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Should You Rent Your House Out On Airbnb?

By Amanda Reaume on May 20, 2016 No Comments
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With Airbnb growing in popularity, many people are wondering whether they could make extra money by renting their homes out on the site. Maybe one of your neighbours or friends are doing it. Or maybe you’ve stayed at an Airbnb listing while travelling.

Whatever the reason, for those who are considering the prospect there are likely a lot of questions about whether it’s right for you and what’s involved in doing it. In this article, we seek to help answer your questions.

How Does It Work?

If you’re seriously considering renting out your home, you should go online and check out the site. Look at other places for rent around where you live in order to figure out how much you would be able to charge.

The next thing you need to decide is what kind of rental you want to offer. Some people decide to rent out their homes when they go on long vacations while others rent out their basement suites or spare rooms all year around. Others have rental properties that they transition from traditional rentals to Airbnb rentals. For those concerned about privacy, renting out a spare room would mean that you would have to be comfortable sharing your space with other people. Renting out your whole home while you’re on vacation, would mean you would have to take some steps to safeguard your privacy while you’re away.

One of the good things about Airbnb is that unlike other sites that just allow for reviews of hosts, Airbnb allows hosts to review guests. This will give you some idea of what kind of people you are welcoming into your space. Unfortunately, this isn’t perfect. Some people can have great reviews elsewhere and be a bad guest when they stay at your place. Also, with so many new users coming on board, there could be a lot of people trying to rent your place who don’t have reviews.

The Drawbacks:

Before you decide whether or not to rent out your home, it’s a good idea to clearly understand the drawbacks.

It Can Be Time Consuming

Being an Airbnb host isn’t easy. You have to communicate with guests beforehand which involves answering any questions that they might have and giving them all the information they will need to get into their room or rental.

Once the guests arrive, you will also have to fix any problems that they encounter with the room. For example, Paula Pant, of the blog Afford Anything writes about how a couple booked her Airbnb rental and didn’t tell her that they were bringing their children and would need an air mattress for them. While that might seem like an easy problem to fix, Paula was on vacation herself that week and spent a lot of time scrambling to find a solution. If you’re considering renting your home out when you’re going on vacation yourself, a bad Airbnb guest or a problem with your home could wreck your vacation.

If you are renting out a part of your home on an ongoing basis, you’ll have to clean the unit between guests. If you do it yourself, it could take a significant amount of time every month, depending on the turnover. If you decide to hire someone to do it, you might have problems with unreliable cleaners or you might have to be home when they come to clean.

You’ll also have to spend time and money decorating the rooms to make them attractive to potential guests. Once you’re set up, you’ll have to keep the guest rooms stocked with toilet paper, clean towels, soap and other necessities. All of these things take time.

It Could Break Your Lease

If you don’t own your own home, you should probably think twice about renting your place out on Airbnb. For most tenants, renting out their house or apartment on Airbnb will break their lease. If your landlord finds out about it, you will likely get evicted. Then you will have to spend time and money looking for another place and moving – which will eat into any profits you might have made. While you might think that your landlord isn’t paying close attention because they don’t live nearby, your neighbours could get annoyed at rowdy Airbnb guests and let your landlord know.

Your Place Could Get Trashed

We’ve all heard horror stories about bad Airbnb guests. While bad guests aren’t as common as they seem, they are a headache for those Airbnb hosts who have to deal with them. Whether they throw a big party in your home, break things, steal your valuables, or leave holes in the walls, it won’t be pleasant to walk into your home to see that it isn’t as you left it.

Luckily, Airbnb has insurance to cover you in case a guest trashes your home or steals things. But you could potentially lose irreplaceable items like pictures or other keepsakes. Also, you will have to spend a lot of time and energy to repair your home or replace your items and it will never be like it was before.

The Advantages:

Now that we’ve looked at the disadvantages, it’s time to consider the advantages.

You Can Make More Money

If you have a basement suite or an extra room in your home, then renting it on Airbnb will earn you more money than if you rented it out or got a roommate. For example, you might be able to rent your basement suite for $1,200 per month, but you could potentially fetch $700 per week for that same basement suite through Airbnb. If it’s booked solid, you would make $2,800 per month at those rates. Even with the extra work that you’ll have to do, it might be worthwhile for an extra $1,600 per month or $19,200 more per year.

It Can Finance Your Vacation

People who rent out their homes while they’re away on vacation, actually use that money to finance their vacations. In fact, if you are going away for a long vacation, finding a way to make extra income might be the only way to allow you to finance the costs. Christmas is the perfect time to rent out your home on Airbnb, especially if you live in a bigger city. If you and your family are headed somewhere to visit family, it will likely be easy to find someone to stay at your place.

Meet Interesting People

If you choose to rent out a room in your house, then you will be sharing space with your Airbnb guests which will allow you to get to know them. This could allow you to meet and become friends with some interesting people that you might never have met otherwise.

So, Should You Do It?

Whether or not you should rent your home out on Airbnb is a question that you will have to answer yourself. If you are looking for ways to make some extra money – it could be the perfect solution. If you do decide to rent your place out be sure to check that it’s legal to do so in your municipality, that it doesn’t go against your condo’s rules, and that you pay any additional taxes that you’re required to pay.

Image Credit: Jennifer C.

Amanda Reaume


Amanda is a freelance writer and the creator of the blog Millennial Personal Finance. After graduating from university with no debt, and $40,000 in savings, Amanda wrote the book The Complete Guide to a Debt-Free Education. She is also the author of a personal finance book aimed at Millennials called Money Is Everything.

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