There are a lot of amazing rentals on Airbnb—and a lot of not-so-great ones. Here, experts shed light on key indicators that you should pass on a rental or—worse—that you’re about to fall for an Airbnb scam.
Photo: Sorapop Udomsri/Shutterstock
Photos that leave you with more questions than answers
The best listings will provide a virtual photo tour of the space you will temporarily call home. On the other end of the spectrum, a questionable listing will have photos of the outside area, the neighbourhood, and the street… but not what you care about the most: the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen, says Nerissa Marbury, CEO and chief digital officer of One Epiphany, who has booked everything from entire homes to private rooms in 12 cities across five countries. “If the listing has limited photos, it doesn’t hurt to ask the host for more photos. And if the host offers a lame excuse as to why this isn’t possible, be wary,” she says.
You can’t find any reviews…
When you’re shopping for anything from a mattress to a blender, what information is most valuable to you? Reviews from Internet strangers, your friends, your neighbour—anyone—who will provide insight about their experience. The same goes for an Airbnb listing. If there are little to no reviews, you should proceed with caution, says Sara Mosadegh, an Airbnb host and property manager. While, sure, every new listing will start from square one, if you are considering booking a listing with no feedback and a host who isn’t responding, run away!
…or you are only finding negative reviews
You might find a property with tons of reviews—but are any of them peachy? The only thing worse than no feedback is negative criticisms of a listing, Mosadegh says. “Reviews that say negative things about Wi-Fi, neighbors, or neighbourhood safety are important to sort through. That’s why you should take the time to read all reviews and dig deep,” she explains. She also recommends following up on reviews that mention construction, since that could change or improve over time. “Review comments may not be a deal breaker but are always something you should weigh,” she adds.