You’ve heard the stories. Locals walking away from Derby week with THOUSANDS of dollars in the bank just for letting a few strangers crash for four days. It’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon & rent your place, too. After all, you have bills to pay & summer vacation to save for! But, short terms rental is not something you should enter into lightly.

To help get a better grip on the rental scene, we asked local short term rental expert Jonathan Klunk of Key Source Properties, a few questions to help newbies prepare for the possibility of listing their home this Derby season. Check it out!

Q: What are some things you should think about BEFORE you list?

A: Strangers will be in your house and will possibly go through your things. This is often a tough thing for first-time listers to wrap their heads around.

Also, be sure you are registered with the city. In order to rent your property for Derby, you must be registered to conduct short-term rentals – no exceptions. The cost is $25 per year and you must complete and file a monthly report as long as you are registered. The registration can also be terminated following the Derby. File the trim one form. You can discontinue after that. No permit needed. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Contact your insurance company to see what you need to do. Sometimes a simple rider can be added at no cost or a low-cost. Some insurance companies cannot support any type of rental. Be sure you are aware of the associated risks before making your house available for rent. 

Q: What are some ways to prepare your home for rental?

A: Deep clean. Get under everything and inside of everything. It’s best to hire a professional service. Remember people will be paying a lot of money for your accommodations and their expectations will be high. Touch up the landscaping, put down new much, install new fixtures, and tackle the to-do list you have been putting off all winter. Remember, most listing sites are review-driven. If you’d like to host again in the future you will want a good review.

Do not leave prepared food or alcohol out for the guests. It’s illegal, under the short-term rental ordinance. Clean out the refrigerator and throw away any opened or perishable food items. Unexpired condiments are generally okay to leave. Lock all jewelry in a safe or hide in a very good location.

People shop with their eyes, be sure to stage the property well and, if possible, take professional photographs. If you plan to list your house for sale at any point in the future the professional photographs can be used for that purpose as well.

Here are some examples of good quality listing photos!

And some not so great ones…

Q: What is the best place to list a property for rental?

Various listing sites: Airbnb & VRBO are most popular!

There used to be independent derby rental sites, locally run, but the advance of short term rental marketing has led to a decline in that business.

Airbnb takes 3% of the total payout for credit card processing and charges the rest to the guest. VRBO charges 5% to the owner + 3% for credit card processing and the rest to the guest.

When you do secure a tenant for the weekend, be sure to let your neighbors know so they can help you keep an eye on the place.

Q: What are some resources to share with guests to make their experience great?

Your guests will most likely be at the track and events all day, returning tired and wanting to rest for the next full day of activities. Leave behind a list of your favorite places…places to eat, places to shop, & local experiences. Some people schedule a day to be a tourist and see local sites. Many do not have dinner reservations in advance and look to try the local fare. Pretend you are a tourist in your own area and let your guests know what you would do.

Q: What other tidbits of rental knowledge do you have for new renters?

There are tax advantages to renting your house for events! Consult your CPA, but you may not have to pay income tax, depending on the total number of nights annually your house is rented in exchange for money.

Thanks, Jonathan! We hope this helped you decide one way or another if renting is a good fit for you!

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