Renting your home on Airbnb? Now this is something I never thought we’d do, much less consider. Granted, the Super Bowl was a bonanza this past February for Twin Cities residents who rented their homes.
Some raked in thousands. Still, it wasn’t until this past week that I overcame my hang-ups about renting our home to strangers on Airbnb.
What’s changed? Well, mainly it’s been the positive experience we’ve had with the original Airbnb Experiment. Our guests have been top-notch. So heck, if we have a couple of weeks of vacation this summer, why not try to offset the expense by renting out our humble abode?
If you’re not familiar with the original Airbnb Experiment, we purchased a condo in Michigan this past fall. The idea is to use it for summer vacation, and put it to use on Airbnb when we’re not there. It’s our way of having a cabin up north without draining our life savings.
What do we hope to gain?
Money. Pretty simple, right? We’ve got two trips planned this summer: One trip is in July when we’ll motor off to Longmont to pay fealty to the King. While there, we might sneak by Mr. 1500’s place to sling a pizza onto his roof.
Then, later this August, we’ll have our week at the Airbnb in Michigan. The roof is way too high to get a pie up there.
So that’s two weeks where our gem of a home sits idle during the finest weather period Minneapolis has to offer. Might as well let some responsible folks make use of the place and earn a few bucks on the side. Simple!
I suppose I’d characterize this as “offset money.” It’s not like we’ll be dancing around a pile of cash with DeadMaus playing in the background (though I do have my fantasies)…
In truth, since we’ll be spending a sh*tload of money on a fancy Airbnb in Longmont, our own home will provide a bit of a salve. Offset, so to speak. Ease the walletary pain.
At Carl’s place, for dinner…
Let’s take a look at the current market for homes in Minneapolis, during our first vacation week in late July. Whoah! I’m figuring we could pull in some really good coin here. scratching chin whiskers
Most of the homes available within the city limits are averaging around $200+ per night. That. Is. Solid.
If we’re able to fetch, say, $199 per night, over seven nights, that’s $1,351 in revenue (after factoring in the 3% Airbnb fee.) Times two weeks, that’s $2,702. This is about what we would budget annually for vacations.
I guess we’ll see if we can pull this off. It is another experiment, after all.
If I could bore you for a minute on taxes? There’s something called the “Masters Rule” that allows you to rent your premises for up to 14 nights, tax free. This rule literally stems from a lobbying effort in the 70s by a powerful groups of homeowners, many of whom hailed from Augusta, Georgia.
What could possibly go wrong??
Nothing! C’mon, man. It’s all unicorns and rainbows over here in the land of Cubert. We light our cigarettes with two-dollar bills in this crib, y’all!
In truth, renting out your entire home for use on Airbnb could have some major consequences, if you don’t take precautions. It’s not cool to host orgies, meth fests, brothels, raging keggers, etc. etc. Your neighbors deserve better. Most of the time.
Airbnb does have our back. They offer a $1M insurance guarantee for these sorts of “issues.” Arguably though, the best defense is to do a couple of things: One, don’t use the Instant Booking feature when renting out your own home. Two, don’t rent your own home to guests who are verified, but are lacking positive reviews (ideally, more than 1 or 2.)
I’m going to Facebook stalk, LinkedIn stalk, and any other kind of stalk I can muster, to make sure our prospective guests aren’t planning a Wolf of Wall Street free-for-all.
Renting Our Home: The Plan
Now that we’re scared sh*tless, let’s talk about what’s needed to get setup for our guests. Just this weekend, the Cubert family headed over to IKEA and bought a new coffee table. The kids had done a number on our last one, and I needed an excuse to get a Swedish meatball lunch.
Staging our house for photos is priority one. We’ve got to make the place shine in order for the listing to get some traction. A couple of key tips I’ll apply here:
1.) Rely on natural light. Earlyish AM seems to work well. You want the sun to be present, but not glaring too much through the windows.
2.) Take your photos at waist level. This is what real estate pros do when staging a home for sale. From the waist, or roughly three feet off the ground, you create a larger feeling space. I used this tip to excellent effect on the first Airbnb Experiment.
3.) Remember your minimalist training, young Jedi. Put the clutter away. Simple things count, like getting rid of a second trash can in the kitchen used for recycling. Just put the dang grocery bag under the sink! So obvious.
We’ll also have to get a hold of twin beds for the twins. They’re currently using their original cribs that can convert to toddler beds. Now approaching age 5, those two are about to poke their feet through the bars.
So it’s high time to swap. Having twin bed options allows us to host up to six adults rather than four.
The wonderful thing about the sharing economy is that it’s providing incredible opportunities to make money that weren’t there before. The Internet sure has its warts, but I’m loving the option to use Airbnb, just as others are thriving with Lyft, Uber, DogVacay, GetAround, and more.
This is super important for anyone looking to ramp up his or her early retirement game. Take advantage! If you have a really nice car and just can’t stand the idea of trading it in for a nice bike, then consider renting it out on GetAround once in a while. Some people actually cover their full car loan payments this way.
Now that you have a glimpse into another maniacal scheme from Cubert, I’m curious what your thoughts are. Would you ever consider renting out your very own home to strangers? If so, would you rent the entire place while out of town (like us), or just a part of the house, where you could keep watch?