When we traveled to Barbados back in 2013, we stayed in an AirBNB apartment for the first time. Our small studio was right on the beach and it had everything we needed to enjoy a week in paradise! It wasn’t fancy, but it was clean and it had a private bath and small kitchen. The apartment was exactly what we were looking for and it definitely fit the description on the AirBNB site. We had made a REALLY smart decision! The hosts had even included “extras” such as big beach towels and a small beach umbrella (which was a must for the incredible sunshine) and a great guide to attractions and restaurants in the area. We loved everything about Barbados and became fans of AirBNB!
Early in 2015, we had the opportunity to spend a few days visiting a friend in Florida. After having such a successful experience in Barbados, we chose to stay in an AirBNB again on this trip. We were the first renters for the hosts of this unit and they had thought of everything too! It was another outstanding stay!
On our flight home, my husband and I talked about the AirBNB (home rental & sharing space) concept. We also remembered friends and family who had used Home Away and VRBO and had great experiences as well. We were excited for these owners and the potential “side hustle” income they could generate from putting their homes (or space in their homes) to work!
Then we both had that “moment” where we looked at each other and said, “Why aren’t we doing this to make some money?” We really had no interest (or room!) to host folks in our home – but we had a rental house that we could certainly consider! Here is some background…
We bought a small single family foreclosure in our town almost 25 years ago. It sits across the street from a gorgeous lake and has an unobstructed view. There is even a small park directly across the street on the lake side. Renters could sit and enjoy beautiful lake views and watch the sun set over the nearby hills in the evening. We also live in a “resort” type town and there is plenty to do within an hour drive from the house.
As we talked more, we made mental lists of all of the things we needed to do to make the house into this type of rental. The first thing would be moving out the renter of more than 20 years! This tenant has been wonderful but we have also been losing money because of not increasing the rent at regular rates. Converting this single family home into this “new” kind of rental would definitely increase the income potential!
Over the next few months, we looked up properties in our area that were listed on the various home rental & sharing websites. Many were rented throughout the summer and some had numerous bookings in the “off season” as well. There were a number of rooms, apartments, and houses – but we thought our property was unique because it had awesome lake views that would not come with a lakefront rental price!
We knew there would need to be some renovations made to the house to modernize it and make it attractive to renters. We would also have to furnish the house, but that didn’t matter in our minds because of all of the extra money we could make with this new venture! How could you not make money from this beautiful view? (This is the view of the moon from our lake rental house!)
Our mental list of “things to do” was growing (and so was the budget to go with it), but it was exciting to consider what “might be”… We would be great hosts. We knew the rental business and we have lived here for over 25 years. We could include all of those “extras” that made our AirBNB stays special too!
Since our decision question was “Should we become AirBNB hosts?” – this was a “yes or no” type decision where using a pro’s and con’s list worked well. We made our T-chart and wrote in all the benefits and drawbacks we could think of.
It was easy to focus on the beautiful area where we live (Finger Lakes region) and on all of the things that can be enjoyed year round! (Boating, swimming, wine trails, amusement parks, skiing, plays, hiking, etc…) We would have people lining up to stay in our house!
But we did take time to discuss the con’s to this whole venture and we thought we were quite thorough. Making this change to our rental property still didn’t seem like a bad idea though. A little more work? Sure – but all of the money would make it worth it!
And before we moved forward with the initial steps of the plan (which would have been to contact our tenant about moving out), it struck us that our emotions had taken over and that we had not followed the decision-making process again. We had been immersed in AirBNB “excellence” and the idea of being hosts (and earning more money) had become a trigger event that needed to be managed.
We took a step back, didn’t make the call to the tenant, and got out some paper and started writing… (Yes, we knew writing was the deeper level of thinking we needed here!)
So…what happened? Check back Friday to find out what we did and the status of the property now!
Readers – Have you ever considered renting out a space in your home (or have you done it)? Do you have a property similar to ours that you could “convert” to a short-term rental such as an AirBNB, VRBO, or Home Away rental (or have you already)? What process did you use to make your decision – and has it worked out well?
Picture credit – www.freeimages.com