Author Topic: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion  (Read 6572 times)

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2017, 10:11:55 AM »
Hi Walt,
Nice to see how you've brought your vision to fruition! Keeping in mind the goals of highest renter satisfaction and revenue with least amount of damage to your beautiful unit, I have a ton of thoughts, which I hope will help contribute to your success.

We've made multiple trips to Aspen in the past year and stayed in four different places. Your place looks awesome, but I do have a couple of suggestions, mostly based on our recent experiences. Some of this might seem nitpicky, but you're looking for great reviews and repeat business, so here goes. I also read enough of your stuff to know you don't tiptoe, so I won't either. Here goes, in totally random order.

Surface area to drop shit: it's hard to have too much of it. Since you have no dining room table, there's one less spot to dump crap right off the bat. I'd look for every way possible to increase that. Renters aren't really interested in filling cupboards and closets neatly, they're on vacation.

The ski racks are a good start, but you also want lots of pegs for coats or wet gear is gonna be piled on your floors and upholstery. I'd look for a much longer bench to put where the smaller one is now. Think something simple and sturdy, like a decommissioned church pew. Craigslist offers them up on a regular basis. They're simply built and can easily be shortened to the exact length for the space.

Coffee table: needs to be larger and sturdy as all get-out. With no table and stuff piled on the counter, the coffee table's going to need to take more of the load. Buy used, of course.

Area rugs are super cheap on CL, I'd put a good sized one in front of the sofa and maybe a runner under/in front of the suggested long bench, at a minimum. Polypropylene is the way to go, cause it's easy to clean. Buy inexpensive and replace as needed. I used to be in the area rug business. I still have contacts, p.m. me if you can't find anything, but I'll need lead time. The mats in the gear corner are good, but I'd go bigger, literally, as big as possible. Also, some kind of drop zone for smaller stuff like keys, sunglasses, goggles, right next to the front door. A charging station other than the kitchen counter is handy too. Doesn't need to be much more than a shelf with a power strip or hub, just not on the kitchen counter.

Is there room outside the front door for a bench to sit and remove boots so some of that mess stays outside without being an eyesore?

The surface area quest continues in the bedrooms. Look around and ask yourself where people are gonna put their crap and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. The armoire is nice (Is it secured to the wall so it can't tip?), but hard to dump stuff on top of. Can't tell from the photos, but the space on the nightstands could be an issue. DH uses a C-pap and I like to read at night. At several places, the bedside lighting and surface area was woefully inadequate. Moving beds in search of outlets was a drag too.

Bathroom, same thing. Lots of sturdy hooks for wet towels. A place to set/hang a blow dryer to keep it off the counter. Floating shelves wide enough to hold piles of fluffy towels and toiletry kits without tipping over. Also, consider installing splash guards in the shower to avoid water damage to the floor.

Regarding exterior photos, I understand if you don't want a picture of your entire house for privacy purposes. Can you create or highlight an existing feature that can serve as an identifying marker? Something that people can recognize easily that lets them know they've arrived? (My sister once bought a house with a wishing well. Removing it was on their long list of DIY asap projects. It turned out to be such a convenient and sure-fire marker that they decided to keep it. Years later and 1700 miles away in San Francisco, I met a woman from the same Texas town. When I mentioned that my sister lived there, she knew the exact the house, because of the wishing well. Not suggesting you install a wishing well specifically, but something distinctive, so people are sure they're "home".) It will cut down on late night contact from people who can't find the place.

In my career, I did tons of business travel and developed a soft spot for luxury hotels, particularly when it wasn't my own dime. A week at the Broadmoor? Oh, yes, please. The decor is what sets them apart. Mirrors and oversized artwork are key. Sorry Walt, what I can see of it is too small and not well positioned. Look on CL, at ReStore, or consignment stores for some inexpensive statement pieces. Get some big ass art and secure those suckers firmly to the wall. They create ambiance and look great in the listing pictures, which is key.

(Just back from looking at the pictures again.) Hmmm, why no right-hand return on that bathroom vanity? Can you still get a matching piece? That sink's close enough to the wall that water damage is possible. If not more be sure you've got a good caulk seal at least.

