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Turning Your House into a Rental: What to Buy

Published on February 6, 2019 by Mike

Ready to make some vacation cash by transforming your place into a money-making getaway? Not so fast. Turning your house into a rental is easier said than done, and some of the dough you rake in should go toward guest-proofing your vacation rental home. Here’s what to buy before your home goes on the rental market.Turning Your house into a Rental: What to Buy

A Combination Dead Bolt

The first step in turning your house into a rental is forking over your keys, which can be hard to do if you work or want to travel while the property is in use. The solution is a combination door lock, which allows you to simply let the renters know an access code. This password will have to be temporary or changed between guests, but it’s safer and easier than making key copies and relaying them to strangers. Invest in a durable combination dead bolt—preferably one that allows you to set multiple combinations and even temporary codes, like Kwikset’s 10-digit version.

Nest Home Monitoring

To help you stay in the loop on your property when renters are there (and when they aren’t), Nestthermostats, smoke detectors, and security cameras are accessible via smartphone for some on-demand peace of mind. Whether you want to see who’s at the door or be notified if something goes wrong, Nest has home-monitoring gadgets you can tailor to your needs. Install security cameras outside, upgrade your smoke alarms, or opt for a remote thermostat. Who knows if your guests will leave the air conditioner blasting when they leave? You will.

Wi-Fi Locks

If you’re worried about your combination-lock codes getting out, consider a Wi-Fi lock you can control remotely and/or open in person with your own key. This can be an extra safeguard in case the combination lock is compromised, or simply a way to lock up if your guests forget to. Some pricier locks offer the best of Wi-Fi and combination locks in one, like Schlage’s Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt that can be locked via code, smartphone, or Amazon Alexa.

Basic Toiletries

Don’t be that host who snubs the small items. Inexpensive bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the showers go a long way for anyone who doesn’t bring their own, and other bathroom items like soaps and mouthwash are a nice touch. Buy in bulk, or stock up on travel sizes on PackSimply.comand leave a basket of goodies in the bathroom.

App-Enabled Garage Door Opener

Ever leave the house and forget to close the garage? Your guests might do the same. The Chamberlain MyQ-Garage Door Opener uses your home Wi-Fi to notify you if your garage is left open so you can close it remotely via smartphone app.

A Safe

You should declutter every inch of your property, down to the closets, if you’re turning your house into a rental—but some small items might need to stay in your vacation rental home and be locked away. Install a safe box or two that can hide any items you don’t want your guests to have access to, like tools, spare keys, and valuables. Mounted wall versions like Paragon’s Electronic Wall Safecould be hidden behind wall features and save you lots of grief. For an easier fix, attach another combination dead bolt to a closet to reserve it for off-limits storage.


While vacation rental home sites like Airbnb and HomeAway will usually cover damages, you should also have your own rental insurance in case something goes awry that the service won’t cover. Airbnb now covers hosts for up to $1 million if guests damage the property or get hurt, but certain incidents like personal injury or terrorism aren’t covered. Talk to your insurance company about turning your home into a rental, and ask what additional coverage you might need.

Plenty of Sheets and Towels

Don’t skimp on the necessities: Keep an abundance of sheets and towels on hand in your vacation rental home in case you need extras for new guests. Having plenty of linens means you can get away with doing laundry a little less often. Plus, a lack of sheets and towels is sure to get your listing some negative reviews.

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