By Melissa Jenkins – this article first appeared in The New Daily
The pungent smell of mussels getting shucked in her kitchen by strangers was unappealing.
But renting out part of their home, just a 15-minute drive to the surf town of Torquay at the start of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, was worth it for Megan and her husband.
The $5000 they made from their foray into Airbnb funded their own holiday to Thailand.
Megan and her husband, who did not want their surname to be used in this article, rented out three bedrooms in the back of their four-bedroom home.
Between November 2017 and March 2018, they attracted a steady stream of people headed to the Great Ocean Road or sporting events in the region.
Guests had their own bathroom but also had access to the main kitchen.
“The worst one that we had was a group of people who had gone hunting for mussels,” Megan said.
“He had two buckets of mussels and some mud crabs and I was just like, this is going to stink the house out. It’s just something to be wary of when people are coming into your house – they have been on holidays, they might have gone fishing, and they treat it a bit like their own house.”
The couple had a fold-out couch in their study, which meant the room could be used as a lounge area or bedroom with the couch extended.
“If you can, try and work some flexibility into the way that you set it up, so you can offer people different things depending on their needs,” Megan said.
She recommended making it clear to guests if you don’t have air conditioning in the rooms. Otherwise you might have to do what Megan’s husband did – make a late night dash to the shops to buy fans after a 40 degree day.
Megan said to expect some damage to your property like scratches made when suitcases get dragged against walls.
Kim and Oliver, however, took an altogether different approach.
The couple, who did not want their surname published, rented out their entire home in Torquay while they went caravanning across Victoria.
It took the couple weeks of work to get their property ready, but it paid for their trip and also helped pay down debt.
“We are gaining by having a holiday experience while at the same time making money,” Kim said.
She said in the six weeks before leaving, they had a long list of tasks that included repainting walls, replacing doorknobs, and landscaping the garden, as well as purchasing things like extra pillows and switching family photos with landscapes.
Kim said the pair completed in a few months what would have normally taken them about a year.
“You would start something then you would always find something else that was wrong or that you needed to do so it felt like the list just never ended,” she said.
“We were exhausted but it feels like the house is totally revamped.”
Kim said aside from the extra money it was a great motivation to declutter the house.
She suggested to anyone considering renting out their place to store valuables in locked drawers, rather than having to move them in and out of a garage or another secure location.
The couple used property management company AirReady to look after their bookings and screen guests.
“If you don’t have time to put into managing your property, outsource it,” Kim said.
Real estate agent Barry France, from Sawtell Real Estate Co on the NSW coast, said properties in the area can fetch $700 a night during the peak summer period.
He said people considering renting out their homes must take proper safety measures, such as checking for tripping hazards, fitting windows with locks and ensuring gas cookers and barbecues were safe.
Airbnb New Zealand and Australia country manager Susan Wheeldon said many people rent out their home to help cover their mortgage and combat the rising cost of living.
“Hosting allows people to take typically their most significant asset – their own home – and turn it into an income engine,” she said.