How To School Holiday Rent My Cape Town Home- FAQs
Local Cape Town schools have a six-week break during December and January. For those who own a nice home in Cape Town, this is an opportunity to earn extra income by renting their property while the owner takes a break.
Many Cape Town “school holiday” owners want to rent their home but they don’t know-how. They think they will need to take care of it themselves. They also think it may be difficult to charge correct rates, so they are unsure about the best way to do this. But there is help! There are people with them.
You can read that it’s a difficult task to match the expectations of “school holiday” owners, and the impact of expecting guests (with a managing agent if you want to use one).
When managing an annually available Cape Town holiday home, feedback loops vary–the house becomes more guest-ready or foolproof. Owners also learn everything there is to know about their property. The same is not true for infrequent owners and thorough checks are required to ensure guests and owners are happy.
The Best Owners To Assist with Airbnb Management
I wish we had a crystal ball. Because it can go wrong. And it will – more here on the Airbnb Marriage Made In Hell.
When you work with an owner you have to become a team. There is no opposition. Because a good agent assist the owner by doing what the owner expects. And if the OWNER wins the AGENT wins as well. Is that not ideal?
Let’s consider a few qualifiers:
- If an enquiring owner kicks off asking how much we charge, you know he is shopping for the cheapest deal. We are not in the auction business.
- Owners who are not interested in reading, or rather studying our FAQs. These FAQs make our relationship transparent. We know. And you know. There are no surprises. When we get an owner not interested in reading the FAQs we know we don’t have a team member. We may end up with more and more misunderstandings.
- When owners start micromanage us. It’s great to get the owner’s input and it’s encouraged. But if it continues never-ending, it becomes pedantic, demanding, etc then the relationship will strain. It’s like you assisting your friend with his bad tooth.
- When owners expect us to maximize income but they want to set rates. Unfortunately maximising income should never be left to the owner. In the past, we had various owners who thought high rates equal high income. It’s not and owners have lost massive opportunities. More here!
- Owner’s who are very protective, and owners who cannot handle criticisms will find it difficult. Very difficult. Guests can be cruel. Be willing to learn. And improve from each criticism.
- Owners who tend to focus on reducing costs instead of investing in ways to increase demand for their home. What you save being stingy will never compare to what you lose not investing in improvements. If you want to focus on cost then it’s better to get a management company who does everything as cheaply as possible while increasing profitability is not an issue.
- Trust. Some owners trust very few people. If this is you then rather find another Airbnb management agency.
Peak only homes or homes available a few times during the year are different from Airbnb homes we manage throughout the year. The one is set up for guests with a track record and the other is where the owner lives during the year with no track record. Let’s consider a few more:
- Living in the home during the year gives us no real opportunity to establish issues the home may have. And the last thing you want is for guests to strain the home and then complain. Various issues may arise; one example is where pets live on the property. Even if they are taken to a kennel they tend to leave a mark; these can be resident and dormant fleas. Now, this is an extreme example but it has been an issue. Many other issues specific to these high peak homes have caused a lot of stress in the past.
- Because the house is not regularly booked out we don’t know how the owner would react to guest complaints, how quickly the owner will address issues and how open the owner is to people using her home.
- The owner will not be in the immediate area to manage the property. And we will manage. In many cases, the owner’s domestic will assist with cleaning, etc. This helps. As long as we set the responsibilities clearly. These domestics need training.
- A lovely 3 bedroom with a pool will be an ideal home if it’s rented out throughout the year. But the management costs and risks involved with renting out the same (unproven) lovey 3 bedrooms for 7 or 10 days during the year is not worth it.
- We must consider uniqueness; the more unique the higher the rates and the higher the demand. In general, most Airbnb homes in Cape Town are three bedrooms. Therefore lots of supply. The higher the supply the lower the rates. Making it difficult to rent out at a fair rate.
- Obviously you get 3 bedroom properties that defy everything I said above. Like Mbali (see it here). This is what I call very unique . These kinds of 3 bedrooms are in high demand and get’s high rates.
- Days available: The longer your home is available the better. Ten days over peak is okay. The problem is the lack of flexibility. How do you fit a square into a hole? The longer you have available the easier it is to do a nice long booking of ten to 14 nights. But if you only have 10 nights you may battle to get a 7-night booking. Very little money for the risk.
