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Is Airbnb worth it for investors?

So we recently bought an investment property which we were originally going to rent out month to month. However since discovering Airbnb, we thought we might just try it out. Our property is located in Vancouver. So far, we find that the work vs the level of income is not worth it. We did a projection on the income this year, and it looks like we might just break even (after all expenses). However if we actually gone for the monthly rental, we would make a small profit without all the work.

So I’m just curious, for those of you that bought an investment property and have put it up on Airbnb, how do you find it? Is it worth it?

http://affordanything.com/2014/11/04/the-airbnb-experiment-42-guests-1-police-visit-and-19000/

That’s a pretty good article that likely lines up with what you experienced. The answer is no. It isn’t worth it. They grossed $19,000, but only netted $9000, and decided the risks, work, and being tied to the business weren’t worth it. It seems most people never made it past the headline because despite sharing the financials and their conclusion with the public, many messages below are mainly saying ‘Oh! We’re trying this soon!’. The power of marketing! It seems to trump common sense every time (well almost). I can see that you have it worked out. As my husband likes to say ‘it’s all a bit of a Tom Sawyer operation’. They sit back and run a website, and we do all the hard work that they make look fun and super easy by only highlighting those that say it is the best thing that ever happened to them.

Sarah, you only joined yesterday, and minutes after doing so you made your first attack on me. Your only two posts have been aimed at me. I know you are hear to market your business, but I hardly think this is the way to go about it.

In reponse to your snide remark, no, this is in fact a blog that posts articles on investing and trying to make money in all kinds of ways (not that airbnb doesn’t commission blog writers to do puff pieces). But it would be very strange considering the person wrote it was not profitable or worth the work. Or hang on, did you only read the title?

Yes, everyone loves those people on the internet who pick on people’s spelling mistakes. Charming. Before you put down others for spelling errors, perhaps consider if the person may have a health issue that makes typing difficult for them. On mobile devices a slipped letter can sometimes cause the intuitive spelling to make it into a different word or spelling than intended. Just some advice so you don’t come off rude and insensitive. No one wants to feel like they’re going to be attacked for a small mistake. Generally that’s the kind of thing you see mean kids do on YouTube in the notoriously dreadful comments section. Just awful.

Being passive aggressive even through the Internet still comes off as passive aggressive. By the way, the blog writer above does sell a course on ‘how to host on airbnb’ among other topics like so many other people here. Seems to be something lots of people are trying to cash in on right now. But as far as I know, she hasn’t posted here.

I understand that you might find me pointing out the presence of sellers here frustrating for you, but there’s no reason for the personal attacks. I didn’t attack anyone personally. I just mentioned that in forums I have been to that felt safe for people to really communicate, were the ones where they didn’t have to be on guard or worry what the agenda of more than 3/4’s (even more as far a I can tell) of the responding posters are. If that annoys you, that’s simply because you don’t understand the ethics and issues involved.

Now, can we stay on topic?

Excuse me, I like to argue with people on the Internet? In the same hour you wrote this pretty disgraceful remark to me, you also wrote this other post to a very kind, involved and helpful member konacoconutz:

“Billy_Bob_Merkowitz5h
You really shouldn’t be in business if you can’t grasp this very simple concept. Part of your job is accounting… You are operating a business… learn how to do it correctly, or just stop now.”

By the way, a forum is to help and give advice to one another on different things we may not know, not to come here and berate people for being idiots for not knowing things you consider simple.

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I’m new here but I find Sandy’s posts really helpful and they help keep things in perspective as someone who has just started down this road. When new hosting gets off the ground, there’s a weird dynamic that develops as newbie hosts try to do circus tricks to please their guests and AirBNB encourages extra perks so that guests wonder, “why would I ever go back to a hotel that doesn’t gift me fresh cream, red wine, flowers, and chocolate?”

This forum has been slow for quite awhile so I find it a little odd that people have popped up to disparage Sandy.

