Author Topic: Air Bnb as a side gig  (Read 9385 times)

Daleth

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Air Bnb as a side gig
« on: May 19, 2015, 10:31:46 AM »
We have a separate apartment in our house, and we rented it for a year to a friend, which turned out to be a bad move--he left it inconceivably filthy, stopped paying his rent 10 months in and strung us along, damaged stuff through sheer carelessness... it was NOT good for our friendship and while the money was obviously welcome (he was paying about 1/4 of our mortgage), it was SO unpleasant.

So after he moved out we left it empty for many months, enjoying the peace and quiet and the ability to put our visiting relatives up in the apartment when they came, but obviously missing the money. And then last month a friend of mine mentioned that she and her husband rent out their spare rooms on Air Bnb. I can't believe that hadn't occurred to me before, but it hadn't.

So we hauled some spare furniture up there, took photos, I spent a few hours putting together a really great looking and sounding Air Bnb listing and... in the first month we've had visitors every weekend, some short weekends and some long--in other words people have been here for about 10 of the 31 days of the month--and in those 10 days we've made just $56 less than we did by renting the place for a solid month to our slobby friend! I certainly hope this keeps up! Even if it doesn't bring in quite as much money, it still brings in a lot and the trade-off of only having people here on weekends and knowing that if we get bad guests we're not stuck in a lease with them... is FANTASTIC. And of course we can just decide to make the place unavailable whenever we want to put visiting friends or family in it.

I also put an ad up in the short-term rentals section of Craigslist and had two people email about it within less than two days of putting the ad up. I referred them to our Air Bnb ad so they could book the place for the month or two months that they wanted (our per-month price on Air Bnb is almost double what our friend was paying us).

In short... so far this RULES. Has anybody else had experiences hosting on Air Bnb, good or bad?

.22guy

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2015, 12:19:43 PM »
It sounds like a good deal, but I just can't imagine myself doing this.  I would cringe at the thought of letting strangers into my place, and would fear them bringing bedbugs or something.  I'm glad it's working out well for you though.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2015, 12:30:43 PM »
I haven't had a space to rent through AirBNB since discovering it. I have used it both to find a place to sleep at the last minute in foreign countries as well to rent a space for hosting mini vacations with friends or family. All of those experiences have been great. I hope renting goes as well for you.

Fancyacupoftea

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 12:31:46 PM »
We rent out our spare room through air bnb. We've only been doing it for a few months and only rent out at the weekend, but it seems to be going well. We are not right in the centre of town though so have less interest than some other properties but have enough for us. We earn about half what we did when we had a lodger, but much less hassle. Room is free during the week which I like (no sharing kitchens bathrooms when we are trying to work from home) and we can have people over to stay.

Haven't had any problems but look at reviews carefully.

Elderwood17

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 01:12:29 PM »
We have three unused bedrooms on our second floor that we rarely go up to (the nest is empty!).  We also have a lot of tourists in this area, and have considered AirBnB but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.  May need to give it more serious consideration.

Daleth

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 01:19:20 PM »
We have three unused bedrooms on our second floor that we rarely go up to (the nest is empty!).  We also have a lot of tourists in this area, and have considered AirBnB but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.  May need to give it more serious consideration.

It couldn't hurt to try. My friend who inspired me to do this said the one thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to accept every reservation request. When you're on Air Bnb you will get messages from people requesting certain dates, and you can either accept them, reject them, or ask them some more questions (or answer whatever questions they may have asked) before you decide. I have refused a few from people who had no reviews or references or anything. In one case I accepted one from a guy with no reviews after asking him if he would mind telling me his full name "so I can make sure you're not a psycho (haha)." He sent me his name, which was very uncommon, and I google-stalked him and found out he was a lawyer in X place (as he claimed to be via Air Bnb) and apparently not a psycho, he stayed and it was just fine.

It's really seamless, in my experience. Once you get your bank info set up for direct transfer, Air Bnb transfers the full amount (for the entire weekend or however long the guests are staying) into your account within 24 hours of checkin. The guest pays via Air Bnb before they even arrive and Air Bnb pays you.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2015, 01:51:59 PM »
I haven't done it myself but I know lot of people do this these days.

You may find this post useful
http://affordanything.com/2015/03/10/10-lessons-ive-learned-as-an-airbnb-host/

As far as I remember, this post doesn't cover the tax aspect. I hope you are aware that you will have to pay tax on this income (Specific rules vary across states - You may want to check the rules in your state)

Enjoy the extra income :-)

Rollin

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 02:09:47 PM »
You may want to study local zoning codes as short-term rentals are often prohibited.  That may not be so much of an issue if you are just renting a room and can stop at any time, but there are some that purchase a home just to put it on these types of internet rental systems and then find out later they cannot do what they wanted.

