If there is one universal thing that we all can agree on, it’s that no matter how much we earn, it’s never enough. That’s why so many people have side hustles to fulfill their dreams and live a quality life. A portion of these people use their homes to generate a secondary income. One of those side hustles is with Airbnb house hacking.
If you are thinking of putting your primary residence on Airbnb, then you’re at the right place. What exactly is house hacking for Airbnb? This is when you already own a home or purchase a new home, continue to live in it, and rent out the extra bedrooms on Airbnb.
Stating an Airbnb business can sometimes be a lot of work so Airbnb house hacking is the easiest and most direct way to get you to your financial goals.
By renting extra rooms out in your home, you can cover your entire mortgage for the month. And in a lot of cases even earn extra income!
Airbnb House Hacking Example
Let’s say you own a 3 bedroom home in Florida. You are close to the beach and restaurants and people vacation there often. You are only occupying one room in the house, which means you have 2 extra bedrooms to rent as a private room on Airbnb.
Monthly Mortgage (including taxes & insurance): $2100
Estimated nightly rate per room: $70
Average occupancy rate for the year: 65%
$70 x 365 days per year x 65% occupancy = $16,607.50 income per bedroom
That adds up to extra income of $33,215 PER YEAR! If you subtract your mortgage from this, you’ve officially made $8015 in income by using the Airbnb house hacking method.
Now, let’s go through the steps to take to prepare your home and extra rooms to be rented on Airbnb!
1. Do your homework
Just like how you start most projects, to launch your first Airbnb by way of house hacking, you need to do your homework first.
Start by doing research on the demand in your area. If your property isn’t located in a good location, your business may fail before it’s even open.
In fact, that’s something many budding hosts fail to realize- the earning potential for a property is highly dependent on the location alone.
If travelers love your neighborhood, then you are in luck. It should be fairy easy to list your extra bedrooms on Airbnb and get bookings right away.
And the next thing you have to look into is the legal requirements. You need to ensure that you are legally allowed to host in your area.
In some cases, hosts have to do some paperwork and inform city officials about their plans to rent out spare rooms on a short term basis and collect income from it.
Once you have taken care of the first two pointers, you can look into other things such as insurance concerns. Not only do you need a decent insurance policy to cover all major risks, but you also need clarification on certain things.
For instance, check whether your homeowners insurance policy limits coverage for home-sharing and whether you get the same benefits you get in the standard plan you are using now.
2. Open a business bank account
To make accounting easy, you can open a business bank account. If you expect to conduct 200+ transactions each year from Airbnb house hacking, you can get a 1099-K from Airbnb for filing your taxes.
With a dedicated business bank account, you can track your Airbnb related expenses and file taxes much easier.
3. Ramp up the home appeal
Your house may be designed to perfection for YOU. However, using a house for an Airbnb business may require you to make some changes. In other words, you need to elevate your home’s décor to make sure it appeals to potential guests in your home.
You can start by decluttering your home and replacing existing bed frames, mattresses, and pillows with their high-end counterparts. You can also invest in some decent oil diffusers, candles, etc. to make your Airbnb smell like a luxury hotel.
At any rate, be prepared to shell out around $1,200 per bedroom and $1,500 for other areas for your house to make the property Airbnb-ready.
Especially if you are renting out private rooms, make sure you include all of the bedroom essentials.
4. Fix your rates
Once your property is redone and looks aesthetically appealing, you need to decide an approach for setting your nightly rate. This will again require you to do some research on your competitors.
You can go to Airbnb and note down the rates other Airbnb owners are charging in your area for comparative properties. In the scenario of house hacking and renting a single bedroom instead of the whole home, you’ll want to compare to other hosts that are doing the same thing
If your home is located in a seasonal area, this may be something to consider.
Here are a few useful tips on Airbnb pricing that you can use:
- Airbnb allows you to set Length of Stay pricing that allows you to offer discounts on a weekly or monthly basis. It might be hard to believe, but offering these discounts is beneficial in most cases. This is because these discounts incentivize your guests to stay for longer and also attract new guests.
- You can use Airbnb’s Smart pricing option to adjust your prices. When you enable this option, your listings get priced automatically based on different factors such as market demand and location.
Note: Remember that for most hosts, Airbnb charges a 3% fee for all bookings. If you are an Airbnb Plus host, then the fee could be even higher. So, set your prices accordingly.
