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Need advice from home share hosts

While my own home is undergoing some renovations I am staying in my AirBnB next door. The AirBnB is normally an entire house rental. While I stay at the AirBnB, I’m blocking the calendar ahead, two weeks at a time, as the renovations are taking longer than expected and I don’t know when they’ll be done. The kitchen and one of the bathrooms are being renovated at my place. If I did get a booking at the AirBnB house, I could move back to my house. I have the AirBnB set for a minimum stay of one week, with three days advance notice required, so if I do get a booking I’d have time (and the money would make it worthwhile) to move back to my house while it’s still undergoing renovations.

I’m thinking about whether it would be worthwhile to list the AirBnB house in a separate listing as a shared house. It’s a big house: 3 bedrooms plus a very large third floor which is one big room and can be used as a bedroom, or a study. In addition, there’s formal dining room, living room, a foyer almost as large as some living rooms, a small kitchen that has eat in space for 2 people, a pantry, a small sunroom and a full basement. There’s also a front porch (with a porch swing) and a large patio in back of the house. Unfortunately, there is only one full bathroom which is located on the second floor where the bedrooms are, plus a half bath in the basement. So if I did a shared house, it would be a shared bathroom situation and I’d be sharing with the guests.

I’m debating if I want to do this. What are the pitfalls…or rather, I can guess what the pitfalls are so how do you home share hosts manage them? Do any of you share a bathroom with your guests? I’m thinking I’d allow no more than two guests and minimal, limited kitchen access, and a maximum stay of something like 3 to 7 days. I’m interested in hearing your advice and experiences.

A bit about me: I have had shared living accommodations before (roommates) some were fine, some were a pain. I’m a friendly introvert (no, that’s not an oxymoron). The house is set up so I can retreat from the guests and shut myself away from them when I feel the need to do so. Forgot to add, I am fully vaccinated and okay with social distancing and wearing a mask in the house,

Any comments or advice?

Here’s the listing of the house.

https://www.airbnb.com/h/dasher-house

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I’ve been home sharing for six years and share 1.5 bathrooms but only let out one bedroom.

I would say short stays and vetting your guests to ensure there’s a good fit is key.

I include vetting questions as part of my IB process .

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Mind sharing? I’m always looking for better ways to vet IB guests (I have an entire house rental but still)

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It’s gorgeous. I think the bathroom situation is a significant barrier. Is there anywhere that you can put another bathroom for your own use while there are guests? If the guests use the main bathroom, your own bathroom doesn’t need to be in a particularly convenient spot.

To clarify you are thinking of doing this temporarily while your house is being renovated rather than moving back to your house while it’s renovated?

I don’t see any problem with this. Lots of hosts have shared bathroom situations. If you have a flexible schedule where you don’t need to be getting ready for work at a certain time of day, it’s manageable.

When I did home share I didn’t share the bathroom with the guest. The main challenge was just making sure the guest bathroom was always clean because any visiting friends would also use it. So having to clean the bathroom every time you use it and not having it clean when you go in because the guest may not have cleaned it is the downside.

I’d require that any guest show me proof of vaccination.

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I’m a little unclear if you mean you’d rent out 2 bedrooms to 2 different sets of guests, or just share with one.
The issues I’ve seen brought up about these sorts of situations where more than one set of guests is sharing a house are mainly that the host has to be constantly checking to make sure commin areas are clean, and that one set of guests may not get along well with the other.

You’d also need outside locks on the bedroom doors- you don’t want a situation where one guest says something is missing from their room and the other guest may have taken it.

If you’re just thinking to share with one set of guests, as a home-share host myself, that’s never presented any issues for me. My guests do have their own bathroom, though. They have full use of my kitchen- some cook, some only use it to keep a couple beers in the fridge, or get some drinking water. As I’m not a foodie who loves to cook, the guests have never been in my way, and all have cleaned up after themselves.

I’d say I’m also a friendly introvert, and take my cue from the guests as to how social they want to be. If they’ve chosen to sit outside on the shared terrace to read or go online, rather than up in their room, I figure they’re open to chitchat over coffee. Some I hardly see- they are out and about all day and I only cross paths with them occasionally.

