Should I List my Space on Airbnb?
If you are brand new to Airbnb, you may have a lot of questions about whether or not your extra space will work. Obviously, if you have an entire guest house or a second home it’s much easier to figure out the logistics of renting that space. However a spare bedroom inside your home is an entirely different scenario. So before we jump into the spare bedroom suggestions, let’s review a few key factors when asking “Should I list my guest space on Airbnb?” But everyone pay attention! Because these factors affect spare-bedroom situations as well.
Is my House Right for Airbnb?
Consideration #1: Location
With an entire house to list you may be wondering, should I rent to long-term tenants or jump into this short-term-rental game? Airbnb tends to work best in areas of the country that see a fair amount of tourism. However, that does not mean less-traveled parts of the country are automatically a no. You just need to do your homework. If you are in an area that seems tourist-questionable, all you need to do is hop on Airbnb and VRBO and look for listings in your area. Are there a lot? If there are, that could be a good sign that business is good. If there are not many, it may also be a good sign that competition is low. Next, look at some of the nicer listings’ availability calendars. How booked are they? What you are looking for is a sense that there are enough travelers filling those calendars to potentially fill yours. Because by following our Wizard tips, rules, and recommendations, you’ll end up with the preferred space to book. It really all comes down to having a well designed space and pricing it competitively.
Consideration #2: What makes it Unique?
Is your house within close proximity to a major convention center, a sports arena, an airport, a zoo, or an up and coming Urban area? Any and all of those things will attract potential guests and you want to highlight the reasons guests will want to stay in your space. Maybe your house isn’t close to anything at all… and THAT’S why people will want to stay there, it’s an escape. Maybe your home is decorated with Bob Marley memorabilia, or you’ve crafted a queen bed frame out of the back end of an old ’57 Chevy truck. There are many ways to make your home stand out, even if its location is fairly unexciting.
Consideration #3: Will the income be more than a long-term tenant?
The point of getting into a short-term rental is most often to make more income than in a traditional rental set up. Airbnb has a calculator for interested hosts to estimate what their potential earnings might be. HOWEVER this calculator seems to grossly underestimate actual revenue potential. We’ve put all our listings into this calculator to see how it compares to our actual earnings, and it regularly gives us an estimate of less than half our actual earnings. Now I’m all for the ‘under-promise and over-deliver’ philosophy, but their calculator seems a bit too conservative. (Or maybe we’re just super-effective hosts who know how to maximize our Airbnb revenue!). But, hang on! Because the wizards have another idea for you to maximize your profits when short-term renting an entire place!
Consideration#4: Can You Split it Up?
If you’ve got a house in a regularly visited city with some charming aspects, but the Airbnb calculator says you’ll break even (or worse) on your mortgage, you’ll probably still be hesitant to try this out. But depending on the layout of your home, and especially additional entrances, you may be able to divide the space into multiple listings. And multiple listings in one house can be the key to a very lucrative Airbnb business! Read on to determine if splitting the house up will work for your situation.
Should I List my Spare Room on Airbnb?
Consideration #1 and #2: Location
If you are thinking of listing an extra bedroom in your home, I would say the city you live in plays an even bigger factor than when considering a whole-house listing. And the 2nd location consideration refers to the location of the room in regard to the rest of your home. Ideally your extra room should have its own private bathroom and a separate entrance, even if it’s a sliding glass door onto a patio that can be accessed by walking around your home. If you’ve got those two things, you can simply add a lock to any doors that would allow guests access to the rest of your home and bam! you’ve got the perfect spare-room Airbnb setup.
How creative can you get?
Now, that is the ideal set up. If that’s not what you have, how far away from that set-up are you? Are there any modifications to the house, room, yard, etc that you can make to get it almost like that? For example, in one of our spare-bedroom listings guests entered through the garage (we had a keypad for them to gain access), and walked down some stairs and then turned left down the hallway to access their bedroom space. At the base of the stairs there was an opening to the rest of our house, basically a right turn as opposed to the left towards the bedroom. So we simply hung a blackout curtain over that opening to a) make it more obvious for the guests that they were to turn left and b) make it less intrusive as they could no longer see into our living room as they walked by. We could have also built in a door at that opening with a lock, thus making it entirely secure and private. How far you’d like to go with the modifications totally depends on your lifestyle and budget. We knew we were only in that home for a couple years and my husband worked from home most often. So we felt the cost of a built-in door in that situation wasn’t necessary.
You probably aren’t on this site and considering “Should I list my house on Airbnb?” if you don’t live in a fairly well traveled to city. So with that question pretty much answered, the rest is about the layout of your home. Splitting your home (whether it’s entirely a rental or part of the space you currently occupy) into multiple Airbnb listings can take a bit of creativity, but the financial rewards can make a big difference! Having multiple listings on one property(for example, listing the master bedroom and bathroom as one space, and then the rest of the home — other bedrooms/bathrooms and kitchen — as a second space) allows you to meet the needs of different types of travelers. The master bed/bath listing will be great for short stays with 1 or 2 guests, while the bigger portion of the home will work for families of groups staying for longer periods of time. Now you are set to capture the attention of more of the travelers looking at Airbnb for places to stay. You are also collecting more money per square foot of space listed and extra cleaning fees. Double Bonus!! Ready to start hosting on Airbnb? CLICK HERE to sign up and start the process!
**If you would like more specific advice on how exactly to Airbnb your guest space, or potential spaces, you can now have the BNB Wizards do a personalized consultation for your home/space. Learn more on our Consulting page!