Why airbnb can kiss my butt

72 Replies

Sorry to hear about your experience, especially since I'd like to get into Airbnb or STR, but I think what another poster said about being doomed by the neighborhood is true. I've rented Airbnbs all over the place even internationally, and the ones with the good locations sell themselves and are always booked and I'm sure the property owners aren't sweating over reviews. Kudos to you for what you did with your properties and the street. Your "Compound" sounds like a neat place :) Best wishes.

I'm so stressed out just reading that!  I have been living in Airbnbs (10 so far) for the past three months.  I didn't realize how awful it can be for the hosts.  

@Brian . you might want to reconsider. There are many people who make it work beautifully.

I wrote this to give a different picture than 'this is just such an easy cash cows or the extreme horror stories we hear about. There arw many shades of gray in between. It was not meant for people to feel sorry for me. I'm good ;-)

Sounds like your property is fine and this customer has some kind of issue.  Airbnb is great, although not for me, because I don't like temporary "tenants."   

I like Airbnb more as a consumer.  It allows me to get cabins and other offbeat properties that were less available in the past.

@Michaela G.

I used to sell on eBay both after Wall streeter 1 (Meg Whitman) and then foolishly again later on, when John Donahoo took over and it got far worse. I see very similar parallels with Chesky's 'mentoring' by Donahoo, the "word on the street" of a 2017 or '18 IPO since 2014ish, and after viewing the speech Brian gave at the Aspen Institute. Much like eBay (or any global 10,000 public livery corporate system subsidiary, under the Crown empire) the founders either "toe the line," or are soon replaced with a Meg or John type. (i.e. an establishment autonotom, focused on 'theft' performance bonuses, perks, stock price, quarterly reports and undeserved, "golden parachutes!") 

I suggest you instead (sandwich or cooperatively) 'lease option' those properties, make considerably more BANK than "renting them out," then when the "economy tanks" again in 2018- 20ish... you will have capital to REINVEST at or near the BOTTOM of the market 'S' curve! Thanks for sharing your (parasitic) 'hosting' story, in so much detail. Sounds like you also made the RIGHT choice. Keep smiling, and kind regards :-) Scott

Updated over 2 years ago

And BTW (since I oddly cannot 'revise' my posts, after fifteen plus mins.) I meant "parasitic" in the sense that the seller, AirB 'host,' etc. will be left "holding the bag," while the "preferred shareholders" and "execs" reap the spoils, as par. Not trying to sound "pessimistic," just pointing- out how their "bait, then switch" nearly all all of the burdens and expenses unto the "host" (like a tick or leach, for e.g.) truly IS their "business model" in a sense, unfortunately.

Thinking about hosting; I will definitely take all of the above info and insight into consideration. What cut does AirBnB take? Or is it just the service fee that is charged upon booking? I'm unable to find that information. Thanks!

I have been on AirBNB for a little over a year and haven't had any issues. I own 2 properties I've listed on there and manage 7 others. A couple of thoughts come to mind... not every property is suited as a STR. I mainly reserve them for vacation locations, places that corporate travelers would want to stay and families. They are a lot more work than long term rentals and you really want the right clientele there because they will not only be in your property but also using your furniture. Second, I choose properties that will command a high enough nightly rate. I don't want to be a low budget place and with the work involved, the ROI needs to be there. The higher the price my properties are, the better they seem to take care of my place. I never use smart pricing. I do not want to market myself as the lowest priced place out there. I wouldn't throw in the towel forever but maybe try to find a property that would be better suited for STR. Hope that helps!

If you ever change your mind check out Zeona McIntyre and her excellent podcast on AirBNBing.  She does consulting and I believe management at 20%.  You could have her help you get it started.  Just a thought.

@Wendy Schultz

Well stated... I know several people (some of whom I made the initial suggestion) that rent- out their entire abode (while they stay at a friend's, lover's, family's, etc. place) for around +/- $500. a night, here in Sonoma, Napa and Marin, etc. county "wine country." They also tend to utilize VRBO and one realtor friend plans to 'specialize' in managing these places. (Her 2500sf condo overlooks the main park green, in Windsor... and it right next to shopping, a grocery store, eateries, bars, entertainment, etc.) 

I's venture to say that it wouldn't be worth doing the 'lower- end' with fewer than three bedrooms rented, and the people I've noticed doing so indeed had three or more rooms allocated... Unfortunately this doesn't consistently attract the 'right clientele,' and also tend to upset the immediate neighbors. (Especially in ruraldom!) As for 'area...' that's generally more about "safety" and "things to do within walking and driving distance," than the actual space itself, at least for shorter- term guests. If I were Michaela, I'd offer those on "lease to own" agreements for $5k. - $10k. down, and target the mid higher- end (full space) rentals, or not bother?

So, doing some numbers. 