Your kitchen cabinets are beautiful! Figure out a place for people to hang dish towels so they don't drape them over the doors below the sink. I see the evidence of that stupid trick all the time and I hate it. Something that screws to the inside of the door or maybe a cute bar on the end of the island on the fridge side (better). Do not buy the kind that go over the cabinet door, 'cause they always damage the door. Wet fabric and wood is a bad combo. And no, the oven door handle is not enough towel bar space.

Okay, that's the end of my brain dump. Hope at least some of it is useful. Thanks for the report and please keep the updates coming.
~ Diane
P.S. Almost forgot - create a resource binder for your guests. Where to buy [whatever], where the best Happy Hour/craft beer/tapas/whatever is, local attractions that might be off the radar, insider tips & tricks, etc. They'll love it and you for making their trip more memorable.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 11:37:36 AM by Diane C »
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1067
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2017, 10:17:11 AM »
^ This is why this forum is awesome.

Wow Diane!!!

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2017, 10:42:36 AM »
Indeed, awesome feedback!

I'll go through with a few responses (note that I'm not arguing with any of your suggestions, just clarifying a few things.

-We photographed this before some of the smaller items (coat racks and such) were installed.

-We can add a kitchen table (we have a small round one that comfortably seats 4), but were worried it would make the space feel cramped. Maybe we'll stick it in there and see how it looks. I hear you on the surface area to dump stuff! We are looking for end tables for the couch and a much bigger bench now, we'll see what we turn up. The first few weeks of guests are all here for Sundance rather than skiing so lots of gear shouldn't immediately be a problem.

-There is now a coat rack (with 6 large dual hooks) that I think should be sufficient for even fairly large groups. I could be wrong about that, so maybe a coat tree/rack in the corner would be good.

-The coffee table has to be limited in size (and mobile) because the couch is also a bed. So guests will need to move the coffee table to deploy it. I'm not sure how big/heavy I am willing to go (this one is on wheels) for that reason.

-We considered area rugs but decided that the extra cleaning effort would not be worth it. Will reconsider that, it might make the space look nicer. The floor is not horribly cold but it can't hurt for comfort either.

-The exterior entry area is probably too small for a bench or seat to be very practical. We were limited by setback and utilities on that one, it's as big as we could make it. :(

-More surface area in bedrooms, check. Do you think luggage racks are a good idea, or do you thing bigger dressers/tables would work better? Or both?

-Bathroom now has a large towel shelf/bar and 4 large burly towel hooks. We may also add another towel bar.

-The vanity was a scrounged item. We don't have the rest (side) of the backsplash so we just caulked that area heavily and are crossing our fingers that people don't make too much of a mess.

-Dish towel hanging, got it. I did not think about that.

-We have a binder ready and a pretty extensive welcome email prepared as well with lots of "local" knowledge about stuff to do/places to eat/etc.

Thanks Diane!

-W

blahblahblah

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2017, 12:47:59 PM »
Nice work!  We AirBnB often and one of the selling points on a location is gear available to borrow, such as snow shoes or a bike to get around town given your proximity to local amenities.  I like that you've included proximity to public transit/mountain shuttle service.  Since you're marketing to skiers (nice work from La Nina this year!) I would either state that those skis are available to use or remove them from the next round of pictures.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 12:53:34 PM by blahblahblah »

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2017, 01:53:32 PM »
Great point. Those are some old rando skis from my college days (Work Stinx!) and some really random old rossis from before the days of parabolic (!) Then some of our own personal skate gear we put up there to make it look symmetrical.

So I doubt anyone would want to borrow any of it, but I will make sure to make that clear. I'm not sure I want to get into the business of loaning out gear since I think most people who stay will already have it, but we'll see, I guess. Any thoughts on doing a rental service where we'd pick up bikes/skis/etc from rental shops in town and have them ready to go? Is that something you'd want if you were doing a ski/bike trip? It might be tough for skis given the need to size/fit boots in person, of course.

-W

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1169
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #55 on: January 12, 2017, 07:17:01 PM »
Note:  I have only been in a few hotels in the last decade, so take my words with a bucket of salt.

