How to get your home ready for Airbnb or VRBO hosting - The essential vacation rental checklist!

It can be daunting enough to get your home ready for weekend guests, but starting your own vacation rental property can be overwhelming! Over the years I’ve developed a checklist of everything I think through as a get a new property ready to rent. The list I’ve put together comes from a combination of guest suggestions, lessons learned, trial and error, and also includes the highest standards required to qualify your property for Airbnb Plus, a new echelon of listings that have been hand selected by Airbnb. We hope this checklist helps organize your thoughts as you begin your journey into running your vacation rental property! Read it below or simply download a copy by clicking here! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to schedule one of our consultations!

The Air Butler Home Ready Checklist

General Cleanliness & Care:

🗹 Counters and cabinets are organized and clutter-free

🗹 Entryway is clean and illuminated

🗹 Door to entrance for listing closes properly and has a lock

🗹 Any pathways leading to entrance should be clear of debris, not slippery, not broken

🗹 Furniture is in good condition, without stains, scuffs, breaks or tears

🗹 Walls, floors, and ceilings don’t have scuffs, cracks, stains, buckling(unless it’s charming), cobwebs, or visible dust 

🗹 Carpets and rugs aren’t stained or too worn

🗹 Windows are clean and not cracked

🗹 Air conditioning and heating works as expected

🗹 Lights work in all guest spaces

🗹 A neutral or pleasant aroma in every room(consider Aera Air Freshener system)

🗹 No signs of pests

🗹 Mirrors are clean and not cracked

🗹 Consider providing curtains and shades for guest privacy

🗹 Shower heads and faucets don’t leak

🗹 Sinks, stoves, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, ovens, and any other available appliances, are working and clean, with no smells or damage

🗹 Space is provided in refrigerator, freezer, cabinets, pantry for guest food storage(cleaners generally clear out refrigerator and freezer of all contents unless we are told otherwise)

🗹 Gardens and lawns are well-kept, with no overgrowth or dead plants. Looking for a lawn service? Have area pros bid on your lawn job with Green Pal!

🗹 Space is provided for us to store your mail

🗹 Outdoor equipment like BBQ grills are clean and have propane or charcoal provided

🗹 Any personal items not intended for guest use or house areas not intended for guest use are locked away. Please pay special attention if you own firearms to have them locked in a safe where only you have the key or removed from the premises. 

🗹 Please store and lock away alcohol as this can be a liability for a family with kids or someone who struggles with addiction.

Interior Design:

🗹 Interior design is thoughtfully styled. Everything out in the open is either aesthetic or could be used by a guest.

🗹 Layout of furniture is thoughtfully arranged and not cluttered. It’s easy to walk around in every room.

🗹 Dishware sets (plates, bowls, dining ware, glasses, wine glasses, etc.) aren’t outdated and match. We love Heath Ceramics!

🗹 Wires and cables for entertainment system and other electronics are organized and hidden from sight as much as possible. If you’re looking for a great service in Nashville to mount your TV, install new outlets, and hide wires, we love Tech Next Door!

Check In:

🗹 There’s a lockbox or digital lock/keypad for guests to use 24/7(Simple electric keypads with rubber or plastic buttons are best. Digital touch screens and overly complicated products are discouraged. We love the Schlage BE365.

🗹 Digital copy of house manual that includes host and emergency contact info, wifi password, and checkout procedures. Provide the wifi info and any notes about things in the house that might be confusing(TV, AV, lights, doors), problematic, irregular, etc. We like to print out loose pages and laminate them at FedEx Office.

Bedrooms:

🗹 Mattresses that are comfortable, flat, and clean

🗹 At least 2 sets of white cotton/bamboo sheets per bed/foldout couch. We get lots of compliments about our Pottery Barn Essential 300 Thread Count sheets!

🗹 Soft matching bedding sets (sheets and pillowcases) without stains or holes

🗹 2 full and fluffy sleeping pillows for every guest 

🗹 Top covers (e.g. duvet with a cover, or comforter, quilt, or blanket) are washable, and not worn or dated.

🗹 Cover exposed box spring bases with a base wrap, bed skirt OR extra fitted sheet. 

🗹 Empty drawer or shelf is available for guests’ clothing

🗹 Closet or clothing rack includes at least 8 available hangers

🗹 Should have a door that locks from the inside

🗹 Window treatments, such as curtains or frosted glass, to provide privacy are installed

Bathrooms:

🗹 Shower curtains and/or shower walls are clean and not mildewed

🗹 Medicine cabinet, counters, and shower/bath are clean and free of personal items

🗹 Windows provide privacy (frosted glass or window coverings)

🗹 Strong water pressure and hot and cold water

🗹 Toilet is clean and flushes properly

🗹 All fixtures (e.g. showerhead, faucets, cabinet handles, toilet paper holder) are stable, not loose

🗹 Toilet plunger and toilet brush in each bathroom

Bathroom supplies:

🗹 Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, hand soap. We love stocking bulk shampoo, body wash, and conditioner in brown glass bottles with printed labels for a great look and a cheaper bulk solution! Check out this blog for the details! If you prefer the individualized approach, we love Accent Amenities!

🗹 Hair dryer (at least one per bathroom)

🗹 Extra toilet paper that’s easy to find

Towels & Other Linens:

🗹 At least 2 sets of white cotton towels per guest(consider Target Fieldcrest brand)

🗹 At least 3 hand towels per bathroom

🗹 At least 3 washcloths per guest

🗹 At least 3 sets of black washcloths per bathroom for makeup removal. We also suggest making one of your house rules that guests are not to use your white towels, linens, or washcloths for makeup removal. This is the most common item that gets quickly damaged!