- If your availability excludes New Year you are not making it easy to get a booking.
- How do you increase the demand for your home? Obviously you cannot change the location, but the number of people you sleep may change. If you can go from a six sleeper to an 8 sleeper you have moved into more uniqueness. If you have a three-bedroom with a room with one single or three-quarter bed you are throwing money away. If you have a pink kids room with small girl stuff you are reducing your ability to rent it. Make the home neutral, let two people sleep per room. An office is great for a working family but a sleeper couch for two kids in the study can increase the demand for your home.
Summary: If you live in your home – rent it once or twice a year, and it’s a relatively small home with a pool or less it must be extremely unique, remarkable, wow, or whatever you call it and have reasonably long availability (14 days or more) before we consider it.
This answer is specific to owners who only rent out during school holidays.
Here are some of the responsibilities of the domestic. For any deviation, the appointed manager must be notified immediately. Below are 15 minimum functions for the domestic. Available to Agency.CapeHolidays homeowners and management staff.
Be friendly, be accommodating, be FIRM!
We want a 5 Star review but our integrity is not for sale.
Our Cape Town Airbnb management services are ideal for homeowners who can not or are not interested in marketing or managing their own property.
Let me ask you a few questions to qualify your needs:
- Can you manage your own home and ensure a 5 Star rating for each and every guest staying? Can you enjoy your holiday away while guests demand attention? Can you be very responsive to guests? Are you willing to liaise with guests 24/7? Are you willing to negotiate with guests, resolve conflicts when it occurs?
- Do you know how to set marketing policies to get the best possible return on your investment? For example; setting the competitive rates, setting correct seasonal length of stays, protecting your home with the best possible cancellation policy?
- Can you generate 20% more income than the average Cape Townian using Airbnb? (Our occupancy is consistently 20% more than the average. Most are 35% and higher).
- Do you have on-demand maintenance people who will fix things there and then ensure you don’t get guest revenge when you are slow to act?
- Can you supervise maintenance work etc to your home 24/7?
If you answered yes to many of these then it’s better you manage and market your own home. You don’t need us.
However, if you cannot manage/market then our management and marketing skills will bring you, hassle free , at least 20% more income.
Our experience from 2009 will give you a better chance of renting your home for a fair price.
Compare our management costs with other great Cape Town Agents.
Other Cape Town agent’s commission is as much as ours or more. And they have a monthly management retainer as well. If these agencies have bookings or not you pay the retainer.
However, if we don’t get bookings you pay zero.
Zero commission and zero management fees.
Is this fair or would you rather pay us a monthly retainer for doing nothing?
Don’t you think our model, of management fees per incident, ensure we focus on rather renting your home for the best possible deal than collecting monthly retainers?
Our management function is exclusively available to you at cost .
There is no profit for us on management. Our managers get paid each cent we claim for management.
Note: guests pays an additional fee for the change over management incidents. It covers about 80% of the management cost.
No incidents! You pay nothing.
- We can unhassle your holiday home .
- And you have to do virtually nothing.
- The home will generate a healthy income while it’s maintained and improved at all times; while you focus on peace of mind.
For this, our homeowners choose peace of mind.
BTW: We are striving to be the best but we are not there yet.
If not we would not have grown our portfolio with very many happy owners.
Interesting: Why would our owners send us messages like this if we are not making a difference?
Typical Airbnb House Rules.
The list below may be typical but only the minimum. Each homeowner must take this list and complete it specifically to their own home.
When owners have additional house rules the newly updated listed must be emailed to Agency.CapeHolidays.Info where the agent will add it to online listings of the property.
The above list of minimum Airbnb House rules must be read by owners with the house manual, domestic person’s tasks and manager task manual.
Controlling the number of guests is not easy. When they arrive you can count them, then you see them seven days later when there’s a linen change or when they checkout.
Obviously guests are clever and will ensure the right number of guests when they meet the manager.
In between arrival and departure, there is no physical interaction with the guests and it is based on trust.
As more and more people use Airbnb and short term rentals other hosts have had extra guest problems. Some of the hosts live in Johannesburg with a place in Cape Town where the guest enters keyless. No one to count.
If you are an owner-manager ensure that you and your staff are aware of the number of people who have confirmed.