Seconding blahblahblah's question:  I can't tell from your ad.  Are the skis in the photos available to be used as part of the room deal?  Are they available for a separate fee?  Are they just to show that one can hang skis?

It would be nice to have a photo of the sofa bed made up for sleepers.

What is up with the bedroom windows being so dark?  Are they in always-dark window wells?  Is it possible to get a photo of them in daylight?

The pale green comforter is too short and small for the bed it covers.  That will get chilly.

You say you can hold six people, but the kitchen only seats four.  That's inviting people to eat messy pizza on the sofa (which they will probably do anyway...).

Are there spare blankets?  Maybe in the armoires?  Also, it's always nice to have a few fleece blankets available for the sofa, and those would fit nicely in the coffee table baskets.

And no, the oven door handle is not enough towel bar space.

Every place I've lived disagrees with you.  ;)   Dish towels either go there or through the fridge door handle.
Because your toaster got hacked because you tried to watch porn on your blender.

6-year CPA currently on hiatus.  Botched this.  Working again. 
Go soak your beans.  You know you keep forgetting.

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2017, 07:50:54 PM »
Heard loud and clear on the skis - we wanted to show what you do with that area, rather than advertise a crappy old ski service! I will figure out a solution for that.

Photos were hastily taken at night by idiots (us) who know zero about photography. We have a professional coming next week (too much snow for them to make it today) and will photograph in daylight. There is a decent amount of light that comes in the windows.

There is a linen closet (we need to take a picture) full of blankets, comforters of various sizes, pillows, etc. Agreed that the comforter in the photo looks bad - I think it's the right size, but was pulled up too far on the bed.

Sofa bed made up photo, check.
 
Still thinking on the kitchen table - the space is a little awkward in that IMO it'll be cramped with the table there, but it's a little... empty without it.

I don't stay in hotels either, we tend to just bounce between friends in ski towns and camp/sleep in van... so this is a new thing for us. I really appreciate all the feedback, keep it coming!

-W

blahblahblah

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #57 on: January 13, 2017, 08:15:01 AM »
Great point. Those are some old rando skis from my college days (Work Stinx!) and some really random old rossis from before the days of parabolic (!) Then some of our own personal skate gear we put up there to make it look symmetrical.

So I doubt anyone would want to borrow any of it, but I will make sure to make that clear. I'm not sure I want to get into the business of loaning out gear since I think most people who stay will already have it, but we'll see, I guess. Any thoughts on doing a rental service where we'd pick up bikes/skis/etc from rental shops in town and have them ready to go? Is that something you'd want if you were doing a ski/bike trip? It might be tough for skis given the need to size/fit boots in person, of course.

-W

Meh, seems like a lot of work to pick up skis for people, personally if I'm going AirBnB style I'm willing to pick up my own skis/bike.  A list of rental recs in the welcome email could do the trick.

I know you get the ski point now but one last comment, for someone who is just doing a fun vacation with friends/family they will have no idea that those are an old style and even if intended for decor would probably try to use them due to accessibility.

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #58 on: January 13, 2017, 11:25:51 AM »
Thanks for the feedback - I agree, probably not worth the hassle. Most of the real high roller rich ski tourists will not be staying in our baasement, methinks.

For reference, for those folks who are less familiar with skiing - to use any of the skis (even if you wanted to) you'd need appropriate boots *and* the ability to adjust the bindings to fit them. I'm thinking anyone with that amount of knowledge is not likely to be grabbing random 20+ year old skis to borrow. But who knows, weirder things have happened.

We have a tentative booking for the ENTIRE 2 months of the "good" part of ski season now - fellow is coming by to look at the place in an hour or two. I guess full kitchens are at least somewhat desireable for ski industry folks and medium-term stay people. That would be awesome (we're offering a 30% monthly discount but it would mean no turnover or vacancy for that whole period). Crossing my fingers...

-W

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #59 on: January 13, 2017, 12:39:21 PM »
Ha! My wife didn't turn the heat on before the fellow showed up. Not a good impression.

Rookie mistakes...

