Everyone who has rented remembers the first time fears. "Will my guest care for my home? Are they going to have a crazy party while I'm away? Should I put my valuables in a safe?"
The truth is, there's no way to know for certain how anything will turn out. However, chances are your guest will care for your home as much as you do, if not more. Vacation rental services such as Airbnb are great for this very reason. Not only do they allow you to vet your guest on many levels (Identity check, Requesting information about their stay, Recorded credit card information), they also act on several levels to protect you and your home. From a simple security deposit to their $1 Million insurance policy, when you rent your space through their site, you can rest assured your home is generally protected.
Still, what do you do with irreplaceable items? If an item means a lot to you, whether for sentimental or other reasons, you may want to tuck it away for the duration of your rental period. We often recommend homeowners secure their valuables in a safety locked box or cabinet. If it's too large or bulky to stash away, a simple "please don't touch" note often does the trick. In the thousands of rentals we've seen, not once has a guest damaged or stolen any of these "forbidden" items.
What else can you do to make sure your rental experience is as seamless as you'd hope? The number one piece of advice we can give is to vet your guests carefully. Make sure they are choosing your home for the right reasons (location, size, proximity to an event, etc.). If your home is in the middle of the city center and your potential guest mentions they chose it because it looks "quiet and peaceful", you may want to wait for a better fit. If your guest isn't happy, neither will you be - and your reviews will reflect this. Likewise, if your potential guest refuses to give details about their stay, move on to the next potential. When you have a better understanding of your potential guest's needs, you will better be able to determine who they are and whether they will love and care for your home as much as you would.