During a recent short transition from my last homesharing arrangement to my current one, I stayed at an Airbnb. That’s where I learned about and experienced their "Superhost" classification, and it made me think about what the Silvernest equivalent might look like.
According to Airbnb, Superhosts are "experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests." While homesharing is different from Airbnb hosting in that the homeowner and renter actually live together, the basic idea still applies: there are things you can do to be an amazing housemate. Here are my ten suggestions for becoming the Silvernest equivalent of an Airbnb Superhost.
1. Promote yourself
Homesharing is as much about personal compatibility as the space you’re offering for rent. It's a unique experience, different from renting or buying a home to live in alone.
Most potential housemates want to see the space you’re offering along with your picture AND information about you and any pets in your home. Highlight these details to attract renters who are compatible with all facets of your lifestyle—not just the ones who need a place to live.
2. Deep clean
Whether the space you’re offering has recently been rented or been unused for some time, it’s important to thoroughly clean from top to bottom. Cleaning is even more important during this pandemic time, as we each take steps to flatten the curve. A fresh coat of paint or new window treatments can be a nice touch as well.
3. Fix what's broken
Check the space you're offering for anything that needs repairing or fixing up. This includes outlets, overhead lights, ceiling fans, doorknobs and privacy locks, etc. You may even consider creating a checklist for your unique space you can use every time you’re preparing for someone new to move in.
4. De-clutter and depersonalize
It’s far easier for potential housemates to visualize living in your offered space if it’s free of your personal knickknacks and decorations. If you've ever prepared a house to list for sale, you have likely received similar advice. It’s okay to offer some furnishings (they are welcomed by many housemates)—but we all want to personalize our living space, even if it's a room in someone else's home.
When I made the decision a few years ago to return to homesharing, I knew it was still important for my space to feel like it was mine. I always appreciated the homeowners who neutralize and open up their space to allow space for the renter's belongings and taste. This action alone can make a huge difference for the person moving in.
5. Add a lock for privacy
Just as it's important to allow housemates to express themselves and make their space their own, it's also important to allow room for privacy. My current housemate put a keyed lock on the door to my room and gave me the key to control access. While I may never even use the lock, I really appreciated this symbol of her respect for my space and my privacy. It’s also an easy step you can take to make your arrangement stand out above the others.
6. Make room in the kitchen
It's important to make your renter feel like they’re free to use the kitchen as their own. Clear out a cabinet or pantry space for them and be mindful that the room is now a shared space. That doesn't mean your own kitchen needs to become off-limits to you—just determine a system that allows a balance of ownership and privacy for you and your housemate.
Bonus: clearing space in your kitchen for a housemate's belongings is a great excuse to do some decluttering! And get tips on decluttering in this blog post: Hoarders' Matt Paxton's Tips for Decluttering and Downsizing.
7. Provide storage if possible
Providing storage space for your renter (extra closet space, part of the garage or basement, etc.) shows you are a considerate housemate who is looking to create a harmonious co-living arrangement. The space doesn’t have to be large—any space will be appreciated for packing and moving supplies, rarely-used suitcases, seasonal clothing, etc. Although I downsized considerably when I began homesharing again, I still have some overflow items that I appreciate being able to store where I live, rather than having to pay for a storage unit (or cram them all into my living space).
8. Get online
Most of us can’t live without reliable internet service—including the internet connection that now powers much of our TV and movie viewing. And as millions of Americans work from home in isolation, a stable internet connection is more important now than ever. You don't have to offer premium cable channels to be a great housemate, but fast internet and the basics will be greatly appreciated. Many renters will have their own streaming device (like Apple TV or ROKU)—they just need you to make the connection available.
9. Share the common spaces
Some housemates may want complete separation, but for lots of us, this isn’t the case. I greatly value spending daily conversation and socialization time with my housemate in the common areas of our home. These interactions also give me a nice break from my designated living space and add significant value to our living arrangement. Creating inviting, comfortable common spaces is a simple way to up your game as a Silvernest homeowner.
10. Provide a warm welcome
Last but not least, remember that small gestures can have a big impact. At my Airbnb, it was coffee and snacks on the kitchen counter when I arrived—along with some pantry and bathroom items that were offered for my use for free. In my current Silvernest arrangement, I was so touched that my host made dinner for me the evening I moved in. The meal gave us time to talk and get to know each other, let me focus on my move without worrying about dinner, and made me feel right at home that first day.
To learn more about homesharing and sign up, visit www.silvernest.com.