Also, I read a story recently whereby the "tenants" stopped paying the "landlord" and refused to leave. By law they were were legally given 30 days to find another place before they could be evicted.  The owner just fronted them about $1,700 to leave because it was cheaper than the eviction process.

YMMV.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 02:46:05 PM »
I've been renting my place for two years now and it's been a good decision financially. AirBnB has helped me to pay off my debts a lot faster.

There seems to be quite many professional events that I did't know existed (in the middle of Finland!). I've also had quite a few visiting professors / lecturers.  I've had no bigger problems with guests, only some minor communication problems and how to deliver keys if I'm already out of town (I have a studio so I go remote working while having a guest - another perk for remote working, I guess).

I've had about 10 guests/year, usually between 4 days (minimum I've set) to 1-2 weeks. And there's usually something extra in the fridge when I get back, some guests have even brought me sweets / alcohol from their home countries.

James!

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 02:57:26 PM »
We started renting our place at the beginning of this month, and so far it has been incredible! We have it booked already for the next three months straight (100% occupancy) and most of the rest of the summer/fall as well.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4963976

We have met really wonderful people, and we're making a ton to boot. Currently I'm projecting after all expenses to clear almost double what I would renting it long term. Plus the flexibility is wonderful to have the space available for family, etc. It does take some time, but I love coordinating it all and communicating with guests. We are currently doing all the cleaning and turnover ourselves, but there are local cleaning services that specialize in this if you don't want to.

I've heard that it can be a more stressful process if you're sharing space, but for us it's a separate structure (mother-in-law suite) so privacy is a non-issue.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
James

NewReality

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 03:08:56 PM »
James, your place is lovely.

sammybiker

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2015, 10:35:31 PM »
Great to see the positive feedback here...and beautiful place there in PDX James.

bluestone

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2015, 05:59:27 AM »
James that is a beautiful and well thought out house you've made!

Daleth, Consider the tax ramifications of it being a gig in terms of being required to pay payroll tax. The income may not be passive. Average length of stay and services provided will affect you here.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2015, 06:28:53 AM »
You may want to study local zoning codes as short-term rentals are often prohibited.  That may not be so much of an issue if you are just renting a room and can stop at any time, but there are some that purchase a home just to put it on these types of internet rental systems and then find out later they cannot do what they wanted.

I have experience as a landlord, so I seriously thought about doing what is mentioned above - buying a little condo and renting it on AirBnB to mostly business travelers.  However, the zoning issues are a point of contention in my state and while I am thinking/hoping they will end up deciding in favor of AirBnB, it was a little bit risky.  Of course my back up was just to rent it the traditional way (but wouldn't make as much money that way).  In the end, the #s worked but I wouldn't live on-site which means I anticipated having to flip the property too often - cleaning and attending to guest needs.  This would be much easier if I lived on-site.  I just felt that it would be too much, but I will potentially revisit if the city votes in AirBnB's favor...

Also some HOA by-laws prohibit short term (less than 6 months) rentals. 

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2015, 11:03:18 AM »
I've toyed with the idea many times, and now that my 4BR rental is only 1/4 occupied (and by a friend who likes to help) I'm thinking about furnishing one, or even more, and doing this with it. One of my loan officer friends gets great traffic on his. Our town is only moderately touristy but we get a lot of NASA, Army, and other pro traffic that could benefit me.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2015, 11:30:29 AM »
For those who want to find out all the gory details about Air bnb, check out Paula Pant's blog

http://affordanything.com/2014/11/04/the-airbnb-experiment-42-guests-1-police-visit-and-19000/

Lots of details on the work it entails. Should give you a very clear idea if this is your cup of tea or not.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 11:33:13 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

James!

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2015, 01:19:21 PM »
You may want to study local zoning codes as short-term rentals are often prohibited.  That may not be so much of an issue if you are just renting a room and can stop at any time, but there are some that purchase a home just to put it on these types of internet rental systems and then find out later they cannot do what they wanted.

I have experience as a landlord, so I seriously thought about doing what is mentioned above - buying a little condo and renting it on AirBnB to mostly business travelers.  However, the zoning issues are a point of contention in my state and while I am thinking/hoping they will end up deciding in favor of AirBnB, it was a little bit risky.  Of course my back up was just to rent it the traditional way (but wouldn't make as much money that way).  In the end, the #s worked but I wouldn't live on-site which means I anticipated having to flip the property too often - cleaning and attending to guest needs.  This would be much easier if I lived on-site.  I just felt that it would be too much, but I will potentially revisit if the city votes in AirBnB's favor...

Also some HOA by-laws prohibit short term (less than 6 months) rentals.

