I am new to this forum. I am thinking about signing up as airbnb host during superbowl 50 in the bay area. Any recommendation / suggestion what I should do first and what should i expect from the guest? Thank You
The most important thing to realize that airbnb may be the ‘sharing community’ on the surface but just below that we-are-the-world feeling, is a business. And businesses pay taxes - sales, occupancy, self-employment (on the net), and then federal and state income tax. Beyond that there are licensing regulations that you will need to research to be sure that you are in compliance. Do you own your home? Insurance is very tricky - my family and I just purchased a commercial policy (not as expensive as we feared). Airbnb does provide some coverage, but only if it’s related to guests. If you are running a business in your home, and it burns down but for reasons that have nothing to do with your business, the loss could possibly still be excluded because running a business in your home is often in violation of a HO policy (check with your agent)
Beyond that, it is a business in the service industry - service meaning - you give and give. You will often receive as well!! But people are going to be sleeping, eating, peeing, pooping, and who-knows-what-else in your home. Do you have a stomach for that? Are you good at meeting new people? Do you have time to receive your guests, help them settle in, give them advice about transportation, etc., and then get the room clean and the sheets changed before the next guest arrives?
You will find a lot of stories, 'the good, the bad, the ugly" on here which will be helpful.
I have no interest in scaring you off, but if you do like I did, you’ll fall in love with hosting and THEN have to face all those other realities after having a summer that’s all booked up. ; ) We started hosing in June and have had 22 guests - some long term - and have loved most of them, have kept in touch with some, and will be visiting one of our guests next time we travel. There have been none that we really disliked, but a few we were happy to say good-bye too. Most people (in our limited experience) are respectful, clean, and friendly. The income has been very helpful to our family.
Take a look at a few posts on this forum it will give you an idea for what to expect etc
See if renting for 14 days or less (in your situation) means you don’t have to report it as income to the IRS. But you may have to collect lodging tax for your state/county. Not sure.
Read and read this forum and learn from other hosts’ experiences.
Also new here, but a long-time host. Adding to what the others have mentioned above, there are a ton of great guides for prospective hosts out there.
- <a href “https://legaltemplates.net/infographic-dont-host-on-airbnb-before-reading-this-guide/”>LegalTemplates has an Infographic covering some legal implications depending if you’re a landlord or renter
- <a href “http://learnairbnb.com/airbnb-hosting-beginners-guide/”>Learn Airbnb has a helpful Webinar + article
That is a wonderful eye-opening introduction, and I as a newbie really appreciate it. So new in fact, we have not opened yet, pending insurance certificate. Our City has no reference to AirBnB on its legislation, therefore, it is open for business soon. The neighbors are either renters, or elderly (and deaf) so no worries. Having raised two grown daughters and seeing them move away was sad, but hey, we know sure what it takes to clean up after them !! and sometimes without thanks . Now their spaces have been renovated to take in AirBnB Guests, and we are excited! The income will be appreciated too. We have experienced 13 nights in 3 years as Guests at various AirBnB locations, and always left with a warm heart and a clean room. We appreciated what the Host did to provide the space, and we have now committed to pay it forward. Best Wishes to all other Newbies!
Good Luck, TravelMichele! As an experienced guest I think you’ll have some good insight for those of us who have been mostly hosts.
MY 10 BEST TIPS: (for all hosts, new + old)
- CLEAR COMMUNICATION–both ways. 2. Full Disclosure about your place–the good the bad and the ugly --otherwise you will end up with bad reviews. 3. VET (check out) each GUEST carefully before booking–if something seems fishy or sketchy about them it probably is. 4. DON’T negociate price. If you want to offer a discount, lower your prices BEOFRE guests go searching–once your price is set leave it…haggling is bad business. 5. MAKE SURE your place is NEAT & CLEAN. 6. NEVER LOAN anything that could injure a guest–that includes bicycles. Let them rent from an established company. 7. AVOID COOKING for them (put out a toaster and bread and jam). 8. Avoid letting guests cook. 9. Always be pleasant, and if they don’t like your place from the moment they arrive, refund them and help find them a new place. (You will get more and better guests!) Don’t risk a bad review!
- Stick to your rules! (make reading them a condition of booking & keep them short and sweet.
