Turn basement in to 1 or 2 bedroom apartment?

We’re considering buying a house with a 1,000 sq ft unfinished basement. We’re thinking of finishing it to short-term rent it. The question is, what’s more beneficial, 1 or 2 bedrooms? There’s space for 2 or it could be a huge 1. Obviously you can charge more for 2 rooms. But does a 1 bedroom place get rented more? Does that overcome the price difference? Another thought is that opening it up to more people will result in louder guests…What are your thoughts? 1 or 2 bedroom basement apartment? Thanks!

Remember that every basement bedroom must have an egress window. The grade of your lot and the depth of the basement will determine if you can add any bedrooms to your basement legally.


Assuming 2 bedrooms, are you planning to rent out the whole place or shared accommodation?

The basement will be completely separate from the house. So yes, we’d rent out both rooms.

I’m not sure we’re clear on this. Will this be two listings of type ‘Shared’ for each room or one listing of type ‘Whole flat’ that includes both the rooms?

Sorry…One listing.

Whatever number of bedrooms you end up choosing; when you go live make sure that in your listing it’s extremely clear that guests will be renting rooms in a basement. Some people hate being in a basement.

Thanks. My general understanding is that shared listings are easier to manage than full ones. It’s simple psychology - the knowledge that there are others/strangers co-sharing the space makes people behave a bit more.

You will see that most of the rants on threads in this forum is about full listings.

If I were you, I would offer it as two listings, one room each, with shared bathrooms and other living space. Based on the layout, I would even make it appear as though the hosts are sharing the space, although technically you might not be, as you said it’s separate.

Just tell them it’s bargain-basement rates :wink:


In my experience, when it’s clear to prospective guests that the unit is attached to the owner’s unit, it filters out problem guests, at least the partiers.

OP, I rent our basement apt and I prefer to rent it as 1 br (there’s a second bedroom that we lock off when guests don’t need/pay for the 2nd br). Offering the 2nd bedroom doesn’t allow me to double the price (we have a very small apt). The additional laundry and noise are significant since the 2br set-up is rented by families and groups of friends. I like the couples and solo travelers that rent the 1 br and I also like having the space of the 2nd br for storage and supplies. For me, the 2nd bedroom is a buffer of privacy (our stairway down to our garage is behind that bedroom) that I don’t like giving up, esp for the nominal amount it brings in.


To help answer @johnk0411’s query -

Isn’t this more beneficial - that you have people less likely to trash the place coming in thru 2 shared listings? Can you define what you mean by beneficial?

What’s more monetarily beneficial, a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom?

@johnk0411 Gail, here, one of the forum moderators. I’ve closed your duplicate post. Please continue the conversation on this, the original thread, which you only posted yesterday.


You didn’t say monetarily beneficial in your original post.

This is difficult to answer as it depends on whether you charge for extra guests. Also, it might deter a couple who only need one bedroom as they may feel they are paying for space they don’t need. As a long time host and guest on Airbnb I think one bedroom and a futon sofa or sofa bed allows you to host up to four and will keep the space more open and easier to turn over with less to clean.

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I have a 3 bedroom place, the idea of renting it shared gives me nightmares. With a private suite, it’s easy to know who caused what damage, shared, there would be constant coming and going of guests. You can plan cleaning of the whole unit, shared would mean the need to clean shared area constantly. I’d go with 2 bedrooms. I set a price for a couple, then $10/person after that. My unit attracts families and groups of friends. If you are in a popular tourist area near attractions, shared might be a good choice, but it really depends on your location which you haven’t shared, which makes it very hard to give you advise. If two people come and sleep in two beds, it’s not the end of the world, it’s only a set if bedding.

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I guess you will have to (try to) do some market research, come up with a business plan, marketing strategy, etc. … Since you don’t disclose where the house is located we won’t be able to help, and even then, chances are slim we will know what works in that area. In the end the result of your research might very well be that it will be better financially to rent out long term instead of short term.

My 5 cents…

  • Supposing you turn it into a more spacious 1 bedroom you will have to charge more per person staying and I don’t know if people are willing to pay a premium for staying in a basement.
  • If you only allow 1 or 2 people, you will be catering to a smaller market, although this is probably still the biggest market segment. A second bedroom (with possibly a second bathroom), an extra sleeping nook, sofa bed, … allows you to cater to other markets: Families, people traveling together who want a separate bed (business partners, friends, …), etc. … I would try to look for a flexible solution in that sense.
  • Personally I am against renting out a separate unit as a shared space for two groups of guests. Although it does happen, I think it is just plain weird. I think a shared space needs a host present. For reasons that @Louise just mentioned.
  • If you could turn it into two totally separate units, that can be united when necessary that would of course be a great solution.

I agree, people dynamics are hard to predict. I personally would stay in a host’s private room but not if they rent to other guests at the same time. I would never rent to guests who do not know each other.

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I can only see 4 cents @GutHend, forgot the fifth one eh :wink:


Shared spaces are not easier to manage when you’re including two sets of strangers. You will then need to think about security issues, bathroom access etc etc. Me personally I wouldn’t go there.

The only model I agree is easy: one host and one set of guests.

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