-W

Novik

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 383
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2017, 01:25:26 PM »

Still thinking on the kitchen table - the space is a little awkward in that IMO it'll be cramped with the table there, but it's a little... empty without it.

I'm the acknowledged worst at visualizing spaces (even ones I live in) so take this with a pile of salt, but maybe a table against the wall with 3-4 chairs around it, and a couple more in a closet if guests want to pull the table out from the wall?
Over-thinking, over-planning and over-committing, aka my 2017 goals: Procrastinating my way to FIRE
If you're a dual American/Canadian citizen living in Canada and investing in index funds outside an RRSP, please PM me!

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2017, 12:27:12 AM »

Hi Walt, I'm going to try to answer some of your questions this way and then I'll do another post with some other thoughts.
 
Oops, deleted too much. Will discuss table in follow-up post.

-There is now a coat rack (with 6 large dual hooks) that I think should be sufficient for even fairly large groups. I could be wrong about that, so maybe a coat tree/rack in the corner would be good. Great! Be sure not to use anything that can tip over.

-The coffee table has to be limited in size (and mobile) because the couch is also a bed. So guests will need to move the coffee table to deploy it. I'm not sure how big/heavy I am willing to go (this one is on wheels) for that reason. Ah, wondered about the wheels. Agreed, mobility and stowability (under the tv, presumably) is important.

-We considered area rugs but decided that the extra cleaning effort would not be worth it. Will reconsider that, it might make the space look nicer. The floor is not horribly cold but it can't hurt for comfort either. I was thinking about noise, too.

...Do you think luggage racks are a good idea, or do you thing bigger dressers/tables would work better? Or both? Love the hotel-type luggage racks, but they are expensive and easy to steal. My preference is sturdy wooden benches, wide enough not to tip over easily. I own three, bought them all used and love their versatility.

-Bathroom now has a large towel shelf/bar and 4 large burly towel hooks. We may also add another towel bar. Think in sixes. More on this later. I'd still install a wider shelf on the wall above the toilet to hold more towels and renter's stuff. They'll love you for it.

-The vanity was a scrounged item. We don't have the rest (side) of the backsplash so we just caulked that area heavily and are crossing our fingers that people don't make too much of a mess. Yay on the scrounging! In that case, you handled it perfectly. Should damage occur, you can look for something decorative, such as a strip of some super expensive, coordinating backsplash tile that you get for almost free somewhere since it's such a small amount.

-Dish towel hanging, got it. I did not think about that. On second thought, maybe on the dishwasher side makes more sense, I was thinking of aesthetics, but the DW side may be more functional. WTH, I totally agree with you, but I some folks think it's perfectly okay to drape a wet dishtowel over the door below the sink so it can "dry". Other people put a dry one there for convenience while they're working at the sink and it becomes wet over a period of time. Still others think that's a good place for a metal bar that slips over the top of the door. None of these options is good for that lovely wood. Half the battle is to out think the thoughtless renters.

-We have a binder ready and a pretty extensive welcome email prepared as well with lots of "local" knowledge about stuff to do/places to eat/etc. Excellent. Remember to update it as places come and go or new favorites evolve. Stuff changes quickly and lots of tourist-oriented info is slow to update. Plus people like to feel like locals, so help 'em out, it's easy.

Thanks Diane! You're welcome, Walt. It is a good exercise. It's hard to feel useful when you've been in bed sick for the better part of the week. Also, I'm running out of steam, so follow up post, well, to follow...

-W
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3354
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2017, 01:20:18 PM »
I'd stash a freestanding drying rack in a closet, and leave a note by the front door coat rack that they can get out a rack if they have lots of wet gear to dry.

6 coat hooks is fine for coats, but if a family of wet kids comes back after a day of skiing, they need to drape pants, mittens, hats, etc somewhere.

Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #63 on: January 14, 2017, 02:05:15 PM »
I'd stash a freestanding drying rack in a closet, and leave a note by the front door coat rack that they can get out a rack if they have lots of wet gear to dry.

