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7 Steps to Short-Term Rent Your Home Like a Pro (For the Absolute Beginner!)

By the end of this step-by-step guide, you’ll know exactly how to turn your home into a short-term rental guests can’t get enough of!

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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Turning your home into a short-term rental can feel super nerve-wracking and filled with uncertainty. If you’re even remotely considering it, you’ve probably got questions swirling in your head like: How do I protect my property and personal belongings? What’s worth investing in and what’s not? What exactly do I need to do to turn my home into a rental guests rave about?

This step-by-step guide will walk you through exactly how to convert your home into a short-term rental like a pro. By the end of this post, you’ll have the confidence and know-how you need to successfully turn your home into a short-term rental guests can’t get enough of!

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.

7 Steps to Short-Term Rent Your Home Like a Pro

1. Research your property

So, you know you want to short-term rent your home to start earning some extra income. But before you do, you have to know if all the time, energy, and money you’ll invest will be worthwhile.

AirDNA’s free revenue forecast tool can help you estimate how much revenue your specific property can earn. While this tool is designed to forecast the revenue of an entire home that’s available to rent the entire year, it can give you a really good sense for your home’s revenue potential whether you plan to dedicate it solely to renting, rent it out only when you’re not using it, or only rent out a particular area of your home.

After you have a rough sense of your potential revenue, make sure to use my free profitability calculator to estimate how profitable your property can be before you invest any of your hard-earned cash.

Recommended: Buy Airbnb Property With Confidence With This FREE Airbnb Calculator

2. Check local requirements

At the same time, be sure to understand any requirements for short-term rentals in your area. Some municipalities and homeowner’s associations don’t allow short-term rentals at all. Others require certain permitting that can be cumbersome, expensive, and hard to get approved.

Usually, you can find short-term rental restrictions and permitting requirements online, but it doesn’t hurt to call your municipality and talk to someone directly, too, because what’s online is not always up-to-date.

3. Set up your property

One of the best things you can do when converting your home into a short-term rental is to get rid of all personal items and clutter. When guests are renting out your Airbnb, it’s their home–not yours!

Personal items like clothing and family photos as well as any and all clutter should be completely removed. If you need to keep any items for your personal use at the home, lock them up so they’re out of sight and inaccessible to guests (but make sure guests have enough storage for their things, too).

Additionally, it’s crucial that you don’t leave anything out that you wouldn’t want to “go missing” or get damaged. HDMI cables, phone chargers, keyboards, Bluetooth speakers…any sort of small electronics commonly “go missing” from Airbnbs. If you want/need to leave a small electronic out for your guests–for example, a TV remote–expect to need to replace it from time to time.

The good news is, your home is already very well set up because you live there! So unlike most hosts, you won’t have to invest as much in making sure your guests have all the furniture and supplies they need.

But, you still need to make sure you’re not missing any crucial items. Make sure you’re providing everything your guests need and expect with my FREE furniture and supplies checklist (100+ essentials!):

4. Get renter’s insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance may or may not include coverage specific to renting out your property, so be sure to check your policy to find out. If you’re not covered, consider adding this coverage or buying a separate policy specific to short-term rentals.

If you plan to list your property on Airbnb, be sure to also take a look at Airbnb’s AirCover policy, which covers hosts with $1MM in liability insurance and $3MM in damage protection.

The third type of insurance you can get is third-party short-term rental insurance that only applies on a booking-by-booking basis. This insurance typically requires you to pay a flat fee each time you get a booking to cover incidents that occur during that specific stay. This type of insurance is totally optional and I recommend learning about your existing coverage (noted above) before deciding whether or not you also want this additional third-party insurance.

5. Find a local cleaning company

The one thing you absolutely can’t skip when setting up your short-term rental is creating a plan for cleaning your property between guests. If you’ll be nearby and have the time, you could choose to clean the property yourself. However, I recommend hiring a cleaning company.


Because cleaning is super easy to outsource. There are tons of professional cleaners that will get the job done well, probably even faster and better than you would (that’s definitely true for me!). Plus, if you clean your property yourself, what happens if you get sick? Or need to go out of town? Having a plan in place is crucial.

6. Take listing photos

Once all of your furniture is in place and you’ve found a local cleaning company, you’re ready to take photos of your property!

Do one last check to make sure all personal items and clutter are nowhere in sight. Again, this is not your home in your listing photos–it’s your guests’ home away from home!

This is by far one of the most important aspects of creating a listing that gets tons of bookings, so it’s worthwhile to hire a professional. Be sure to talk to your photographer about your expectations so you’re both on the same page. To make your photos as warm and inviting as possible, consider hiring a lifestyle or wedding/lifestyle photographer over a real estate photographer. Real estate photography tends to be too cold and sterile for an Airbnb listing.

Pro tip: This is just one of 15+ sections of your listing that need to be optimized to maximize your profitability. Learn how you can optimize your listing to start earning more from your Airbnb today!

7. Create your listing

Phew! Now that you’ve got all that out of the way, you’re finally ready to start creating your actual listing. This is by far the quickest step so I recommend waiting until last.

While there are over 15 sections of your Airbnb listing that need to be thoughtfully crafted to maximize bookings, here are the three most important sections:

#1: Listing Photos

Nailing your listing photos is crucial because they show up prominently in search results, at the top of your listing, and are often the very first thing potential guests look at when deciding whether or not to stay with you. If you followed all my photo recommendations above, you’re off to a great start! Make sure you nail every aspect of high-converting listing photos (including the number of photos, the type of photos, and even your photo captions) with the tips I share inside Listing Optimization Secrets.

#2: Listing Title

Since your listing title is one of the few things you control that shows up in search results, it’s a small detail that’s hugely important if you want to get as many bookings as possible. To help you effortlessly craft your listing title, I’ve created 100 plug-and-play Airbnb listing titles just for you.

#3: Listing Description

Your listing description makes up the vast majority of your Airbnb listing, yet this is where I see almost all new listings share hardly any information! This section of your listing needs to incorporate the key attributes of your property in a way that gives your potential guests the information they need to confidently book with you while also convincing them that your Airbnb is perfect for them! Get my step-by-step guide on how to do just that inside Listing Optimization Secrets.

Pro Tip: If you want to get as many bookings as possible, each of these sections (and many more!) need to convince potential guests that your Airbnb is perfect for them. Get my step-by-step guide that shows you how to do just that here.


Whew, we just covered a lot! You now know exactly how to turn your home into a 5-star, money-making short-term rental! Setting up your first Airbnb is a huge accomplishment! After all your hard work, don’t forget to take some time to celebrate and relax. But know that the work doesn’t end there. After you start hosting there’s a lot of work that goes into managing your Airbnb.

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Have questions about how to turn your home into an Airbnb? Let me know 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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I grossed $160,000+ my first two years Airbnb hosting. Now, I’m sharing all my Airbnb hosting tips so you can build your own insanely profitable business.


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