Sold our Airbnb

We sold and closed on the sale of our Airbnb on September 1st, 2021. When we we’re approached by someone wanting to purchase the home their intent was to purchase as a plug and play business.

The plan was made in May 2021, and a purchase contract was signed. At the time we had only a full summer and one reservation into September 2021. We agreed with the new owners that I would host and she would cohost the property until all of our reservations were fulfilled, as I had heard the nightmare and consequences of trying to cancel/rebook with Airbnb.

There were a few stumbles on the buyers part with his financing, (he finally moved to a business loan) and what was supposed to close mid to late July closed September 1. We weren’t mad about that as we had a busy summer and the money was coming in, BUT, they couldn’t open their own Airbnb listing before close and asked that we keep ours open, as not to lose the fall bookings. We did that, and bookings started to come in almost daily, even a couple for 2023.

When the sale finally closed she made her listing live on Airbnb and VRBO, I snoozed mine and we started the process of moving VRBO guests over, i sent an email to each guest introducing the new owners, a link to their listing, and she held the dates waiting on contact. I canceled all of the VRBO reservations (they allow that). And all rebooked.

I was sending her the money for each reservation and she was co-hosting on Airbnb, although I think she learned a lot, so did I, and our hosting style is very different. (Not saying I’m right) but my style is very communicative, I have made my share of mistakes in the 4 years I have been hosting, learned from them and built communication, rules or other work arounds to prevent issues.

I was becoming worried that my ratings may suffer, (i own other properties) I took communication back over, but she continued to communicate, sometimes contradictory to what I just said moments ago. So I called Airbnb, explained what I would like to do; Communicate with the guest via the platform, explain that the property has changed ownership, but all amenities are staying, provide the link to new owners listing, then cancel without fee or super host penalties.

I was expecting to hear that Airbnb is a hosting site not a property site and what I was asking is not part of their process. But that’s not what I heard, they asked me to send I copy of the deed proving sale (I did), I then communicated with 14 guest reservations via the Airbnb site, and a rep from Airbnb canceled all of the reservations without penalties to me. All reservations have rebooked with the new owner, and the process was actually so much easier than it was with VRBO.

I was really planning on having to host this property until all reservations were fulfilled, but in the words of my father you don’t get 100% of what you don’t ask for, so I asked, and there was actually no wrangling at all to accomplish this. So I don’t know if Airbnb has recently loosened their stance on this or if I just got lucky, everything I have read says you will lose super host and $100 per reservation. That is not what I experienced. Just wanted to tell my story on this as I have seen other post regarding this, so it can be done if you catch the right rep.


Thanks for your informative post.


A simpler way is to make sure you don’t have any reservations before it closes. I did that at the end of the season in AZ, had a couple months closing and did not take more reservations. It was painless, didn’t have to talk to Air. And, while the buyer started on Air it was their own, not mine.

I think in an effort to be helpful you complicated things. Once you closed, you should have contacted Airbnb to cancel reservations without penalty and deactivated that particular listing. Now her listing is attached to your other listings making things confusing. Once you sold that property, you had to let go of it.


Yes that would have been simpler, but these folks were buying a Business, not a house. We provided our revenue reporting as part of the financing transaction, and frankly they really needed that revenue to carry them through the winter. This property is in Northern Minnesota, the busy times are summer June - September, and fall for weekenders hoping to see the fall colors. We do get ice fishers and snowmobiles, but occupancy in the winter is around 25%, fall is 40%, spring 25% and summer 98%. If we were to close down bookings that opportunity would have been a loss for them this year. We also have a wedding venue 3 miles away and we are on their preferred vendor list, weddings have been busy this year, as 2020 had no gatherings.

So I do understand that the best way to do it is to close off your calendar, but we had no intention to sell the home until we were approached, our future revenue was actually a selling point, and I knew going into it that the decisions I made would have consequences for me in regards to having a clean break and walking away. But because anything can happen, and if the sale for any reason fell apart we would carry a dead fall, and the buyers wanted/needed a home that had $25,000 in future bookings (between all platforms). So if we had actually listed our home and planned on a sale, that probably would have been our path (delist). But the entire point of the sale/purchase was plug and play for these buyers. I was willing to work through the reservations, so my point of the posting isn’t why we did what we did, rather don’t dismiss options that may be available.


