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Hi everyone. Happy new year!
I love forums such as this one. I am a member of a few and they are all a plethora if useful information.
My wife and I are considering hosting. She is retired and I will be retiring this year. Hosting is one of a few options that we are considering. First let me share some background information. We are owner occupiers of a two house, 5 apartment multi family. There are two houses on one lot. We would rent the first floor of one of the two, which is currently where we live. It’s a beautiful apartment, 2400 sq ft, 3 bed 2 bath. There are two tenants living upstairs. Naturally I am concerned about noise. That said, the very first hurdle is maintenance. By that I mean ongoing cleaning and preparing. Our goal is to travel in our h=motorhome for months, maybe years at a time. We would need to hire out the maid services, etc. Has anyone here had any experience with that?
Hello, and welcome! Congratulations on your future freedom
I have an entire home rental that is a day’s drive from my current residence. It works beautifully (so far) but all that turns on my caretaker, who is our neighbor. Do you have anyone near to the property that you trust?
One thing you’re going to find here is a lot of different opinions! As we often say, every host and every place is different (and so is every group of guests).
Travelling in your motorhome sounds like the ideal retirement.
There are some of us here who would only ever host if they (I include me) are on the premises. I’ve never done an actual study on this but it seems to me that hosts who aren’t on the spot have way more problems.
Hosting is hard work. It’s not the best way to make property profitable. (Please bear in mind as you read this that I love it and have been doing it for years!)
However it seems that hosting remotely is possible if you have a great team of people to look after the home for you. It’s not just the housekeeping / cleaning. You’ll also need a reliable handyman and an experienced co-host to deal with any problems. I’d recommend reading as much here as you can.
Don’t let this put you off though. See what others have to say.
Your first hurdle is regulation. More and more communities are cracking down on family homes being turned into transient housing in what were formerly residential neighborhoods. In many places it’s completely illegal unless the host is living there too. In others there is a limited number of days per apartment.
Your next hurdle is running numbers. Price out short term rental insurance for a set up like this in your state (I’m assuming this is a United States location). Don’t depend on the Airbnb host guarantees or “insurance.” If you have a claim they may or may not pay out.
If it’s legal and the numbers make sense your third hurdle is having a co-host or property manager to run the operation. Maybe one of your tenants would be a candidate. But running an airbnb isn’t as simple as just putting up a listing and doing some cleaning and maintenence. Unless your co-host can do maintenance you’ll need a list of handymen and professionals for that. Your co-host/manager needs to be available 24/7 for issues like clogged toilets, internet outages, lock outs and more.
It’s certainly doable but make sure you do your market research. It’s a pretty mature business now in most of the US and you are late to the game. You’ll need to be patient and have some capital reserves. When you launch do it in your high season so as not to waste your new host boost. Also don’t take a long booking at first. Get as many 5 star reviews as you can when you first start.
Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to get the best advice.
You also need a person to handle the messaging. Ideally an expert manager does this for you. Just this morning I got an inquiry for Sunday 5 January. But the message said
“I should arrive on 6 Jan 20, Monday but if it delay it might be 7th (Tuesday) instead what is the option? I am traveling from FL to San Diego (long trip). Planning on leaving San Antonio on Monday morning.”
These kinds of confusions aren’t the norm but they do happen several times a year. Some hosts probably wouldn’t even notice the discrepancy between the date on the inquiry and the contradictory information in the message. They would probably just focus on the “options” issue. I’m guessing this person wants to book and get flexibility to move the date as they see how the trip goes. I’m not interested in that one night booking that could also cost me a night’s booking if they need to change. So I’m not going to do or say anything to facilitate that booking. But a different scenario might involve me trying to sell the guest on my place.
Thanks. As has been pointed out reliable management is key, I understand that. I haven’t crunched numbers yet and won’t until I can get past the management. That may prove to be challenging. The other option I have is to just rent it, like the rest of my apartments. That just means that I have to move all my stuff to storage, which I dread doing.
Thanks. I am sure I will have more questions soon.
