Nearly one in four Americans earn at least some income from the gig economy. They’re your designated driver for a night out with friends, they’re willing to proofread your resumé or set up your Ikea furniture, and they’ll even let you live in their houses. Ten years ago these things would’ve sounded unbelievable, but now Uber, Fiverr, and Airbnb are household names. If you’ve ever considered renting out a spare bedroom or even your whole home on Airbnb or VRBO, there are some important things to consider first.
Is your property right for it? Not every location is right for an Airbnb rental. You’ll have the most success if your home is in a popular area near local attractions. Do some research on sites like AirDNA to figure out if you’re in a promising location. Plus, other factors about your home will affect your prospects: How much room do you have? Is your bedroom/bathroom layout guest-friendly? Are you prepared to redecorate or make upgrades?
Are you ready to do some marketing? Competing with other listings in your area means putting some elbow grease into the marketing. That means being intentional about your listing title and descriptions, shooting some appealing photos, and then keeping tabs on your listing’s performance and making changes as needed to attract bookings.
Can you handle the expenses? In order to make money, you’ll also need to spend some money. In between each guest, you’ll need to either clean the place yourself, or hire someone to do so. Guests will expect amenities like internet access and miscellaneous household items like soap, trash bags, and coffee filters.
Is it legal? As short term rentals grow in popularity, regulators are scrambling to protect their cities from possible associated negative impacts. That’s why new regulations around Airbnb, VRBO, and other similar sites are popping up left and right these days. A host in Santa Monica will have to fight a lot more red tape than a host in San Francisco will, for example. And it isn’t just your city you’ll have to check in with: Your HOA or neighborhood bylaws may also have some requirements to look out for. Some side hustles are great for some quick and easy money — but unfortunately, Airbnb isn’t quite as simple as one of those! When you welcome strangers into your home, you have to make sure you’re fully prepared for everything that comes with it.