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Should I Stay Or Should I Go


#1

I need help.

I’m considering buying a riverfront property and to rent it out as Airbnb would help pay the mortgage. I’d live there part time and rent it the other part. I’m scared to death. I’ve read great things, I’ve read some scary things.

Is it worth it? Pros? Cons?


#2

I wouldn’t rely on AIRBNB to help pay your mortgage. This industry & the rules, both AIRBNB’s & Local & State laws & ordinances are changing quickly. Make sure you check them all for that location.


#3

It can be so exciting to think about and then buy a new property especially when it’s a vacation home. For me Airbnb has been a fun experiment that I enjoy but will not require if it stopped today.

If you are people oriented then it is easier but if you don’t like to roll with surprises it may be stressful. Ask yourself if you will still be happy at this property if you couldn’t rent it out and ask yourself if you will be happy if you could rent it out.

I’m sure you know the important pros and cons and are seeking reaffiration but in that case are you basing your decission to spend thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a property on what is said in response to your questions? Sometimes a leap leads you off a cliff and sometimes a leap leads into blue waters on a hot summer day.


#4

I highly recommend you have a plan “B”. For instance, we bought a vacation/retirement home and the plan was to rent it out to cover the mortgage. Plan “B” was to stop saving to the 401k if the rentals didn’t pay for the mortgage. It’s not a preferred plan, but we wouldn’t go under, either.


#5

Great advice.
I realize it’s not wise to make the decision to buy based on Airbnb income, or what others think.
I think I’m more interested in what’s driving this group of people to keep doing it. What do you like about it, what do you dislike? And is it profitable?
I appreciate your responses. :slightly_smiling_face:


#6

I do it because:

  1. it is profitable
  2. I enjoy doing it and only requires 4-6 hours of work a week (not including time spent here :slight_smile: )
  3. it uses part of my house I never used before so the setup cost was the furniture and some building work about 6 months worth of rental income.
  4. I enjoy meeting (most) guests

Take away any of those and I think ii might give it up. If you have a spare room in your home have you thought about putting that on AirBnB first? A good way to see how it all works and what you like and don’t like.


#7

Most of us do it because we like interacting with people from all over the world. Some – those who have multiple properties and/or seldom meet their guests – are usually trying to do it for the perceived money. The latter are often the ones who have the post “problems” with guests trashing their place and many of the other horror stories you read. If you’re renting out your spare room, or the cabin behind your house, STR hosting can be a very fun and pleasant experience. Trying to run an STR ‘remotely’ from more than 10 minutes away can be very problematic.

As mentioned above, don’t rely on STR helping to pay any large part of the mortgage for your vacation home.


#8

I Airbnb an ensuite room attached to my house but separate with it’s own entrance. I like the money and the kind of guests I have (mostly one night road trippers) works perfectly with my schedule. I find it to be really easy money but most people will say it’s very hard work. I don’t dislike anything now. When they were coming into my house that cramped my style but now I don’t even have to see them if I don’t want to. I consider mine profitable because I’ve monetized a part of my house that would otherwise be sitting empty. I did add on to put the bathroom and entrance and I consider that paid for already. But buying a property to airbnb seems risky to me. I will tell you that in my town there is more than one person who started with one room and then added more, clearly going out and buying houses to airbnb because it was going so well.


#9

Hi Stacy, I purchased an ‘investment property’ to rent as a short term rental. Had to get “investor mortgage” as the home is too close to my existing home to be considered a vacation home. You’ll want to ensure the home isn’t in an HOA (Home Owner’s Association) and that there are no restrictions in the area against short term rentals (STRs). Insurance is an issue as well, need to get a commercial policy as a standard homeowners or landlord policy won’t cover the home. This is my first year doing it and so far I enjoy it and thus far it’s been profitable but I have yet to go through the slow season (winter) to see how the slower bookings impact my numbers. I also run it as a business, it is fully licensed, it’s advertised on multiple sites, and I employ housekeepers and yard maintenance folk whereas I take care of the management, problems and supplies. I have been stalking this site, and a few others, to learn from more experienced hosts. I too have a plan ‘B’ on this home - rent it as a long term rental.

You mention living there part time - knowing what I know now, I would NOT try doing this long distance unless you have some friends or family in the area that can assist you. I know it works for others but it wouldn’t be for me. I had a few long distance long-term rentals that I owned and managed but wouldn’t recommend doing that either.


#10

There are definitely some pearls of wisdom in the comments. You are contemplating purchasing and renting out your own vacation home. I know it is an exciting proposition and venture ~ it was for me ~ at least, for the first 7 yrs.

It is also probably true that it makes a difference if one is a “people-person” as @BurmaPark noted (it’s not my forte’) but even so, it can be done successfully as a remote owner and still receive 98% 5-star reviews. (pat-pat-pat!)

There will be stressful moments for sure but it usually works out as long as you keep your eyes on your goals, not the least of which is preserving your investment property. However, going into such a plan with an intended mortgage does not appear wise to me so it is not what I would undertake.

What drives people to do it, you ask? For me, it was to perhaps gain some income on our vacation home while we weren’t there. It was a challenging idea and a new experience in property ownership. I had already managed our long term rentals (aka the “bread-n’-butter”) for years but was intrigued with attracting vacationers to my “personal” space and testing how it would fare.