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Dear Billy Bob, it is a continuing issue with you that you don’t bother to do any background research before leaping into your accusations. As for ‘Sarah’ pulling her 2 posts (both to me) and leaving, you must have missed the part that it was clear she only joined to attack me and my stance that a good forum doesn’t allow vendors to market nonstop to forum members. In her profile, she identified as another one of these people that would help hosts write their descriptions. Although unpopular on this forum, my feelings are hardly groundbreaking on most popular and effectively run forums worldwide. Just because I am the lone voice stating the obvious doesn’t make me argumentative, it makes me care about ethics, and a safe place to post for other hosts - which is clearly not here, which allows non stop personal attacks, and cynical marketing techniques.

As for myself checking out where you came from before responding, I just consider that common sense, not stalking. You might try it in future, before getting behind someone that joins a forum just to attack someone who’s viewpoint might offend the reason they are on the forum.

What you call blunt, I call abusive and shaming. As for your growing obsession with my rheumatoid arthritis, I find it hard to believe you care at all, but just think you are having a big old laugh.

Hi Everyone

Thank you for responding to my post. Unfortunately these answers are not what I was expecting. I’m very disappointed at what I am reading. I’ve asked a simple question based on my own situation to see how the community feels. Instead I see most of the posts are about personal attacks. I had thought that this forum was about like minded people sharing / helping each other, I guess I was wrong in this and in the fact that I had thought everyone here were adults.

To the moderator / owner of this forum, this should never have been allowed to get so far. To me this is a very poorly run forum. If you want this forum to succeed, this type of discussion needs to be stopped / removed. Very disappointing.

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Location and climate are big variables in answering your question. If an investment property is in a prime location with no down season (like Venice Beach in Los Angeles) an Airbnb rental is going to net much more than an annual lease. A mild climate means as a host, you will also not be covering high utility bills during cold winters and blistering heat and humidity. But if travel to your location is very seasonally contingent (most people don’t want to visit Chicago Dec-March) you need to ensure that the high season can subsidize those slower months.

For me, having my apt empty for friends and family to stay is a big bonus and that makes it worth it for me to rent on AirBNB.

Jake,
I apologize I felt the need to defend myself against ongoing attacks on your thread, due to the fact that the moderator allows non stop personal attacks here. I truly felt the article I shared was very helpful and realistic, as well as able to show you how to break down the figures.

This forum does allow vendors to market to hosts, so the outlook is all based on - ‘we can help you make your business profitable if you pay us to help you learn x, y and z’. This is not always true. As ChicagoHost mentioned variables based on location, and even at premium spots, it may be that as the article above finds, you might work out that the financials show not much of a difference to a long term rental - except you are not tied to the property, and it is far less work.

This is not a proper forum. Obviously the owner just set up a very basic format, and has no intention of making sure it is a safe place. It is a pity, and I wish there was somewhere better I could recommend.

Hello Jake,

You are the only one who can answer best that question.

Any input from others, is just that: their input. You have to do market research and evaluate if this fits your style of “Investment”.

As for Sandy, I am glad she is taking the time to share objectively what Hosting entails. Thank you Sandy.

I have found that lately there are many marketers on this forum, that are here to make a profit from Host’s. That is fine as long as they just state what is that they do and leave discussion to Host’s.

Many Host get discouraged and leave since they can not compete with host that provide “Champagne” on a dime.

Airbnb is a new concept and it is a great concept. However it is a business and needs to be treated as such. Host need to make enough profit and be compensated for the work they do.

I find that Sandie’s information is most informative. She is not bragging, she is not rude, and i hope she will continue to share and post on this Forum.

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Sandy, please stay on this Forum. Your input is most valuable, and please keep your style of communication.

We have many marketers that are looking to profit on this forum lately.

We need discussion, not marketing and bragging. Your input is again much appreciated.

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Beach Guy, it sounds you are an Upscale property owner.
Your guest may have higher standards not only in where they want to stay but in general manners as well, not all but most.
If you charge Motel 6 rates you of course will get a different type of a guest, again not all.