We send the owner and the manager an email confirming the dates and number of guests who have reserved the home. Unfortunately, not-too-honest guests will try their luck and have more people over.
How do remote hosts resolve the issue?
Various non-intrusive options are available to detect noise. Read more here. Party Squasher is another great option if only it was available in SA; it knows when there are too many people in your home by counting the number of mobile devices in the vicinity (more).
I could not find a smart noise alert device available to South Africa yet. I, therefore, suggest a relatively cheap video camera installed at the entrance (and declare it to guests). This video camera should link to the manager’s phone where she can check if she needs to. The above camera cost about an R1000 installed. In other words; if a manager has to do 3 headcount checks it would pay you back after three such visits.
Agency.CapeHolidays can go and do an extra check on the number of guests at the standard incident fee relevant at that stage. My concern is that it’s a very infrequent issue and throwing repetitive money to do a physical check is costly over time. Please send requests to check guest number more often in writing.
As you may have read, Agency.CapeHolidays.Info kicked off during 2009.
During this time we have had a few experiences we would not wish upon our worst enemies. Luckily we can count these bad experiences on two hands.
Some ridiculous, some funny and others; close to madness. Use the links below to read more.
The simple answer is that we manage all unique and remarkable Cape Town accommodation (see the areas we cover here).
We never said it must be luxury. Not necessarily. All we want is for guests to say Wow. Like these reviews (more here).
But back to your question:
If we consider peak rates ; our large homes rent for as much as R45000 per day, while small two-bedroom apartments about R2000 per night.
You can see the rates vary a lot. But let me just warn you; don’t get too excited looking at R45000 per night. Outside of peak this home will rent for a lot less. And very few homes will ever rent for R45000 per night.
You can read more on how to qualify your home here.
You normally search using the suburb’s name. Airbnb selects a relative map area to show all listings in that restricted map area.
Unfortunately, Airbnb does not show the actual suburb as known by the locals or how the city demarcates it.
When you don’t see your listing, view the Airbnb map. You would probably notice your home is outside of the area Airbnb selected for your suburb.
Adjust the Airbnb map and click on Search This Area. Now your listing should show.
Can you change this? No, unfortunately Airbnb only uses your actual address to create the map via Google maps and it prefills the address field as you type.
Excellent question: Today I just want to discuss flexibility. Let’s kick off with this quote from the FAQ “Why Are The Number Of Bedrooms Not That Important?”
How Do You Setup An Airbnb In Cape Town?
Today I just want to discuss flexibility.
Let’s kick off with this quote from the FAQ “Why Are The Number Of Bedrooms Not That Important?”
Why Keep A Management Kitty?is kept to cover management costs. We must correct an issue (maintenance, DSTV, electricity, gas, or other) when it occurs.
- A few owners tend to forget to pay their monthly accounts. When this happens you don’t want to let the guests suffer because the owner is asleep.
- Other times, maintenance is required, and getting money from the owner to pay or waiting for a booking to pay is not clever.
Note: Your Cash Flow statement is up to date 24/7 and shows you at any time what is in the kitty and what money is outstanding at any time.
There Are Other Ways To Reduce Risk: Discrimination Is Absolute Useless As A Measure!
The age of people, their sexual orientation, the colour of their skin, their physical inabilities, etc. do not define if they will trample your home, or expose you to risk.Risk comes in all possible disguises.
You can set an age limit for kids. But that’s about it. You can share liability risks. But only the guest can decide on your honest rules and warnings that will lower expectations.
Today, with Airbnb-homeowner and guest reviews you get a legal way to discriminate between good and bad .
Consider Transparency As Your Risk Reducing Measure!
Bad Airbnb guests have previous public reviews. And if they are not good you don’t have to accept their booking. If they have no reviews you can try and qualify them. But there is no obligation to accommodate zero-reviewed-guest. .
We have found the change in guests behaviour pre and post the arrival of Airbnb significant. In the past guests would have very little respect. Today they care. Even owners have jacked up their offering. Because no one gets away with bad stuff today.
Transparency: Guests do care about their public profile.
The solution today is not discrimination; the real issue is rather: from which marketing site does the guest originate from? If the guest is an Airbnb referral the risk is less than when compared to any other website where there are no social profile risks | no real transparency.
NOTE: There is no foolproof way. Things can go wrong. And the way this world operates it will go wrong. But we should always try to minimise risk.
