guest right after they checked out)
  • Super squeaky beds
    • This is another reason it’s important you actually stay at your property! The first night I slept at my Airbnb, I realized our master bed squeaked with every single toss and turn. (I swear, if you just looked at the bed it squeaked!)
    • There are a lot of things like this that you’ll never know about if you just do a quick walkthrough

6. Do Any Routine Maintenance

Lastly, consider doing any routine maintenance. These are things that aren’t currently an issue, but proactively addressing them now will save you a huge headache later.

Here’s some routine property maintenance I frequently do at my Airbnb:

  • Replace CO/smoke detector batteries (it’s recommended you do this once per year)
  • Change the codes on any lockboxes and keyless entry devices you have
  • Replace the batteries on your keyless entry devices, Ring doorbell, and anything else that’s battery-operated
  • Clean out all your bathroom drains (make it super easy with Draino)
  • Take photos of anything you might need to share with guests. For example:
    • I have a photo of our lockbox that I send to guests who need access to our physical key (i.e. when the battery on our keyless entry dies)
    • I also have a photo of our emergency water shutoff, in case there’s a leak and a guest needs to know right away where to turn off the water
    • I have a photo of our wifi router in case a guest needs to reset it
  • Deep clean your washer, dryer, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. (Here’s everything I recommend to make deep cleaning super easy)
  • Deep clean anything else in your kitchen that it’s look squeaky clean (like rust on your pans, hard water build up on your tea kettle, and stains on your cutting boards)


If you own an Airbnb, it’s inevitable – you’ll have to do short-term rental property maintenance from time to time. Save yourself a huge headache and potential disasters by planning to visit your Airbnb at least once every six months.

Doing so will allow you to address any minor issues before they become such a problem that they affect your reviews. You’ll also be able to prevent potential disasters that would cost you tons of money to repair after the fact.

P.S. If you own a single-family home, you may want to consider additional maintenance on the exterior of the property, such as checking your roof and gutters. The New York Times has a very thorough list of property maintenance they recommend if you own a single-family home.


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What questions do you have about short-term rental property maintenance? Let’s chat in the comments.

Disclaimer: All content on this website is for informational purposes only. You are taking all provided information at your own risk. We are not financial, real estate, legal, investment or other professionals. Nothing on this website should be construed as professional advice. We will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature. For more information, read our disclaimer.

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  1. Ariadne says:

    Is there any way to get this in a checklist like your essential supplies list?

    • Sabrina Anne says:

      Great question! I don’t currently have a property maintenance checklist but will definitely consider creating one; be sure to join my newsletter if you haven’t already to get first access to any future checklists I create 🙂

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