The notion of housing swaps or home rentals has been a concept I've been intrigued with for years. We dabbled in the arena - in a sort of way - when we moved overseas for two years and rented our entire, empty home out (using a management company). While it was a lot of work to prep the house, that experience did take the edge off the emotional attachment of our family home.
It allowed us to view it as an asset that we could leverage even more if we took some of the personal out of it. It is just a home. It is something we own and we should think of it as an object and get on with it.
I used the "we could rent our house out" argument with my husband when I convinced him we should put South Africa flights on a credit card in July. Now it's time for me to follow-through on my grand idea.
So I've finally (casually) made some attempts at actually renting it out in the past few weeks.
Casually, meaning I took some nice pics and posted it on Craigslist for one week. I forgot to do it the next week. (I should be doing that right now).
I also posted it on airbnb.com
It looks really nice. It feels like it is really expensive. But, considering the trip is in less than two months, I'm really not convinced this is going to work. Needless to say, I thought I'd document the feeble effort I've made so far and vow to work harder at it so I have something to show by the time we're wheels up to South Africa.
Anecdotally, we have some friends whose next door neighbors rented their Portland home out for a month while overseas. Our friends didn't love helping the neighbors out with some small snags (they had multiple families moving through over four weeks.) But, I was entranced by the concept and resolved to try it.
I'm hoping to have one or two guests move through the four weeks we're gone. Really, I think it's an ideal set-up for a temporary furnished house for a corporate traveler or family new to town. IF (and it's a big if) this works, here's what I've roughly thought through in my head.
- We'll move all our very personal items out of the main house into our finished garage. This will include closets, dressers, nightstands and most of the bathroom cupboards. Feels easy enough right now for the right price.
- Cleaning: On Day 1, after we depart, I'll have a cleaner do a morning cleaning and change sheets. The cleaner can come back in between any guests we have.
- What to leave: I plan to leave the kitchen cupboards and pantry fairly well stocked.
- Emergencies: My parents are here to take care of any emergencies. Plus, we have some very kind neighbors I am sure would help a sister out.
- I'm utilizing craigslist.com and airbnb.com - the only pitfall to airbnb.com is that it's really geared toward rentals that are on the market year-round. I've had to block out the entire rest of the year except for the month of November. The pitfall of Craigslist.com is that the posting expires every seven days - that, and the fact that I just now had my post "banned" because I used the words airbnb.com in it. (I'm gonna need to sort that out later).
And that's as far as I've gotten so far. In the first few days I did get a response to the listing on airbnb.com - but they needed the house longer than November. I took it as a sign of my marketing prowess. However, in the two weeks since, I haven't heard a word. I'll update this post as soon as anything changes.