Airbnb potential in up and coming sketchy neighborhood?

I have been a very successful manager of some Airbnb properties in my area. I love it…and I am now searching for my first house and would like to host my own little Airbnb space once that happens. I have found a house that has two potential Airbnb spaces. One option would be utilizing the small master bedroom, which has its own bathroom and private entrance. There would not to be any kitchen access but I would leave a fridge and a hot plate of some kind. The room is only about 12 x 12 though! Too small for queen bed? But the bathroom is decent size and nice. They would have access to a small patio area, which would be their own space. The other option is to utilize a huge attached garage space, which has been converted into a bonus room. But that one does not have plumbing so I would not be able to do that one right away… but has heat and AC. So, those are my two ideas.

The only concern I’m running into is the neighborhood. When you first enter the neighborhood, it’s not exactly charming! It’s a short, eclectic street, with a combination of old homes that could potentially be super cute but are a little rundown and not taken care of very well…plus a couple of dark woodsy lots totally fenced in with chain-link…that look a little weird ( although I know from talking to neighbors that the people there are elderly and not able to care for their places.)…and a small, low income triplex (also shabby) in the middle of the mix that appears to have mostly young families. Really the only nice houses in the area would be mine and the one right next to mine. The one good thing is that mine and the neighbor are both at the end of a quiet dead end street that connects to the eclectic street. But you have to turn down the eclectic street to get to my street! The house I’m considering is at the very very end, and I would even consider putting up a big pretty privacy driveway fence and make it into somewhat of a compound. The property would be fully fenced and seems peaceful, knock on wood! There is easy access to a popular bike path that goes into town and it’s a 10 minute walk to a city train. However, as you are walking the area, you are likely to run into some homeless people mixed with typical 9-to-5ers and families out biking and walking their dogs. As you drive down the main road entering my street, you will pass a trailer park, which is actually a 55+ complex, which is very well-maintained and I’ve heard good things about. But first impression is, so this place is near a trailer park? Please understand I’m not judging anyone who lives in a trailer park! But I’m just reflecting on my own reaction as I drove to first look at the house as well as some of my friends. Sometimes unfortunately trailer parks are associated with higher crime and other issues, although this one doesn’t seem to have that problem. Although I’m sure there are Airbnb hosts who rent out trailers, so again not to judge but we have several in our area which are considered to be quite high crime, so that’s why my perspective is what it is! So, it could just be my own personal issue.

I’ve been struggling to find a house that I can afford that isn’t tiny or a total fixer. I feel like I might be gambling a bit on this location and have no idea if anyone would even be interested in staying in such an area. Once you’re back at the house, you do realize it’s nice, but not a great first impression driving up! I’m assuming I would just have to try it and hope for a good reviews to build my biz? Any comments would be appreciated. I’m not even exactly sure what my question is
but just putting out feelers right now! By the way, the houses I manage our huge and extremely luxurious, so this is like night and day in comparison!

I’m sure it IS like night and day because it sure sounds like it.

All I can offer into the equation is that I have seen lots of complaints (in the form of guest reviews) when a rental property appears to be in a low-class/scary or run-down neighborhood. The guests either want a full refund or will give a review of the-place-was-fine-but-the-neighborhood-felt-unsafe.

In my opinion, it’s not going to go well for you if the surroundings are as you describe. Location, location, location.


Sandy’s advice is super sound…guests have a lot of choice and won’t stay in a scary neighborhood no matter how cozy and cute you make their little house.

I myself recently needed to find a cheap hotel in DC to take my son to his Senate internship. The first place I chose was in an “up and coming area” but it had good reviews, except for a few that said homeless hung around in the hotel lobby with the blessing of the staff. … I did a google close up on it which revealed homeless, junk cars and graffiti. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m sympathetic with homeless, and all parts of the country have this issue, but there is a time and a place… the hotel lobby of a place I was paying $900 to stay in was not one of them. Then another friend from this forum who knows the area drove by the hotel and said, Kona, you don’t want to stay there. It’s “coming” but not "up"yet. I canceled and found a much better boutique hotel in DuPont circle which I loved and left a five star review for. A hotel, not an Airbnb.

So speaking for myself, that sketchy location discouraged me from staying there, no matter how many amenities it supposedly had.

