Hoping to offset the high cost of airfare by renting out your home through a service like AirBNB or VRBO? Here are some tips we gathered from the experiences of friends who have done the same. Not only will they make your guests' stay more pleasant, they'll help make sure that you come home to a place that's just as great as when you left it (plus maybe a few extra bottles of good wine!).• Clear out your home: Have a favorite vase you love? A knick knack that's silly but irreplaceable? Put it away in a closet or drawer until you get back.
• Strip your home down to its bare minimum: Clear surfaces, give plants that need TLC to a neighbor. You may find that collection of perfume bottles on your dresser pretty but, for the single guy who's renting out your home while you're in Europe, it's something he's got to move before he empties his pockets.
• Leave a clear guide to your home and the neighborhood: Whether it's that trick to turn the hot water faucet off, a guide to where to park, the address of the nearest grocery store, or the phone number to the only pizza place that will deliver, these details make sure that your guest is comfortable and that you don't come home to a huge water bill.
• Communicate what will cause the deposit to be forfeited: With services like AirBNB, you only have three days to make a claim against a guest. One friend makes it clear in her home guide that if any guest leaves the backyard ping pong table out to brave the elements, they will be charged.
• Leave out enough towels and washcloths: Most people use extra towels on vacation, taking an extra shower before dinner or when they come home after a day of sightseeing. If you don't have a place to hang up extras, leave them stacked by the sink or on the toilet seat or folded up on the bed.
• Make sure your guests have a place to put their clothes and luggage: Put out a luggage rack, make room in your closet, leave empty hangers. If your closet's overflowing (or stacked with the stuff you put away!), invest in one of those over the door hanging racks like this or this.
• Make sure essentials are easy to find. Toilet paper, paper towels, extra napkins, basic cleaning supplies, the soap for the dishwasher, the keys to the laundry room.
• Little touches make a difference: While many guests won't use them, leaving out small travel size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bar soap will make your home feel welcoming.
Have you ever rented out your home? What was your experience? Share it with us in the comments!