1. What is your charge for your service as a property management company?

We work on a commission based system. For apartments, the average percentage we work with is 25% + VAT. In few cases we may go higher or lower than that. For villas, we work with an average of 15% + VAT. The final percentage decision will be made based on several factors. The most important factors are the following:

  • Location

Everyone thinks that this is the most important factor, and indeed it is a very important one, but it is also the only one that may be sacrificed, only if the 3 factors below are met satisfactorily.

  • View

The view does not necessarily have to be Sea View, though that is always the ideal, but if there is nice garden/pool view, that is also in demand by holiday makers.

  • Pool

Having a pool is not mandatory, but the price of the listing is generally lower than those with a pool. If the pool area is well maintained and has a nice holiday feeling, rather than old and broken sunbeds and umbrellas, if any at all, is also a big plus.

  • Interior Design

This is the one factor that property owners have complete control of, if their budget allows for it. Holiday makers are willing to pay more money to stay in a place with modern and newly renovated bathrooms and kitchens, and to rest on new and comfortable beds and sofas. Competition is always on the rise, and there is a lot of Airbnb properties that are fully renovated and offer all the amenities.

2. Would you be able to take care of advertising the property on platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com for me? And do I need to advertise on both platforms?

We work with both Airbnb and Booking.com. If your property is in a good location and has a fresh and modern interior design, then through only Airbnb we are usually fully booked. (The term “Fully booked” refers to a number of days in a year that is reasonable for a property to be occupied. For example, a property may be occupied approximately 270 days per year. Weather the property is advertised only on Airbnb or also on Booking.com, this number wont change, but the reservations will be divided in the 2 platforms. Being able to achieve this occupancy through only Airbnb has many benefits:

  • Airbnb promotes properties more when they get bookings through their platform.
  • Booking.com shows you in the search results less if it identifies that you are advertising in multiple platforms (it can know so because we have to synchronize the calendars between platforms).
  • A large portion of Booking.com users are more used to booking hotels and are not aware of the Airbnb mentality, therefore they have unrealistic expectations, like daily cleaning, restock of consumables like water/coffee/toilet paper etc. Then they get annoyed when we explain to them that Airbnb properties are self-serviced and may write a bad review.

Finally, the reviews will not be split in two platforms. Having more reviews will grant you the “Super Host” award on Airbnb and offer you a stronger presence to more potential guests.

3. Can I see any reviews that you get from your gAre there any requirements I need to fulfil, related to advertising on platforms like Airbnb?

You need to register for a free account, click on “become a host”, create a new listing (skip all the steps like title/description/price etc. as we will do all that later), and then grant us co-hosting permission by entering our email (ctrlbnbmails@gmail.com). As mentioned earlier, we will be more than happy to take you through this process. You may be asked at some point later to verify your account by verifying your phone/email, by presenting photos of your ID and a photo of your face. Finally, you need to go to the account settings and enter your bank details in the “Payout” method, so that they can send you the money of the reservations. We will at some point need to access your Airbnb account just to connect it with our channel manager software, but you will not need to provide us with your account’s credentials. We will login using your phone. A verification code will be sent to you and you will provide us with it, this way we can’t have access to your account without you being aware and allowing us to do it.

4. Do you provide a “welcome pack” or a “welcome booklet” as part of your “meet & greet” service?

Yes, we provide more than most of our competitors do. You will see the list of items we provide for each reservation at the end of our Property Management Contract. It is called the Preparation List.

5. Do you have any mechanism for owners to track incoming reservations?

The way we work, is that our clients (property owner) make their own Airbnb account (we are more than happy to assist with this if needed). Then they grant us co-hosting permission, so that we can fully manage their listing through our own account. Having your own Airbnb account means that you have access, at all times, to view all the bookings, conversations, performance status etc. of your account/listing. Then if you ever wish to stop working with us, you have full ownership of that account, the listing, and all the reviews.

6. How important are the reviews, and how do you ensure to receive only good reviews?

Our entire system operations procedure is made up in such way to achieve the best possible reviews from our guests, as it is the one thing that can bring more reservations or not. We take several measures to ensure that the properties are always ready and everything is functioning as it should. We make sure to provide the best guidance to them for their check-in, and we are available to them 24/7, in case they need any advise or assistance. We make sure to keep a friendly relationship with them, so that if they have any complaints, they will come to us rather than post it on a public review. It is important to know that no matter how perfect our systems are, it is unavoidable to sometimes get guests who always look for a reason to complaint. Sometimes guests are aware that professional Airbnb management will provide a full or partial refund, and say things that threaten a bad review, hoping to get money back this way. We handle every such case uniquely and with sensitivity, to try and find a way to please them without having to refund and make a loss for you and us. Overall, we suggest that you go and see our current reviews from guests, as they portray a fair reflection of the quality of our service. To do so, please visit this link: https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/117443781
While you are there, you can also have a look at the properties we manage in this same page.

