Netflix’s “Stay Here” Host Peter Lorimer Shares His Advice on Investing in Short-Term Rental Properties
Business Solutions Peter Lorimer, star of Netflix’s show “Stay Here” is passionate about real estate, especially short-term rentals. He knows the industry well and encourages people to jump in — as long as they’re fully prepared to do the work.
What’s your favorite part of being involved with “Stay Here?”
The best part of the show was being able to immerse myself into the cultures of the cities that I hadn’t had the chance to be fully immersed in, which I think is kind of the essence of what Airbnb is. With Airbnb, we’re not just renting a crash pad, we want to live like a local.
It’s such an exciting industry for just that reason. It is incredibly personal, whereas a hotel for the most part is a very impersonal place. It can be beautiful, but it isn’t personal.
You’ve told people on the show that when you run an Airbnb, you’re really the manager of a very small hotel. How can property owners get a competitive advantage in today’s market?
There are three components. One is the narrative – it’s incredibly important for property owners to know what the story of their place is. For example, if it’s a beach property, you’ve got to play up that narrative of having access to the beach — have buckets and spades and maybe a seahorse in your living room, or maybe a nautical theme throughout the property.
Number two: I think the best money anybody can spend is on a professional photographer. Don’t just be taking photos on your iPhone. There’s a cat in the background or maybe a dead plant, maybe trash under the table. I see bad photos all the time. Have a professional real estate photographer come out and capture the narrative of your story. Make sure the photographs are beautifully shot, well lit, super clean.
Number three is please, please hire a professional cleaning crew. There is nothing that will result in a bad review quicker than flying a long way to stay at your Airbnb and there is some dirt in the sink, or worse, some dirt in the bathroom. There is a phenomenon that people seem to be more grossed out by dirt that’s in an Airbnb than dirt that’s in a hotel. I don’t know why that is. Trying to save $20, $30, $50 on a cleaning crew — which you ultimately can attempt to pass the expense on to the person that’s staying — is madness.
How do you view renter’s insurance? Do you think it’s beneficial to tenants and/or landlords? If so, how does it help?
Speaking as a property owner, I think having insurance as a landlord is absolutely paramount. Because if someone slips and falls while going out of your house while getting into a cab in the rain, there is potentially a nasty, sticky lawsuit. I definitely recommend renters insurance. I also recommend having an umbrella policy – it just means if you max out that policy, there’s another policy behind it to catch any excess.
How does technology helping to automate and make this job easier?
The past 10 years have had incredible technological advances, and I remember when the first real estate portal came out — there were oohs and aahs and gasps. The industry itself has gone through huge technologic shifts. I almost feel technology is taking a front seat but as long doesn’t make us lazy, it’s a good thing.
If I’m an Airbnb owner, I can have an awesome doorknob automated on my property, a little plaque out that says call this number. I can say, “Welcome. You’ll find some champagne in the fridge and some snacks on the kitchen counter. I’m just going to unlock the door for you now.” That’s great but there is nothing that is going to replace a personal touch. With my properties and the properties I represent, it is always down to meeting guests in person when you can. If you want to treat this like a business and make it in the hospitality industry, you’ve got to be hospitable.
Technology is only a tool but ultimately, you are the commodity and you are the business. The short-term rental is the business, but when you’re greeted by someone who owns the property or represents the property who can tell you all of the stuff, such as, “Tomorrow morning, wander down the block, go into Joe’s coffee and ask for the strawberry pancakes and the special coconut latte.” A guest likes that stuff. You feel like you’re getting the inside track; you feel like you’re getting the secret to the neighborhood.