6 coat hooks is fine for coats, but if a family of wet kids comes back after a day of skiing, they need to drape pants, mittens, hats, etc somewhere.
Oh, the drying rack is a great idea! I'd look for something I could install in the shower so the dripping water stays off the floor. A very securely wall mounted rack is less likely to disappear. Let's see what Ikea has...nope, nothing I like on their website. Hmmm, a little google-fu reveals this lovely, sturdy, dare I say stylish thing:

http://www.hayneedle.com/product/greenway-indooroutdoor-stainless-steel-expandable-drying-rack.cfm


I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #64 on: January 14, 2017, 09:29:20 PM »
We ended up getting a couple of swing-out drying rack/towel holders (ugh, from... Ikea):
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60047896/

And we also bit the bullet and got a small Ikea table to go with (seats 4 or 6 if you're friendly). It's rectangular so can be pushed over to the wall to make space (or stowed in the mechanical room). More space to leave crap! Another flat-pack Chinese particle board wonder! Hurray!

There is more art up. We are working on taking a cool panorama of the Wasatch Crest to hang, but today was super foggy and it didn't work out. Had a nice ski to get to a good vantage point, though!

Pro photos to happen next week. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

-W

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #65 on: January 29, 2017, 05:01:32 PM »
The followup that nobody will read, probably!

We have hosted 4 sets of guests now (booked solid since mid-January) and are booked for 21 out of 28 days in February. Assuming no last-minute cancellations or crazy disasters, we'll end up making about $4500 for that ~40 day period - or quite a bit more if someone books the 3 day or 4 day gaps in February. Strategizing about pricing/minimum stays is funky!

Not bad! We'll be able to charge more as we get reviews/time on AirBnB, but this first week or so was also the Sundance film festival which boosted prices for the end of January by 50-100% across the board in town for rentals.

Overall I'd guess we'll do about this well during the ski season or a little better once we're all reviewed up, and probably a little worse in the summer. No idea if we'll get anything during the offseason/mud season, but we like to leave town then anyway.

So conservatively, I'm guessing we'll net $2k/month or so after expenses (replacing linens and other small stuff, extra utility costs, etc). Given that we spend about $4k/month overall that's a pretty nice side gig (no way do I consider it passive, though - I definitely wouldn't be comfortable renting it out when I'm not around). Given our index fund investments, I guess the apartment makes us FI sort of overnight, though I have no particular plans to quit working.

We've got our cleaning system down to the point that (with 2 adults working and 2 small children glued to the forbidden television) we can turn things over in about 45 minutes. Guests have generally not needed too much hand holding and they have all been really cool and interesting people (actor in Patty Cake$, some cinematographers, skiers from Texas, and parents of world championship ski jumping competitors from Norway... cool!) 

Thanks to everyone for all the comments and feedback. Unless there are any specific questions, this will probably be my last post on the apartment. If anyone is interested in more numbers, you can resurrect this in a year!

-W
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 09:11:02 PM by waltworks »

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1067
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #66 on: January 29, 2017, 06:45:19 PM »
The followup that nobody will read, probably!

I'm reading :-)

Awesome progress.

Keep us updated, whenever you can.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 06:47:12 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6087
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #67 on: January 29, 2017, 07:07:04 PM »
Those are some really strong first reviews!   Hard to believe you guys are new at this.

Really happy for you guys that this is turning out so well.    Will try to talk my DH into coming for a summer visit some time-- I think the custom bike thing might be sufficient pull!
Wherever you go, there you are

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #68 on: January 29, 2017, 07:48:23 PM »
I'm sure we could make you a heck of a deal if your DH wants a bike!

Ha, or even if he just wants to come say hi and do a bunch of neat riding. I think my favorite thing about the whole basement setup so far is that we've met such neat people.

-W

sammybiker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 181
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #69 on: January 29, 2017, 10:47:38 PM »
Cool update Walt, glad to hear it's working out so well.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #70 on: January 29, 2017, 11:04:41 PM »
Whaddya mean "that no one will read?" C'mon, give us a little credit here <wink>.

How about posting a link to the listing so we can see the final photos?

Glad the report from the first few bookings was positive!
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

LiveLean

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 614
  • Location: Central Florida
    • ToLiveLean
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #71 on: January 30, 2017, 08:59:53 AM »
Having grown up in Virginia, the one thing I miss living in Florida is not having a basement. (I moved here at 28.)

