10 Benefits of Hosting an AirBnB (Besides Money)

 

It has been a warm and beautiful summer in the Pacific Northwest. The summer season has been very profitable for us. Even if we have a flat-line winter across all three of our AirBnBs, we would still be in the green this year with our mortgage. I have no complaints about the income AirBnB brings in but there are many other fringe benefits people don’t give AirBnBs enough credit for.

– This is another installment of my AirBnB series. Check out the AirBnB glossary or read up on part one. –

 

Fringe Benefits of Hosting an AirBnB (Besides Money)

I try to be diverse in my observations as a host. If I didn’t truly enjoy hosting AirBnBs then I would have stopped a long time ago. I still think the concept is simply genius – just like car sharing. Although the main attraction will always be having someone else pay your mortgage, there are plenty of other fringe benefits to being a host as well. This segment is a general pointer but it also includes tales from my personal experience having been a full-time AirBnB host for 2 years now.

 

10 Benefits of Hosting an AirBnB (Besides Money)

1) Meeting New People

Let me start off by saying Jared and I are social hermits in everything that we do. Both of us scored highly as “INTJ/P” under the Myer Briggs personality test1 with a near 100% score leveraging into I(ntroversion) instead of E(xtroversion). We do not host dinner parties or go anywhere or even make good eye conta…OK this is sounding sad…we’re just introverts and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As a result of our introversion, Jared and I choose to not meet or greet the majority of our AirBnB guests. It’s just social anxiety with a good tablespoon of pure lazy. Although we do not greet the majority of our guests, but sometimes we still end up having these amazing chats with our guests from almost every walk of life and all different parts of the world.

Besides seeing our unused extra room bring in $60 a night without effort, the second most exciting thing was being about to host real travelers from all over the world. I’m an introvert and even I think that’s cool!

Within the first few months we had visitors from UK, Australia, Germany, Korea etc. and it was really cool to meet and talk with them.  On rare occasions, my husband and I end up having hour long, heartfelt talks with our guests about our lives, our passions, our careers etc. Those AirBnB guest that we happen to run into were always a delight to talk to. It’s one of those things where you kind of go: “no way, me too! What a small world!”

It makes the world seem a little wider and makes our own world (and our mind) grow a little bigger too.

Did you know Jared and I have both been pronouncing his last name wrong? Ha! We didn’t know how to pronounce our own last name! A French teacher stayed in our AirBnB and was like “oui oui, monsieur Proooo-DOME.”

I’m giggling at the memory. Jared and I exchanged looks at each other when we heard it from an actual French speaker. Woops! It’s not “prud-homie?”

 

2) New Adventures

And as hermit-y as we are, it’s really cool to have this kind of interaction delivered to your doorstep. Action packed and…oh thank goodness it’s rare, I’m not out-going.

I’ve gone out to eat with 2 guests who were kind enough to invite me out. I have never directly asked any of my guests but I do accept if they approach me first…because food. The last girl that I went out with was a college student from China. She was staying with us for a week while she’s studying for her graduate school accounting exam. We hung out half the week eating out and talking about random stuff. During that time we would chat about real estate (her family was interested in buying a house in Seattle.) We went sightseeing and window shopping for houses after her exams until the weatherman played a trick on us.

Drizzle, my rump!

We were caught in a crazy, crazy rain and windstorm. I have never seen such a heavy downpour before in all of my life.

It didn’t help that we were also near a lake so the water flooded to our ankles.

We were completely soaked from top to bottom, holding hands, huddling together in the rain…singing Chinese Idol (like American Idol, her idea) while waiting for our Uber. 20 minutes later the Uber car finally arrives and I thought the Uber driver would take one look at us and drive away! But surprisingly not only did he let us in, the driver joined in on the singing too! Neat. I thought he was going to kick us out for being soaked.

Its my favorite memory because it’s the most surreal, ridiculous thing that has happened to me as a host.