I think the vast majority of people hosting are operating illegally. I know that in most cities it is either not allowed under current (old) code, or taxes are supposed to be due to the city (and sometimes county/state) but aren't being collected or paid. The final scenario is great cities, like Portland, that do allow it and are working with Airbnb to collect taxes, but even there most people are operating outside of the definition established by Portland. Currently is states that it must be your primary residence for at least 270 days of the year. The intention is clearly for people with an extra room or who go out of town occasionally, not for an entire house with the primary intent of short term rentals.

I don't have a crystal ball, and I have no idea how this will resolve in the future. For now while we're in transition there is definitely a major disconnect. At least in Portland, the city doesn't seem to care much unless there is a specific complaint from a neighbor or HOA.

Hosting definitely isn't for everyone, but so far I love it! In our little one-bedroom house we're looking to gross over $4k/mo. I may report back on my actual numbers including all the furnishings, taxes, etc. at the end of the year.

-J

tcspears

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2015, 02:35:36 PM »
One comment about AirBnB is that there is a feedback mechanism for both renters and owners that allows everyone to review each other.  If a guest/owner consistently gets bad reviews, you know to avoid them.  This is one of the benefits to using AirBnB over something like CL, the instant feedback is a big part of the value add.

PawPrint53

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2015, 05:37:50 PM »
One comment about AirBnB is that there is a feedback mechanism for both renters and owners that allows everyone to review each other.  If a guest/owner consistently gets bad reviews, you know to avoid them.  This is one of the benefits to using AirBnB over something like CL, the instant feedback is a big part of the value add.

While I agree that reviews are helpful, I chose not to write a review of one Airbnb I stayed in because I worried about retaliation if I wrote what I really thought about the place. We bailed after one night because I couldn't stand the smell, and we both were creeped out by the lack of a curtain on the bathroom window, just to name two things. Maybe the "consistently gets bad reviews" is the most relevant thing?

Rollin

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2015, 11:52:25 AM »
You may want to study local zoning codes as short-term rentals are often prohibited.  That may not be so much of an issue if you are just renting a room and can stop at any time, but there are some that purchase a home just to put it on these types of internet rental systems and then find out later they cannot do what they wanted.

I have experience as a landlord, so I seriously thought about doing what is mentioned above - buying a little condo and renting it on AirBnB to mostly business travelers.  However, the zoning issues are a point of contention in my state and while I am thinking/hoping they will end up deciding in favor of AirBnB, it was a little bit risky.  Of course my back up was just to rent it the traditional way (but wouldn't make as much money that way).  In the end, the #s worked but I wouldn't live on-site which means I anticipated having to flip the property too often - cleaning and attending to guest needs.  This would be much easier if I lived on-site.  I just felt that it would be too much, but I will potentially revisit if the city votes in AirBnB's favor...

Also some HOA by-laws prohibit short term (less than 6 months) rentals.

I think the vast majority of people hosting are operating illegally. I know that in most cities it is either not allowed under current (old) code, or taxes are supposed to be due to the city (and sometimes county/state) but aren't being collected or paid. The final scenario is great cities, like Portland, that do allow it and are working with Airbnb to collect taxes, but even there most people are operating outside of the definition established by Portland. Currently is states that it must be your primary residence for at least 270 days of the year. The intention is clearly for people with an extra room or who go out of town occasionally, not for an entire house with the primary intent of short term rentals.

I don't have a crystal ball, and I have no idea how this will resolve in the future. For now while we're in transition there is definitely a major disconnect. At least in Portland, the city doesn't seem to care much unless there is a specific complaint from a neighbor or HOA.

Hosting definitely isn't for everyone, but so far I love it! In our little one-bedroom house we're looking to gross over $4k/mo. I may report back on my actual numbers including all the furnishings, taxes, etc. at the end of the year.

-J

Just to add clarity to the good post above - if you are paying the appropriate taxes that does not equate to meeting your local zoning codes.  Tax collectors do not enforce zoning codes, they like to collect taxes though.

Daleth

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2015, 01:06:42 PM »
James that is a beautiful and well thought out house you've made!

Daleth, Consider the tax ramifications of it being a gig in terms of being required to pay payroll tax. The income may not be passive. Average length of stay and services provided will affect you here.

Air Bnb takes your tax info (i.e. social security number) and apparently sends you the necessary docs at the end of the year (some sort of 1099 I assume). Not sure what you mean by payroll tax--not an issue if you don't have employees. I am already in residential real estate as an investor (i.e. a landlord) so I doubt this will do much other than add to the income I have to declare from that.

James, your place in Portland is gorgeous!