There's no better bang-for-your-buck than finishing off a basement, both from a home improvement and a home sanity standpoint (i.e. a place for the kids to have all of their crap or a place for parent, usually dad, to escape.)

So whether you're going to convert this to an apartment or not, why not finish the basement off? Sounds like you have some underlying construction issues, but I'm always amazed how many of my friends/relatives up north have been in their homes for years and have never finished off their basements because they're packed with crap that, had it not been purchased, would have more than financed finishing off the basement.
Living lean at www.tolivelean.com

Ensign1999

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Northern Virginia/Washington DC Area
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #72 on: January 30, 2017, 10:02:54 AM »
Love that it is working out so well!  Congrats...now we will have to keep it in mind as a great place to stay when we head West next time.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #73 on: April 08, 2017, 05:29:01 PM »
Hey, Walt. I'm jonesing for an update. How about an it's-almost-the-end-of-the-ski-season recap, pretty please?
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #74 on: April 09, 2017, 04:38:13 PM »
I'm on vacation trying to avoid mud season so don't have all the numbers in hand but the rough results so far are:

-On the market/available for a little less than 3 months so far (I think we officially launched on Jan 19th or something like that)

-$8.5k in gross rents

~$500 in spending on various things. Most of that is large durable things (air mattress, space heater) we didn't think of and guests asked for, there's also some money going into buying cleaning supplies and various consumables. I think replacing linens/towels will be a significant ongoing expense, they seem to get trashed pretty fast.

-Utilities are costing an extra $50/mo or so. That is basically electricity for the heat pump. I don't think there will be any meaningful extra utility costs in the summer.

-About 2 man-hours of work per turnover of the apartment. Otherwise management has been very easy.

-No (touch wood) bad guests so far.

We have 3 or 4 reservations for a total of maybe 3 weeks booked for the spring/summer (of the 6 months out that AirBnB goes) so we have yet to see how the summer works out. I am guessing it will be slower (no big surprise).

I mean, basically, so far so good. We've had several guests request to stay again next year and great reviews. Good stuff overall, so far I'm happy with both the decision to build it and the decision to try the short term rental thing.

-W
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 04:52:18 PM by waltworks »

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6087
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #75 on: April 09, 2017, 06:45:09 PM »
Do you have a Costco nearby?    I got a set of fluffy white towels there last year on special for 6 for $18.   I think the regular price is $21/set.   They seem to be holding up well.
Wherever you go, there you are

Megma

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 580
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #76 on: April 09, 2017, 08:55:54 PM »
Great to read the updates! Glad it's going well!
Get cash back on your online shopping from Mr Rebates (hotels, flights, ebay, groupon and more): http://www.mrrebates.com?refid=453502 (referral link, thank you!)

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6473
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #77 on: April 09, 2017, 11:04:32 PM »
Do you have a Costco nearby?    I got a set of fluffy white towels there last year on special for 6 for $18.   I think the regular price is $21/set.   They seem to be holding up well.
Ha! I was thinking the same thing, lhamo. I'll add that lately, towels just aren't made to last. Every time I buy towels now I break out the sewing machine and zig-zag over all the seams. It makes a huge difference in the longevity of the towels. Unless a guest swipes one, but that's a cost of doing business, I guess.

Also want to add that we bought two of the new "Ballpark Franks"* bath sheets that Costco now carries. Completely not impressed. They feel slimy and not as absorbent as normal towels. Meh. Double Meh. It's a gimmick. And no, I don't use fabric softener.  Stick to the white Hotel Style Towels.

BTW, last year we were shopping at Costco in Palm Desert. We watched as a guy filled a flatbed cart full of these towels. He said they're better and less expensive than what he gets from his hotel supplier. We asked a Costco staffer and she said it happens all the time. Fortunately, we had already placed the ones we wanted in our cart, lol.

*Remember the old BallPark Franks jingle: "They plump when you cook 'em"? Yeah, supposedly these towels expand when you wash them. Have I said "Meh" enough?

