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Key handoffs

Key handoffs are essential, and you should do everything in your power to make sure they go smoothly. There’s nothing worse than traveling a couple hours across the country on a cramped plane, taking a long taxi to a random person’s home who you’re trusting and then not being able to get in.


There are numerous ways to handle the key handoff.


In person


The original and still the best. Planning a time to meet with your guest to hand off the keys has a couple benefits. It gives the guests a chance to ask questions and you a chance to prove how helpful of a host you can be.


Even more important, we believe, is that meeting them in person is a deterrent to bad behavior. Studies of retail shops show that in shops where clerks address everyone as they come in and look them in the eye, shoplifting is significantly lower. Likewise, if you put a face to the place they’re staying, they’re less likely to trash it.


Lock it up


A lockbox is the next best thing and often the best option if you can’t be there to greet guests. Hang it on the doorknob or attach it to a wall. However, if you live in a condo or apartment building, this will surely draw attention to your space and could present problems if your neighbors don’t agree with you hosting.


Smart locks are the wave of the future and can be the most convenient for far-away hosts. Numerous brands provide locks that are reprogrammable through the internet. Set a certain code for one guest and set the time at which it expires so there’s no chance of them returning. Set a code for the next guest and that’s that.


The neighbor did it


Got a friend nearby who you trust and is willing to take a few bucks to meet your guest, then great! Put them to work. This is a variant on the in-person meet-up.


Hide and seek


The old hide-it-under-a-rock tactic can work if you're renting out a house with some measure of privacy. But it is still not advised. I’ve lost so many keys this way and ended up having to take additional time to come let them in anyway. Don’t do it.


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