We recently had readers submit some great questions in regards to our previous stint renting our spare bedroom in Dublin on Airbnb. We’ve previously written about the Pros and Cons of Airbnb, which has been one of our most popular posts. At the time, we only hosted for extra money and didn’t use Airbnb for bookings while traveling ourselves, preferring apartment rental sites like only-apartments (which recently went insolvent), guest houses and hotels. But we recently used Airbnb to stay in a private apartment in New York that our friend booked, which was a good experience. While you can rent private apartments in addition to shared rooms on Airbnb, sometimes issues like negotiating a check-in time can be tricky. Anyways, on to the questions and answers on important things to consider before becoming an Airbnb host!
How did you go always having a stranger in your house, in terms of privacy/feeling comfortable at home?
Having strangers in the house is so variable. It depends what the purpose of people staying is and the people themselves. We really enjoyed the company of some people. We also had a couple people stay for business and one guy we barely saw which was also great. He never even came into the living room and pretty much just came back to sleep. Others made use of the free tea and coffee and cooked some since we said that was ok. You make the rules!
Did you ask permission from your landlord?
We did not ask permission from our landlord as he owned all ten apartments in our building, plus other buildings so the anonymity worked well for us. However, there’s a risk in allowing strangers in your apartment so read their reviews carefully and proceed with some caution. With private landlords, you may need to discuss the situation and come to an agreement beforehand. In any case, hosting on Airbnb is a violation of many leases whether it’s from an individual or company and could potentially get you kicked out of your rental unit and you may be subjected to legal damages if something goes wrong. So we are not advocating that you break any laws!
This probably depends on your location, but could you rely on getting regular bookings? Are bookings ever inconsistent?
We had a great location in Dublin and could have been booked pretty much every night, after we had a couple good reviews, depending on the price point. Set your price lower in the beginning to get bookings and get a few good reviews and then you can set your price higher. Gauge the competition by looking at what others with a similar location and quality are charging to set your prices accordingly. It’s better to charge a bit more and offer a better product (complimentary breakfast, nice room, clean place, etc) and give yourselves breaks between hosting.
What’s been the best and worst things about hosting?
The best thing about being an Airbnb host was meeting some great people from around Europe and making some extra money to travel. The worst thing was that we were used to having our apartment to ourselves and we did get a little burned out by the experience. I would be open to doing it again in the future but we only have a 1 bedroom apartment in Boston so it’s out for right now. We’ll see what the future holds at our next place as to whether we ever host on Airbnb again!