TV, Internet, Audio:

🗹 Fast wifi with download speeds of at least 5 Mbps. Use this Internet Speed Test to check your speed!

🗹 TV or projector has a remote control and gives guests access to media/entertainment (e.g. cable, Netflix, Roku). Consider labeling remote controls

🗹 ⅛ inch auxiliary cable to plug in a phone, etc. to stereo or SONOS

Safety

🗹 Fire extinguisher 

🗹 Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed 

🗹 Emergency exit card showing floorplan of house and how to get out

🗹 Is there an alarm system?

Kitchen supplies:

🗹 Coffee maker(basic 12-14 cup is great)

🗹 Coffee filters

🗹 Coffee grinder or ground coffee

🗹 Coffee beans if providing grinder. We love providing a large glass jar that can be filled with bulk beans!

🗹 Tea bags

🗹 Sugar

🗹 Half n half(individually sealed packs are good)

🗹 Tea kettle

🗹 Toaster

🗹 Coffee mugs(at least 1 per guest)

🗹 Drinking glasses(2 per guest)

🗹 Wine glasses(1 per guest)

🗹 Filtered water pitcher(i.e. Brita)

🗹 Salt

🗹 Pepper

🗹 Cooking oil

🗹 Frying pan

🗹 Sauce pan

🗹 Small pot

🗹 Medium pot

🗹 Tongs

🗹 Oven mits or pot holders

🗹 Ladle

🗹 Spatula

🗹 Cutting board

🗹 Set of knives

🗹 Wine opener/corkscrew

🗹 Dishware sets (plates, bowls, etc.)

🗹 Extra garbage bags

🗹 Paper towels

🗹 Trash can 

🗹 Recycling container(label with what can be recycled)

🗹 Dish towels

🗹 Sponges

🗹 Dish soap

Laundry:

🗹 Detergent

🗹 Bleach

🗹 Shout spray or similar

🗹 Dryer sheets

🗹 Ironing board and iron are available

Household Cleaning Items(for guest use while visiting):

🗹 Counter spray

🗹 Broom and dust pan

🗹 Vacuum cleaner

🗹 Ant/wasp,etc spray

🗹 Where are your outdoor trash and recycling cans located? Do they require being taken to the street? 

🗹 Are there any spaces in your house where you prefer the use of specific cleaning products or any spaces where certain products are not to be used(i.e. delicate countertops) As a pro tip, we’ve recently learned that you should only used Ph neutral products like this one on your tile floors. Otherwise you’ll notice loose tiles and face replacing grout and tile!

Additional Supplies:

🗹 Backup batteries for remotes, keypads, etc.

🗹 Backup light bulbs for indoor and outdoor lighting

Maintenance:

🗹 List of paint colors, sheens, brands, etc. for each room and touch up paint on hand

🗹 Have gutters cleaned 1-2 times per year

🗹 Regular pest control service

🗹 Please list the location of breaker boxes, shut-off valves, etc.

🗹 Please list size of air filters for return vents, furnace

🗹 Please provide location of GFCI outlets in case one is tripped and guests need to reset!

🗹 Consider a small tool kit in case a guest needs to tighten a screw or bolt during their stay. Don’t forget allen wrenches!

🗹 Do you have regular maintenance services provided by specific companies we should know about?

🗹 Is there a handyman you prefer we use?

Parking:

🗹 Private areas where guests should not park(if applicable) are labeled 

🗹 If your street requires a guest parking permit please provide and explain procedures

🗹 Do guests need a garage door code, remote, etc.?

FAQ:

Should you offer cable TV? No need. You can offer apps for streaming combined with an HD antenna for local channels. YouTube TV subscription is a great cable TV alternative  as well. 

How should I think about bed sizes in my space? It depends. If you are hosting a one or two bedroom place it might be best to have the largest beds you can afford. For a larger place where you are wanting to sleep as many guests as your permit allows(up to 12) you may want to consider a set of bunk beds in one room instead of a king or queen bed. You may want to have several types of sleeping rooms for different configurations of people. 

Are specific colors for paint and linens preferable? Yes, all white is best. White gives people the best assurance that your space is clean, while also making it look as spacious and bright as possible. 

Shouldn’t I buy cheap stuff since guests will damage it? No. Cheap interiors communicate to guests that you don’t care much about the space or their comfort. Cheap items will most definitely get damaged. Choosing quality items, on the other hand, communicates that you value your guests. The quality of the space will tell guests how to treat it. In years of business I have only had furniture damaged on rare occasions, while most of the time the wear is to linens. You’ll be surprised how well people will treat your things if you treat them with the same honor and respect. 

House Guides:

Think of your house guide as a way to communicate everything you want guests to know and everything they might ask you or be confused by. Think about the least tech savvy, least resourceful person when you type it out! Make a frequently asked questions page with things like “How do I watch TV?” “What if the bathroom lights go out after I use my hair dryer?” “Where is the breaker box?” “What should you do before checking out of the house?”

One way to wow your guests is by giving them a highly detailed list of how you would spend a weekend in your neighborhood/city. Tell them not only where to eat, but what to order. Tell them about places locals love to go. Tell them where all the nearest grocery stores and liquor stores are. Tell them all about your favorite shops, bars, restaurants, music venues, tourist attractions, etc. Tell them who to talk to if you personally know someone! Do you know a chef who will make meals in your home for them? Do you know a musician who will come and entertain them? This is your chance to be their tour guide! **We have lists already put together for almost every Nashville neighborhood if you want to use ours! Get in touch for more information!