Let's say I would have had an 80% occupancy rate with airbnb (sure, we all hope for 100%, but that's not realistic)

The 3 bedroom at $ 89/night @ 24 nights would have been $ 2136/month

Both of the 1 bedrooms @ 65/night @ 24 nights would have been $ 1560

So, a total of $ 5256/month

I already have the 3 bedrooms rented out , all in, for $ 600/month. 1 moved in last night, the other 2 before end of month . That's $ 1800/month

The 1 bedrooms I'm asking $ 995/month. 1 is already filled and the others I have a few people that want to see it. 

So, now I'll have a total of $ 3790/month .........difference of roughly $ 1500/month. 

$ 1500/month would have been very low pay for having had to give up every evening, because I'd be sitting for people to arrive. Maybe announced at 7pm and then they decide to eat dinner on the road and it ends up 10pm. Not being able to make any plans for myself or having to cancel things, because guests run late. Not counting the stress of worrying about ratings.

@Michaela G. sorry to hear that it wasn't a good experience for you. I've had some bad experiences too, while real estate investing, but it's only because I've tried many different things. I've found what I like, what I don't like, and what works for me. At least the positive outcome is that you can say you did it.

I'm interested in the Nursing/Professionals renting as well.  How do we find them?  I currently am doing airbnb, but winter is an upcoming concern as vacationers don't rent as often. 

Lol.....today I'm getting an email from airbnb stating that they've conducted a review of my complaint about the retaliatory review and they agree and are deleting the review. Sorry it took so long......

@Michaela G. - You go the most important point right. This is not for everyone. It's great for others. I'm going to play a little bit Devil's Advocate because I care about your success. I've had multiple AirBnB properties since 2013. I've experienced every shade of crazy, in the beginning it was similarly overwhelming - but - what I started to do was I started to - crazy proof - my SYSTEM and plan for crazy. Most if not all of the problems you mentioned are either preventable by immaculate screening standards, well very thought out home guides, home rules, record keeping, deposits and upfront clear communication of what not to do and what the consequences and have people agree with them BEFORE they stay. You will learn many small things that can change your experience. Lower prices = lower quality guests. More compromise on your standards on your part = more demand from them. etc. etc. 

HI Michaela,

I have been to your complex in Pittsburg subdivision. I know you disclosed but on airbnb about your neighborhood.

What airbnb suggest in pricing can be too low and will attract clients you may not want nor need.

I advise anyone using airbnb to get on all the fb groups and google email groups and meetups as much as possible. You will learn a lot more from some excellent Airbnb Superhost in Atlanta. This information is INVALUABLE.

I have been told that you or/and your cohost must work on your airbnb site consistently..almost daily. You cannot put your listing up and hope and pray for people to come. The longer a property sits with no bookings, reviews or wishes the further down the rabbit hole it goes. Always be doing something to your listing on airbnb.I find airbnb to be very one sided in regards to leaning toward the guests more than equally with landlords. The whole system of the review can drive any host in to misery from a bad review or getting someone in your property that is paying too low and/or do damage to your property or worse.

Make sure to put your house rules together and be very clear about them. Remember this is still your house. If you have an issue and a guest damages your property and you did not have that in your house rules you will not have a leg to stand on with airbnb. I had 4 guests with no identification or many house rules. I received 3 positive reviews and minimal loss when I was doing self check ins. Jason helped me get started. I felt it impartive to have a cohost bc if I would have communicated with guests i would have driven them away bc of long term landlord experience and what I require from long term possible tenants.

More things I have learned: Have surveillance equipment outside of your property (this can affect your listing bookings) . You will know who is coming and going..and can probably discern who is "authorized" and who is non-authorized. I will now ask for full name and all names and ages of all booked guests. If I don't know who is authorized how can i know if they are unauthorized? I understand you cannot ask for someone's license before they receive complete information on the property after booking but a lot of hosts have changed from self check in to now meeting guests at their properties to obtain a driver's license and walk them thru the property initializing the house rules to confirm everything is clear and guest know where things are. People will not book if there is a required check in with host.If you have lengthy house rules they may not check in either but again this is your property. Every decision you make and implement in regards to your listing can affect your listing.

You must ask yourself what is your expectation for this property on airbnb and see if your expectations are realistic: what do i need monthly from my airbnb? Do I like turning a property around every 2 to 4 days with guests? Is the monthly income what I expected to start off with?

Know when the very slow seasons are. For what I understand Jan to March can be slow seasons and great time to update property if you need to. Sometimes from Thanksgiving to March can be slow. I thought you start off build momentum and you were good.

There are a lot of people who have done very well with airbnb and wouldn't want to do it any other way. They enjoy the social aspect of people coming from all around the world. They have housing for people needing to relocate for short term. When an airbnb host travels they can have their whole family together on a trip that they could not afford thru a hotel.

Good luck to all who do airbnb. Kudos to Curt and Jason.



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