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By Colin Shairp

Director, Fine & Country Southern Hampshire


Laying out a welcome mat for Airbnb - a breath of fresh air for deals

There are plenty in the estate agency and lettings world who don’t like the concept of Airbnb and similar enterprises.

But they could be wrong in their approach and instead they should be viewing such property platforms as a potential key to unlocking deals where it’s difficult to get all the dates to align.

A colleague who has just sold a home but needs work doing to the next one is bridging the gap by renting a self-contained Airbnb for six weeks. Moving in just before the sale completed allowed the old house to be emptied, with belongings going into storage and a window of a few days to check over what they were leaving and make sure it was in the condition they would want to see if moving in.


But their next home had been empty for a while and describing it as “tired” would be a kindness. There were items like a prehistoric stairlift to come out, along with floor coverings probably put down just after the Romans stopped using mosaics (only joking!), and a kitchen that was sound but under several years of grime.

They could see what it would become but lacked the time or energy to do it themselves. The solution was to project manage while living in the Airbnb. No matter the current state of their house there was always somewhere warm, comfortable, and homely to enjoy at the end of the day.

Many times house sales or purchases fall through because the dates don’t work for everyone. But with easy-access short-term lets so widespread there’s no need for this to happen any more. At one time, the solution would have been a hotel or bed and breakfast where access in the day was limited and meals out the norm. The alternative would be to take a six month short-term let of a property, moving furniture in and out and more than doubling the workload.

If anyone tells me they can’t go ahead with a sale or purchase because of the dates issue, I’ll be straight onto the Airbnb app to see what’s around that would suit and guide them in that direction. It’s easy to set up and an economical way for people in a property chain to overcome a problem. It’s also tool in the box for agents who are proactive in helping the chain progress – sadly not something undertaken by everyone in our industry.

Contracts can be exchanged and completion dates set that suit everyone along the chain, even if some have to bridge a gap by using a furnished Airbnb. Modern solutions to age-old problems are springing up all the time and this is one of them. It doesn’t even involve the expensive software that seems to be so much part of modern business life.

So here’s one estate and letting agent who will lay out the welcome mat for Airbnb. It’s not a problem – it’s a solution that really works!

*Colin Shairp is director of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire and Town and Country Southern. He is also the south eastern regional representative on the Fine and Country National Advisory Council.


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