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Just created first posting - potential long-term stay for first request

I just posted our house (3 bed, 2 bath, entire home) as a new listing. Within a day, someone reached out to me indirectly (not through Airbnb) saying they saw my posting and are interested in a longer term stay, three months to a year, but the app won’t let them book. Obviously I can change settings on the app so he can book, but this situation is kind of intimidating. I had a few questions for the community.

  1. Would you take a long term stay for your first guest when you have no reviews yet?
  2. I’m more worried about tenant screening with a long term rental than I would be with short stays. Do I have any ability to screen this tenant like with a traditional rental, or do I just have to accept/decline based on their Airbnb request?
  3. The app suggested a 50% discount for long term stays. I think that’s far too generous as that’s cheaper than I could rent my house out for unfurnished on a monthly basis. Is it common to expect full price or only a 15% discount for long term?

It really seems very lucky to have a long term stay requested immediately with a new listing, but it kind of raises some red flags for me. Are my concerns valid?

Lots of red flags here, especially for a brand-new host.

As a new host, you need stays that result in excellent reviews for your property—through Airbnb. That means a flurry of short-term (even one-night) stays would be ideal.

As a new host, you get a little boost in the Airbnb search results for properties in your area, but it doesn’t last long. If you took a 3-month (or longer) booking, you’d entirely miss out on that little boost. And the most you could get from the booking is one review (which, in this case, wouldn’t even be on Airbnb).

There’s a lot to learn for new hosts. A lot. I strongly recommend not doing this. I suggest that you politely decline.

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No. I do not want long term tenants, I want short term guests. Hence I am listed on Airbnb.

I understand that some guests target new hosts as they are seen as inexperienced, vulnerable, sometimes even desperate for bookings.

Anecdotally, sometimes the reason a guest is looking for a long term rental on Airbnb is because they cannot get one through normal channels due to bad credit or past rental problems.

Even if you are planning to do long term rentals through Airbnb later, I wouldn’t accept long term stays right off the bat. You’ll want to get as many good reviews during your new-host-boost period as possible.

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Some great feedback so far - sounds like this is bad news. Thank you to everyone.

Alternatively, any reasons why I couldn’t do a background check and rent this with a stand-alone lease? I would work with a friend who manages rental properties to go through that process. I realize this is probably NOT the forum for that question. I appreciate all this feedback, and I know this follow-up question implies being a landlord for a traditionally leased home, not an Airbnb host.

If you want to lease long term, this sounds like the way to go.

Edit to add Of course I meant you could do this to lease the property in general, not with this particular guest. That would be against Airbnb’s TOS. If you go forward with this guest you’ll need to do it through Airbnb, which I would not recommend for the reasons I stated above.

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You’ve gotten great advice so far. One benefit of this request is it led you to this excellent forum where we can help you navigate many issues proactively. I agree it’s better to get a lot of good reviews when you start. Don’t book tenants via Airbnb.

My money is on you replying with your conditions and not hearing from this person again.

Please keep us updated.

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If you decide to do this, I wouldn’t start by offering any discount at all.

Yes, they are.

No, I wouldn’t. You need reviews as a new host, so even if everything goes well with this guest, you’ll have been hosting for months but still appear to guests like you’re just starting out.

Since Airbnb will block sharing your phone number, e-mail, links, etc. until after booking, you won’t be able to get the guest’s information in order to do a proper tenant screening. If you really want the long-term, then the best case would be book the guest for a short term of less than 30 days, then use that time to screen the guest properly, then draw up a lease agreement and book the long-term stay directly. This already saves the guest 15% (Airbnb’s service fees), meaning you potentially can make more than booking through Airbnb. However, you do have to do more paperwork, possibly significantly more if you need to get a license to collect occupancy taxes or something like that. You could always book the rest of the stay through Airbnb, too.

Yeah, because it probably is. You know your market. Charge what you are comfortable with and ignore Airbnb’s pricing suggestions.

I’ve noticed there are bad guests that prey on new hosts. My red-flag-o-meter is pegged.

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Nope, nope and NOPE! you will have a tenant, not a guest! completely different situation.

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Because Airbnb blocks exchanging the info you need, you’d need to come up with a sneaky way to exchange your contact info so that you could get all of the information you need to do the background check.

Here’s a test. If this brand new guest with no reviews already knows of a sneaky way to do that… run away… as fast as you can.

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HA. Message received.

Crucial detail I left out, the guy messaged me on Facebook because he said Airbnb didn’t approve his request due to calendar issues. It screamed scam to me at first, but I wanted to at least spend a little bit of time looking into the possibility - obviously I wouldn’t do anything without a background check and other screening steps.

Long story short, I’ll ignore this guy and keep my listing up in hopes of getting some good Airbnb short stays and reviews!

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How did he find you on Facebook? Just first name and picture? And Airbnb has a messaging ability even if his date isn’t available. I don’t like it.

Fine to ignore on fb but when you get inquiries on Airbnb be sure to reply.

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And welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of STR!!!

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OP said the person contacted her OFF Airbnb platform after seeing it there. No need to book on Airbnb if you don’t want.

I suggest the OP searches the forum for more about this. It seems that this is a question that comes up so often from new hosts (yes, they do seem to be targeted) so there is a ton of information about it - and a few precautionary tales too.

It happened to me…it ended up not taking place and instead of getting the full amount for the month I got $52…and no review…and it was from someone i had already met that had offered me assistance about 6 months before. Live and learn…or host and learn, or better, read hear and be more aware!

A great motto for hosts. :slight_smile:

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I had meant here and it autocorrected but it works that way too!

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It’s probably different in the US but in the UK long rentals are treated quite differently (and less generously) for tax purposes.

Not sure why you’re replying to me but I’,m English and hosting in the USA so I’m aware of both. The OP though, is in the States.

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