3) Opening Lines of Communication with Neighbors

I guess in a way this can be a con as well but since we started hosting, the lines of communication between us and our neighbors have improved. We didn’t talk or know our neighbors at all when we first moved in. There’s not much to talk about, all we had in common was the shared fence.

A small mishap (bad parking) with a naughty guest did eventually happen so I instructed the neighbors on both sides of us to let me know immediately if any guest disturbed their boundary (blocked their driveway/damaged a mailbox etc.) We haven’t had any issues yet and what we thought was an issue was actually a misunderstanding between that neighbor and another neighbor unrelated to us.

Last weekend we received an email from our next door neighbors asking if we had availability for her extended family who just got into town. It was an absolute win-win. Their family gets to stay next door and we get a booking.

Another neighbor we know down the block made a booking for his brother at our home just last week! It’s definitely good to be friends with your neighbors!

If you are opening an AirBnB and you have immediate neighbors (those that share a fence) then I would not hesitate to let them know about your AirBnB. I neglected to do this when we started on AirBnB and I regret it. I would just slip a note under their door or something if you’re afraid it would be awkward. Just as a disclaimer first of all but, hey, you never know when they need a place for their extended family to stay! –Wink wink

airbnb-signup-lily
Use my link to get $40 in AirBnB travel credit! 🙂

 

4) Free Food

Sushi Burritos
Sushi Burritos!

I’ve gotten free sushi, teriyaki, chocolates, chips, lots of ramen and even flan! My guests leave behind a lot of beer too, especially during the summertime. I probably scored $70 worth of beer last month alone. These are not just Budweiser or any of that Joe stuff. These are the local indie brews that go for $6-$10 a pop and some of them you would have to drive 40+ minutes down to the brewery for! Cheers!

5) Free Swag

Holy mother-! You get to dumpster dive in your own dumpster!

airbnb-free-swag
Another fan + chair!

Our AirBnB guests have left behind fans, lawn chairs, clothes, USB cables, shoes etc. Just 2 days ago we had another set of guests leave behind another fan (so now we have 5 fans in total) and another set of lawn chairs as well. Portable fan and lawn chair set seems like an extremely common combo.

Sometimes guests leave behind loose things like glasses and headphones. Most things are not worth the trouble to mail back and the guests simply don’t care.

We end up with random articles of clothing too. Two of the jackets that I have were from guests (Germany I think?) who left them. They didn’t want to pay the international postage and they didn’t care. Most of what we pick up is donated to St. Vincent’s nearby.

We don’t throw anything away.

If they are not in tatters, it’s donated. Like I mentioned in the bus safety post, there are some really run-down people who could use anything and everything…

One time we had a guest who threw away half her clothes in our trash bin. I wish she could have just told us she’s leaving it instead of hiding it all in a black bag and hoping we wouldn’t notice it.

Tip #1:

It’s always good to check with your guests first unless you find it literally in your dumpster. You never really know the value of anything so shoot them a quick message to double-check. Once I found a pair of completely plain, simple black gloves that was probably worth $5 max. I told the guest that it would be $25 to ship internationally but to my surprised she sent payment right away and begged me to ship it back to her. The gloves had sentimental value. I was happy to play the lost and found hero.

Tip #2:

After the guest has confirmed they do want the item returned and is willing to pay the postage then hosts can send a money request for the postage reimbursement within the AirBnB’s Resolution Center. To avoid coming off crude, if the postage is under $3, I don’t personally bother to request any money from guests but we do keep the receipt for tax purposes.

Keep the receipt! Take a photo of it as proof and upload it into the resolution center for both guests, tax purposes and AirBnB’s track record.

 

 

6) Value Swap

Another great point about hosting different people from all walks of life is the trade value of each person. We have hosted therapists, historians, electrician, tax specialists and one doggy whisperer (I didn’t know that was a thing) who were happy to help us just because they were staying with us.

