Thinking about putting up your first listing up on Airbnb? Here are 10 things you need to think about BEFORE you start.
Do you have a lonely couch that you’d like to make a few extra bucks from? Have an extra bedroom you could rent? Or maybe you’ve heard about how much your friend is making from hosting on Airbnb and it made you want to get a dedicated unit to rent out? Regardless of what your situation or motivation, here are some important things to think about first.
1) Goal vs Expectation
Yes, we all know you want to make some money from hosting on Airbnb but what is your goal exactly? Just the occasional extra income? A reliable and consistent secondary income? Income replacement? Or build a short term rental empire? Depending on your goals, the amount of capital, time, and risk involved in hosting on Airbnb will be quite different.
A good way to evaluate your goals is to first determine what type of host you want to be.
2) Inviting Strangers to Your Home
When you are hosting on Airbnb, you are literally inviting complete strangers into your home. And if you’re only renting part of your unit and you’ll be staying there, you are going to be spending nights with complete strangers under the same roof in your home!
If the idea of that alone makes you feel uneasy, you’ll need to think long and hard about hosting on Airbnb. If having strangers staying with you is not an option, your only Airbnb route is to find and acquire a dedicated rental unit.
Are you able to comfortably and reliably communicate with and host complete strangers?
3) Time Commitment
Listing and running a successful Airbnb listing could take MUCH more time and effort than you expected, especially in the beginning. Even when you’ve got your procedures down and you’re not spending as much time handling all the bookings, you could still expect to be on call for emergencies whenever you have a guest staying with you. Do you have the time and the flexibility to do what it takes to succeed?
4) Listing Positioning
What makes your unit special or different? Why would a potential guest want to look at your listing and book with you rather than the growing list of other good alternatives? You’ll need a compelling offer that positions your unit favorably among competition. This could include everything from the photos and descriptions on what you choose to highlight to how you go about pricing the unit. Getting the right positioning could take constant adjustments as your market and competition changes. Are you willing to put the time and energy to get your positioning right?
5) Landlord Relations
Unless you own your home, you’ll need to think carefully about how you want to approach and communicate with your landlord to host on Airbnb. Yes, some folks host on Airbnb without their landlord’s knowledge but we strongly urge you to NOT do that. Nothing kills an otherwise good Airbnb deal faster than an angry landlord. Are you ready to speak to them candidly about your short term rental intentions and to demonstrate how you will continue to be one of their best tenants?
6) Neighbor Relations
Whether you own or rent, chances are you will have neighbors. How do you think they will react when (not if) they find out your hosting on Airbnb? This will vary greatly by city and neighborhood.
If your city already has many angry neighbors petitioning the council to ban or restrict Airbnb, you’ll want to extra careful before listing your unit or you could face hefty fines. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if the potential headaches from your neighbors are worth the effort to host on Airbnb.
How would you respond to angry neighbors?
7) Risk & Liability
Outside of personal safety, you are exposing yourself to a host of other risks by hosting on Airbnb. You’re putting your property at risk of theft. You’re at risk of renting to a squatter. You’ll also risk potential liability risk if your guests get injured or if they damage other property or injure neighbors. With the proper Airbnb liability insurance coverage, you could minimize much of these risks.
8) Optimal Pricing
Pricing is NOT just setting your weekday and weekend rates and then never revisiting again. Unless you are okay with leaving profits on the table, optimal pricing takes time to get right initially and to keep it right as you continue to host on Airbnb. Are you up for the task of constantly monitoring competitive rates and special events in order to keep your pricing optimized for profits? Or better yet, finding a trusted 3rd party pricing partner to help you? Learn more about Airbnb Pricing Strategies.
9) Keeping Up with News & Market
As you can already tell, if you want success as a host on Airbnb, you’ll need to be constantly learning and adapting your listing to the changing market conditions, guest tastes, or even local law. You may have very different kinds of travelers during different seasons that require completely different positioning. Your city may be evaluating a ballot measure that could significantly affect your Airbnb listing (or shut it down). Ready to keep up?
10) Life Interruptions
With all these considerations, you can expect that hosting on Airbnb will interrupt your life in one way or another. Especially if you’re hosting just one unit and not hiring 3rd party listing manager to handle hosting for you, you’ll need to be ready to check guests in and out, do all the cleaning, restocking, and responding to guest inquires, lock outs, neighbor complaints, etc…
Being a successful host on Airbnb can and will interrupt your life, especially if you’re building a portfolio of units. Are you ready for that interruption? Are your spouse, kids, or pets ready for that?
For further reading, check out 100+ Airbnb tips from our friends at BNB Inner Circle.
What are other things one should consider before hosting on Airbnb? Share your thoughts below!
Thank you for the helpful info!
Good tips. Thank you. 🙂
I have been a host for more than 1 year and for anyone thinking of hosting I would advise you to think again. It’s definitely not worth it. These are some of the issues I had to face and I am still dealing with it being a host on Airbnb. I live in Suburbia and my neighbors are quite reserved so I’ve had the city inspectors show up three times because of neighbor complaints. It’s obvious your neighbors do not want to see many different people coming in and out of your house at different times of the day especially if they have kids. They have a valid concern that it is a safety issue. So why do people host?
Well i do it for the money. Nobody will really rent out their house to a complete stranger and share the privacy for fun . Like me most people probably do it for money . The other big issue you will have is that Airbnb takes no responsibility for their guests. Their insurance policy that they claim will protect the host and homeowners are a big joke. Try even claiming the smallest thing and they will try to pay you on depreciated cost or just completely wint payout. Another thing is that guest have become smart so they know that complaining to Airbnb for the smallest silliest things would entitle them to get a full refund. For the time that I’ve been doing Airbnb I’ve had nothing but headaches and Airbnb will not take any accountability in terms when something goes wrong. Probably the biggest reason not to do Airbnb is the fact that you can essentially be working or renting out your place for free because Airbnb will not pay you if guest decides to put in a complaint. I have decided to use other platforms that will work with me as a host and see both sides of the story when something goes wrong. I’ve also discovered that you don’t need Airbnb as it is just a lead generation system and hotels have being doing fine without it for many years. The other thing one can do is go to wix and build yourself a functional Hotel website which your guest can book your place and you control the money. Another bad thing is to give Airbnb control of the money because they will not pay you if a small complaint arises they will also not give you the damage deposit or security deposit if the guest damages the place so why would you want to give them that much control. There are better websites and platforms out there for you to get guest and my recommendation would be to have the guest sign a short-term rental agreement take their ID screen them properly keep Airbnb out of the equation they do not benefit you at all they will just give you headaches and dealing with the case managers is very stressful. I hope this was helpful again my experience as a host with Airbnb has been a horrific one and this is why I’m writing this to warn other potential host that if they’re going to use Airbnb as a platform be careful. Their system is completely flawed and it will give you lots of headaches.