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Your place is gorgeous! I’d stay there even if I had to use an outhouse, :open_mouth: but I was raised in a family of 10- with one bathroom…

My home-share listing is the old-school “old folks with a spare room” set-up, gussied up a bit ala AirBnb. There’s an en suite loo & sink but to shower guests have to walk thru the living room and kitchen (the whole flat is 1060’ sq, so it’s not necessarily the distance that’s off-putting, but the potential encounters with my (male) partner or me. As if this isn’t awkward enough , grimacing: the bathroom shares a wall with our small bedroom, necessitating a “showering before 10 pm” rule.

Still, because this is spelled out in the description, rules, etc., folks know what they’re giving up to be a literal 5 minute walk from a Bay Area transit hub, and just as close to services, restaurants, etc. It’s also remarkably quiet- and $55 night. (AirBnb says $60, but I lost a Value star a couple times when I did, so it’s not worth it.

As far as our privacy is concerned, (1) we’re well-travelled & not bathroom obsessed, :wink: We’re retired and have had no negative experiences managing our 3 long-term units on site. Our friends and family know to plan a visit within our 3 month window so, technically, we still have a room for guests.

All this being said, if I hadn’t turned my linen closet into the mini loo, given the overall small space of the flat, it would have been impractical, if not downright impossible.

Have you priced a second bathroom or half-bath, or is it even feasible to add one? I am blessed with builder-friends, so my tiny IKEA closet paid for itself in a few months of hosting. Haven’t had any especially large guests, and a steep flight of stairs makes us not a fit for those with mobility issues, and I’ve had no complaints.

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I’ve stayed at listings sharing a bathroom with the host and never thought about it. I was probably tidier because of it, but didn’t think anything of it otherwise. As long as it’s clear in the listing, I don’t see it being a problem, unless it bothers you.

However, not having full access to the kitchen would be a deal breaker for me. I don’t personally use the kitchen much, but I find that those situations cause strife and tension. Sometimes it’s been okay but I’d rather have full access with high expectations of cleaning up after myself instead of limited use. The worst was a stay with someone whose kitchen access rules was so detailed that she’d had it spiral-bound. Toast was okay but pop tarts weren’t, etc. I felt unwelcome and nervous and it completely cancelled out any benefit of staying in a house instead of a studio unit or hotel. I understand you must have your reasons but I think it will be a bigger challenge than just having one bathroom.

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Nope, not without spending significant amounts of money and time.

There’s a “Pittsburgh potty” in the basement, which is fully curtained off for privacy and has a utility sink near it, but the half bath isn’t even really a true half bath. I should add, the bedrooms are all on the second floor, the half bath is in the basement, I’m 65 years old with two artificial knees and 6 nights out of 7 I wake up and have to go to the bathroom. So not sharing the second floor bathroom isn’t possible.

This is just a temporary situation while remodeling is ongoing at my house next door. I hate to lose all income from this house while renovations are going on at my house, especially since (as anticipated) they are taking longer than I hoped.

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Good point. It’s one of the things I’m pondering. There are two bedrooms available besides the one I’m occupying. Ideally, I’d prefer no more than two guests due to the bathroom situation, but three would still be manageable for a short period perhaps—a couple in the 70s room with the King size bed, and a single person in the Paris to New York room.

I can see where guests from different bookings might not mesh. Have any of you got any experience/horror stories to share around this? Any way to improve the odds of various guests getting with each other?

I’d hate to get a bad review from guests not meshing with each other!

The bedrooms all have doors that can be locked from the inside or the outside already fortunately.

Yep. There are 35 shared house listings within an hour of my place; 11 of those 35 have a shared bathroom. The shared bathroom listings range in price from $40 a night to $125 (!) a night. The ones that seem to have the most bookings are at priced at $40 and $55 a night. I’d probably set the larger room with the king size bed at $55 a night, and the smaller room with the queen bed at $45 a night.

One more thing to consider are your reviews if you care about that sort of thing. You have that sweet 5 star average but one personality conflict could net you a poor review and at only 47 reviews, it might hurt.

They are not particularly relevant to hosts with whole letting I’m afraid @HudsonNY

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Yes, I do have my reasons. The house was built in 1913 and the kitchen is small with very limited cabinet space and a small-ish fridge. The guests enter the house through the back door, directly into the kitchen and have to walk through either the kitchen or the pantry to access the rest of the house. The house was originally designed with the idea that the family would have a cook who came in during the day and didn’t live on the premises. Not only is the kitchen small (9 by 10 feet maybe) but there are two large windows and four doors (door to basement, door to front hall, door to pantry, and back door) in it.

