“Let’s get an Airbnb so that we can cook our own meals.”
I was making plans with someone to meet out-of-town a few years ago and they suggested that we get an Airbnb for the night instead of a hotel room.
I liked the idea of cooking my own meals. I then had to figure out how to get one of these “air-something” places. I looked into the concept and was instantly hooked. I’ve gone on to use the service around the world. I even became a host with Airbnb. I want to show you how you can make money by listing your place or a piece of your place (or a tent in your backyard) with Airbnb.
“I have nowhere to stay when I land in San Andres.”
I stressed out as I couldn’t find anywhere on this tiny Colombian island to stay (long story as to why I was going there). Then I checked Airbnb and they had a spot for me. I couldn’t believe the price and the location. The price was affordable and the location was right by the beach. I didn’t have to deal with checking into a hotel or paying annoying fees.
Chances are that you’ve stayed in an Airbnb at some point in your life.
Did you know that you could make money from listing a space in your home?
There’s the other side of Airbnb that you might want to consider if you’re looking to make some extra cash. You can pay for your next trip, make some extra money for your mortgage, or just bring in some additional money by listing a space that you have available. This space could be anything from your home when you’re on vacation to a spare bedroom that you never use.
Before we move forward, what’s Airbnb all about? According to Wikipedia:
“Airbnb is an American company which operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms, to participate in or facilitate experiences related to tourism such as walking tours, and to make reservations at restaurants. The company does not own any real estate or conduct tours; it is a broker which receives percentage service fees in conjunction with every booking.”
Does the idea of making extra money by listing your spare room sound like something that you might be interested in? Let’s get started.
Why should you list your place on Airbnb for extra money?
[That's an RV that I stayed in the night before I went skydiving in Byron Bay.]
Listing on Airbnb could fund your real estate purchase/pay the bills.
Does real estate seem too expensive right now?
You can always list that basement or extra room through Airbnb to help with the bills. I’ve had friends list their basement to help with the mortgage. You can try to make more money by testing out short-term rentals. This could be what you need to be able to afford that new home without stressing about the mortgage payments.
A good friend of mine recently showed me that he’s on track to bring in $7,000 in August from listing his space. He wanted to make some money so he’s staying with a family member while his unit brings in money for his next real estate purchase.
More money for other stuff.
If you already have a place then you could use this money for other areas of your life, such as:
- Travel. You can list your place out and fund your adventures. Many people will list their space when they travel to offset the costs of the trip.
- Debt. You can make payments on your debt and speed up the process of becoming debt-free.
- Help with payments. The bills add up. It never hurts to have some additional income.
You’re wasting the space.
I’m currently wasting my second room. There’s a chance that you’re wasting valuable real estate in your own home.
Do you have a basement that you’re not using? Could your guest bed room bring in some extra cash? What about an RV that you have parked in your driveway?
Yes, I stayed in an RV when I was in Byron Bay, Australia. I was looking for a change of scenery so I found somewhere to stay on the app. I wanted something in-between fancy and a dump.
Check out this calculator to see how much money you can make.
Here’s how you can make money from listing your place on Airbnb…
Step #1: Decide what you want to list on Airbnb.
Do you want to list a room or your entire place?
This will determine how much money you can make.
I know that now folks are buying places solely to rent them out on Airbnb. I don’t want to tell you what to do with your money.
You have many options when it comes to listing your space:
- That extra bedroom.
- Setup a tent in your backyard in the summer.
- Your entire place when you travel.
- Your basement.
- Whatever other space you can create (I’ve seen some creative stuff).
It’s up to you. Instead of finding tenants for your basement apartment you can test your luck on here.
Figure out what you want to list on Airbnb before you move on to the next step.
Step #2: Look at what others are doing in your area.
I reverse engineer everything.
What does this mean?
Sign up as a user and see what others are doing. See what kind of units are available in your area. Look at the prices, pictures, and information. Then steal from them. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
You don’t have to make any mistakes on your own. I drove for Uber when it first came to Toronto. I felt hopeless until I realized that I could learn from drivers around the world who had been doing it for a while already.
I suggest that you book a place out in your area for the night. Go through the process.
I did a quick search for an upcoming long weekend in my community of Queen West in Toronto.
As you can see, there are many units available at all price points. The average nightly price is $194.