If you do end up using Airbnb for your own apartment, it’s true that you wouldn’t have to move all your stuff to storage, but you would have to depersonalize it: Remove anything valuable, sentimental to you, breakable, etc., that wouldn’t be essential for Airbnb guests to have. You’d also have to empty closets, drawers, etc. Airbnb guests are likely to poke around in closets and cabinets and drawers, so your personal items shouldn’t be there unless those spaces are locked. Also, guests will expect space for them to store their own stuff. Hosts also pare down the items they leave in the kitchen—how much dishware, how many pans, how many small appliances, etc. The more fully outfitted a kitchen is, the more potential there is for the cleaner to have a lot of work to do after guests leave.
Being an Airbnb host is work, but as others have said, if the regulations/licensing is workable, you’re confident in the numbers, and you have the right staff involved, it can succeed.
I also agree with what at least one other person has said. My husband and I host in the house where we live. We’re always resident when guests are here. We wouldn’t choose to be absentee hosts, but I know that many hosts do so successfully.
I “retired early” (@57) five years ago. I now do Airbnb and dog boarding in my home so still work. But I do have more freedom. I don’t regret it at all and if you have something to do to fill your time (like travel) then it’s the best thing ever. I’m lucky to have my health and a reasonable income. I’ve seen too many people wait then retire and die. So whether you can Airbnb or not, don’t hesitate on retiring!
Yes, but WAY too many hosts pare down WAY too much. I am in my 10th Airbnb stay on my current trip and cooking has been a PITA in at least 7 of them due to the shoddy, and often completely absent things left for guests to use (or not, in the case of stuff not even here) in the kitchen. I like to cook, but when a place does not have even basic stuff besides a couple junk store pots and pans and 2-3 spoons and a dull as dull can be knife, then they ought not say it has a “Kitchen”.
If a host provides a kitchen, make sure it can at least be used for cooking. That means some way to measure things, boil a decent amount of water, fry an egg, use a knife…etc.
We’re offsite hosts who spend a lot of time on the road. We use our STR as a home base in the winter, but wanted to generate a little income from it when we’re touring. I wasn’t sure how we were going to find someone to clean and do maintenance for us, but ended up reaching out to another local host just to see if she’d be willing to share her cleaners etc… It turned out that she does all her own cleaning and was willing to take on ours too. She did not want to be a co-host, so we still handle all the booking stuff, but she keeps our place in tip-top shape.
You might consider reaching out to other local hosts and see if any are willing to help. I used Facebook to reach out, because I didn’t want to send a bunch of annoying inquiries through Airbnb.
My biggest rant also as I did/do a lot of VR’s and I love to cook. Come stay at my listings all 3 have these as listed lol. My houses were all furnished by Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn. What I always wanted in my rentals:
You’ll find more amenities at Live Oak Vineyard Villa House then we can list. Here are a few that are important to know we supply: a Pack ‘n Play, highchairs, booster seats, 1,000-TC linens and luxury hotel towels provided, fully stocked Gourmet kitchen with top of the line KitchenAid appliances, Le Creuset and AllClad pots and all kitchen essentials including a service for 24 of white china tableware and etched glassware and a service for 16 of outdoor tableware, spices, oils, coffee, tea, etc. plus trash bags, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, hair dryers, computer, printer, satellite/cable, wireless Internet access, a Weber LP gas grill, a large safe, and fenced in property.
That is exactly the rant I posted above. I cannot understand how so many people want to be “hosts”, then leave their guests high and dry as far as food preparation or even eating. Current place has two TINY bowls, no good for anything, and one GIANT bowl, good for salad for 17 people. WTH?
This does apply, of course, to places where you are not sharing space or just renting a room, understood, but for a whole place? Man.
I know… another rant? Just got through cooking dinner on a 4 burner stove that actually is a 1.5 burner stove and washing and reusing stuff during cooking because there isn’t a damned thing here. NO MORE instant book on places where I am going to want to cook, that is for sure! I’ll quiz people and if they do not like it, then I won’t rent.
Lesson to hosts here, too, I would think. Sorry to hijack the thread.
I would love to hear what kind of results you get with this. I don’t use request to book because I quickly tired of waiting all day and then being told “not available.” I suspect age discrimination or waiting for a better booking. And based on how many hosts here express that they don’t like hosting other hosts or guests who ask too many questions pre-booking, it will be interesting. Keep us updated, perhaps on a different thread.