One of our guests, a former vet tech, trimmed Bunny’s nails for free. If you are familiar with small animal vet clinics, that’s a $10 value! 😋 Now I’m hoping for a pro-bono masseuse and sushi chef. Mmm…

 

7) Learn Your Town

You can start loving the town you’re in by learning about your town. This fringe benefit is overlooked a lot. My AirBnB guests leave behind pamphlets and menus all the time and half of those things I didn’t know Seattle had. We learned that in Ballard (which has its roots as an old Scandinavian migrant town) they have free Swedish pancakes and other banquets at the Nordic museum/culture club every Sunday. Totally wish I knew about that before buying this house that’s so far from Ballard…free pancakes – every weekend! Aw!

Last year, we had the delight of hosting a (I swear to God…) renegade 80-year-old Japanese grandmother, driving her Dodge challenger, all the way up from California to Washington. She and her retired niece drove up to Seattle to condo hunt and to buy a special kind of black miso sea bass you can only get here. They also left Seattle with a lot of booze, a lot of booze.

They were really cool. What was odd to me was how perfect their English was. Heck, it was better than me and my husband’s. If I’m getting my Asian American history correctly, that means they were one of the first ever generations of Asians in America! Now that’s cool.

 

8) Home Detection & Maintenance

AirBnB guests are great inspectors for your home. They can give reports on your property that you wouldn’t even know before the problem gets worst. If the shower head is leaking, if there are early signs of an ant invasion, slow drainage in the tub, stuck window in hallway – they’ll let you know.

It keeps us up to date with our property so everything is properly maintained and care for. It sounds like extra work but this is going to be must better for resale value later. We are keeping an eye out on the insulation and roof as well.

airbnb-funny
Electrician help! Lol!

It’s better to be preventative now than treat later. We have 3 decks that is sealed and maintained even though we don’t personally use it. My husband does inspections of the house siding for cracks because we want our home to look nice from the outside and prevent moisture from getting in.

 

9) Extra Incentive to Clean House

I am not a good housekeeper. Never have been, never will be. Not in the genes. My room looks like a bomb set off and I’m not ashamed of it. Nope. I’m scrawny with barely 100 lbs on me, my batteries doesn’t last that long before nappy time.

l would like to refer back to my defense:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” ― Albert Einstein
money-in-dryer
Need to check the lint trap more than twice a month $$!

I must therefore be a genius. But my husband thinks AirBnB has been great for the house (i.e. me having to clean it.) I vacuum every other day (stupid Grace and her shedding) and keep at least 3 out of 4 of our bedrooms in top pristine and de-cluttered conditions. The entry way is swept and mopped; the bathroom mirrors are wiped and polished. I’m tired just from talking about it.

Now I will admit…the ambiance of a room is better when you can see the floor..😓

 

10) Stop Anytime

I don’t picture us stopping or wanting to stop anytime soon. But I do want to mention this for other hosts or hosts-to-be that this can be a quick gig. If there’s an emergency or the property will no longer be available, you can just stop hosting pretty much any time. Hosts can also block out what segments of the calendar that is not available to be rented out. There are settings to set requirements like minimum booked nights (this is a new feature, they didn’t have this when I started) and you can even add that in as a seasonal clause (also a new feature).

It’s really easy to de-list or deactivate a listing too with a few clicks. You are responsible for all the confirmed bookings but other than that, it’s incredibly flexible.

 

– This is another installment of my AirBnB series. Check out the AirBnB glossary or read up on part one. –
airbnb-signup-lily
Use my link to get $40 in AirBnB travel credit! 🙂

 


Not to toot the horn but that’s a lot of other benefits besides money! And I’m sure there’s more too depending on your situation. Holler @ cha girl if you got some more!

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator

32 Replies to “10 Benefits of Hosting an AirBnB (Besides Money)

  1. OMG I was so excited to see your new post, especially when it’s about AirBnB haha. LOVED it! I know it is a lot of work, but being an AirBnB host sounds so cool. I’m sure you must be a wonderful host because your guests like you!

    This post makes me want to do AirBnB too. But when I think about how our house is already crowded (with a baby), I think I will have to wait. Great post!
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…What To Bring To A PotluckMy Profile

    1. Hehe I’m just waiting for you guys to build your R.E. empire. If me and Jared have with a baby, we won’t be able to do AirBnB either!

