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How to get started on Airbnb or VRBO - The first 6 steps

So you're thinking about getting started on Airbnb or VRBO?

That's awesome! But where do you start? Renting your home on Airbnb or VRBO can be fun, rewarding and lucrative when you have a game plan.

Today, I will review the six steps you should take to get started on Airbnb or VRBO. As a vacation rental homeowner myself for over five years, I cannot stress enough how important these six steps are before you do anything else.

Step #1: Get Legal

Check your city's laws to make sure that operating a short-term rental in your area is legal. To find your city laws, call your city's planning or zoning department and you'll want to know if they have laws specific to short-term renting and do they restrict rentals that are 30 days or less.

Step #2: Determine Management Style

You'll need to determine how you will manage your property when it comes to managing the inquiries, the calendar, the marketing, cleaning and maintenance.

For a full breakdown on how to determine which management style is best for you, check out my video right here:

Step #3: Get Your Home Ready

Evaluate your home and make sure that you are ready to invite guests in. You want to make any necessary repairs, declutter your home and invest in anything that needs to be replaced. Specifically, new towels, linens and bedding.

You also want to make sure that you can cover off on all of the amenities you're going to need to provide a great guest experience.

For a complete amenities checklist be sure to grab my free amenities guide here:

Vacation Rental Amenities Checklist

Step #4: Decide Your Listing Sites

Now, I recommend you start with about two listing sites in your first year. It's really important to make sure that you choose the right listing sites when you first get started, and make sure that you are choosing the one that works best for your area and the ideal guest that you will likely attract.

For a full breakdown on how to choose which listing sites you should be on, be sure to check out my video right here:

Step #5: Research Your Market

You can use great third-party tools and one of them I would suggest is AirDNA.

This can be a great place to start. It will give you data on top listings in your area as well as average prices, occupancy rate and so much more. So if you are interested in using this tool, be sure to check out AirDNA.

It's also just as important to do your own research as well. So you'll want to head to Airbnb or VRBO and use their search tool as if you are a potential guest in that area.

You'll want to not enter in any search dates so that you can see all of the listings in that area, and really just start to use the filters in there to narrow down your search and find the listings that look like yours.

Evaluate your potential competitors and see what is working for that search criteria, who's coming to the top and what makes their place a top listing. Also, evaluate what do you have that you can bring to the table that is maybe different or unique and not provided in your area.

Take some notes when your going through this research and determine what people seem to gravitate to based on what listings seem to have the calendars that are booked out the most as well as the most reviews.

Step #6: Get Listed

Once you have done your research and completed the prior steps, then it's time to get listed. The first things you will want to focus on here is great photography and competitive pricing. These are your best tools to truly compete.

You'll want to hire a professional photographer in your area that specializes in real estate photography, and then you will also want to do you pricing research and then price your rentals about 20% less than your direct competitors.

This will allow you to get your first few bookings in so you can build up your review count. Your review count is going to be so important to really establishing credibility and getting that social proof that you need to do really, really well here.

Once you've gotten your first few stellar reviews, then you can think about increasing your pricing a little bit. But first and foremost, that's what you want to focus on.

The other piece that you're really going to want to concentrate on when you're getting listed is writing a fantastic headline.

I have a full video tutorial that will walk you through the steps that you need to take to really perfect your headline to get guests to click on your listing:


Following a well thought out plan your first year is key to long-term success. Too many homeowners try to wing it their first year and end up buried in the feed which results in an empty calendar.

If you're ready to take an even even deeper into this topic, I am hosting a free training called “The 3 Insider Tips to Running a Profitable Vacation Rental".

I am going to talk all about how to build, launch, and grow a profitable vacation rental without platform overwhelm, prior marketing experience, or an expensive property manager.

Be sure to register for this FREE TRAINING here!

Vacation Rental Marketing Class

Also, please comment below what step of the process you are in and if you have any questions, I am happy to answer them in the comments below.

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