What do I like about it, what do I dislike? What I like most I guess is that I get such a charge that so many people are willing to pay good money to stay in my place when there are so many alternatives, other rentals. I also like that their reactions/reviews have been so wonderful, many over-the-top, memorable, touching…you name it! To think that their vacation was made so special by staying in my condo is beyond up-lifting!

Is it profitable? For sure! Compared to my long-term rentals, my small one-bedroom brought in 3 (sometimes 4) times as much a month ($39K-$41K year for 7+ yrs.). Not too shabby.

There’s lots more to it, of course, but with all the levels of experienced hosts contributing on this forum, you are bound to pick up and learn volumes.


#11

I have rented rooms in my apartment via Airbnb since 2012 …first one, then 2 and then occasionally 3.

Now my partner and me are renting a condo and if the money is right we are also renting it as an entire unit. But it is so much more painful to get the whole condo sparkling, most of the private stuff cleared away, the overflowing fridge emptied to ‘somewhere’ else for a weekend …
If you want to be living there, think again. Try it with your current digs …because if you have not experienced that you don’t know what you are signing up for …especially if you need the money.

And one more thing: with the emphasis that Airbnb is putting on ‘any listing needs should be at least 4.7 stars’ it is not any easy thing.


#12

Interesting. I get the feeling guests idea of 5 stars for cleanliness when sharing is like staying with a friend who has cleaned your bedroom/bathroom and tidied up the rest of the house but when it is the whole place they expect it to be all cleaned at hotel standard. That’s my excuse anyway.


#13

I’m one of the few people here who has done it both ways at the same location. First 1.5 years was the guest room down the hall and guests used the bathroom across the hall. I never use that bathroom but guests to my home use it so I always had to be cleaning up after them. Also because of boarding dogs there is always dog hair and dirty floors. That said, in those days they were welcome to use the rest of the house, back yard and I offered breakfast foods. It was a lot more work, not more money and more 4 star reviews. My only 3 star review was a direct result of this set up.

Then I did a significant remodel. I added onto the front of the home, put an ensuite bathroom and a separate entrance. There are two doors between their room and my hall way which, in effect, creates a closet through which I can access their room. Even if someone comes into my part of the home I make them go through the front door rather than passing through the house where they can see my messy bedroom, etc.

Now I get far more bookings, less work, higher ratings.


#14

2bedrooms, all my weekend slots are filled, and that pays two thirds of my mortgage.

Which is nice


#15

I really did wonder where you were going with this. Phew! :japanese_goblin:


#16

Agree with everything said above.

I lean on the pessimistic side, feeling strongly that the AirBNB ship has sailed … if you had gotten in around 2012-2014, or even earlier, you could have cleaned up.

Jumping in now to me is jumping in as all the STR platforms get crazier and crazier. Competition is insanely fierce. If the river home you are envisioning is in the Intermountain West (less developed than elsewhere), I do think you might have a way forward.

Be better to figure out “what’s next after this AirBNB cult” and get in on some different economic happening on the upswing vs. down.

P.S. Rivers flood. As beautiful as they are, I would never put anything not on stilts or otherwise easily replaced, such as a yurt, on a river bank or anywhere near.


#17

Loads of good advice above!

Another aspect is whether you see yourself as a hospitality expert or as a landlord. Airbnb can be extremely challenging but if you’re a hospitality person, you’ll take that in your stride and enjoy the challenge. If though you are more of a landlord mentality, you’ll hate the concept and be better off using your property offering it to long-term tenants.


#18

Agree, agree, agree. It’s fun and the easiest money we’ve ever made, which we use for our own trips and give to ministries. I will say, though, I don’t think I’d enjoy hosting remotely. We started by renting an extra room in our home and then a cabin in our backyard, We’ve had no issues at all in our short stint as hosts. I think our personal greeting, orientation to the property, and presence keeps good people honest.


#19

We are new to this but here’s a newbie’s two cents (since fresh growing pains might help to recount).

We bought the house that we did, 6 hours from where we live now because I used to live in the area, and we vacation there often, and plan to retire there in a few years. So we found a house that we wanted to live in and could afford (closely maybe but doable) if it didn’t rent.

We have had some surprises, of course, but the best part of our situation are the neighbors. The house is in a gated community / HOA, but rentals are allowed. In fact our caretaker is our HOA president. Without him - as crazy as he makes me sometimes - this would never have been something I would have felt comfortable with. I guess there are companies like Evolve and other management places, but having people around that I consider new friends has been a gift. It makes me want to move there sooner! And I can’t wait until July when we get to go back, and my husband and daughter can meet everyone this time.

Guess what I am saying is (1) make sure your purchase is possible for your future, regardless if it rents or not and (2) Have a good support system. Best decision we EVER made in this was NOT going for the mortgage the bank said we could afford. We cut it nearly in half, and that has helped immensenly with surprise costs and learning curves.

Good luck and best wishes!


#20

Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice. I’m thinking I may rent the house during Kentucky Derby time but not year round. Baby steps! Thanks again!!!


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