What is Airbnb property management?
An Airbnb Property Management company provides a service to accommodation owners who would like to generate income from their accommodation but are either not able to manage the home themselves or they are not interested in management and marketing.
What Is the Airbnb Management Criteria I should Consider Before I Decide?
- An Airbnb Property Management company should provide a proven track record of Airbnb marketing success; this is measured in the average review scores. In general lookout for Airbnb Management companies with an average score above 4.8 out of 5 ? (FAQ SuperHost).
- These management companies should be SuperHosts.
- How do they charge for Airbnb management? Do they charge a retainer or do they charge per incident? If the cost per incident you only pay if need. We have found management retainers make Airbnb agents lazy as they make money even if the home does not rent out. In our case, we only generate an income if the house generates an excellent income. So the owner wins when we do a great job marketing on Airbnb. . (FAQ What you are paying for..)
- Occupancy. Any Airbnb agency can promise you the sky to get the business. It’s like a real estate agent offering you a high suggested selling price to get the mandate. This is wrong. Airbnb agents worth their salt must have a higher occupancy than the norm. In Cape Town, we run between 25 and 50% higher. (FAQ Maximise Income).
- Rates: Any Airbnb management company selling their business on high rates is a red flag. Overselling will not work. As an agency we manage to ensure we get 5 ? reviews, so that occupancy can increase, meaning demand increases and only then do we increase rates.
- Management and marketing are major functions. Airbnb property management? includes maintaining and improving the home, liaison with guests, welcoming and greeting guests, sorting out issues.
- Marketing is useless without 5 ? management. Marketing includes but is not limited to setting Airbnb marketing best policies to maximize income by attracting exceptional guests; setting rates to maximize income through occupancy, minimum stay rules, cancellation policies, and others.
- Financial reporting. How do the Airbnb Agency report income and expenses, when and how regularly are you paid? Once a month or when the reservation is paid? We pay within 24 hours of receiving payment. (FAQ Cash Flow Reporting)
Agency.CapeHolidays.info is one of many Airbnb management companies Cape Town. It’s your choice. Obviously. But do your homework.
Agency.CapeHolidays.info is an Airbnb property management company with offices in Simonstown and Green Point.
You can look at Cape Town suburbs where we manage here.
Exclusive Mandate: The Owner gives Agency.CapeHolidays.info authority to act on its behalf regarding the marketing and management of the Owner’s property for short term holiday rentals as per our T&CS.
The main focus of the mandate is the availability calendar; as your agents,
- we cannot afford double bookings,
- we cannot, therefore, allow another to claim days on the calendar.
- The calendar is only valid if we were involved with any changes to the calendar.
Management of the property: We cannot manage and get 5 out of 5 star reviews if unauthorised persons access the home without our knowledge. We have seen too many times where guests arrived at a prepared home to find another left stuff, used the toilet, or wrinkled a cushion by sitting on it.
To keep up the standards across all homes we need homeowners to give us full authority.
Can I List my Airbnb Accommodation with Agency.CapeHolidays.Info?
- We only list remarkable accommodation; meaning if the accommodation is extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, or wow. Anything average, below par, standard, boring, cheap will not make the grade. To manage accommodation well, is expensive and only any remarkable accommodation can afford management. Let’s consider a one and two-bedroom boring place and a remarkable one bedroom; the rates on the boring places would not justify professional management but the remarkable one bedroom could.
- 99% of the accommodation we list we manage and market. This means if you want to market your own accommodation but only need someone to manage then we will not be able to assist.
- If you want to manage your home and need us to market we can assist as long as you can prove to us you can be as good as we are. I am not saying this to brag; experience has shown that our owner-managed homes don’t get the same high-ranking reviews we get when we manage. There are one or two owners who do really well, one or two lower and then a few who are no longer part of our portfolio.
Within 24 of a reservation, you’ll receive an email titled Confirmed Booking. We share the following reservation info:
- Name of guest
- Number of guests
- Amount to be paid to you.
And the CONFIRMED BOOKING may not be changed or canceled by the owner or CapeHolldays.
Depending on the BOOKING SITE’s T&Cs we may only receive the money one day after arrival.
Obviously, these bookings can be canceled; due to lack of payment or cancellations as per T&Cs.