4. Take the best pictures
If you want to attract guests to your home, you need to sell your property. Well, not literally, but use Airbnb listing photos that are appealing to guests. Since most people are visual when it comes to Airbnb selection, you want to take the best photos of your abode.
Unless your photography skills are top-notch, you should think about hiring a professional photographer for the job. You may have to pay them anywhere from $100 to $300 for the gig, but it will be worth it.
One more thing, try to find a photographer who specializes in real estate photography as they will know the best angles and frames to select for the clicks.
5. Setup a cleaning company
You need to make your property squeaky clean if you want to keep your guests happy. But don’t pick up the mop and broom yourself- hire a professional instead, preferably a cleaning service that has experience with hotel or rental cleaning experience.
Note: You can always clean the room yourself, especially if you live in the home. Instead of paying someone, this could be a way to save a little more money.
Another major reason to hire experts is that they know how to tackle challenges specific to rental properties. For instance, the cleaners will check for property damage and theft when guests check out. They will also follow a strict schedule so that your guests find spotless bedrooms and other areas when they check in, every single time.
6. List the property
The final step to launching your shared room on Airbnb is listing the space. Now, it may sound easy and simple, but you need to put some effort here too.
You need to ensure that the title of your listing is creative and grabs attention. The choice of words should be focused on amenities and simplicity. Avoid adding unnecessary and specific details such as “a large bedroom with chestnut furniture and TV with all major subscriptions such as Amazon Prime”.
Do you need help getting started on your Airbnb hosting journey? I am now an AIRBNB AMBASSADOR! That means that Airbnb wants me to help you get started (and yep, they provide me with a little credit!). To get started, click here to be a part of my Airbnb family. Note: In order to receive my personalized guidance, you must create your listing with this link.
This service is 100% FREE to you! (You will also get a $40 Airbnb credit by using an Airbnb Ambassador like myself). I will be available to help you with any questions related to creating your listing, communicating with guests, and accepting your first reservation!
When writing your listing, keep your target audience in mind. What are they looking for? What does my home offer that is unique? Asking yourself these questions will help you create the perfect listing.
To make the listing creation easy, you can also follow these steps:
- Specify the type of property you are listing (your space could be an apartment, an independent house, a yurt, etc.).
- Mention whether the listing is a full space or a shared space.
- Set the price. It can be based on dates, Airbnb-suggested nightly rates, and other factors.
- Select the appropriate dates for the listing and block the dates when your home isn’t available. You can list anywhere from once a month to an entire month or even for longer.
- Share all the relevant and attractive details – what the guests should expect from your property, all the benefits and amenities provided, things to keep in mind, etc. Be sure to include important details such as bathroom set-up, bedroom space, common areas, etc.
- If there are any issues with your property that some guests might be uncomfortable with, mention them as well. It’s a bad idea to hide such things from your guests as that may lead to a bad experience for them which may in turn affect your reviews and ratings.
How much can you make with Airbnb House Hacking?
According to Airbnb, its hosts that are renting a shared room make around $9,000 or more every year. There are hosts that make way more, and there are also hosts that make way less. Your average earnings will depend on mainly two factors – are you located in an area that attracts guests and how much are you charging per night?
The following tips can be useful to you since you are just getting started:
- To maximize profits from your Airbnb home sharing, you need to put effort into making your property as gorgeous and functional as possible. The more you take your guests’ concerns seriously, the better your ratings will be. Good ratings will automatically attract more guests which will in turn push revenue.
- Invest in good décor and good-to-have amenities for your guests. If your guests will get the sense of getting a bank for their buck, they will have a good experience and your property will be more popular.
- Promote your property wherever you can. Use online forums, social media platforms, and relevant websites to get the word out there. All the top Airbnb hosts don’t rely on just the Airbnb platform to get traffic- they leverage other resources too.
- These days, many people travel with kids and pets. So, by making your listing kid and pet-friendly, you can tap into guests that are traveling with their fur babies or children.
- Another way to increase your Airbnb revenue is networking. You can attend real estate and Airbnb-specific events in your area and online to connect with like-minded people and people in the same line of work. Doing so may introduce you to new tools and platforms that can help you boost profits. You will learn so much more than you would otherwise learn on your own.
Airbnb house hacking can be a great way to generate extra income to pay your mortgage. You can rent out one or several extra rooms in your primary residence to get your foot into the short term rental world. Once you have this process down, you can think about repeating this with another property!