Airbnb has taken the world of vacationing by storm and is even gearing up for an initial public offering on the stock market later this year. An attractive and relatively easy way for homeowners to make an extra income from their property, Airbnb has been lauded by thrifty property owners as one of the best ways to boost your bank balance.
But is Airbnb as easy to work with as everyone seems to think? And is the financial compensation worth the hassle? Here are a few things you should think about before listing your home online with Airbnb.
Are You Comfortable With Strangers In Your Home?
Allowing strangers to stay in your home unsupervised can be a precarious move on a homeowners behalf — especially if it is your principal residence and not an investment property.
Airbnb does have a reputable insurance policy in place to protect its hosts and their properties, but this doesn’t make homeowners completely safeguarded against theft and property damage. Sentimental items, such as family heirlooms, can be particularly difficult to replace if they are damaged or stolen and should be moved to a safe place before you allow any guests into your house.
Although a lot less likely than theft or damage, some Airbnb hosts have experienced squatting scams by unscrupulous guests. A squatting scam works on the premise that in some states, when a person stays in a home for longer than a certain number of days, they may gain the right to remain in the property.
One way to protect yourself from this is only to accept bookings which are no longer than 30 days. It is also important to have in writing the start date, and end date of your guests agreed on stay and to explicitly state that after this date, the guest will no longer be entitled to stay at the property.
Managing Your Time
If you’re lucky enough to have a steady stream of guests staying at your property — you should expect to spend time catering to these guests. This involves not only keeping your property clean and tidy, but also responding to guests inquiries online, checking guests in, as well as being on-call to repair anything that may breakdown quickly.
The more popular your home is, the more time it will take to manage your business. It is imperative that you consider your availability to deal with such issues before you accept any bookings, as a bad experience for one guest could mar your Airbnb reputation for future business.
If you own your home, you will likely know the local ordinances and laws on whether you are allowed to rent your home out for short-term leases. If you rent your home and are planning to sublet it out on Airbnb, you should get your landlords permission first.
You should also consider your neighbor’s feelings, and acknowledge that their quality of life may be impacted if your Airbnb proves to be successful. If your neighbors are opposed to allowing Airbnbs in the neighborhood, you’ll want to be careful when listing your home – otherwise, you could find yourself in hot water.
Have Realistic Expectations
It would be nice to think that every home listed on Airbnb is a roaring success, but the truth is that running an Airbnb is like any other business. You will need to organize and plan, as well as market your property effectively.
Depending on your income and lifestyle goals, the amount of time, investment, and risk involved in hosting an Airbnb will vary significantly. It is essential to take the time to create a business plan that can help you to be strategic. By determining what you would like to get out of being an Airbnb host, you can define a more precise idea of the time and money it may take to achieve your goals.