Walt: Thanks for the update, man. Sorry to interrupt your vacation.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #78 on: April 10, 2017, 09:01:51 AM »
To be fair, all of the linens we have now are (very lightly used) scrounged items. As such they may be more prone to falling apart than newer stuff. I'll keep the Costco (yes, we have lots of them nearby, it's Utah!) idea in mind.

My wife claims it's women's wedding rings tearing up the towels.

-W

mmwannabe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #79 on: April 12, 2017, 08:19:41 PM »
I'm bumping this necro-thread to solicit some additional advice.

Things have not gone particularly well with this project. The county seems to be unable to provide accurate information on code requirements and permitting, so we still have no permits (a month after we intended to start work). That's bad. What's even worse is that the costs seem to be piling up to infinity - what was originally going to be a $50k or so job has already ballooned to $80k - and that's *before* any of the usual surprises/problems that always happen in construction projects OR furnishings/appliances! I'm sort of anticipating that the project will end up costing $100k...or more.

So as a followup - would anyone still do this? I'm thinking of pulling the plug on the whole idea.

-W

Double check your county's code.  My county, in CO, requires a shared kitchen.  If you put an oven in the basement, you actually have to sign paperwork that say's you won't rent the basement out.  I've still finished mine, with a kitchenette, but must indicate a "shared" kitchen when I rent it out.

SmokeySnow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #80 on: April 30, 2017, 08:42:34 PM »
A little late here, but great job Waltworks. Congrats on achieving super host status as well👍👍 I also live in a ski town (South Lake Tahoe) that is popular in both winter & summer, and rent one side of my small duplex out on Airbnb. It wasn't my original plan when I purchased the property, but it has been working out quite well as allowed me to make improvements to the property I wouldn't have otherwise been able to & also be able to afford my next property.
May I suggest a few small tweaks to your place, that won't end up costing too much? People love great bedding when they travel, and just a small upgrade to new/current bedding, pillows, bedskirts, etc, with a few quick photos will boost the appeal of your listing immensely. Additionally, you may consider some vintage ski type decor for your walls to give people that 'ski town' feel that they are probably hoping for when they visit your town. I was able to find plenty stuff (think old skis, snowshoes, ice skates) for my rental as well as two that I helped overhaul through a combination of thrift stores,  garage and estate sales, and habitat for humanity store.
Hope you are enjoying the Airbnb-ing!
My listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3888381
Two that I am "additional host" for:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1079231
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/654832
 

farfromfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #81 on: November 24, 2017, 03:20:10 AM »
Great job Walt works! Sorry-not-sorry for reviving this thread after the recent mention in a newer one, you did a great job. Only nitpick I have as an airbnber is the seemingly low ceilings (or high floors(?), since it is underground). Congrats on the Super host, and I really like the short-term cancelation policy, not enough listings have that.

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2510
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #82 on: November 24, 2017, 04:41:10 PM »
Great job Walt works! Sorry-not-sorry for reviving this thread after the recent mention in a newer one, you did a great job. Only nitpick I have as an airbnber is the seemingly low ceilings (or high floors(?), since it is underground). Congrats on the Super host, and I really like the short-term cancelation policy, not enough listings have that.

They are standard ~9' ceilings. Does it really look like they're low in the photos?

-W

farfromfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #83 on: November 25, 2017, 01:54:00 AM »
Great job Walt works! Sorry-not-sorry for reviving this thread after the recent mention in a newer one, you did a great job. Only nitpick I have as an airbnber is the seemingly low ceilings (or high floors(?), since it is underground). Congrats on the Super host, and I really like the short-term cancelation policy, not enough listings have that.

They are standard ~9' ceilings. Does it really look like they're low in the photos?

-W
One photo that gave me that feeling was #7, because of the short distance between the ceiling and the top of the door. But I guess those are taller (8') doors? Same with the door that has very little clearance from the lowered ceiling in that area.
The rest are the living room photos, which I suspect is because the choice of camera lens accentuates the perspective difference. Not a camera guy though.

adamcollin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Texas
Re: Your thoughts solicited: basement apartment conversion
« Reply #84 on: November 27, 2017, 01:03:41 AM »
Do share the pictures.
Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc