How to make money with short-term rentals on Airbnb, VRBO, etc.
- Airbnb exploded as new hosts flocked to make money on the site.
- The hosts shared their stories of getting started, financing properties and dealing with difficult guests.
- Short-term rental challenges include increasing competition and growing local regulations.
Airbnb hosts have posted record profits as work and travel standards have been scrambled for the past two years.
The company said that in 2021, the typical host brought in $13,800, an 85% jump from pre-pandemic levels. Vacation rental hotspots have popped up across the country, from the deserts of California to the mountains of Tennessee. The Analysis Society AirDNA found that in January, the number of short-term rentals in the United States had reached a high of 1.5 million, compared to 1.2 million in August 2020.
But hosting can come with headaches. Competition is fierce and some hosts are worried about a slowdown in bookings this summer. Others complain that Airbnb tends to side with guests in disputes and say they have considered leaving the platform.
As Airbnb grows, its presence in some neighborhoods has bothered locals. Municipal governments in states such as Vermont and Hawaii have clamped down or pledged to regulate the short-term rental industry in their cities, reconsidering its effect on disruption or the overall housing stock. Like single-family home investors on Wall Street, Airbnb hosts are sometimes accused of preventing area residents from buying homes for themselves.
Here, we’ve compiled Insider’s coverage of Airbnb hosts and related industries, from success stories to words of warning.
Tips and stories from 5 successful Airbnb hosts
Several Airbnb hosts who have taken the plunge and rolled out the welcome mat have shared their tips for finding the right properties, financing strategies and driving bookings.
Bryce DeCora, a 30-year-old former engineer, owns 3 Airbnbs and used a home equity line of credit to fund his investment
DeCora quit her job at Boeing to invest in real estate, but it wasn’t easy. At one point, he incurred a debt of $676,000. He was able to afford his first home with $0 down thanks to a
-Assistance loan and financed a second home with an $80,000 home equity line of credit, or HELOC. DeCora said while it was stressful, he now brings in more than $4,800 a month from his Airbnbs.
Read DeCora’s story here.
Jennifer Prince, Freelance Writer Who Rents 2 Homes, Highlights the Importance of Finding the Right Property Manager
Prince bought his first Airbnb near his daughter’s college town for $115,000 and now rents it out for $110 a night. Combined with income from another rental property, Prince and her husband brought in $15,000 in their first six months. She attributed much of her success to finding a local property manager.
Read Prince’s story here.
Genesis Hinckley, a Google employee who owns an Airbnb in Colorado, has tips for decorating on a budget
Hinckley said she spends about 10 hours a month working on her Airbnb, which brings in $4,000 a month. When buying a property, she chose one that cost $300,000 less than she qualified for. Hinckley said small touches like automated check-ins and mood lighting make a difference for customers.
Read Hinckley’s story here.
Chris Choi has over 100 Airbnbs but nearly got kicked off his first listing for breaking apartment rules
Choi dropped out of dental school to pursue real estate investing, growing her ads from one bedroom in San Diego to more than 100 ads across the country. He used a strategy called rental arbitrage, in which he rents properties and then sublets them without ever fully owning them. In March, it was on track to gross $10 million in 2022.
Read Choi’s story here.
Millennial couple earn $100,000 in annual gross bookings at more than 15 Airbnbs they own and manage in New England
Lauren and Chris bought a vacation home in Vermont and thought they would occasionally list it on Airbnb to cover their costs. The surprising success of their first attempt prompted them to quit their day job in product and market research. They now own six properties and manage nine others for other owners in Vermont and surrounding states. In 2021, they brought in $115,000 in gross bookings.
Read their story here.
Some people rent out their primary residence on Airbnb for extra money
You don’t need to take out a second mortgage to take advantage of the accommodation boom. Some Airbnb hosts have found successful listings where they already live. They rent guest rooms or their entire house year-round and for special occasions.
Tipton Sholes, a resident doctor who rents out his Augusta home during the Masters, covers his mortgage for the year in just 8 days
Sholes rents out his house to multiple parties during the annual golf tournament in Georgia, charging $1,300 to $1,375 a night. It is usually booked in December for the early spring event.
Read Sholes’ story here.
Sasha Im, web producer and non-fiction writer, rents out her spare room in Seattle for 140-170 days a year
Im said she makes $16,000 a year renting out her spare room to visitors to the Emerald City. She said having guests makes her a better housekeeper and even gives her peace of mind. Some guests have even become return visitors.
Read Im’s story here.
Reyes Corona, a construction worker, rents out his California home during Coachella
Corona’s typical nightly rate goes from $180 to $1,900 for the annual music festival. It is rented to contractors working on the event and to festival-goers. While his house is in use, he stays with his parents – who also charge him a nightly rate.
Read Corona’s story here.
The Airbnbs boom sparked other successful stampedes
For hosts, finding the right home is the first step; there are many other things they need help with. As a result, cottage industries have sprung up around the accommodation business.
Some Etsy sellers, for example, cater to hosts with out-of-the-box welcome signs, while interior designers help hosts stand out. Travel bloggers have created entire income streams by visiting Airbnbs around the world and sharing booking sites.
Mary Dailey, a mother of 2, spends as little as 30 minutes a day on her Etsy side business and brings in $900 a month
Dailey created a simple template on the graphic design site Canva for Airbnb hosts to use to create their own welcome signs. She’s sold a single $4 model more than 650 times on Etsy. Dailey, who had no design background, said he needed a maximum of an hour a day to tend to his Etsy shop.
Read Dailey’s story here.
Emily Warkentin, a designer, creates custom murals to decorate Airbnbs
Warkentin drew on her background in architecture school to decorate her first apartment with maps of her and her hometowns. Now their fully-fledged design company sells custom map murals for up to $900. Airbnb hosts hang the drawings on their walls to show guests local sights and establishments.
Read Warkentin’s story here.
Erika Martin, a travel blogger from Wisconsin, made $28,000 in a month by visiting Airbnbs and sharing affiliate links
Martin’s blog, Everywhere with Erika, gained traction when she posted an account of her stay at a quaint lakeside cabin in Georgia. By sharing links to Airbnbs with his followers, Martin is able to earn a small commission when they book through his post. She earned $59,000 in the first six months.
Read Martin’s story here.
The best places to invest in vacation rentals right now
Property management companies and other businesses have crunched the numbers to determine where to buy vacation rentals for the best return on investment.
The 7 best places to buy a vacation rental and capitalize on America’s fervent desire to get away
Earlier this year, property management company AvantStay released a list of the best destinations for short-term rentals, including national parks and southern cities.
Do you dream of owning an Airbnb? These are the 10 states where new hosts cashed in last year.
Airbnb said new hosts brought in a total of $1.8 billion last year, with owners of short-term rentals in southern states like Arizona and Texas being among the top earners.