Tips for managing multi-unit listings

Hi all! we’re looking at buying a single-family home we plan to convert to a multi-family one.

We’re looking to rent the full property out but stay in the smaller unit ourselves from time-to-time.

When we aren’t staying there, we’d ideally fully book the combined two units.

What’s the best way to manage this? Should we list this on Airbnb as two separate listings?

Yes, it has to be 2 separate listings. You’d have to block dates on them so only available dates for each option shows. The photo gallery, description, etc would all have to be different, because you wouldn’t want photos of the entire house on the listing that is available when you are living in the smaller unit and the description, number of guests and beds would all be different.

Yes. In addition to @muddy’s advice, you’ll want to include in the description that there are two units in the house so the guests aren’t surprised that there are other people around there may be some exterior spaces (backyard, driveway, etc.) or interior spaces (hallway) that are shared.

You may even want to do 3 listings where one listing is the combination of the other two. This will allow larger groups to book and the calendars can be linked so that you can’t get double-booked.

Be careful. Do your diligence! You may well need to get a VARIANCE from your town to do that. Many towns, including ours are rather against increasing units per dwelling.
So, you may even need an attorney, which is still no guarantee to getting your variance unless there are multiple precedents where this has been allowed not merely “in your town” but also on the street and in your direct neighborhood. So, please do NOT assume that you will absolutely be able to do whatever just because you buy a property. They can (and likely will) require changes that are FULLY code compliant (and modern code can make it VERY challenging to “split 1 unit into 2”).
The last thing you want is some board sticking it to you at a variance meeting, and your entire business plan can get shot to hell! Or, that the required changes from a code standpoint are perhaps much more involved and expensive than they may appear at first glance.
Might not even be a bad idea to include it in your contract as a contingency so that you don’t end up owning a property where the split gets refused later.
In short … buyer beware.

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Good advice, there can be a lot of red tape, although it’s generally not any different from building a guest house in your backyard, at least until you want to rent long-term and need two separate mailing addresses…

I like the idea, but I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it. No seller would even consider such a contingency in today’s market, but maybe a couple years from now things will be very different.

[Edit: I’m assuming this is in the USA. Other markets might be differerent]