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Pros & Cons Of Airbnb-ing Your Rental

It seems like easy cash but are there any downsides?

By Jeff Vasishta September 12, 2016
Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco. Courtesy of Airbnb

If you’re a property owner, it’s hard not to be swayed by Airbnb’s seductive allure. Hire a dedicated management company to rent out your apartment for under thirty days to a potentially global audience and watch your rental income explode. If a third party takes care of the cleaning, laundry and rental applications why wouldn’t you join the company’s global army of clients? Here are the pros and cons of using the tech rental giant.

Related: Blame It On Rio: Olympic City Is Airbnb’s Most Expensive Place to Stay

PROS

Photo courtesy of Time Out Photo courtesy of Time Out

  • For The Love Of Money

Assuming your state laws are compliant with you being an Airbnb landlord, the most obvious reason to become an Airbnb host is money. You could potentially triple your monthly income over renting with a typical yearly lease. If your tenant currently pays you $2000/month it’s not unreasonable to expect to get $200/night. A management company such as guesty.com charges a 3 percent booking fee which includes interacting and scheduling with your tenants and cleaners. It does not include the cleaning fee, though.

  • No Bothersome Evictions

Many Airbnb landlords only choose to rent their apartment out for a maximum of thirty days. That way, if the guest isn’t to their liking they only have to wait until four weeks or less until they’ve gone. However, with a conventional one year lease a horrible round of landlord/tenant court awaits. If your conventional tenant lives in New York and is hip to the laws, he or she could stretch this out for an interminable length of time for which period you won’t be collecting a penny.

  • A Global Village

If you’re the kind of landlord that likes to be a hands on property manager, Airbnb could be a fun way to meet visitors from around the world. There’s a reason that such a high proportion of Airbnb hosts are retirees. It can be a social activity as well as a financially rewarding one.

  • You Don’t Need To Have A Multi-Unit Property To Be An Airbnb host

One of the great draws of Airbnb is that everyone the chance to make rental income whether they own a conventional rental property or not. Property owners can rent out a spare bedroom or convert the attic and make some cash on the side.

  • Rent At Your Convenience

You have the choice to rent when you want. If you have family members coming over for the holidays and need to put them up, no problem, you can take your place off the market for a few days and re-rent it when you want.

CONS

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  • Could Create A Transient Neighborhood

One of the biggest gripes about Airbnb is that in create an atmosphere of transience. You don’t know who your neighbors are. That’s not too appealing for families with children.

  • Property Damage/Wear & Tear

There have been a bunch of stories about properties being damaged by Airbnb guests and even though the company has a $1 million insurance policy there are also horror stories about damages not being reimbursed. Also, some things are hard to replace. If you own a brownstone with historic features, it’s not like you can just pop in to Home Depot to pick up an ornate wood molding or plaster frieze motif. Even for the standard apartment, the high volume of traffic of people moving in and out can take a toll and wear a building down.

  • Theft & Expenses

Recently in Williamsburg two Airbnb guests went on a rampage stealing $28K from their hosts’ places. Clearly the moral of the story is don’t leave any personal belonging in your place when strangers are there. That said, Airbnb expenses can mount up—cleaning, replacing toilet paper, utilities etc., far more so than when you are renting to regular lease paying tenants who clean and play their own expenses.

  • Angry Neighbors

You may be fine with making money from Airbnb but unless you’re paying off your neighbors with some of your bounty, chances are they won’t be thrilled with all the coming and going, especially if they live in the same building.

  • Danger

Although actual terrifying Airbnb experiences are rare, you obviously don’t one to happen to you. If crazy drug addled guests smashing up your place and scaring you into calling the cops are your worry, Airbnb has a Trust Center to calm your nerves. But if you’re still worried about letting strangers into your property, than Airbnb may not be for you.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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