Soon To Be Hosting! - Questions For The Experts, Please!

I have gleaned so much info from all of you by reading through this forum for days on end but this is my first inquiry so please be gentle. :slight_smile:

I am purchasing a wonderful 3 bedroom, 1 bath home in one of the hottest neighborhoods in my city to be used primarily as income property but I will live in it part time because I love the hood. I do have another home with my sweetie that I will be living in. I am going to convert the basement into a studio, which is where I will stay when I have guests. It is walking distance to some of the most highly rated restaurants and bars and the 'hood is primarily 1920’s bungalows and cottages.

I plan on installing a Ring doorbell (have one at home) and a Nest thermostat for regulating temps and adjusting the temps before the guests arrive as well as setting a reasonable hot/cold temp for their stay. I will install a keypad lock that I can set with a code to be used during the duration of their stay so I do not have to be there when they arrive or depart.

I plan on stocking the kitchen with great thrift store finds but I will furnish the house with beautiful furniture, the most comfortable beds and nice towels and linens and I have lots of ideas for the best towels and sheets from all of you!

Here are my questions:

  1. Since I only have one very small bathroom, shall I limit my guests to just 4 people? The house could accommodate 6 but 6 people using one bathroom might create complaint central on my reviews and this will be a business for me.

  2. As with many older homes built in the 1920’s, the floors aren’t completely level, wood floors are a little rough and the ceiling height on the way up the stairs has low clearance and I am concerned that people will bump their heads and then try to sue me. I know good insurance is a MUST but anyone else have experience with low clearance going up and down a staircase? Do people complain (of course they do)?

  3. Will people complain that the hardwood floors aren’t perfect? I can probably answer that myself because it is human nature to complain, right? But if I call the house “Rustic Chic” hopefully people will expect a bit of edginess. I have attached a photo of the living room although this is from the listing. I will furnish it similarly but with darker chairs and rug so stains are camouflaged.

  4. One of the houses next door is an eyesore. Does that matter? Everything else in the area is adorable!

  5. With no reviews, how hard is it to get guests to stay? Can I run a “New Listing Special”? I am guessing that having a flexible cancellation policy, no minimum stay requirement and low cleaning fee and security deposit will help but can I adjust those as often as I want?

Thanks so much for your advice!!

We HATED our RING camera and installed the Nest Outdoor Cam to go with our Nest Thermo, just FYI. I know @KKC loves her RING, but we are also not living on the property and Nest Cam gave us much better ‘coverage’ of recordings than Ring.

  1. Yes, people will complain. We have a 4/2 in Barcelona and while HUGE for Euro standards people (Americans) complain all the time about the bathroom situation. This is either something you just deal with or limit guest count. I would personally start at 6 and see what happens.

  2. Our house in Nor Cal is the 1930s also, with a VERY imperfect floors. We chose to lay laminate flooring over them, to protect them and make them look nicer. I think of it as a very large area rug until we muster the $$ to completely refinish the old floors. Also, make sure to say very prominently This is a VINTAGE/OLD house. People expect NEW and we have had complaints that the house is OLD, um duh.

  3. We have gotten 'up and coming ’ neighborhood, ‘some houses not well maintained’, etc in reviews, so yes people will say something.

  4. I would def run a bit of a special to get some good reviews, and then slowly increase the price. I believe all the pricing services have people on the forum you can chat with about dynamic pricing. @ianmchenry is the only one I can remember.

The key take away guests complain about everything, so just be prepared, and make your listing as accurate as possible.

My property is very similar to yours - funky/quirky historic house in up and coming neighborhood.

  1. I also have one bathroom and I have my guest maximum set at 6 people because my house is a 3 bedroom. I do have a disclaimer in my house rules to make people aware before they book that there is only 1 bathroom. That has seemed to limit complaints and hasn’t seemed to affect my reviews. Sometimes people stay with several kids, and they don’t seem to have as high of bathroom needs as a group of 6 adults.

  2. I have a narrow staircase with relatively low clearance, and I’ve only had 1 or 2 people mention it. I would get good insurance and perhaps mention the staircase in your disclaimer as well, saying that it might not be the best fit for people with mobility issues.

  3. I worried about the same thing - my floors are scratched and scuffed and in pretty worn down condition. I wondered if I was going to have to redo the floors or suffer bad reviews. Thank goodness I didn’t spend the money on it, as I haven’t heard one thing about the floors. I put down a couple of big rugs over the worst parts, and people seem pretty understanding of the old house factor.