@Robin Out of curiosity, how much a difference did it make in sale price selling it in this way?

Actually her listing isn’t attached to mine it is separate, I can’t see it, all guests have been informed that the new owners are their host now, they were given the opportunity to either rebook, or not rebook, (at no penalties to them) all chose to rebook, they certainly had the options to chose a different property, as all bookings were 100% refunded, including the booking fees. A fair number of the forward reservations are wedding guests, we are the closest lodging to a large barn style venue, and we have the ability to host 13 guests, so the property is a popular for larger groups attending weddings. Many guests expressed how grateful they are that they do not have to locate new accommodations in the rural location.


Well that is a good question, as we probably left a fair amount on the table. We as I mentioned were not planning on selling, we live 1300 miles away and this was our family cabin since 2009, we decided to list it on Airbnb in early 2018 and it really took off. When and acquaintance asked if we would consider selling we said make an offer. They offered us $115,000 more than it was listed for 1.5 years earlier (with no activity). We took it, and decided to reinvest in our new area (coastal Alabama). It appraised for considerably more than the price we sold for, but I’m not sure it would have sold for more had we listed with a realtor, as most of what would have considered the property were not likely investing in a business.

So to answer that question, I’m not sure, a property is only worth what someone will pay for it, we were able to show over $65,000 annually for revenue, with year over year consistency in the increase, so for an investment it was a steal, for someone that wanted a family cabin it would have been at the WAY top end. We came out whole by avoiding about $40,000 in fees to a selling agent, the new owners got a thriving business (now it’s up to them).


I’d say you were just lucky to get a knowledgable, helpful Airbnb rep. And you probably knew how to approach them and explain the situation clearly and simply, which not everyone does.


I would never co-host with someone I didn’t know and who’s approach could impact on my business.

The right thing to do for guests when selling is to close dates in your listing and only allow short term booking.

If the purchasers want to set up on Airbnb let them do it when sold.

You are selling a house not an STR business.


That’s a bit silly.
Just because you were able to bring in an income for your listing
Does not mean another individual will do the same.
You were selling a unit with the idea that the new owner could rent it. Not your listed Airbnb which is You!
This really seemed the strangest way to close your Airbnb.
Oh well. Interesting topic.

It is not silly in my opinion, and every market is different. The property sold is a 5 bedroom log cabin on 5 acres with lake access. It rented almost immediately when we started out, and it was my first experience with STR, it is near a very large wedding venue (3 miles). I agree that what they do now is really up to them, and if they don’t pay close attention to maintenance and reviews they will not realize the same success. My post however was not about if they will make money (that’s not my concern now). But rather to let people know that there is a process that not many know about that allows a host to cancel, offer the link to the new owners site and guests can rebook if they choose to. And I was not penalized in money or host status.

Where we live and have reinvested in Gulf Shores Al people ABSOLUTELY buy and sell a property as a business. Condos that allow STR sell for considerably more than those that don’t, typically they sell fully furnished and rental ready, sometimes they current reservations transfer (not Airbnb) but management companies. So I don’t agree with you that this is a silly premise, the condo complex we purchased in this month has 24 units, 14 short term rent, 4 long term rent, 2 are full time owner occupied and the rest are second homes. So there are absolutely properties that lend themselves to vacation rental and that is their highest and best use.


If that proves to be true then it would be the buyer that is silly and not the seller. It is never silly to sell something to a willing buyer.

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And so it continues…

@Mark_Barden To be fair, this host notified booked guests of the change of ownership and they were offered the choice to keep the booking with a new host, which it sounds like most of them did.

That’s different from hosts selling a place, telling the new owners they can have all these bookings that are pending, as a selling point, and then coming on a forum asking how they can transfer the bookings to the new owner, as if the guests are part of the furnishings. I hate that mind set.

If I were to put my place on the market, I wouldn’t have the calendar open to bookings more than a few weeks or a month in advance, as even if a solid offer came through, the paperwork takes awhile to go through and the actual possession date could be set for the date the last reservation was over.