It sounds like a great idea. Use your existing home to make a little extra income… pay down your mortgage faster… or get some quick cash to make renovations. All you have to do is list it as an Airbnb and wait for the bookings to roll in. Cha-ching! There are more than 5 million listings worldwide on the site. In the United States the average host makes about $7,200 a year renting out at least a portion of their home to strangers. While it can be a profitable and an enjoyable way to earn some extra money, there are a few things you should know before taking the leap into becoming a host. For purposes of this post I’m talking about issues to consider if you are renting part of your own home not a dedicated rental unit.
With more people jumping on the Airbnb bandwagon, more cities are putting limits on this and other short-term rental platforms. In some places, it could be a violation of homeowner association policies or potentially even your homeowner’s insurance. Some cities require specific licenses and registration to operate an Airbnb. Make sure to do your homework before signing on the dotted line or you could find yourself in legal hot water.
YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE
Give some real thought to how much extra time you have for hosting an Airbnb. Running a successful Airbnb might take more time and effort than you bargained for especially if you are handling the listing instead of hiring a 3rd party listing manager. In that case, you’ll be the one who needs to check guests in and out, make sure the house/room is clean, restock the kitchen, respond to guest inquiries or issues, even deal with neighbor complaints!
Not everyone is comfortable sharing a home with total strangers. Airbnb allows you to require that a guest show proof of ID or you can require that guests are recommended by past hosts. Still, just because they are who they say they are and aren’t going to trash the place doesn’t mean you’ll like them. If you are uneasy you may need to consider only renting when you are away.
INVEST A LITTLE MONEY AND ELBOW GREASE
Gone are the days when all that people expected from an Airbnb was a mattress on the floor or a comfy couch. Airbnb listings compete with hotels these days so travelers expect a level of cleanliness and amenities to go along with their stay. You’ll annoy your guess if you leave your personal stuff just laying around the bathroom. Besides, do you want strangers rummaging through your drawers?
Renting your home for a short time can be a fun adventure but make sure you start it with a clear goal/expectation in mind. Do you just want a little extra income now and then? Do you want a consistent revenue stream? The amount of money, time and risk involved will be different depending on what you hope to get out of it…