I can only add that neighborhoods do get gentrified but that can take some time… as long as it does not have what they call incurable defects (right next to highways or schools) …etc. it could be a good potential buy.

I assume we are talking about the Portland area?
For some reason this description sounds familiar, like I have heard this before? Did you post this same query here before??

Maybe you should buy the place with an eye to the future, that is… the neighborhood could get better as the older folks pass away and young families take their place. But buy I only if you can afford to make the mortgage without doing Air.

Just my two cents!


If you want to send the MLS link to me on a pm I will give you 4 more cents of peanut gallery opinion.

Ok sure! Thx! Will do that shortly!

Yes! Had a similar dilemma with another house last year! Just goes to show you how long I’ve been looking. I had forgotten that I posted that here but you are correct in that I have run into that a few times. I am realizing that I can get a great location if I’m willing to go tiny! I guess I could always add on because the lots seem to be decent sized. And yes, it is the Portland area. And it’s definitely not teeming with homeless people, and you may go a long time without seeing anyone. So not to make it sound like it’s like some bustling downtown area because it’s not. But there tends to be some of that around, as you approach the bike path and so forth. So it’s very possible you could run into that. I do appreciate you your perspective. It definitely helps!

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I’m not normally technically-challenged, but how does one PM here??

A twist on a real estate maxim. It is better to be the worst property in the best neighborhood, than the best property in the worst neighborhood.


OK, my honest opinion here is that you are bitching about a neighbourhood in which a) you don’t live; b) you don’t plan to live; c) you want to take a place that could be rented to local people who really need it. Possibly you’ll justify it by that hideous concept of “gentrification”.
I’m sure this is not a popular opinion but I can’t not say it.

Just go to your profile in the upper right hand corner and click new message, then start typing my name and it will fill in the rest.

Wait, I think she said she was going to live in the house and rent out part of it?

Whatever you want to call it (maybe gentrification is the wrong word) but how can neighbors improving properties on a street be a bad thing? Why would renters or tenants have to live in the less than desirable areas?

Many of us here are also guilty of taking potential rentals off the market to make better, easier money on Air.

I know. Sorry OP. Been reading too much politics tonight :frowning:

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I know. Sorry OP. Been reading too much politics tonight :frowning:

Trump ones??? :rofl::roll_eyes::weary::grimacing:

I said it elsewhere on this forum, but I looked at listings located in neighborhoods in my area which have a bad reputation (and are officially classified as problematic) and these listings have good reviews including good location ratings. Sketchy is somewhat subjective I guess.

It would also depend on your target market. A family on vacation and a construction worker on a business trip will have different expectations.

Just look at the reviews of listings in this particular neighbourhood to know what guests think.


My house is in a neighborhood in DC where homes cost 700k-1.5mil, lots of people want to live there, has award winning bars and restaurants, and is close to public transportation. You also run the risk of getting your car broken into and it’s definitely not the burbs. Some people absolutely love it and some people have dinged me for location even commenting “as long as you keep to yourself you will be ok” in my review. So it’s not for everyone despite it being an expensive neighborhood. Because of that I encourage guests to look the address up to make are the location best suits their needs… you might also want to be clear about the neighborhood lacking ambiance

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No, we have enough crap going on in the uk! Trump is a welcome distraction, actually (sorry!).


My query is- why would someone want to stay with you - what is nearby to make you listing attractive?

As I read the description, I KNEW you were talking about Portland and wondered if it is in the Lents 'hood near the Springwater Corridor?

I am just off Division and my place is rocking with guests because they can walk to Pok Pok, Por Que No, Salt and Straw, etc. I searched for months for the best house for what I wanted to do. I wrote 4 offers before I got the one I ended up with and closed in April. I specifically wanted a place that was in the heart of the action and it is a bonus that I have a separate entrance to the basement with a suite so I can live on site and rent out the main part of the house.

I paid more than I had hoped to but I took a gamble that I would have most, if not all, of my mortgage paid and it has paid off. The excess I am making during the summer busy season I am sticking away to pay the mortgage in the slower season.

All of that being said, I think that if you can get into a HOT hood, you will have more bookings!

I am also a realtor and know Portland inside and out. PM me if you want my advice on the true up and coming areas that I think would be suitable for an airbnb.


Wow, this is awesome help for the OP!!!