Author Topic: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?  (Read 1940 times)


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« on: April 30, 2017, 03:13:35 PM »
So we live in a very touristy city in a great location and one of my friends who lives nearby is renting out their very fancy home for $1k a night and they suggested we do the same.  The thing is our house is friendly.  Not pinterest ready by any means.  We were thinking we could clean it up and get some new furniture and then rent it to pay for or break even on our vacations.  We would rent it for a lot less, maybe $300 or $400, but i'm just wondering if it is worth the money and effort it would take to make our house look more appealing.  I mean just as an example our couch (that is super pretty and fancy)has food stains all over it from our kids an our bed is on the frame from the mattress store, so right off the bat we would be looking at a couch cleaner (or getting it recovered) and maybe a bed frame. 


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2887
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 03:16:30 PM »
You would probably enjoy the couch if you cleaned it, so ...


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1689
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 04:15:53 PM »
Waltworks also lives in an area where there is a lot of skiing.

He converted his basement area into an Air BNB apartment.

Check this out


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 869
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2017, 04:35:45 PM »
I don't think you should do Airbnb if it would require you to buy all sorts of home upgrades

But I do think, if you need to buy/fix many things about your house, that doing Airbnb can be an excellent way to raise the money to do it. 

I also think that renting out your house while vacationing is a great way to fund a vacation you already wanted to take. And yeah, there's a lot of hassle to get the place clean and ready. But it's nice to live in a place that is clean and ready! It's great to have a reason to keep it that way.

I guess the question is, are you going to replace that couch soon anyway?  Or can you buy a slipcover for it? would professional cleaning work?
and don't overdo it, the future guests don't care about the basic bed frame. They care that everything about the place is clean, has no pet hair, and offers a coffee pot and hairdryer and fluffy towels.    It's fine if your house is more "family lived in" and less "classy hotel" as long as your photos and description reflect that truth.

I used to do VRBO and it was a great way to earn $3x for the house while paying $1x for a hotel, which was a blast for my kids because they love pools and buffets : ) My friend who did the same thing was a homeschooler who would offer her house available any time and when somebody booked, she took her kids camping. I didn't buy any different furniture, but did need to but the aforementioned coffee pot, hair dryer, misc kitchen utensils, etc... things I never personally needed but guests expect.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4765
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2017, 06:42:38 PM »
There are a few problems with this plan.

#1: You will need to be neurotically clean (perhaps just tie the kids up in the closet when they're home?) and this is going to cramp your family style. Trust me. I know how it works. We still use our couches from grad school because hey, what's one more vomit stain or melted crayon at this point? Aw, sweetheart, it's ok - mommy barfed there too after her orals afterparty!

#2: Being an absentee landlord sucks even with long term tenants. With short term renters, you do NOT want to be out of town unless you are going to hire a professional manager ($$$ not going in your pocket). People will need help with the simplest things, the WiFi router will need a reset, the drain will clog, etc, etc, etc. If you're around to handle it, it's dead easy. If you're not .... angry guest, bad reviews, no bueno.

#3: There are legal issues. Your city/county may prohibit short term rentals, your HOA may prohibit them as well. Even if totally legal, your neighbors might hate the idea and you could sour relationships with them.

#4: If you really need to rent to high-end clients, you need nice stuff in your place and you need to have the place rented all the time. Part time whenever you feel like going on vacay is not going to cut it to cover your costs to buy fancy furniture (and keep in looking nice).

My advice is that you look into one of the home-swapping sites - someone who lives somewhere really neat (and also has kids) might want to come visit your location, while you visit theirs. Or build some sort of separate space like we did.



  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3936
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 07:03:11 PM »
Walt works covered much of what I was going to say.  How are you going to do key hand off and return while you are away.  Who will they call if the toilet stops up or they lock themselves out or they can't get the wifi to connect?  Maybe your friend is willing to handle those issues for your while you are away if you return the favor, but you need to consider that. 

Also, consider how you would handle security and privacy.  Where do you lock up all your valuables?  Do you just leave your underwear in the draw for your guests to rifle through it they are so inclined?  Any VRBO I've been to that wasn't 100% a rental had a room or area that was locked off from the guests.

And since it seems like you'd be spending money to get the place up to rental standards--money it seems like you wouldn't otherwise spend--I doubt it would be worth it. 

LadyStache in Baja

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
    • My Casa Caoba: Making meaning in Mexico
Re: Is Airbnb or VRBO worth it in this case?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2017, 06:30:16 AM »
Don't think it's feasible for a family with kids. It could potentially add a lot of stress to your life. A little spill now is not a big deal, but imagine "oh god timmy! no! not on our new updated for guests couch!!"

Is there anyway you could create a lock-off? A part of your home that has it's own access and you guys can just stay out of it?