Just getting started hosting. Requesting input from more experienced hosts

I am just getting started and realize I may have rose-colored glasses on when it comes to thinking about hosting on AirBnB. For those of you that are real estate investors renting whole units as short rentals…What are some of your fears/worries? What are the first things you would want to outsource to make your life easier? What are some things you wish you could improve about the process? What do you wish had done or known from the beginning? I would also love to know what type of rental you have (downtown, college town, unique property, beach, condo, SFH), do you self manage, how many units, and for how long, for context. Thanks!

All of that information is available on this forum, just use the search function. You have a lot of reading to do!


Most of the hosts on this forum are not ‘real estate investors’ @TDog9 but as @Debthecat says there is lots of information on this forum asked by those new to Airbnb which might be useful.

I believe there are FB forums more aimed at STR investors that might provide more of the sort of information you are looking for.

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These are questions that you should have had fully sorted out before you started. This business isn’t for everyone by any means and you need various skills and attitudes. None of these can be explained glibly so as others have said, use this forum. Do beware however, as there is a lot of sheer garbage on the internet about this job.


I’m a home host so I can’t help with most of this.

The “wisdom” I’d impart is this STR boom is still a relatively new thing in many cities. In the last couple years we’ve seen major metro areas deal with STR in various ways, as they struggle to balance investment with the availability of housing and pressure from the hotel industry to regulate. NYC banned whole-apt rentals for less than 30 days. In San Francisco the unit must be owner-occupied or rented a max of 90 days per year. A similar thing is playing out across the country; my own small town just changed their requirements for licensing. The only way to rent ST here is as an owner-occupied dwelling in a residential zone or a condo in a commercial district.

If I were an investor, I’d make damned sure the LONG-term rental market in my area was attractive in case I needed to fall back on that. I’d also look for places that already have STR policy I can work with rather than a property with regulators (everyone from HOA/board, city, state) that haven’t taken action yet.


I found a few “seasoned” Airbnb hosts, who post free instructional videos on YouTube. All have been very informative for me.

In the YouTube topic search-box, type “Airbnb” and you will find many helpful videos to view.

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Jesus! It’s like you are asking how you met your spouse, how long you have dated, how you knew she was the one and how was the honey moon!

You are asking so many questions I don’t even know how to answer. Just go with the flow, learn from your experience. I honestly don’t know what to tell you. I am not a real estate professional or investor. There’s a ton of info on this website. there are videos on youtube on how to prepare for guests when you are a new hosts etc, etc… And if you have a specific question yes, I will answer!

Thanks. Good advice. Will do!

This forum has lots of stories where things didn’t go right during the stay. My main advice is to build into your process enough profit to remain calm when things break or guests cancel.

I’m an investor and don’t rent rooms in my own home. Cleaning is the first task I outsourced as I am busy and can hire someone for less than I make. I would do the same if I rented a room in my house because then cleaning the whole house could be a business expense. Bonus!

I have also automated the check in process with Remote Lock digital locks. Which I prefer when I travel. My STR is in a tourist town, Santa Fe, NM. I manage two units remotely.

I was a regular landlord until my tenants damaged badly my own home. I was living with my bf and then we split up and luckily still had this house (bf wanted me to sell the house). After I spent 16k in fixing it up i decided that I never ever will rent long term again. Then I traveled with friends and we stayed in ABBs so I was like yes, i can do this too. One time i stayed in a writers house. It was really a residence for artists that the lady (who worked at a publishing house in NYC and was left jobless in 2008) converted her grandparents farm into. i loved it so much that I took pics of the decor and I promised myself that someday I was going to run something like that. The opportunity presented itself with a foreclosure that was in bad shape but the wood work still in good shape that I decided to rescue it and fulfill my dream. But after renovation I found myself with no plan on how to open a n artist residence and no desire to establish a non profit or other type of organization. I have a demanding full time job. Fixing up the house and decorating it took me more than a year so I was tired and I needed time off. Therefore I put it out on Airbnb and I rent it entirely to groups. People ask me why dont I move there. One day it will come to me what I want to do with the house. I manage everything hands on 100%. I can do it. The thing is that it’s a tedious job and you have to have thick skin. I grew immune to baby poo on the bathroom floor or nail polish on the upholstery. I do get tense about actual property destruction. To be honest with you I don’t like hosting people. I do it because a) like you I had pink colored glasses b) need money for my sons college tuition. But the fact they are there and not in the house with me - although sometimes I do rent my son;s bedroom as well - is terrible helpful. When I have people in my own house I dont know, even if they are nice they tire me, they take so much energy from me, I am left i dont know… weak… I need a few days to recover. Thats why thank God I can rent that house and I dont have to see them. Because when you have guests in the same house it’s like your in-laws are there. You can’t stay with the feet up on the wall and read a book for example and they will pour animal fat down your sink and basically you have to be always on your toes to see what they do. I am a good hosts but it is very, very tiring. Or if I have a “chatty” guest when I come back from work and i am tired and I just need silence it is very hard for me to just put a smile on my face and ask how their day went, but I force myself to do it. I’m a single parent and that tuition has to be paid. But one word of advice, actually 2: 1)you can’t please everyone. whatever you do some people will complain. 2) you are as good as your cleaning lady. that’s why i clean myself.
But courage: guests are like on bell curve, if you know what i mean: 5% really bad, 5% really good and the rest somewhere on the curve, ok-ish.


That’s incorrect. Expenses for your entire home must be divided between the part you rent and the part you live in. This includes your payments for:

  • mortgage interest
  • repairs for your entire home—for example, repairing the roof or furnace, or painting the entire home
  • improvements for your entire home—for example, replacing the roof
  • homeowners’ insurance
  • utilities such as electricity, gas, and heating oil
  • housecleaning or gardening services for your whole home
  • trash removal
  • snow removal costs
  • security system costs, and
  • condominium association fees.

Source: Nolo.com

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@CeeBee My guess is that he meant all but the master suite and the guest has access to the whole house.

I’m in the same boat! Had divided my house rented out the main part to a professional woman with a 5 year old and a small dog :grimacing: and 2 cats…which turned into 4…3 years later I’m ripping up 120 year old pine floors and trying to find replacement glass for 120 year old blue hand blown glass windows :tired_face: the list of damage was endless…got her out spent the past 7 months doing repairs and moved back in here and then will airbnb my smaller part of the house…figured I will have more control on damage with short term guests, overall better money I hope…and if someone is annoying I only have to put up with them for a few days


@earthangel absolutely true. Short term rental is the way to go. Guests stay so little they don’t really have time to do any damage, although they might, but not to the extent a regular tenant would. Besides, Airbnb got your back. If they do cause damage they will cover it. If you have separate entrance for them you don’t have to see them, you could still be in your PJ watching TV. And money is better. There’s little bit more work, with cleaning and changing beds and laundry but nothing compares with ripping out the floors and replacing windows.


@militaryhorsegal. I am not a CPA but you are correct in assuming. I meant everything except where guests are not allowed. But for many house shares the off limits area is half or less of the Square footage.

@ceebee. Great list. That will be helpful for many off our new hosts. Lots off details they may not have considered to deduct on taxes. Thank you.

@earthangle. Sorry to hear about the bad experience. I hope short term goes great for you. I have had mostly good experiences with both types of rentals but I generally hear there is less damage with Short Term. Keep us informed as to how it goes. Best


@adrienne12 you gave such a vivid description of your experience as a host, thank you, you are a very good writer.