  4. The house next door to mine is an eyesore as well. People seem to be forgiving since the inside of my house is cute. Honestly, if it was me staying as a guest, the interior of the actual Airbnb and the amenities provided are much more important to me than the neighbor’s house. I also have a disclaimer stating that the neighborhood is “hip and up and coming and might not be the best fit for some people” so that people who are going to leave me a bad review because the neighborhood has a little grit will not book at my place. I did that after getting one 2 star review from an older couple who didn’t feel safe in the neighborhood (even though downtown is in my listing title). I haven’t had a complaint since then. Just be clear about your “deficiencies” and guests who book with you will have realistic expectations and not be surprised or disappointed.

  5. For the first month I set my rates at 50% of my current rate to get people in the door, and I also asked a few friends and family to stay there for a night and leave me a review to build up a few positive reviews. Having a lower rate at first will make guests a bit more forgiving in their reviews than they might be if paying full price as you work out the kinks in the beginning.


Love might be too strong a word. But it does work well for my needs. As a stand alone security camera it is lacking.

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@KKC I will send you mine!

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Allow for 6 but make it clear that there is only one bathroom.
Bargain hunters will book.
Personally I find 6 sharing one bathroom is a bit much, but if I was looking for a good deal, perhaps I would consider it.
All the best!

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Yeah I mean you’ll be targeting backpackers at this rate or students - which isn’t bad but just something you should be aware of.

We have 3 bedrooms/ 1 bathroom +1 extra toilet and we get between 1 to 6 guests(a few time 8 guests with extra beds). Never had a problem and we get good reviews.
Our place is in Sweden.

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As Sweden is such an expensive place to visit I guess people don’t mind this solution (& properly expect it). Having an extra toilet is key though isn’t it in these situations - when you need to go and someone is hogging the bathroom for ages.

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Yes The extra toilet is really something that people like and it’s take very little place. (It was previously a closet).

My property was built in 1920. When I first started with ABB I had worries about all kinds of things. As it turned out, people didn’t comment on the things I worried about and commented on other things that surprised me. The floors in an upstairs unit are uneven and that was my biggest worry. Turns out, no one has ever made a single comment about it. I, too, have a very messy neighbor. I apologize to anyone who comments and let them know that the neighbors are elderly and disabled, are very nice, AND that the lady is Captain of the Neighborhood Watch. People are kinder about the messy neighbors after that.

I would highlight the positive in the listing, such as calling your house historic, Art-Deco, etc. And brace yourself for whatever comments your guests have. You’re going to be learning alot about human nature! My last guest utterly loved his room. He works construction so travels for work alot. He said many ABB rooms he’d stayed in were fairly basic with no TV and little privacy. My room has a 48" TV with just Netflix and a huge walk in closet that worked great for his two big suitcases. He was used to less and got more so was happy. My current guest, on the other hand, another traveling construction worker, isn’t happy that there’s no cable on the same 48" TV and that the same large closet has a staircase above it for the upstairs unit and complains because he can hear the tenants upstairs coming and going. As a host you’ll need to know that you’ll win some, and lose some.

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We get a lot of girls, i.e. 2 or 3 friends staying. While it may not help for 6 with one bathroom, one thing to think about is making sure you have plenty of mirrors, especially near outlets and with decent lighting. People need to get ready and if they have somewhere other than the bathroom I think it helps a lot.

Thanks so much to everyone for this very helpful info and feedback!

It’s so funny how spoiled people are about bathrooms! All older houses that haven’t been remodeled have one bath. I can remember as a kid staying in my grandparents’ place and us all lining up, having to wait for my grandfather to finish up in the bathroom and it seemed like it took forever because he took a bath every morning… No shower!!! :heart_eyes_cat: Such things would be unheard of today!


Six people sharing a bathroom is a pain for many nowadays. And you mentioned you plan to convert the basement to a studio for your personal use, so I assume studio comes with another en-suite and you will not be joining your guests for bathroom?

I have a two bedrooms and two bathrooms listing, (and a sofabed for extra people sometimes). One main reason people choose my place is for the two bathrooms, and large groups don’t want to share bathrooms for many reasons. I wonder if it is possible to renovate the place and add an additional bathroom, that would be a big plus. However, you can always start with 1 bathroom and if business is good and you observe you have a high percentage of large groups, then you consider invest into an additional bathroom.

Hardwood floor and low height clearance are fine as long as you make an accurate description. Again, you can start for now and invest in carpets later if necessary.

It’s maybe depending of market. I have never got any large group complaining about our 1 bathroom + 1 toilet.

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Very true, if a large group chose to stay at a place with 1 bath 1 toilet, they shouldn’t complain. I didn’t make myself clearly enough. What I was trying to say is if the OP can upgrade to 2 bathrooms (or at least two toilets), it can be a big plus for his/her listing. It can attract more booking because many group travellers in the same group want their private bathrooms, I have a few such groups already (only hosted 8 groups so far).

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I agree that a second toilet can be a big plus and it’s take very little place compare to a real bathroom.