I’ve been hosting Airbnb-style since 2005. In 2005 I hosted my very first guest with Vacation Home Rentals. It was awesome and I really enjoyed it! I hosted off and on with them for a couple of years until the Great Recession started around 2007. Business just seemed to really drop off, so I gave up on it for a while.
In 2012, I was hearing more and more of a newer company called Airbnb. So, in late 2012 I gave it a shot. I got a few rentals here and there but nothing to write home about. But Airbnb was growing geometrically and a year later the bookings really started to pick up. Not to the point it is now, but I was renting my two spare rooms about 40% of the time. In 2014 I got married and was very happy to find that my wife wanted to keep doing it! And she has ended up loving it as much as I have.
In 2015 Airbnb came out with their new pricing recommendations. I thought, what the heck, why not give it a try. Sure, the prices they recommended were lower than what I had been charging, but I figured why not give it a shot and just see what happened. Well, the minute we started following their pricing recommendations, our bookings exploded. We have been rented out from June through December, 2015 96% of the time!
I had already been a Super Host for about a year, and when my wife came on the scene, our Super Host status became even more solid – as she puts such a beautiful touch on everything she touches! Amazingly I had achieved Super Host status without ever ironing a sheet! I figured guests would understand, I’m just a guy renting out a couple of extra rooms. And apparently they did understand. But once my wife started making things look super beautiful I couldn’t believe I had made it so far without her. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I had continued in my slovenly ways, my Super Host status wouldn’t have lasted much longer. But thanks to my wife, we’re now going on two continuous years of SH status.
Things got a lot busier than they had been in the old days. I think part of it was their pricing recommendations another part was their geometric growth and the biggest part was my wife’s loving touch on everything in our apartment.
I’ve hosted probably close to 400 guests in total over the years and thought it would be fun to start this blog as a way to vent, share and learn. When you host that nightmare guest, you just want to tell the world about them. But who can you tell other than your spouse and friends? I’ve found it to be therapeutic in a way to be able to share experiences like that online. Just knowing that some random strangers may enjoy our victories and share in our frustrations brings a sense of relief. And hopefully, we’ll have some people who will leave comments along the way that we can all learn from.
One thing I should tell you, is a little about our situation, so you’ll have a fuller picture that will put my stories into context. We live in a three bedroom apartment just outside of New York City. It’s about a 10 minute bus ride from our place into the heart of Manhattan and Times Square. When I first started hosting, I didn’t think I would get any business because we’re not right in Manhattan. I wondered how anyone would find us. But I was surprised and amazed to discover that a lot of people want to stay just outside the city to save money. And all these sites, Airbnb and VacationHomeRentals, whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something right, because their guests are finding places outside of the central spots.
We rent out the other two bedrooms. I used to alternate between having roommates and hosting. For the longest time, I held onto one roommate, while renting out the third bedroom. Finally in June of 2015 I made the big leap of faith and began renting both rooms solely on Airbnb. I say leap of faith, because I didn’t know how steady it would be. But I knew there was only one way to find out and that was to try it. It was a risk though. We knew roommates would be there long term and pay their rent every month. But we didn’t know if Airbnb would be able to keep us busy enough where we could consistently make at least what the roommates had paid. So far though we’ve averaged at least double what the roommates paid. So even if we hit a few slow months in the winter, we’ll come out way ahead by the end of the year. Every month so far we’ve made at least $700 more than our rent, and some months we’ve made as much as $2,000 more than our rent! When I used to have two roommates at the same time, their combined rent never paid more than 2/3rds of the rent.
Anyway, this blog is our story of the joys and trials of renting on Airbnb.