AirBNB In Los Angeles?

28 Replies

Hello all, I'm interested to find someone that is currently working the AirBNB market in Los Angeles. I'm interested in renting out my place while I'm traveling to make a bit of additional cash flow/offset my mortgage and expenses.

I'd like to find a good cleaning service, info on smooth management/key exchange, etc.. as well as any and all experience in this market and using AirBNB.

I'd love to hear from someone local!! Thank you!! :)

Howdy @Raquel L. !

Most of the full service property management companies that handle vacation rentals take about 30-40% off the top. Such a service would include cleaning(very important for airbnb guests), maintenance calls, and check in/out.

There are small operators hacking away at parts of the process.

  • airenvy gives you turn down service and toiletries, but only in SF(1% fee)
  • Super Host answers questions, schedules cleanings, and does the key handoff(1% now, 3% soon)
  • beyondstays does more work, and they guarantee they will make you more money using their services.

Some good threads on BP have been: Vacation rental - how to begin? and AirBnB or FRBO - who out there is doing it or tried it?

Can you tell us more about your property? @Sue Hoyuela and I can help you with figuring out how much you could make with your place on AirBnB.

Thank you, Evan! Wow--3% on SuperHost seems fantastic, compared to 25% on the other one. Yowch.

My property is a 1/1 in a quiet building in West Hollywood--a few blocks from Runyon Canyon, Whole Foods, any kind of food you can dream of, Ralph's, etc. Heart of WeHo. No view, really-- but it's a rear facing unit, no noise. Pool, hot tub, exercise room, and one parking space.

I signed up for AirBNB-- my place is extremely minimally furnished, so I'm not sure if I'd try to start as is at a lower rate, then use the profits to update little by little until it's... well, swanky enough to command a higher rate. ;)

Hey @Raquel L.

I crunched the numbers on all 267 of the 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom entire apartment listings in West Hollywood on AirBnB.

The average per night price is $128/night. For the next week(April 4th to the 10th), the vacancy rate is 35%. The vacancy rate is more accurate than occupancy rate because a unit is shown as occupied whether it's occupied by an airbnb guest, or the host's family.

Some of the listings accommodate up to 6 people. Many listings charge more for extra people. Accommodating more people can get you more money, but large groups are liability to throw parties.

I've compiled all the listings and their calendars into a spreadsheet. You can get it here: WeHo4April2014VacancyRates.xls

It's a lot of data, if you have questions, reply!

Hi Evan!!

Wow, you're incredibly with the data!! I've posted the listing:

I put it on @ $99 to start, and I'll see how that goes, since I don't have any reviews, etc yet-- have to offer at bargain price to entice. :)

I have tons of questions-- how did you find out the vacancy/occupancy rates? Where is that data? Also, how did you find the average rates, etc-- ? I've been trying to search AirBnB for data, and it's pretty unfriendly for it. I also wanted to search for apartments by sex of the owner (a female might be more likely to stay in a female owned listing I would think), etc-- but also, no way to search for that. Something I'd like to be able to see is the highest rated WeHo listings, but they don't have a priority listing system.

Thank you so much for the spreadsheet-- I will check it out when I can get to a computer. ;)


Originally posted by @Evan R. :
Hey @Raquel L.

I crunched the numbers on all 267 of the 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom entire apartment listings in West Hollywood on AirBnB.

The average per night price is $128/night. For the next week(April 4th to the 10th), the vacancy rate is 35%. The vacancy rate is more accurate than occupancy rate because a unit is shown as occupied whether it's occupied by an airbnb guest, or the host's family.

Some of the listings accommodate up to 6 people. Many listings charge more for extra people. Accommodating more people can get you more money, but large groups are liability to throw parties.

I've compiled all the listings and their calendars into a spreadsheet. You can get it here: WeHo4April2014VacancyRates.xls

It's a lot of data, if you have questions, reply!

Hi, How did you scrape the data for the 267 rooms? Do you they have an export function or do u have access to their API?

@Andrew Potievsky and @Raquel L.

On all the airbnb listings, there is a tab for the calendar, which shows when the listing is vacant. This is where I get the data. When I put all the data in a spreadsheet, then I can calculate the average, and other things.

AirBnB doesn't give up the gender of the hosts, you need to guess at it from the name. Raquel: female, Peter: male, Alex: 86% male.

