Real Estate News & Commentary

3 Easy Steps to Discovering Your Airbnb Income Potential

Expertise: Real Estate News & Commentary
5 Articles Written

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For the first time, I opened my front closet door. To be honest, I had never used it. There was no place to hang anything, and it was just a big empty space.

Weeks earlier, I had begun to smell something funny in my and Bill’s shared apartment. It didn’t really bother me at first. After all, we were first-year university students, and unknown odors are usually Mom’s department.

All this changed when my new girlfriend at the time came up to visit me.

“Glenn, nice place, but seriously what is that smell? Let’s go the mall!” Words no boyfriend ever wants to hear.

Once the odor started affecting our female guests, it was time to act!

As I opened the front closet, broom in hand and scarf covering my mouth, two torn bags of garbage fell to the ground, revealing a mountain of similar bags piled in a heap of laziness.

Bill ran into his room. The jig was up. He was caught.

Despite having a garbage shoot 15 steps from our front door, Bill couldn’t bothered. After all, he was a physics major with a busy schedule involving closed books and marijuana.

Bill had to go. I knew something was wrong with this guy when he wouldn’t let me name our wireless internet “Bill Wi the Science Fi.” I mean, come on, that’s genius!

So, Bill was out, but now what?

“Airbnb!” My friend Seb told me, as I recounted this incident that at the Royal Oak pub on campus.

“Yeah, but I need someone longer term,” I retorted.

“Well, check it out. You can probably earn way more than a long-term renter since we are right in downtown Ottawa,” Seb said, showing entrepreneurial side.

“How much do you think I can earn?”

We both looked at each other with blank stares, like two children lost in the woods.


What Is My Airbnb Income Potential?

And that is our task today, to give you three quick tips on how to find out your Airbnb income potential.

Airbnb income is highly affected by location, property type, season, amenities, and proximity to desirable tourist locations. A three-bedroom flat in downtown New Orleans will fetch a different price than a Volkswagon Van in Missoula, Montana. Know what I mean?

Related: The Tax Impact of Airbnb & Short-Term Rentals: What Investors Should Know

We will show you exactly how to get you Airbnb idea off the ground. Give it a number! What’s your number?

1. Airdna

Airdna is our favorite Airbnb income data tool. It’s truly amazing and free of charge. This website provides listing analytics by tracking the performance of Airbnb’s over 2 million properties across 5,000 cities worldwide.

Not only will Airdna give you an idea of how much you can charge, but it will also give you occupancy rates, seasonal demand, and amenities standard in your area.

2. Airbnb Listings

A great income tracking mechanism is to see what your competitors are charging on Airbnb itself. Search for your city with random dates. This will give you a price range graph at the beginning of the Airbnb search results.

Switch to map view so you can zoom into your particular location within the city results. This will give you a good idea of what others around you are charging.

Do this three or four times with different dates so you can account for seasonable fluctuations.


3. Other Sharing Economy Sites & Hotels

It’s always a good idea to check out other short-term rental services, like VRBO (to learn more about how to rent your place and list for free on VRBO, click here) and Homeaway (click here to list your place for free on HomeAway—only pay when you get a booking). Do the same thing as you did on Airbnb by searching your city and neighborhood to see what others are charging.

Another fun exercise is to search hotel listings. Check out sites like Expedia,, or Hotwire to see what hotel prices are for your particular area.

Related: AirBnB vs. Traditional Rental Income: A Creative Way for Investors to Cash Flow in Expensive Cities

Although Airbnb prices are much different than hotels, they will show you the decision consumers are making when choosing between traditional hotels or the sharing economy.

Hopefully, with a few minutes of research you can find out an approximate figure that you can expect to earn on Airbnb.

And despite my odor incident, I went on to marry that girlfriend. So it wasn’t all that bad. And we are happy to announce that since the above incident, we have been garbage-room free.

Do you know how much YOUR property could rent for?

Check Airdna and share your Airbnb number below!

Glenn is a real estate investor and writer based in Montreal, Canada, who is the author of Secrets of the Sharing Economy. Glenn's passion is to teach people ...
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    Greg Cooksey from Puyallup, Washington
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you for writing this, there is some great info here. I’m currently trying to decide what niche I want to invest in, and vacation rentals is an attractive market in many ways. As someone who is starting out with no properties yet, I appreciate hearing ideas like this.
    Desiree M. Rental Property Investor from Sunnyvale, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    For vacation rentals a word of advice. Know the areas hotel tax laws. In Sunnyvale, CA where I Airbnb, we set the minimum stay to 30 days as to get around the local hotel tax for short stays. The city is really on top of policing Airbnb, Craigslist, and the other owner offered rentals and has no problem issuing a notice. I would hate for someone to buy then get busted by the city 6 months into a mortgage. Good luck
    Brad Cartier Investor from Ottawa, Canada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Yes, please check your local laws before diving into any short-term rental investing. Our number 1 tip is for people to chat with people who are already sellers. If, for instance, you search Airbnb in your area and there are hardly any listings, it’s probably not because you’re in an untapped market. It’s likely there are municipal or HOA bylaws against it. Be sure to do your due diligence before diving in. Thanks Desiree, very important point.
    Brad Cartier Investor from Ottawa, Canada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hey Greg! Glad you enjoyed the article. Be sure to seriously consider the difference between short and long term renting. The former can be more profitable, but much more work. There’s some good resources on BiggerPockets outlining the pros and cons.
    Brad Cartier Investor from Ottawa, Canada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hey Greg! Glad you enjoyed the article. Be sure to seriously consider the difference between short and long term renting. The former can be more profitable, but much more work. There’s some good resources on BiggerPockets outlining the pros and cons.
    Prag Patel Investor from Atlanta, Georgia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I wouldn’t call airdna “free”. All the useful info requires payment.
    Brad Cartier Investor from Ottawa, Canada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hey Prag, we must not be looking at the same thing. For discovering your potential Airbnb income Airdna is extremely useful. Yes there is a paid feature, but the free portion has all you need to get an idea of what your potential income is. For instance, when I search Montreal, I’m told the following from the free Airdna site: how many Airbnb listings are entire homes or just rooms (and a map), the average amount of reviews per listing, median nightly rate based on 6,000 Montreal listings ($69), the median price per night based on the type of housing (apartments ($74), homes ($97), and then it breaks it down based on number of rooms), monthly revenue broken down into 3 different percentiles, and typical amenity reports. This is all free and hugely valuable data to someone thinking about getting into the Airbnb game.
    Mark Spidell from Glenwood Springs, Colorado
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Nice article! How could he not like that wifi name! Come visit me in Colorado and I will give you the BP discount at one of my vacation rentals.
    Brad Cartier Investor from Ottawa, Canada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Mark, I’ve never been to Colorado but will certainly be in touch when I do!
    Maxim Ryumin Flipper from Windsor, ON
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great staff Glenn!
    Mario I Fernandez from Miami Beach, FL
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Awesome Thanks for the info Glenn!
    Stoney Fred New to Real Estate from Wittmann, AZ
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Great article! Although I don't see anything on Airdna being free! lol They make you pay for each city you want to research.
    Joseph B Lively
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I think originally (when this article was written) it was free. They have now seen what they have and have aggressively marketed their product at a steep price.
    Lora H. Investor from Denver, Colorado
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Two addresses I looked up on airdna, com don't come up with the correct city/address. A little confused about that. And there's not much else to do on that site for free.