When you’re dealing with your own home, you should take every precaution you can. You’ll want to think about how to screen your guests and how to secure your property.
First up, screening your guests. There are a couple ways to weed out unsavory guests.
For starters, we ask a lot of questions when they inquire. What brings you to Denver? What attracted you to my place? Almost anything you want to ask is fair game. (We say “almost” anything because asking the wrong question that is construed as a bias against one of the protected classes under the Civil Rights Act could land you in trouble.)
We ask a lot of questions because if they don’t seem forthcoming or their story changes, it raises a red flag for me. We once had a guy write to say he was going to be in town because his house was under construction. We talked back and forth in a number of messages, and in one of those, he said he was coming to town for work. Why did the story change? We asked, and he said it was both reasons. But we didn't like the sound of it, so we denied his request.
Reviews are another good way to get a sense of your potential guest. If their reviews are all positive and glowing, then you’re probably going to have a similar experience with them. Pay attention to any complaint, however minor. We find that a lot of hosts and guests feel awkward leaving a bad review, so they might soften it. In review world, if anything bad is said, it might mean a deeper problem.
What if your potential guest has no reviews? Don’t automatically deny their request. Airbnb is growing every day, and there are tons of new users every day. And remember, you’re probably a new host and might not want to be disqualified just because of that.
One final item to consider is the verifications. Airbnb allows guests and hosts to put in your email, phone number and even a driver’s license to confirm your identity and have a file on you. We like to see that my guests have verifications because it signals to me they have less to hide. If they don’t have any, often I’ll ask them to complete the verification process before approving their request.
The bottom line is, trust your gut. They’re not answering questions or their answers seem sketchy? They have a few reviews that signal a not-so-great experience? Ere on the side of caution.