Like any business, real estate owners and investors are looking to maximize profits out of the resources they have. The resources for landlords and property owners is their property of course! Now this does not apply to commercial real estate, but if you are in the residential rental game, with the growth of the internet, landlords now have new options in running their businesses.
Airbnb is an online service that allows anyone to list property they own to others to rent and use, just as a hotel or bed and breakfast service would. Now there are several pros and cons to the service, but it should be evaluated to find out if it could be a valuable addition to your rental approach. If you own a building with several units, I would recommend choosing one of those properties to experiment with renting through Airbnb.
First some of the good things. For one, the website has created a large name and brand for itself and is very popular worldwide, with Airbnb you reach a market that is hard to be beat and much vaster than any ad on craigslist could reach. On top of that, due to the nature of Airbnb’s market (mostly vacation and travel rentals), the rates you can charge per night are considerably more than a standard yearly lease/rental agreement. The same unit you charge 900 dollars a month for could go for 90 dollars a night! Even if you just rented out the unit on weekends alone, you would see 720 dollars per month, and of course you would be able to rent out the unit on more than just the weekends. Airbnb is also great, in that it allows you to define what level of accommodations you want to rent. If you want to rent an entire apartment or home, go for it! But, if you have just a spare room, or unit with a shared bathroom, you are free to do that as well. So you may be able to rent a property that you weren’t able to fully lease out previously. Listing on the website is also pretty easy, and you don’t even need any fancy photography skills, Airbnb will even send a professional photographer to your unit to take great pictures showing off your lovely rental and making you more money!
There are some cons to using Airbnb however. First, off, these aren’t tenants you are working with but people who would otherwise be hotel or hostel guests. Some of them may be needier than others and require more customer service than you are used to providing, others may be very maintenance free and you will hardly notice them there. The best way to get renters who match what you are looking for is to be upfront about the type of rental service you provide and your level of availability to the renter. Also, rental accommodations will have to be more furnished than a rental apartment. But, the more money you invest into decorations and other unit amenities the higher the rate you can charge.
Airbnb won’t always be right for everyone, but there are advantages to listing on the service that may make it worth it for you. Make sure to look into the laws regarding services like Airbnb in your area as local governments have started regulating online rental services.