If a Host does complains; one has to look for validity and offer a creative approach.

There is only so much room for Host that have upscale guest.
I do not know how long you have been a Host.

Allow others to vent. This is the place to do this. If you can not offer a constructive solution than don’t offer a destructive one, that is my belief.
Sandy is touching many issues that many Host do have.
If you charge $39 per night and the guest is using utilities that can run you $30 than something needs to be adjusted.
Offer those advises. People complain when it hurts, and remember: shues never hurt when not on one own’s foot.

Do not discourage, instead offer creative advise, that is my motto in life. I believe in Karma.

Beach Guy, you have a good point. However some Hosts are not familiar with all the different aspects of hospitality business. You seem to have resources and knowledge. That is fortunate for you, but there are others that don’t fall in to your category, and that applies to both hosts and guest.

Worst guest are those on Champagne taste on MacDonald budget, and lucky for you, you don’t have to deal with those. Middle class that could afford Hilton in the past now can afford at Best Western or Motel 6. It is much better to go from Hamburger to Caviar than the other way around.
Negativity stems from lack of knowledge and lack of options.
Sooner or later you may end up having exactly guest that i describe above. Will you close your doors at that time or you will consider?

I am on the lower end of the pool, but i also believe that negatives could be turned in to positives, or am i naive…

We need this Forum, and that includes negativity. It may be easy for you to put a bottle of Champagne, flowers and Chocolate when you are charging $200 and $300.00 a night, but not so for people charging $30-$50 a night.

Is Airbnb only for those that have luxury homes?

I just saw this and take issue with it. I am NOT tarnishing the reputation of anyone, myself or other Air hosts who collect in cash. I know we were arguing about this a month ago but I’m not pleased to have it still be implied publicly that I am shady or tarnishing the reputation of all hosts for collecting tax in person. Please see the following. Screenshot from Air’s own Help Center. You don’t understand that if I roll the tax into my nightly rate, Air then takes their commission on that and I have to pay tax on a higher payout amount. IT IS TOTALLY PERMISSIBLE AND NOT SHADY AND DISHONEST TO COLLECT TAX IN CASH. It’s also the only way to make sure that the total collected (with tax) does not in itself become taxable and commissionable.

Hi Violetta,
Thanks for the support. Wish I could respond to the conversation but I don’t even know where it’s gone :confused:

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Hi Jake88

We say yes it is but didn’t initially buy our place as an airbnb investment (it’s in Budapest).

We looked for somewhere that would provide good capital gain while we worked in London before moving to my wifes country. Airbnb just happened to offer a better yield in the meantime than renting so we chose that instead. Once taxes, cleaning and housekeeping is paid our yield is about 8%. What I have seen though is that airbnb is pushing up prices too for the type of apartment we have. So we have had a double whammy in CG and yield.

What I think is behind are a couple of things:

  1. Prices were depressed for a very popular cosmopolitan city and yields in alternative investments were low locally.
  2. Low supply of tourist accommodation locally for a booming destination.

So we got a confluence of circumstance and we organised well so we have good housekeeping services doing the daily work. Airbnb is a property play with the added complication of guests. This makes it hard so if you are looking for an easy win here some amount of luck and timing will help you.

In my case, it makes more sense (more money!!) to host via airbnb than renting my apartment as a regular rental. I was scared at first, but i made the right decision.

I rent a room in my home and make a lot more than I would with a roommate, but if I owned a second property, I’d go with a traditional rental. Houses in my city rent for $3000 a month, and I don’t think I could make more that on AirBnB after the costs of furnishing and cleaning the vacation rental.

For us Air BNB makes us 3x the amount of money than renting traditionally. Our last property was purchased with the full intention of only renting via Air BNB. However, cities like SF have put strict regulations on the max number of days you are allowed to rent unhosted, so that people will put their Air Bnb rentals back into the Long Term rental pool.

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