You are one of those blessed Kenyans who can afford to take an extended vacation of more than a month. However, you have a rental in Nairobi that will remain unoccupied and just collecting dust. What do you do with it? Well, here is an idea. How about letting it out to a person who is also on vacation? Make some money while you rest.
First things first…
- You have to find out if this will be a problem with the landlord. Some are cool and will let you be as long as nothing is destroyed and his own money is paid on time. Others will have stipulations like a cut of the profits. Others will be unequivocal about their rejection of the idea. If you do not mind lying, you could always say that the person is a relative. If you get a yes then you should proceed methodically.
- You should then prepare the house. This will be sort of a staging. Put your personal things away and lock them some place safe. Clear out some space in the wardrobe and cabinets. Then take pictures. These pictures will be your promotional material. You should therefore put your best foot forward at this stage.
- The next stage is figuring out how much your place is worth. You should be realistic about this. You should not expect your house in the heart of Zimmerman to fetch as much as one in Kilimani. Do not be greedy about it either. With regards to the finances, you should find yourself a standard agreement that also stipulates the penalty for damages.
Make your intention known…
This is a very good place to find people who would be interested in letting your house. Many people from around the world go to this site as their first stop when in need of accommodation on their travels. Create an account and post your pictures on the site. Make sure to let the prospects know how long you will be gone as well as the rules of the place. Create a mental image of your house as an extension of the photos. This helps whoever is looking at your ad get a feel of the place as opposed to merely looking.
If you have great friends, they can be an asset in this endeavor. Let your friends know about your intentions and supply them with the pictures to show around. They could post on their social media, show their work colleagues and spread to their own friends. This creates a wider net fro you to pick your client. It increases the chances of getting someone. By this design, you have a better chance of finding a good person who will take care of your property and not be problematic.
Social media is a very powerful tool. It connects people from very many different parts of the world. Surely out of all the billions of people on social media a few of them must be travelling to Nairobi and will be in need of a place to stay. Let everyone know what activities they would have access to if they stayed at your house. Look for groups and other social media platforms where it would be appropriate to advertise.
You could always use a travel agency. A travel agency handles people who travel. They could suggest your house as a pit stop or semi-permanent stay while on vacation. This would be like using the travel agency as a bridge between you and the Nairobi visitors. There are individuals in Nairobi who work as guides for foreigners who want to experience the Kenyan culture. If you can find one or several of them then by all means have them suggest your house as a viable accommodation option.
You have your client…
Before you leave this person in your house, make sure to school them on everything. Tell them about the neighborhood and whatever warts it comes with. Tell them about the building peculiarities. Tell them about the neighbors. Tell them about how the toilet overflows sometimes when you are overzealous with the flushing. Give this person hacks for living in your house for that limited time. Give them the tools to be safe, happy and comfortable. Create an atmosphere where you can be approached with questions and enquiries.
- You should know the possibilities of bad things happening. This person that now lives in your house at least for the next month could be one of those ‘ruiners’ of things. They could damage more than they are paying for that month. They could also be disruptive and completely ruin your reputation. Be creative about reading their personality. You might get it wrong, hope you get it right.
- This person could also leave with your things. They could pack up your house and disappear as soon as you leave the Nairobi smog behind. You will have no way of knowing especially if you have introduced this person as a relative. Then again, this person could make a copy of your key and come back to take things at a alter time. On that note, this person could use your house for illegal and/or nefarious activities. How would you distance yourself from it if things went downhill? A good tip here is to bribe the caretaker and have them check on things. Ask him/her to call you incase they notice suspicious activity.
Nairobi even with all her beauty is evil. You never know the kind of person answering your ad. Truth is, there are certainly risks that come with letting out your house while you leave for vacation. This is especially true if you use the internet to find a client. Just ensure to weight the benefits against the risks carefully before you make this decision. Happy Holidays!