“I loved running an Airbnb in Boone!” – Jordan Sellers
In the summer of 2018, I opened up an Airbnb in downtown Boone. I own a duplex, with a one bedroom unit downstairs and a two bedroom unit upstairs, and I decided to bite the bullet and live downstairs so I could make the most of the property by short-term renting the upstairs. I ultimately switched things up, moved upstairs and got a long-term tenant downstairs, but I wanted to share my experience managing my own Airbnb.
I was following the basic idea of “house-hacking” as some investors call it. By renting out one part of the house, I would be able to earn income which would pay my mortgage and allow me to build equity without taking cash from my primary income. I decided to take the Airbnb route because I felt that it would maximize my profits as a rental investment and ideally give me a little more breathing room than having a tenant in the same building.
Keep Your Interior Design Simple
Decorating your Airbnb is rental is similar to staging a home that’s for sale. My first piece of advice is to keep it simple. Keep décor to a minimum—it is easier to keep clean and less likely to offend! If you’re wondering where to invest as far as furnishings, I found that places that people were going to be resting (beds or sofas) received the most feedback, and if you have high quality items, you ensure better reviews here. I am currently sitting in the dining chairs that I furnished the Airbnb with, and they are terribly uncomfortable, but no one ever complained! I did however get countless reviews that mentioned the comfortable sofa and great bed.
Be Pet Friendly
I allowed dogs, as it found that at least 25% of my bookings came from people with dogs and I wanted to cast as large a net as possible. You can charge dog fees, which helps boost your income. Obviously with dogs comes dog hair, but if you stay on top of the cleaning, it’s well worth it.
Keep Your Place Clean
For cleaning, I went through and made a checklist of everything I wanted cleaned, and then wrote that out into a “suggested flow.” This allowed me to keep myself accountable and also made it super easy to explain what I needed done when I hired people to clean. If you are cleaning the place multiple times a week it actually stays quite clean! Just make a system and stick to it.
I found that I quickly got busier and made more money with the Airbnb than I ever imagined. Within a year, I had hit the goals I was hoping to hit by year five. You really need to be on top of customer service at the beginning so you can ensure that you’ll quickly get the coveted “super-host” title. I attribute this to some of my success at the beginning. I did my best to learn as much as possible about what the guest was hoping to get from their visit and cater my advice and interactions to their specific needs.
While I had an overall excellent experience with Airbnb, I would warn other investors to be mindful of the responsibilities you’re taking on as a host. I am used to being on call virtually 24/7 with a career in real estate, but when you’re running an Airbnb, there is no escaping it unless you hire out the management piece. I had more than one date, hike, holiday and commitment interrupted by some sort of bizarre Airbnb event!
I loved meeting people from all over the world, I loved the income and I especially loved getting to introduce people to the High Country and all the beauty it has to offer. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about my experience as an Airbnb host, please give me a shout!