Search could be better on airbnb. According to a recent blog post, they recently improved it, but I'm not seeing it.

On airbnb, you can create a special offer that differs from your usual price for potential guests. Talk to your to stay and leave you reviews. Your rank of listings in search is determined by many factors; reviews, your activity on the site, price, etc.

One thing to make sure you're on top of are the laws regarding short term rentals in your neighborhood. Some cities are cracking down and actually fining hosts, and I think in SF they're going to start charging hotel taxes. Here's an article that mentions the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles:

If you google "airbnb local laws" or "airbnb nyc illegal" lots of articles come up, worth looking into just to make sure you've got yourself covered!

Most of the crack down by municipalities on short term rentals comes about because of complaints initiated by neighbors.

If you are respectful, and your guests considerate of the neighbors and neighborhood, then they are much less likely to complain to the city.

Here is a home away thread of people talking about their experiences interacting with the various bureaucracies in LA:

@Evan R.

Thanks for the link-- I read through it. :) There IS a petition that's begun to hopefully make it legal. is where you can sign and pass on the info to your friends, if anyone is interested. I'll be looking for more of those, so if you find one, post it here, please!! :)

I've been doing the AirBNB now for the entire month of April and have managed to cover P&I on my mortgage while vacationing!! This is an awesome way to make money, but there are definitely risks involved, and I don't look at it as long-term in the city of Los Angeles.

I'm curious to meet others that are doing this/have done this for an extended period of time. :)

Hi @Raquel L.  

I was wondering how your AirBNB was going?  I am considering this with a property in Echo Park and I would like to hear about your experience!  How have the revenues been vs. renting it to long term tenants?  Would you do it again?  Any tips for new AirBNB landlords?



@Josh Prince I love AirBnB, and it's been waaaaay more than long-term renting. I make 1.2k more per month than I do with a long-term renter. HOWEVER-- my building HOA has cracked down, and I can only do 30+ day reservations EVEN THOUGH my building is zoned for short-term rentals. Check your local zoning rules--people think short-terms are illegal in Los Angeles, but they're actually not-- under 3 units are the only ones subject to this law. ;)

I'd say, GO FOR IT!  Just beware of neighbors.  You can't hide traffic.  People will come with huuuuuuge suitcases, confusion about how to open a door, etc.  If you own a whole building and can do this, more power to you!!  :)

Whoa, this seems neat. And, it can definitely work in places like West Hollywood, Hollywood, Silver Lake, etc... 

I wonder if there's anyone out there who has a property with mixed units: long-term and short-term rentals. That would be a neat way to diversify!

@Danny Simard  I agree, great idea!! Some existing landlords have switched their units over to short-term, but I haven't heard of any buying something for this specific purpose. LA has a hefty price tag-- I'd want to make sure it would cash flow as a long-term in case short-terms got shut down if I was buying something. 

I have been renting out rooms using Airbnb for more than 3 years. You will definitely make more than long-term rentals.

Things to consider:

It is illegal in New York state I believe, and you'll want to look into legislation and possible legislation in your state before you make an investment.

As someone pointed out, neighbors will notice. I know that ppl who have been doing it in properties that they do not own, and especially in large managed buildings, have gotten into trouble and had to stop doing it. If the place is yours and/or has a private entrance, it will be much easier.

Much more work for you to clean the place in-between tenants because the turnover is so high. I'm considering buying a place expressly to rent it out using Airbnb (and their competitors), and the plan would be to key the lock with a smartphone that a cleaning person could use to enter at certain times, and to have defined checkin and checkout times for guests. I haven't done any research on locations/markets but would love to buy a place with this plan. 

If you are renting your own place out while traveling, the biggest thing will be to arrange the keys and cleaning when you are not there. Also since ppl are flying in, you have to have a somewhat flexible schedule in case their flight is delayed significantly, etc.

If you get the professional airbnb photos you will get more people interested (probably has more to do with the airbnb algorithms than the professional photos).

Airbnb used to not do any screening of tenants but now they require a photo ID, etc. I still do my own screening and will ask questions of ppl that do not have positive reviews, etc. I have gotten extremely good at screening tenants online and do not even do phone calls/video calls as it is time-consuming and plus anyone can lie to me and some fraudsters are very charismatic.

