Turn Your Guesthouse into a Successful Airbnb Rental

Thinking of turning your guesthouse into an Airbnb rental? Check out these 5 reasons why taking the plunge is in your best interest.

When we bought our house, one of our first focuses was our guesthouse (aka the apartment above the detached garage). We knew this could be a great place for family and friends to stay when they visit, but we thought we would also try our hand at turning it into a successful Airbnb rental.

Thinking back to our own Airbnb experiences as guests, we realized that our best trip was one where we stayed in an Airbnb on the property beside the owner’s primary residence. This host paid attention to every detail, the property was spotless and the host welcomed us in person when we arrived.

When we think back to our worst Airbnb experience as guests, it’s easy to pinpoint it as a few days in a cabin where the owner lived more than 10 hours away. We were unsatisfied with the cleanliness of the property and tried to describe our concerns—but if she was nearby, she could see it for herself and would have probably never let it get to the state that it was in.

These extreme experiences influenced our decision to launch an Airbnb from our personal property. If you value continuous privacy, this probably isn’t the path for you. But with four young kids, we lost any possibility of privacy (or peace and quiet!) years ago.

Related: 5 Tips for Airbnb Hosting with Kids

So if you’re on the fence about listing your guesthouse on Airbnb, read our top 5 reasons why you should list it as a short-term rental.

Turn your guesthouse into a successful Airbnb rental

Added Income

One major benefit to listing your guesthouse on Airbnb is that the profits can go toward your personal mortgage, not a second mortgage. For us, this is huge. It means less risk—and it also means that any income we get is extra income that we can allocate as we see fit.

For instance, the first couple months of profit from our Airbnb rental was enough to pay for the initial investment we made into the property. We painted the guesthouse from top to bottom, upgraded the water heater, painted the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, updated the vanity mirror, replaced the HVAC window unit, put in vinyl plank flooring and purchased beds and linens.

Once we broke even on our investment, any future profit we have made has been earmarked for other things. We have personally used the money to pay extra principal on our mortgage each month, but in the future we may use it to complete other home renovation projects or simply add it to a home maintenance fund.

Flexibility to Sync Booking Calendar with Personal Life

If you’re nervous that renting out your guesthouse on Airbnb will take all the fun out of your own life, think again. No, you can’t be super spontaneous, but if you put a little planning into it, you can flame the extra income fire while having some fun of your own.

With the Airbnb website or app, you can easily block off dates for friends and family to visit. You can also schedule booking availability around your personal vacations—and the win-win is that your Airbnb bookings can pay for those vacations.

Easy to Manage Nearby

Listing your guesthouse on Airbnb makes it easy to manage yourself instead of paying a management company or driving to and from a property to oversee it. You can also easily clean the Airbnb yourself, further cutting down on overhead costs. Cleaning an Airbnb requires time, but the convenience of being next door is huge. If I have a few days between guests, I clean a little bit at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. This also means you can price your Airbnb very competitively since you aren’t paying a cleaning company. The final booking price on your property vs. a property with a cleaning service should be lower overall—making it a big standout for online bookings.

Managing a property next door also makes it convenient to address any maintenance issues that may arise. Additionally, close proximity makes it easy to personalize the guesthouse for guests. For example, if a family has young boys, I will leave picture books about tractors and a dinosaur puzzle.

Another benefit of listing your guest house is that it encourages guests to respect your property and to follow house rules (no extra guests, parties, etc.).

Related: How to Write a Negative Review for an Airbnb Guest

Convenient to Serve Guests

Another major benefit to launching an Airbnb near your primary residence is that you can play the role of hospitable host easily. If guests need something or have a question, you can easily address any issues—and even pop over if the need requires it.

For example, one of our guests had trouble starting the gas stovetop, so being nearby made it easy to help no matter the time of day. Another guest left the heat blasting when she checked out, but because I was nearby, I could quickly turn it down to save on energy costs.

Better than Full-Time Renters

In many situations, short-term Airbnb guests will yield a higher return than long-term renters. Even during your Airbnb’s slow season, it’s likely that your monthly income over the year will average higher for short-term guests. At the same time, it also means less time that you have other people on your property (in case you do want to try for a little peace and quiet). With four kids and a busy lifestyle, this was a big selling point for us. We aren’t sure how long we will offer our guesthouse as a short-term rental. But I do know that if we wanted to stop renting our guesthouse, it would be much harder to ask a long-term renter to leave than to simply remove our Airbnb listing.

Did We Make the Right Choice?

If I had the choice to do it all again, I would not hesitate to update our guesthouse and list it on Airbnb. Though it is a lot of work to manage a short-term rental (frequent foot traffic and cleaning), the whole experience has been a no-brainer. The extra income has allowed us to invest in our property. And the flexibility and convenience has made it something I can manage with four kids.

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