Kashin/ShutterstockYou’ve heard of Airbnb, right? It’s the trusted community marketplace where you can cash in on your spare bedroom, entire house, or even tree house—seriously, there are 1,400 tree houses (and 3,000 castles) currently listed on Airbnb—by renting it out to vacationers or other travelers passing through your city. And it’s hopping! According to Airbnb, it has 4 million listings in more than 190 countries, and its properties have hosted more than 260 million guests and counting.
Tempted to list your pad to make some extra cash? Airbnb hosts make an average of $924 per month and nearly half of all hosts make more than $500 per month, according to Priceonomics. That’s more than any other providers in the so-called “gig economy” (made up of short term workers and service-providers, many of whom travel from place to place to pursue short term “gigs”), reports the website.
So, how can you turn your own house into a gig-economy goldmine? First and foremost, you need to make sure it’s legal in your city, and, if you rent, not a violation of your lease. “Laws about renting out an apartment for a short-term stay vary by city,” shares Fast Company. “A law in New York, for instance, makes it illegal to rent an apartment for less than 30 days if the owner is not around.” There are also tax and insurance laws, but not all of them work against you. In fact, the new tax law enacted in 2018 may entitle you to a hefty tax deduction for the expenses you incur in setting up your Airbnb business.
Once you know it’s legal, try a testing out a few nearby Airbnb venues as a guest. That way, you’ll get a flavor for what works, what doesn’t, and what you’ve got to offer, Fast Company suggests.
Once you’re convinced it’s right for you, here’s what you can do to maximize your Airbnb business:
- Take fantastic photos
- Include hotel-like amenities (mini toiletries, towels, entertainment, water, etc.)
- Be realistic about your pricing (Remember: Even with those amenities, you’re not actually a hotel!)
Stay in the know about your finances by figuring out what your credit score actually means. Plus, don’t miss these other things to keep in mind before renting your home on Airbnb from people who have done it.