Listen to this article

Writing by Clare McAlpin

Artwork by Aeneas Eaton

Looking to rent out your home but don’t know where to start? Try listing your home on Airbnb or similar sites. But if you’ve never done this sort of thing before, how do you get started? 

Katonah resident Jeanine Isabella, who rents out her Vermont condo, and Cross River resident Kristen Tegtmeir, who also lives in Cross River, share the ins-and-outs of having complete strangers stay in your home. 

Why use a service + the process 

Choosing to list your home on your own can present many hassles, such as sending photos and details to every interested party and not knowing how they’ll treat your property. 

Tegtmeir says using Airbnb to list her home was more rewarding than listing her house through a realtor.

“It is so exciting when you put something out there and start getting a response from it,” she says. “It’s such a wonderful platform. And it’s a really great starting place for somebody who would like to rent out their home.”

Creating your guidelines

Once you’ve created an Airbnb account, you can customize it with your guidelines. For instance, many people say no pets allowed, or they include a maximum number of guests.

“There’s a section where you can list your preferences,” says Isabella. “For example, there’s no smoking in our house. Also, listing on a site like Airbnb allows you to comb through the applicants so we know who we’re renting to.”  

The sky’s the limit when creating your preferences, but there are some things to consider.

Tegtmeir says she “asks them to just take out the garbage.” However, she adds that she “doesn’t necessarily want our guests to feel like they have to reset our house. It’s more like they’re leaving a hotel when they leave my location.”

While everyone has their own way of operating their Airbnb, it’s wise to keep your home in top condition for the next booking. There are some tricks of the trade that can make the transition easier. 

Both Isabella and Tegtmeir agree that “no shoes in the house” is a must. Isabella also made it clear that she likes to keep her house limited to two families at a time, ass


When renting either a second home or your own home, scheduling becomes a major factor. You have to be careful not to double book, which is why Isabella recommends only using one site at a time. 

And you should make sure to block out the times you will be at the home. 

“During ski season, we basically go every other weekend,” says Isabella. “And because you can also block out days to coincide with your personal calendar, we’ve blocked those weekends out for the last two seasons.”


Tegtmeir says maintaining your rental property is incredibly important. She rents her home year-round for months at a time, and she says her persistent maintenance makes all the difference. 

“Maintenance,” she exclaims. “Everything has to be perfect for these families that are coming, because even though they’re coming to your home, they want it to feel like it’s their home and their space. They don’t want to share the space with any type of maintenance.” 

Additionally, Tegtmeir says preparation is important. 

“We have three of everything—all of our slipcovers, sheets, pillows, bedding,” she explains. “It took me a while because it’s a big investment to have three of everything. But sometimes, people move out at 10 a.m., and the next family moves in at 3 p.m. If you need to turn over your house and make it brand new in that short amount of time, you can’t wash everything. So you have to have one to store, one to use, and one to wash.” 

Tegtmeir tends to tidy up herself, but she also offers guests a team of cleaners. 

“It’s more like living in a hotel when you leave my location,” she says. “So I specifically write that housekeeping will arrive in 15 minutes.”

Just do it

Ready to rent out your home or a second one? Go for it! Just remember to follow Isabella’s and Tegtmeir’s advice: clean, maintain, prepare and communicate. 


This article was published in the March/April 2024 print edition of Connect to Northern Westchester.

Clare McAlpin
+ posts

Clare McAlpin is a senior at Horace Greeley High School. In her free time, you can find her listening to music and hanging out with friends. Clare is a member of her school's varsity golf team, and she spends her extra time involved in improving her community, specifically delivering food through Meals on Wheels. She often finds herself enjoying romcoms and thrillers, both in theaters and on paper.