I would not start with the price too low to get positive reviews. Go with the market rate and create a nice listing and ppl will stay there.

I am focussing on Airbnb / holiday rentals in Europe, trying to take advantage of distressed properties in touristic areas and achieving above average rental yields with renting directly to tourists.  

Legislation for  Airbnb is getting tough in cities like Paris and Barcelona too, heard of many landlords getting fines for their guests being to noisy. 

I am trying to build a track record now. In the future i hope to start where investors in the fund would not only take advantage of a good investment opportunity, but also can profit from extra advantages when they travel and stay in real estate from our/their portfolio.  

To answer the initial question on this topic, how to find good people to manage/clean your place when you are not there? (and are not too expensive) Here is a tip.  Read the reviews of other listings in your area.  When you read someone other than the owner got contact with the renters (and is getting good reviews), there is a very high probability this person would also be interested in managing your place.  I got lucky finding a guy in France this way. He charges me way less then a cleaning or management service.  

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@Evan R.  and the rest of the group.. I'm starting up a discussion for anyone who wants to talk more about AirB&B, VRBO, and all other types of furnished short-term rentals, so we can all chat and see what everyone is up to..

Anyone who wants to chime in, please share your experience!!

We have been renting out units on AirBnB in the Silverlake area with some great success. It's important that you set up the profile and optimize the keywords on AirBnB. 

The nicer the unit the more you can charge. Also focus on enticing your guests to leave a comprehensive review to increase your future rental rates. The laws can be strict and technically AirBnB in many areas is illegal but have not heard of anyone being fined as of yet. 

We are getting about $1,500 more per unit then the lease rentals. Any investors interested in cash flow property in the LA area should reach out to us and discuss how to maximize the return and minimize the management.

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You may want to be very careful about linking with a property management company and listing with Airbnb. I've heard no further follow up on this story:
Airbnb cuts ties with vacation-rental firms in Los Angeles

Amid mounting pressure from housing advocates and community groups, Airbnb is cutting ties with some of its biggest money-makers.

Two of the home-sharing giant's largest Los Angeles-area hosts — vacation-rental firms with dozens of apartments apiece — said Friday that Airbnb had dropped them from its site this week, canceling upcoming bookings and scrubbing their listings. A number of other large hosts in the region have also disappeared from the site.
The San Francisco-based company had little to say about the moves, issuing a brief statement that said its "mission is to connect hosts with guests and provide a quality, local and authentic experience. We routinely review our platform for market quality and adherence to this mission." A spokesman said he couldn't comment on specific hosts. There is no sign of similar moves in other big Airbnb markets, such as San Francisco and New York.

But the presidents of Globe Homes and Condos in Venice and AE Hospitality in downtown L.A. both said they received phone calls from Airbnb on Tuesday, telling them that their listings would be removed from the site and bookings after April 15 would be canceled.

And he wasn't the only one. An analysis of Airbnb listings for The Times by Tom Slee, an independent researcher working on a book on the sharing economy, found that 10 of the 13 hosts with the most local listings on the site in October no longer had any on Friday. Globe Homes, the biggest, had only a handful of houses listed in Palm Springs, instead of the dozens of units it typically lists in tourist-friendly parts of L.A.

Just like Eryorulmaz, Globe Homes owner Sebastian de Kleer said he got a call on Tuesday.

"We had about 50 listings removed," he said. "They told us on the 31st" of March.

The move comes as Airbnb faces growing scrutiny at L.A. City Hall. City officials are meeting to try to determine how to better regulate the booming short-term rental industry, which is technically illegal in much of the city, though critics say those rules are rarely enforced and hotel taxes often not collected.

Last month, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, an influential research group with labor ties, issued a report saying that short-term rentals are exacerbating housing shortages in some neighborhoods.
The report named Globe, which at times listed more than 70 units, as a main culprit. Earlier this week, Venice residents protested outside Globe's office.

The episode highlights the tension between Airbnb's "sharing economy" ethos of regular people renting out spare rooms, and the professional operators who are attracted to it, said Ian McHenry, president of Beyond Pricing, a firm that provides market data to Airbnb hosts. He notes that Airbnb cracked down on some landlords in New York a few years ago after protests there.

For key exchange, it seems RockLock is what airbnb hosts r looking for. You can take a look at RockLock makes smart lockbox to provide a key exchange solution for airbnb hosts.

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