  2. I love your Airbnb series. It’s great that you’re making it work. I live in Toronto where real estate is crazy expensive, I’m not sure how you would be cash flow positive by being a full-time Airbnb host unless you owned multiple properties.

    1. Hi Barry!!! I don’t think it’s possible in Canada to be cash flow positive either. To most people from International Cities – Seattle’s still pretty dirt cheap. It’s le Amazon effect…

    1. Lol I’m totally getting Mr. AR’s vibes. Free stuff for life!!! Not a bad perk at all especially since they don’t want it. Waste not!

    1. We went out 1 entire downstairs floor, 1 single room upstairs with a shared bath and 1 entire home! So it’s a full-time gig hehe. If you guys have an extra guest room, I say go for it! If you don’t like it, stop anytime!

  3. My favorite AirBnb series out there! I want to try this badly, just tough with the kids. Although I wouldn’t rule out getting a rental property to rent out using AirBnB. How tough are you on vetting out your prospective house guests?
    Passive Income, M.D. recently posted…Good Debt, Bad DebtMy Profile

    1. Thank you doc!! I’ve found so-so consistency with my judgement. The vetting options are government issued ID and reviews from other guests but that also limits your client pool which means more occupancy because you’re netting only higher quality guests. I think the best way to approach it is with information and using big words on the listing..I know it sounds crazy but I think it works.

  4. Ahh, I love your Air BnB posts! I died laughing when told the story about mispronouncing your last name- my real last name is surprisingly not NavigatingAdulthood, haha. It also starts with a P [yay!] and it’s misspelled Flemish…..so pretty sure we might be mispronouncing it too.

    Also, my new goal in life is to be that renegade 80-year-old Japanese grandmother who drives thousands of miles to obtain a special kind of black miso sea bass.
    Ying-NavigatingAdulthood recently posted…Save Or Splurge: 5 Everyday Items That Are Worth The Extra MoneyMy Profile

      1. Oh GOOD, you’re not dead! I was worried!!! 😝😝 Wait you’re not Ying Navigating Adulthood?! Oh my world is shattered 😩 – my Chinese name is Xiao 😩😩 so ugly sounding with my husband’s surname…so bad.

        Stop having the same goals as me!!! I totally want to be a rebel rebel grandmother too!!! SO COOL!

  5. The more I read about your AirBnB-ness, the more I’m thinking it might be a valid route for me to take when I get my own place.

    Although, we did have a recent experience with an AirBnB during a highly-sought after event; we book months ago and he cancelled on us the DAY after my parents spent almost a grand getting tickets from the UK to the island. There’s one other place we might be able to book, but the emergency fallback is going to be glamping, but it’s really disappointing that a host can cancel like that : ( And I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he was new to AirBnB, and considering the prices some of these places go to, and the fact they usually require you to stay for the full 2 weeks (instead of the 4 days my parents need)… I have a feeling we got shafted because he got a better deal. Definitely going to be writing in, but I know that most hosts are reliable – we stayed in a place in Rome last year and it was the best host experience!

  6. Your post really makes me want to become an AirBnB host! Vegas has really strict ordinances though and prohibits rentals under 30 days long. People skirt the law and still do it but if they’re caught, the fine is $1,000/day. Eek!

    1. Woah, I’ve looked at Vegas AirBnBs when we were planning our trip next year. There were a lot of AirBnBs, I didn’t know they had that ordinance!

  7. I thought your guys’ last name was pronounced “prud-homie” as well XD Looks like there’s some fringe benefits to being an Airbnb host, other than the money! And yes, dog whisperers are a thing. They make decent money I heard! Which goes to show, all business really is, is solving other peoples’ problems!

    1. LOL I think “prud-homie” has a nice ring. I still say it wrong, it sounds cuter!
      Wow I didn’t know about the dog whisperer thing! That’s cool!!!

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