Cashing In On The Solar Eclipse – 3 Things To Consider Before Listing On Airbnb

photo| 'Solar Eclipse Web' by thekarmapolice is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
St. Joseph is about to become inundated with visitors from all over the world. No one can say exactly how many people we can expect but just about everything I’ve read states we should expect between 50,000 and 500,000 visitors. All those visitors need a place to land. Have you searched for hotel lodging in St. Joseph for Eclipse/Trails West weekend? There’s not a room to be had. Even Kansas City’s hotels are over 80% booked. So, it stands to reason that local folks have a great opportunity to cash in by offering their homes, or even just part of their homes, to visitors to rent for the weekend. There are several platforms you can utilize to list your property as a temporary rental, but for now we will talk about Airbnb. This seems to be the most popular choice, aside from Craigs List, and for good reason. Airbnb offers an attractive host guarantee as well as host protection insurance – both of which are automatically offered to every host.  Check-ins and payment transactions are handled securely through the platform and the site is super easy to use. But before you decide to rent your home out, consider these things:

Time Commitment

People have a tendency to think more about what they can gain from hosting on Airbnb than what

hosting will do to their life. Hosting guests can be quite a time-consuming endeavor; you'll have to respond to inquiries online, clean your guest's space and do laundry after every booking, and make sure your home is constantly neat and tidy.

This may seem like a small to-do list, but if you have a new guest every 3-4 days that could add up to 10 extra loads of laundry per month.  Yikes!
As a host, you will also need to be present to check guests in and out of your home, which means you'll need to book time off from your other commitments to properly welcome your guests and fulfill your hosting requirements.  Hosting on Airbnb is just like having a real B&B, it is a business and requires time as such.

Risky Business

Needless to say, allowing strangers to stay in your home comes with inherent risk.  Although Airbnb has insurance to protect its hosts and their homes, hosts are still vulnerable to theft or property damage.  This can be especially devastating if sentimental items, such a weddings rings or family heirlooms, are stolen by a guest. Even if you have no sentimental items in your home, repairing damage and replacing your home’s content can be just plain overwhelming and exhausting.  And, let’s not forget about things like bed bugs!

Be Realistic

It is unlikely that listing your home on Airbnb will provide you with enough financial freedom to quit your job and travel the world, though it may provide you with extra funds to contribute towards your mortgage payments.  Be realistic about your expected hosting income, and don't make any major financial changes based on your expectations until you have experience as a host and can accurately predict your monthly Airbnb profit.

Bottom Line

 

People are vastly different and have vastly different feelings about sharing their home and/or personal space with perfect strangers. If you’re one of the many folks who want to jump on this opportunity, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons in advance.