Long distance Airbnb

21 Replies

Hey guys, first post here and really enjoying my new found obsession with Bigger Pockets.

I currently live in the Denver CO area and own another home (apart from my primary) in the Rocky Mountains at 10,000ft that I use strictly as an Airbnb. This home provides excellent cash flow averaging around $2,500 per month after all expenses and mortgage paid.

I am considering a move next summer to Nashville TN and wanted to see if people have had luck with operating a vacation rental from long distance. I am usually going up to the home at least once per month to deliver supplies and do little things to improve the guests experience here and there. I do have a dependable housekeeper and maintenance guy but I am very OCD and always updating decor and doing little projects here and there to enhance the guest experience and I am concerned that without my hands in things I will not be able to operate at the same high level and was curious what results others have had with long distance.

I am aware that there are turn key vacation rental companies that will reply to messages and schedule cleanings and such but I'm not interested in those. I am fine to continue updating the calendar and replying to guests. I just want to see how people have seen their Airbnbs perform once their personal touch was taken away from the property.

Thanks!

-Clayton

It's possible and easy, but you do have to let go a little bit (I say this 4000 miles away from my nearest rental, dealing with a plumbing issue today). Of course you can always do an occasional trip to the property to do updates and maintenance. Can your housekeeper handle guest experience for a little more $? Or is there someone else closer by who may be willing to take on the work? You may find that people surprise you when you give them a chance.

@Clayton Loden You can't get a permit to operate an Airbnb in Nashville unless you are an owner occupant. 

Operating without a permit you'll receive a warrant from the deputy sheriff in less than a week telling you what date your court appearance is scheduled for. 

@Clayton Loden I do it from afar right now and it works very well. My advice is to get a stellar team on the ground that can assist while you're not there. The most important person on the team will be your housekeeper because they will be in your property most often and are going to be taking over that guest experience you very much care about. The other person I would recommend would be a handyman who you trust.

A good rule of thumb is to ask the cleaners what they would charge for a clean and offer them a bit more than that and tell them that it is in exchange for them making sure the property always looks its best and also documenting and sending photos right away if guests have done any damage or anything is missing. We did this and our cleaners love us because we pay over their standard pricing and bring them a lot of business. Best part is we pass this cost straight to the guest for the cleaning fee so it's a win-win!

@Ariel Vincent who handles restocking of all your supplies? (TP/Paper towels/Soaps/Shampoo/Towels/Sheets/Light bulbs etc) It seems you are depending on your housekeeper as a kind of property manager also? 

@Clayton Loden Cleaner or housekeeper is probably not very accurate for what mine do. They are half cleaner/ half property manager and handle restocking supplies and the day to day nuisance calls. I'd rather pay them a little more to handle that stuff then pay a property manager to do very little. I don't know how easy this would be for you but I actually have all of my supplies delivered.

Hey @Clayton Loden, welcome to your new "obsession", BP is a great resource.  Where is your Airbnb at? We want to add an Airbnb to our portfolio in a CO town a couple hours from us and I have had the same question.  I connected with an investor in the community who has a side business helping out remote Airbnb hosts (different from an Airbnb co-host) and charges a small fee for some of the turnover things you are talking about.  Maybe someone like that close to your rental community?

@Jennifer S. The property is in Idaho Springs area. I am considering selling this home as well hence the Airbnb long distance question that I will be debating. It would include the listing with 120 5 star reviews and processes/procedures already in place (housekeeper and maintenance folks all in place). Plus you get 15 hours consulting from me! :)

I do have a question for the group. When it comes to finding the right person to handle all of those details, where are you looking for them at? Do you have a process in place to determine if they will be a good fit.

I like what was said about paying a little more above their normal. How much more?

I would very much consider a long distance Airbnb but those questions have been lingering in my head unanswered.

@Leo Morales In my situation I'm in a mountain community and bought there knowing no one. I found my house keeper for the first year by posting on Craigslist and interviewing (she actually lived next door). The next house keeper I found was my snowplowers wife. You'll gradually get to know people in the area and every new person I meet I find out what skill-sets they have and save them in my phone just in case. For my housekeeper I'm considering adding an extra $20 per clean for her to do the extra attention to detail and light maintenance things (change light bulbs, update 4 digit code on door every 3 months etc,spot clean upholstery/carpets, etc). That would add an extra $180 or so per month to her.

@Clayton Loden they restock supplies, but we go out there maybe twice a year. We have a locked cabinet we put in the garage that we store additional toilet paper, paper towels, sponges, etc. in. Inside of the home, we have a locked cabinet that contains extra linens. The cleaners have access to these cabinets and can pull what they need. If we ever run into a situation where we need more or specific items, we will just amazon prime them direct to our cleaner and she will drop them by. Similar to what @Blair Russell said, their team is more like a hybrid mini property manager. When you find a housekeeper, find someone who specifically cleans vacation rentals because they will be used to this process and know to restock supplies.

@Leo Morales Just find someone flexible with time (one of my housekeepers has her own business, the other works nights) , understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, and easy to communicate to. Have everything you think you will need done written out when you meet with them for an interview, and also make sure they are committed to being local for a while. Go with your gut.

@Clayton LodenThere are a ton of great points already mentioned. Your team is key!  Before moving, talk to your cleaner and offer a fee to have them help stock and buy supplies when needed.  Have them send photos/videos periodically and/or FaceTime with them while they are on site.  Amazon Prime is also our best friend.  Where is your place in the Rockies located?

Now you will have a good tax write-off to fly back out to CO to check on your property!  If you have any questions about Nashville feel free to ask!  

Originally posted by @Clayton Loden:

Hey Luka, re-read my post. My airbnb is in Colorado, not Nashville.

 My bad. I had it backwards.

Airbnb has expanded their Co-Hosting program.

I have one in Summit County, and it's working great, so I'm getting more units.

You will have to pay the co-host 3%-8%, but everything is negotiable

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1243/what-is-a-co-host

Originally posted by @Clayton Loden:

Hey guys, first post here and really enjoying my new found obsession with Bigger Pockets.

I currently live in the Denver CO area and own another home (apart from my primary) in the Rocky Mountains at 10,000ft that I use strictly as an Airbnb. This home provides excellent cash flow averaging around $2,500 per month after all expenses and mortgage paid.

I am considering a move next summer to Nashville TN and wanted to see if people have had luck with operating a vacation rental from long distance. I am usually going up to the home at least once per month to deliver supplies and do little things to improve the guests experience here and there. I do have a dependable housekeeper and maintenance guy but I am very OCD and always updating decor and doing little projects here and there to enhance the guest experience and I am concerned that without my hands in things I will not be able to operate at the same high level and was curious what results others have had with long distance.

I am aware that there are turn key vacation rental companies that will reply to messages and schedule cleanings and such but I'm not interested in those. I am fine to continue updating the calendar and replying to guests. I just want to see how people have seen their Airbnbs perform once their personal touch was taken away from the property.

Thanks!

-Clayton

 Clayton, how did the long distance Airbnb work out with your self proclaimed OCD?

Anyone with experience... Is it worth paying a property management company for more the emergent issues that arise with guests including plumbing, heating/air, and tech issues?! Airbnb calls can happen any time of day and night so if you want to be more hands off with the emergent issues what’s the best strategy for that? I work in the healthcare field and when I’m with patients I can’t answer these types of issues. I guess this goes for long distance and in town Airbnb properties. Thank you!!

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