The goal is to narrow the search down until you find a place that matches yours. Then go spend a night there. Go through the entire process from requesting the place to checking in, to dealing with any issues that arise.
Step #3: Take some really cool pictures and work on your listing.
Just like with Tinder, pictures are everything.
As you guys have already likely figured out, everything that I do is on-the-job training. This is what I did with my Airbnb listing:
- Tried out Airbnb as a guest multiple times.
- Looked at the competition.
- Took some cool pictures.
- Put the ad up after reviewing other units in my area and hoped for the best.
I was lucky enough that the area sold itself.
The good news is that Airbnb helps you throughout the entire listing process. They will suggest what to charge, ask you about what your location offers, and work with you so that you don’t feel lost.
Before you can go live with your listing on Airbnb, you’re going to have to go through the registration process. I signed up using my Facebook account to make it easy. Airbnb makes you verify that your information is accurate so get ready to present your documentation.
I don’t want to simplify this step. This is going to take some time. There’s no need to rush it.
Step #4: Make your place available.
Go live and see what happens.
It’s not the end of the world if nobody messages you. Like I said, I was lucky that my location made it easy to promote the area. You might have to lower your price or work on your offer or take some professional pictures. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Step #5: Screen everyone.
“What brings you into town?”
I was surprised when the host started asking me questions about my visit. I then figured that he was doing this for a reason. He clearly had some bad experiences in the past.
Don’t just blindly accept people. Ask a few questions. See what their plan is.
I turned down all wild parties. I’m not stupid. I know what 4-6 guys plan on doing in a downtown condo. No thanks. Go make a mess somewhere else. I held out and ended up finding two young ladies who needed a place to stay for a few weeks for work.
Step 6: Be a great host so that you get excellent reviews.
The goal is to get solid reviews so that you can build up your trust and overall standing with Airbnb. This is why I suggest being a (good) guest a few times before you try hosting to get some reviews in under your belt. The following reviews come straight from my Airbnb profile.
How do you become the best host possible?
Your location is really important. If you already have a place then there’s not much that you can change about where it is.
Here are tricks to become a good host with Airbnb:
- Send a welcome message.
- Give clear instructions and directions to Airbnb guests.
- Leave a note behind with suggestions on what to do in the community for food and entertainment.
- Be available by text to answer questions. As guests we usually stress about wi-fi and where to find food.
- Have an iron and ironing board.
- Have a coffee machine.
- Supply towels.
- Offer laundry services. I loved behind able to wash my clothes in Australia after going through Thailand.
- Don’t bother the people.
- Offer strong wi-fi (I had the worst connection in Sydney!).
I picked up all of these tips from staying as a guest with Airbnb around the world.
As I type this, I can’t help but laugh at what an awful guest I was in Sydney, Australia. I messaged my host with the most annoying questions. She responded every time within minutes.
[Are you ready to list your place on Airbnb? Use this link to sign up as a host.]
What else should you know about listing your place on Airbnb?
Okay, so now you have decided to list your place. Here are a few other questions that might be on your mind.
How do you get paid?
The company collects the money and then pays you. You setup your banking information. You get the money within a few hours of the tenants checking in.
What if something happens?
Let’s hope that nothing ever happens. The good news is that the company screens people and has their information on file. I was lucky enough to not have anything go wrong.
Straight from the website:
“Accidents are rare on Airbnb, but just in case, we’ve got your back. Our Host Guarantee provides up to $1,000,000 CAD of coverage in case property damage occurs, and our Host Protection Insurance provides liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 CAD, for every listing.”
Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to do your research. Learn more about the process, things that can go wrong, how to prevent them and what to consider before renting your home on AirBnB.
Is this even legal?
It depends on where you live. My building that I live in has banned short-term rentals so I can’t list my extra room. My investment property works with Airbnb in an official capacity. Two polar opposite scenarios. It’s on you to look into the laws. Don’t blame me if you get yourself into trouble. Before putting your house on Airbnb, ensure that you’re legally allowed to.
I once met someone who was renting a unit out and then putting it on Airbnb. That may be against the lease agreement, so you may want to think twice.
This should serve as a quick start guide if you want to make money from listing your home on Airbnb. These steps take longer to implement. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or would just like to hear more stories.
Listing your guest room on the weekends could give you that extra cash that you need to travel more or to pay down your debt. Listing your place (or a piece of it) on Airbnb could be that additional income that you so desperately need to fund your fun.