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As business and leisure travelers scour the Internet for vacation rentals in prime locations, more and more homeowners are listing their properties on vacation rental portals than ever before. Airbnb, for example, now boasts nearly 5 million listings in 81,000 cities worldwide. The sharing economy has made it easier to rent a second home, too, providing many property owners with an additional stream of income every month. In New York City, 13 percent of Airbnb users rent a second residence on the platform, capitalizing on the growing demand for accommodation in the metropolis. There are, however, major differences between listing an Airbnb primary residence and listing your second home. Here are some modifications you’ll need to think about.

Remove Personal Belongings

When renting your main home, you’ll likely want to remove any belongings that could be damaged, broken or stolen when you’re not there. These might include items like family heirlooms, artwork, financial and personal documents – passports, birth certificates, bank statements – and expensive electronics, essentially anything that has a significant monetary or sentimental value.

You might have heard horror stories about light-fingered Airbnb guests who smuggle expensive gear from vacation rentals. Earlier this year, a pricey Banksy print was removed from a home in London, for example. Keep your valuables in a closet to prevent this from happening, preferably one with a secure lock that only you can access. Alternatively, keep your items in storage for the duration of a guest’s stay.

It’s also wise to remove personal items like your toothbrush, razor, clothing, and undergarments. Your guests want to feel at home when they book a short-term rental, but that’s hard to do when your personal items abound as constant reminders that someone else lives there.

Getting rid of personal stuff is less of a concern if you’re renting a second house, of course – you’ll likely keep important documents, jewelry, clothing, and family photos at home – but still make sure you remove anything of worth.

Decorate Your Home

How you decorate your vacation rental will depend on whether it’s your primary residence or a second home. Get Paid For Your Pad suggests there are guest essentials you’ll want to include regardless, such as extra blankets and pillows, a hair dryer, tea kettle and coffee maker, and an alarm clock.

Your principal residence will likely be a reflection of your individual tastes and style while an additional residence or investment property enables you to fuse design features that attract guests. Taniya Nayak, the host of HGTV’s House Hunters on Vacation, suggests to keep it simple when decorating a second home. Make your vacation home guest-friendly, she says, by incorporating elements from your main home and create a livable space without spending a fortune. For more tips on how to furnish your short-term vacation rental, read here.

Manage Your Property

Most hosts rent out their main residence when traveling for pleasure or business, enabling them to generate a short-term income while away from home. However, arranging your property for guests before you travel can often be time-consuming. From changing sheets to clearing clutter, you’ll need to perfectly prepare your house if you want to wow guests.

Renting a second home comes with an assortment of management tasks, too — cleaning your house, exchanging keys with guests, inspecting your home. Struggles that are compounded if you don’t live near the property. Here’s where a great vacation rental management company comes in. Services like Pillow, who take care of the day-to-day management of your reservations, save you time and fuss, wherever you are in the world. The result? Happier guests who are more likely to leave a five-star review on your Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO profile.

Market Your Property

More than 721,000 vacation properties were sold in the United States in 2016, the highest number since records began, according to the National Association of Realtors. While renting an additional residence can prove lucrative, a vacant property could cost you heaps of cash in the long run. Unoccupied homes shouldn’t be a problem in cities like Los Angeles and Seattle, two of the most profitable Airbnb cities, but with so many vacation homes available to renters in these crowded markets, attracting guests can sometimes be tough.

The way you market your home will depend on whether you list a primary living space, or a second home or vacation rental. The latter two will require more effort on your part if you hope to attract a steady stream of guests throughout the year. Optimizing your listing on booking platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway works wonders. In addition, marketing your rental to the right audience and style of traveler while staying competitive can set you apart from other hosts in the area. Having a house manual and guidebook can also spur repeat bookings and five-star reviews. Don’t know where to start? Let Pillow create a listing that entices more guests to your property.

Renting your home generates income from renters and adds value to your property as you make upgrades and adjustments for guests. Both a primary and secondary residence provide you with challenges, though making small changes to your space and managing your home efficiently can pay off in the long run.


When it comes to Airbnb, primary residence listings and second home listings require different levels of preparation, but the end result should be the same. A well-marketed and expertly managed property where each of your guests can feel safe and comfortable. While that may sound like a tall order, services like Pillow can help you achieve just that. A platform helping power short-term rentals in multifamily buildings by giving building residents the amenity to rent out their residence to short-term guests.

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. Pillow is the official and exclusive multifamily housing partner for popular short-term rental listing platform Airbnb. Pillow takes a complicated, time-consuming process for multifamily building owners and created a solution that greatly benefits Multifamily operators and residents alike.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email or visit

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