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Managing an Airbnb listing from a distance

Hey everyone - love the forum and very grateful to have found you. I hope you can help me with a difficult situation. Today I had some unfortunate news…a tenant in a property of ours waaaaaay on the other side of the country, tried to grind us into a lower rent before re-siging their lease. We can’t afford the lower rent or we’ll be losing money, so I have to let them go. We’re just regular people - that property was purchased to be our nest egg in retirement. The real estate market in that area is very soft with no real hope for an uptick anytime soon. We’ll likely struggle to find a long term tenant, and, it will also be very hard to sell. I’m considering putting it on Airbnb to bridge the gap but I’m worried about the long distance aspect of it. Do any of you have experience managing long distance Airbnb’s? How has it worked out for you? Would love to hear your advice/opinions. Pouring a glass of wine now…

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I’m sorry your current situation hasn’t worked out, but wish you the best of luck with AirBnB :slightly_smiling:

I run my AirBnB remotely. It’s north of SF and I’m in LA.

For me the most important thing is having trustworthy local housekeepers who take pride in their job, understand our clients’ needs/interests/aesthetics, use email, and are able to respond to emergencies. It took a long time to find the right folk, but it was so worth it to feel that my place is in safe hands.

Another crucial thing will be to look into the city/county regulations concerning vacation rentals in the area you’re renting in - make sure you have all the permits and pay all the taxes you need to.

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Cheers! (I’m drinking wine too).

I agree with @Lucy_R - it’s important that you have someone on hand who you can trust and who the guests can contact if there are any issues. And preferably not a management company. Are there any other Airbnb hosts in your area? One of our neighbours decided to list his apartment and I look after it for him - I think he appreciates having someone who is familiar with Airbnb and its guests.

Thank you Lucy! If your trusted team ceased to exist tomorrow, would you consider using one of those specialty Airbnb management companies? Have you ever looked into it? We’ve used regular property management companies for our long term rental and overall every one of them has been terrible at communication. But maybe the Airbnb property managers operate differently? They seem to be a new breed.

I did look into professional rental managers. In my area the options were:

i) One of a few well established vacation rental agencies that would takeover every aspect of the booking and management for a 25% fee.
ii) a tech savvy local entrepreneur who would charge by the hour to manage the housekeeping and maintenance.

I don’t yet trust i) to maintain the 100% occupancy i’ve become accustomed to, and, honestly, I like having a personal (virtual) connection with the people that are staying in my house, so I don’t think I’d ever go that route.

ii) would be significantly more expensive than the local housekeepers I ended up finding, but if my team ceased to exist tomorrow - yes - I would give it a try and cross my fingers.

To look after our neighbour’s rental, I charge the same as an ADVERTISED one night stay to prepare the apartment and act as concierge. I stress ‘advertised’ because that’s regardless of any discounts or deals he may offer. So if he has a ten day booking at $150 per night, and pays me $150 then that’s a great deal for him.

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Approaching someone in the same neighbourhood is a great suggestion jaquo. I’ll take a look around at the seasoned ones this weekend. Cheers and enjoy your wine!

Lucy, I hear you about wanting that connection. I can’t imagine not “meeting” them, albeit virtually. Having said that, I never met my last tenant and he lived there for 3 yrs. I don’t have a personal connection with the property, which probably helps. Maybe the entrepreneur is the neighbour that jaquo was talking about. Oh how convenient that would be! Lots of homework this weekend.

But first…another glass of wine :slightly_smiling:

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Cheers again, I’m on glass number four :slightly_smiling:

Renting your place on Airbnb is so very different to long term rentals. We were in a similar situation to you. We rented the apartment to long-term tenants - which was fine until they stopped paying the rent! So for six months, we were paying all the expenses while the tenants were living free of charge.

Now we get three times more money than we did from the long-termers. It’s more work, certainly, but if you can find a good, Airbnb-savvy person to take care of your rental then you should do really well.

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Hi @jaquo,

I have always assumed (and told other people) that getting rid of people doing this kind of thing is relatively easy in a relatively orderly place like the United States. It’s dismaying to learn that this is not always the case.

Hi @faheem - not easy at all. When a tenant stays for more than thirty days, they are deemed to have tenants rights and those rights basically allow them to squat in a property without paying rent until they are legally evicted. That legal process can take six months or even more.

In our case, we were too soft-hearted and kept believing them when they said that they’d have the rent and the arrears ‘in a few weeks’. They were nice people who had lived in this complex (in two different apartments) for a couple of years so they were more neighbours than tenants. That was a big mistake on our part.

This is one reason why we have a 29 day maximum on our Airbnb listing. :slight_smile:

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Hi @jaquo,

Yes, I remember you mentioning this in a different context. But six months! How appalling.

I wonder how international this rule is…

I think that even in the US it varies from state to state so it’s probably different in every country in the world.

It’s 11:00AM in Hawaii. Is that too early for wine?

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Go for it @konacoconutz :slightly_smiling:

Cheers!

One long term rental I had it took me 5 days to get them evicted totally. And I was pissed it took that long.

That sounds very efficient. Congratulations. Have you had many incidents of this nature?

No I haven’t. Just a few over many years. Most deadbeats get out before I have to get an order to evict them. The main thing to know is that we can do this stuff ourselves and don’t need attorneys. Also Texas is very landlord friendly. I understand that some places are tenant friendly and if so I see why the need to not have longer term rentals.

Hi @luckytxn,

Yes, I see. I suppose even within the US these laws can vary a great deal from state to state. And doing things without involving attorneys is always good, if possible.

I had a horrible experience with a property manager. They list on one site and wait for the inquiries to come in. They don’t do anything and they want 20%.

I let them go and salvaged my year by doubling my bookings for the year in one month. It’s not because I’m a genius. It’s just that I work hard and getting those booking to come in but a management company will make money wether your property books or not (what’s the difference in their commission if they miss a few bookings?).

The key is to have quality housekeeping and great home automation (thermostats, front door locks with codes, security systems, remote pool controls, etc.).

With the automation you’ll know more about your property than with any property manager.

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We run out property in Spain from California! I can not stress enough how important a trustworthy property manager is!

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