Thanks so much dcmooney. Just wondering how I can view other host Airbnb pages, just for comparison sake. We live in an old farmhouse with lots of charm as well as nice updates and I want to make sure we are well presented. As we get closer to ‘going live’ I’m feeling a little nervous about it all.
I’d say jump right into it and figure it out as you go.
Some things you will get by experience.
However, concentrate on giving those first guests a great experience, as reviews and stars (the stars only come after the first 3 guests) matter a lot.
We made a decision to host and less than a week later we were hosting. We’ve been tweaking our house since then, buying little things here and there when we realise they would make guests more comfortable!
So don’t overthink it. Just do it. You won’t get everything right at the beginning, and your house rules will evolve as you face different guests, or read about experiences on here.
This forum is very helpful.
All the best!
In response to viewing other hosts airbnb pages, just go to airbnb as a guest and view any and as many listings to your hearts content.
Like Aquatic says - jump in
Its good to have an idea of what might wind you up and put that in house rules, like - not bringing home randoms/ not checking in the middle of the night. Don’t assume common sense in your guests!
Other than that its see how it goes, lots of hosts have many and varied experiences and depending on your exact location you could tap into a market you never knew existed! For us where we are its just catering to tourists, but for others its could be businessmen, students, people attending certain events like you mentioned the superbowl, party people (to be avoided unless you’re one of them!) - there might be a wedding venue right round corner and you end up getting the guests for that, who knows. Suck it and see. Start out slow and just take bookings up to 3months in advance so if you don’t like it you don’t mess up someones trip by cancelling them.
Have fun with it - it can be awesome.
Yes, jump in - as we did - posted our listing on a whim and had our first guest 36 hours later! Been flying high ever since - but it was still stressful having to figure out all the tax and insurance stuff on the go.
Yes, search your area for the ‘competition’. That will give you a lot of good insight, but usually places are all over the board as far as price and what they offer. One gal in my area ranted in her listing that she doesn’t provide blankets! So don’t ask for a blanket!!
Read the description - Notice what shows up right when they click on your listing. Shop like you’re a consumer - what do you like about the description, what catches your eye, what do you want to see when you shop? I was recently looking for places in Detroit for a group of 6 - and I wanted to know - how many beds, where were they, and how many bathrooms. How they felt about the revitalization of Detroit, how they loved peace and good will - all that was extraneous - I needed to know about beds and baths - THEN the other stuff!!
I’ve obsessed over our listing! It’s like a garden - I weed, trim, water, fertilize…I hope some day I can just let it rest. Recently I came up with a tag line that I liked a lot - “Our mission is to provide a great place, at a great price, to great people”.
I’m other hosts on this forum would be happy to review your listing for you if you’d like some input.
Cabin… if he made more than $600 no matter if it was 14 days or less, they’d still have to report it, yes? (A 1099 gets turned in if the income is more than $600 for every self employed 1099 I’ve ever received.)
The IRS allows you to rent out your home for 14 days or less without having to report the money as income. Now Air will probably still send out a 1099K (as I believe they just send it out to everyone).
So let’s say you are just renting it out for two weeks during Mardi Gras and earned $20,000. You don’t have to pay any taxes on it…sweet. Here is a brief description from Investopedia:
Property rented for 14 days or less each year
According to tax laws, a vacation property can be rented out for up to two weeks (14 nights) each year without the need to report the rental income. In this case, the house is still considered a personal residence so the owner can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on Schedule A under the standard second home rules. However, the owner cannot deduct any expenses as rental expenses.
“This tax break is sometimes called the “Masters exemption” since homeowners close to the Augusta National Golf Club can earn as much as $20,000 renting out their homes during the annual tournament – without having to report the income on their tax returns.”
But once you rent for even 15 days then the rules change.
Interesting… so what happens if Air still reports you on a 1099? You deduct it?
Yes…there is a way to show how the income should be accounted for since a 1099K only reports what the entity processed. It does not account for refunds, etc. I will look into it and report back with a link that explains in layman terms.
This is a quick read and will see if I come across something better: http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2014/03/dealing-with-a-1099-for-tax-free-short-term-rental-income.html
Cabin, I realized I am going to have to keep track of all the damage claims I was reimbursed for!