Lately, thanks to our girlfriend’s initiative, we’ve been picking up extra cash whenever we go out of town by renting out our apartment.
First we scope out the local hotel room rental rates. We set our price about $50 cheaper.
Then we put up an ad on Craigslist in “vacation rentals.” When we find someone for whom the dates will work, we go and back forth with them about the arrangements and what the area is like.
We try to do the key and money swap ourselves, but if we’re going to be already gone, we ask a friend. In that case, depending on payment method, we give our friend a SASE to put the check in or they hold onto the cash.
When our guests’ stay is over, we ask them to leave the keys on the front table except for the deadbolt key. They are then to lock the door behind themselves and slide the key under the door.
Even though the practice is common in New York, most of our friends think we’re crazy. But we’ve done it three times so far and it’s worked out great. Our most prized possessions are our laptops, which we usually bring with us. We take photos of the apartment before we leave, and if there was ever any kind of theft, that’s what renter’s insurance is for, right? (let us know if we’re off-base on this point. Even if so, we have enough faith in humanity, and our own ability to weed out wackos through the email process, to not let it dissuade us) — BEN POPKEN