7. Will you be available to me for any questions about property management, reservation status etc.?

We usually create a WhatsApp group chat which includes our client (can add more persons like a partner/spouse if you wish to), and from our side its me, my partner and our secretary. This way we ensure that someone will be available most of the time to attend to any questions you may have. Just keep in mind that our priority will always be to ensure the smooth operation of the management of our clients’ properties. Sometimes things can be too hectic with having a lot of guests requesting assistance at the same time. If we delay responding to you, it is because we have a lot on our plate at that moment. Having said that, you should know that we will always try to keep you waiting as little as possible.

8. Do I have any income tax obligations towards Ministry of Finance?

If your property makes more sales than 15,600e in a 12-month period then you must register to VAT. In case you don’t want to register we can deactivate the listing and stop accepting reservations when we reach the limit, and then re-activate it at the beginning of next calendar year. Also, if your net income in Cyprus is above 19,500e then you must pay Income Tax. From a studio or a 1-bedroom apartment it is very unlikely to reach this threshold.

9. Do I have any Ministry of Tourism obligations, before starting this business?

Yes, as of February 2023, each short-term rental unit must obtain a license from the government. We have been informed that starting next February (probably), the government will start to check. We can provide you with the forms and details you need to do this. The requirements are:

  • 222 euro (license is valid for 3 years)
  • Recent electricity bill showing the address
  • Title Deeds or Building Permit
  • TIC (Tax Identification number). An accountant can get this done for you (our accountant charge 50 euro +VAT for this service but you can ask any accountant to do this for you)

    In the license requirements, it is also mentioned that the property must be insured, even though they do not ask you to present proof that it is. At the same time, we highly advise our clients to get their properties insured.

10. Can I have my apartment and all movable possessions (furniture etc.) insured through you, or if not, can you recommend a reliable property insurance company I could use?

We do not act as an insurance agency, but we are more than happy to point you to the right direction so you can get the right type of insurance for a short-term holiday rental.

11. Should I install a security system providing alarm and CCTV for my property?

If you wish to do so, we can recommend a company, though holiday makers do not feel comfortable knowing that they can be observed through the cameras, even if it is only outdoors. We will be obligated to mention this in the listing advertisements and that may throw off some potential guests. If you plan on simply installing an alarm system without cameras, this is also not convenient for the guests, as they are only here for a few days, and by the time they get used to it, they end up activating the alarm system regularly by mistake. In case you wish to install an alarm system which will be active only during the time periods that the property is not occupied, then that is fine.

12. Do these platforms take a percentage of the rental income, or do they charge a fixed fee?

Booking takes 15% from the owner. In this case we calculate it in the price per night so that the guests pay for it. Airbnb normally charges 3% on the owner and 12% on the guest. Though when a 3rd party software is used, like a channel manager, then they charge the whole 15% to the owner. We use such a software, as it’s the only  way to do our work efficiently and professionally, so similarly to booking.com, we increase our price per night by 12% so that the guests pay that amount as they normally would if we were not been using a 3rd party software. Therefore in the end, the price the guests pay is the same either way, and they pay the commission of the platforms, not you.

13. How do you check the property and furniture before and after reservations?

Having a large number of properties to manage makes it difficult for us to be there in every checkout, so we have a cleaner manager who trains the cleaners to check and report to us if there is anything damaged or missing. Smaller issues may sometimes go un-noticed, but it is often best not to blame and/or charge the guests for every little damage they do. A big part of why we are successful at what we do is because our system includes several ways to achieve only positive reviews. Without them, we are out of the game. So building a friendly relationship, before our guests arrive, but also during and after their stay is crucial. Guests have 14 days to write a review after their check-out, so we make sure not to jeopardize this in any way. If there is a large damage, then of course we will confront them in a professional manner and make sure they cover the cost of the damage, but if its something small we believe it’s not worth mentioning it to them. In fact, little things like broken glasses/plates/dead bulbs or batteries etc., we replace without even charging you for it.

14. List of other related and required services when dealing with short-term rentals.

There are things that are important to be done, in order to ensure the smooth operation and success of an Airbnb. Some of which are the following:

  • AC Service. It is important to do at least once a year a service and antibacterial cleaning per AC unit. We work with a company that charges us only 20 euro +vat per unit.
  • Local TV channels & Netflix. We make sure to provide Netflix to all the short-term rentals, as this is in most cases more than enough for the guests, although having more options is always better. If you wish to use your own account that is fine with us, but we will need to have the login details, as some guests logout to use their own, so we need to login back to yours once they leave. Otherwise we can charge you 5 euro per month to use one of our Netflix accounts (we are subscribed to many accounts, all at the highest stream quality). Tourists will not need the local channels, but we often have locals booking our apartments, and to them it is considered unacceptable to not provide local channels, which is a very possible negative review.
  • WiFi speed. Especially since the pandemic, a lot more people are taking their work with them. A 20 MBps connection should be the minimum speed provided, and even that in some cases may bring a complaint that “internet speed is not fast enough”.
  • Fumigation. In Paphos it’s not rare to find the following crawlers inside any apartment, regardless of the location: ants, spiders, worms, cockroaches. Unfortunately, the most common of them is the cockroaches. Our solution to this is to do multiple fumigations by spraying the same chemicals that professional companies do at least 4 times a year. If guests see something and report to us, we go and spray again. We follow a professional company’s guidelines in order to make it safe and not put out guests’ health at risk in any way. We charge 100 euro per year to cover our costs for this.