When you find yourself with extra space in your home, you might consider joining the global ranks of Airbnb hosts who host travelers in their homes or spare rooms. Extra income sounds nice of course, and how hard could it be? But it does take a lot of work to coordinate with the guests, to keep the space clean, and in rare cases, to deal with unpleasant guests. So is it worth it to be an Airbnb host? Here are some of the pros and cons of renting your house on Airbnb.
Pro: Utilize your spare space for extra income, on your own terms
This is the no-brainer that gets most people started in the first place. If you have a spare room or an apartment over the garage, or if you move to a bigger house but don’t want to sell the old one, you can monetize that space on your own terms. You don’t have to lease to someone long-term and to boot, you can block off dates that you will be out of town or if you’ll be having friends or family come to stay. Control of the property is still yours and you can change your arrangement or stop renting at any time.
The one caveat: some cities or municipalities, as well as some condo associations, prohibit private rentals through Airbnb, and some cities tax Airbnb income heavily. Be sure to do your research and make sure you understand the legal pros and cons of working with Airbnb in your area.
Con: You are tied to the timeline of your guests and rental space
If you thought becoming a host would mean more freedom, think again. You need to have consistent access to the app on your phone or your computer and check it regularly throughout the day: Airbnb requires you to reply within 24 hours. Otherwise? They might just book with someone else.
You’ll also possibly be having communication with your current guests, and the guests that will be arriving after them. If managing your own schedule is hard enough, you might find this part taxing.
And then, there’s cleaning. Unless you hire a cleaner, you’ll find yourself making beds and cleaning floors at odd hours that, perhaps, you might rather spend doing something else, but you have guests arriving…
Pro: Airbnb takes care of payment and insurance
You’ll never have to worry about chasing your renters for payment because they pay before they ever get to stay at your place. The company also carries insurance that protects you if any of your guests damage your property; unlike if you were to rent the space as landlords, you won’t have to foot the bill. This takes some of the edges off of one of the Airbnb hosting risks everyone secretly dreads: a nightmare guest who wrecks the place.
Con: The income can be inconsistent
Unless you live in a highly in-demand area, the income from your rental can be inconsistent and seasonal. For some people, this is a wonderful opportunity to take a break from folding towels and making beds. But if you’re hoping to really make some money to cover upsizing to a bigger house, it can be disconcerting when you go through a dry spell. The first year is a lot of trial-and-error as you learn the rental landscape, so be sure to give yourself plenty of financial cushion.
Now that you’ve considered the pros and cons of Airbnb for hosts, the choice is up to you: does it fit your lifestyle and your goals?