As for zoning, my rule of thumb is that zoning rules don't exist until someone complains. That's one reason I didn't post any exterior photos in our listing--I don't want a neighbor to accidentally come across the listing. We are far enough from our neighbors (far for a city lot) and busy enough every day, due to the other tenants, that I doubt the occasional Air Bnb'er would be noticed. Even if they were most people would probably assume we just had guests for the weekend.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 01:10:02 PM by Daleth »

theoverlook

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2015, 02:07:00 PM »
We started renting our place at the beginning of this month, and so far it has been incredible! We have it booked already for the next three months straight (100% occupancy) and most of the rest of the summer/fall as well.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4963976


I love your cabin!!

fishnfool

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2015, 05:26:03 PM »
We started renting our place at the beginning of this month, and so far it has been incredible! We have it booked already for the next three months straight (100% occupancy) and most of the rest of the summer/fall as well.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4963976


I love your cabin!!
X's 2!

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2015, 05:42:05 PM »
I've given it some thought and it would probably be pretty profitable in my 'hood.  Small condos from $35-50k for a studio or 1 BR.  Single families at $100-140k for 3-5 BR.  One guy rents in a nearby similar neighborhood for $95/nt for a 2 BR separate suite in his house.  All the other local listings are $150-200+/nt.  It's currently in legal limbo in our city, as the city council is thinking hard about it after someone complained about one airbnb rental.  I expect a compromise of sorts with some minimal regulations and a better way for the city to make tax revenue. 

The social aspect might be fun - greeting guests from around the world, chatting with them for a bit.  Sharing what you love about your city.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2015, 07:31:23 PM »
We started renting our place at the beginning of this month, and so far it has been incredible! We have it booked already for the next three months straight (100% occupancy) and most of the rest of the summer/fall as well.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4963976

We have met really wonderful people, and we're making a ton to boot. Currently I'm projecting after all expenses to clear almost double what I would renting it long term. Plus the flexibility is wonderful to have the space available for family, etc. It does take some time, but I love coordinating it all and communicating with guests. We are currently doing all the cleaning and turnover ourselves, but there are local cleaning services that specialize in this if you don't want to.

I've heard that it can be a more stressful process if you're sharing space, but for us it's a separate structure (mother-in-law suite) so privacy is a non-issue.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
James

That made me want to cry. I'm having such a hard time finding a new place right now here in Portland. Pretty sure your house is my dream home.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 07:33:57 PM by Bracken_Joy »

dbanta

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2015, 11:34:04 AM »
How do you handle keys/garage code access to your house?  I would be concerned giving a house key to someone and they making a copy.  Changing garage codes is not a simple feat.

I would think, to feel comfortable, some sort of smart door entry system would be nice with an easy to change code.

Just wondering if all of you with experience have given this any thought and what you decided on from a security perspective.

Daleth

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2015, 09:46:40 PM »
How do you handle keys/garage code access to your house?  I would be concerned giving a house key to someone and they making a copy.  Changing garage codes is not a simple feat.

I would think, to feel comfortable, some sort of smart door entry system would be nice with an easy to change code.

Just wondering if all of you with experience have given this any thought and what you decided on from a security perspective.

We installed really sophisticated locks--Mul-T-Lock, made in Israel, impossible to copy at any key store/HomeDepot/etc.:

http://www.mul-t-lock.com/en/site/mul-t-lock/for-home/residential_cylinders/

The Flex Control is of particular interest to landlords and Air Bnb hosts.

escolegrove

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2015, 12:01:48 AM »
This is my plan at our next duty station! I know a few people who have done very well with in-law suites. I have run the numbers. In the right area they can out perform traditional rentals by a large margin.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2015, 09:46:54 AM »
Do it! we rent our basement bedroom and bathroom (sharing the living/kitchen) on airbnb and have had nothing but wonderful people. Love the flexibility of only doing it when we want and being judicious about only taking people with good reviews. We routinely get about 1/3 of our mortgage renting about 10 days/mo. Worth it even though we have to clean multiple times a month. I would get sturdy hotel sheets, as washing continuously can really lower the lifespan.

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Re: Air Bnb as a side gig
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2015, 09:50:18 AM »
How do you handle keys/garage code access to your house?  I would be concerned giving a house key to someone and they making a copy.  Changing garage codes is not a simple feat.

I would think, to feel comfortable, some sort of smart door entry system would be nice with an easy to change code.

Just wondering if all of you with experience have given this any thought and what you decided on from a security perspective.

We installed an electronic deadbolt, takes about a minute to delete and create a new user code for every tenant

All in we probably spend 2-5 hours/mo dealing with Abnb stuff (cleaning/correspondence etc) and make $500-$700 for 7-14 days/mo of stays - anyway you slice it, well over $100/hr