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Should You Airbnb Your Extra Space?

Living Insights

For those who have a spare room, the thought of renting out that room on a site such as Airbnb can seem appealing. However, the unknown of jumping into becoming a host can keep people from taking that leap.

If earning extra cash each month for a part of your home that is currently going unused seems appealing, or if you are wondering whether you should Airbnb your extra space, here are a few things you should know about becoming an Airbnb host.

How Airbnb Works

First, create a listing. Let potential renters know what kind of space it is. What amenities are close by? What type of space is it? Think about what makes it special from other rentals. Add lots of photos.

Next, get the space ready for renters. Are there any extra or new items that need to be purchased to get the room rental ready? Maybe rethink Grandma’s quilt or that table with the broken leg. Hint: get a few extra sets of bedsheets and towels for guests.

Then, get ready for guests!  If you are able, it is always best to greet guests in person. However, an email or printed welcome packet is also acceptable. Give them the “lay of the land” for items such as towels, the TV, or dishes.

In addition, go over the rules of the house. Do you allow smoking in certain areas? Can guests use the washing machine? Are there places that are off limits? What are guests to do with damp towels? A good idea is to make a “House Rules” printed sheet for guests to refer to when they have questions.

The best part is next: collect the money! Using Airbnb makes this step simple. Airbnb collect the money and send payments through PayPal or direct deposit. For this convenience factor, they charge a 3% service fee.

Finally, after your guests enjoy your space and leave, it is time to clean up and get ready for the next guests. Change the sheets, put out fresh towels, and run the vacuum. You may consider hiring a service to do this part, especially if you are not going to be there.

What to Consider When Becoming a Host

Factors such as time, expense, accounting for income and ongoing maintenance can basically make the decision for you. Is there money in the budget for hiring a maintenance company to make repairs to a leaky tub or clogged drain? Can cleaning be done with minimal disruption? Is there time in your day to clean up after one guest checks out before another guest checks in, or will there be the additional expense of hiring a cleaning service?

The answer to these questions will help you decide if you should Airbnb your extra space.

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