My house next door was built in 1905 and designed to have live-in help. The back stairs go up to the former maid’s room (which we turned into a bath and laundry) and before we renovated, when you entered the house through the back door, you were immediately in the kitchen and could only a access the basement, back stairs, or dining room.

So this AirBnB house layout, with the small kitchen that serves basically as the main hallway to the rest of the house (lol) doesn’t easily lend itself to multiple parties preparing meals.

There isn’t much room in the fridge even with just my things in there.

I figured I’d let guests use the microwave, electric tea kettle, coffee maker, and toaster as much as they wished, but ask them to talk to me and get permission before using the stove or oven.

No personal experience, as I only host solo guests in my one private room. I certainly have read posts by hosts with multiple rooms they rent out that mention the guests not getting on with each other, or there being complaints about a dirty bathroom (but I doubt that would be an issue for you, as you live there and I’m sure would make sure it stays clean, as you are also using it)

What you might do, rather than rent each bedroom separately, is to put up 2 or 3 listings- one for one of the bedrooms, one for the other, in case a guest liked the looks of one over the other, and a third listing which includes both bedrooms. Then link the calendars, so if any one of those listings gets booked, the others become unavailable.

In other words, you would only ever be dealing with one booking at any time. Either they rent one bedroom and the other stays empty, or they want 2 bedrooms for 2 singles or couples travelling together, so 2 groups of strangers aren’t there at the same time.

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Different strokes as they say. There will certainly be a market for such guests. Bedroom door locks are a must, preferably with codes that you can easily change and assign.
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On thing to consider, if it is “do-able” - is there a way to setup a “Guest Station” in the kitchen or elsewhere with coffee, kettle, microwave and fridge? It might help for it to have a physical separation even if it is in the kitchen - so as to avoid conflict and confusion. Perhaps on a “kitchen cart”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FLRV6OK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That’s a good thought with the codes but it wouldn’t work though I do have keys for each door and they all can be locked. This house was built in 1913. The doors are 5 panel, solid oak, and original, and the door hardware is the original hardware—very ornate and not anything I would ever tamper with or replace. I would give the guests a key—a physical key—for their bedroom but there’s no way I would ever consider installing modern locks on those beautiful oak doors. I do appreciate that guests would want to be able to lock their bedroom doors for security both while they are in the bedroom and while they are out of it. In understand it would be preferable, from a guest’s POV to have their own unique code and not a key they have to carry around and keep track of, but that would be a deal breaker for me.

The pantry is already set up as a sort of breakfast or guest station with the electric kettle, coffee maker, and toaster there. The microwave can’t be moved—it’s permanently installed over the stove and serves as a stove vent too (vents into the original kitchen chimney). I’m not opposed to allowing guests to use the kitchen to make something quick and simple, like oatmeal or fried eggs, but the room is too small to allow guests unfettered access. Counter space is very limited, and then there’s the issue of the back door being the main entry point into the house with people coming and going through the small space while meal prep is going on. Seems like a recipe for potential disaster.

This is something I’m considering doing for a matter of potentially only 2-3 months, not forever, so I’d not want to put a lot of money into it, especially when I might not ever make any money on it anyway.

Here’s a picture (sorry it’s blurry) of one of the doors and hardware. Interesting trivia about the door hardware…. In the movie, “The Help” the door hardware in Skeeter’s parent’s house is the same as this house.


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Our place is Victorian, and much of the hardware is original 1875 and still works. Good luck with your place.

Thanks Jefferson! We are very protective of the house because of its age and because it been so well preserved.

Here’s a better picture I got off the internet of the door hardware. It’s the Yale and Towne “Meridian” hardware and was considered very high end. These have a brass finish, while ours had the “japanned” finish that was so popular then. Ours are brass underneath, and some of the heavily used knobs have the japanned finish worn off and you can see the brass, but in others the jappaned finish is still intact. Folks back the liked the japanned finish because it didn’t need regular polishing like the brass so it was easier to maintain.

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Helsi, I am dying to know—and think it might be useful to me if you are willing to share—what are your vetting questions?

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