Sharing a success story - first flip to an Airbnb property!

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We closed on our 1st investment property around Thanksgiving, and put in some elbow grease and many trips to Lowe's to get it ready to rent on Airbnb.  It took a little longer than expected (they always do, don't they??) but since we both have full-time jobs and did most of the work ourselves, I consider it a success! We also stayed under budget, which was really important to us (and caused a lot of fights, lol)

It is officially up on Airbnb, and our first guests checked in on Monday for a week long stay.  We have kept our prices low this month since we don't have any reviews on this property, but we are already booked for Birkshire Hathaway (huge tourist event for Omaha) and a few Creighton games. 

This post isn't really a question, I guess, I just wanted to do a little bragging and also thank the BP community for being there to answer all of our questions along the way!  Does anyone else have any other success stories they would like to share? 

Congrats would you mind sharing the numbers of the deal?

Purchase price? Rehab? ARV? Rent via Airbnb?

Awesome! Congrats on taking the first step getting into your first investment property!

Looks great!  Do you have other short-term rental experience prior to this property or are you just getting started?  I haven't really considered AirBnB as an investment strategy here in Omaha before so I'm curious to see how things play out for you.  Keep up the good work!  

Great job! What paint did you use on the cabinets? Did you roll them out or spray them?

Congrats! What part of the city are you in? Curious to know what may work in our city for short term rental.

Thank you for all of the support!

It's a 3 BR/1 bath in NoDO (about 21st and Cummings) so it's less than a mile from TD Ameritrade park and Creighton University.

Here are the #s...

Purchase price: 73,000

Rehab: 16,500: 11,000 for new siding, one side of the house had extensive termite damage.  We only paid 2,000 for a privacy fence because the company that put the fence in messed it although we have some gaps in our fence it was half price.  3,500 for interior improvements including painting, plumbing fixtures, new dishwasher, vinyl plank flooring, some new baseboards, kitchen backsplash, and bathroom floor (peel and stick groutable tiles).  We used cabinet enamel to paint the cabinets with a combination of small roller and brush, and sealed it with a poly.  We went with butcherblock countertops because they were on a Cyber Monday special from Menards and we could install them ourselves.  Obviously they are more maintenance than a laminate, but with an Airbnb they wouldn't be getting the same wear and tear as a regular rental. Plus we really like the look of them!

Airbnb start up costs: 2,500 (furniture, electronics, kitchen items, and decor). 

So all in for about 92,000. I expect to be able to rent it out for $100/night, so at 75% occupancy that's $2250 monthly, plus $15 a booking of cleaning fees. Berkshire Hathaway was booked at $250/night, and for CWS I am hoping to make the same. PITI, utilities, and wifi are coming in around $600 (it hasn't been occupied long enough to be sure of utilities, but I estimate $100/month max).

Rents in this area are between $800-1000/month for a SFH. Our backup plan if Airbnb disappears tomorrow is to do student housing and rent out each of the 3 bedrooms at $450/month.

Our primary residence has an in-law suite in the basement that we have rented out on Airbnb since December of 2015, and we also rent out the bedrooms in the main part of the house during the summer as private rooms on Airbnb.  This has given us a lot of experience, and my wife works from 5 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon, so she manages the cleanings and inspections during the week and I help out on the weekend or when there is a break from school.  I have had a lot of people ask me about the Brian Page formula, but I am not sure you can charge enough for it be effective in Omaha (unless you can find a landlord that will rent to you just during the high season).  We love doing Airbnb and I have been researching starting an Airbnb management company for Omaha that can do guest communication, cleanings, and help get people started...currently going to do a trial run during this high season and see if it can exceed our full-time income. 

Thank you for all of the questions and all of the support/encouragement!! If you want to see pictures of our other property, or more pictures of this one, our website is  (this is my first attempt at a website, so no judgements!!!) We also have a facebook page and instagram under the same name. 

Wow, what a transformation! I love the butcher block and two tone cabinets in the kitchen.

That could be a great area for so many things in Omaha, CWS, swim trials, Creighton graduation. And right next to Creighton and near UNMC if the AirBNB doesn't work.  I think that you have a winning opportunity there.

@Jenessa NeSmith that is truly amazing! Great job. I think you choose a great area of town to do str’s as it is not the most sought after place to live (lower purchase price) but by far the area with the best/most sought after attractions (highest single night rental income).

Originally posted by @Jenessa NeSmith :

plus $15 a booking of cleaning fees.  

Question:  Do you just pay $15 to have someone clean it after it is vacated?  That's quite a bargain.

My cleaning lady just takes whatever cash she deems fit out of the rent whenever she has to clean.

@Paul Sandhu   Thanks for the question! We do all of the cleaning ourselves, and it takes about 45 minutes to do a turnover (often much shorter, and our Airbnb is our primary residence so we would be cleaning it anyway).  I am considering upping the cleaning fee on our new property to compensate for our time, but I don't want to charge too much...if keeping the cleaning fee lower allows us to book more nights, it would be worth it.  We are going to start outsourcing our laundry with a pickup service at $1.75/pound.  About how much do you find yourself paying monthly? 

@Jenessa NeSmith

My wife does the cleaning of our STRs.  It probably takes her 3-6 hours to clean a place, depending the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and floors.  Some weeks she might have to clean one or two places.  Last Monday 8 places became vacated in 24 hours.  We did hire her daughter to clean whenever we have a rush to get several houses ready.  It's $75 for each story that needs cleaned.  We have 1, 2 and 3 story houses.

@Jenessa NeSmith  Congrats!  Nice rehab on the kitchen.  

I do have a suggestion.  Redo your photos (or brighten them on the computer).  They're too dark.  

The next STR will be much easier!

I'm with Paul on this one, I'd say after your first couple of bookings to raise that cleaning fee! Even though you are doing it yourself you'll be losing money on laundry and cleaning product expenses. I ran the numbers for my business to see that we were losing money at $45 a cleaning and raised it to $70-$90 depending on the bedrooms and we have not seen a decrease in bookings after raising the cleaning fee. We also use a laundry by the pound service and that is the way to go if there is one nearby. It makes the cleaning much quicker because the laundry is already ready and you don't need to wait. Another plus side is you will never have a guest use up all of your clean laundry that you were going to use for the turn. 

Side note: you all did a great job on the kitchen! 

@Jenessa NeSmith Well done, and documented. 

We just finished our 3rd airbnb house, first to be renovated, and we're pleasantly surprised with the interest and demand. It's in Greenville NC a short walk from ECU. It is going to be a college house at $450 per room for the 4 bedrooms (one is rent-free for our daughter) in August. 

We rent out up to two bedrooms, use of whole house. We host visiting international scholars, visiting nurses, visiting educational consultants, and parents of ECU students. It's booked now with two 3-month guests. Our daughter is earning income and experience as she is the in-town co-host, not living on the premises yet. 

I'll post pictures too. And we also just started managing 4 STR in NY, a great way to diversify within the STR arena. You are on the right track.

Looks great!  I just started up my first AirBnB in Lincoln in December and have had great results and bookings.  Is $100/night working for you?  We are near downtown in a condo (1bed/1 bath) and have been comfortably getting $55-$70/night with a $40 cleaning fee, with about 80-90% occupancy.  Good luck!

@Jenessa NeSmith Do you mind sharing where you guys found this property? Was it just off the MLS? I see NP Dodge in your pictures. Or did you find it through a personal relationship, direct mail, etc?

Great job! 

@Brian Washburn hey thanks for reading! I just found it off the MLS. The ones that I could find off market were either in the wrong part of town or needed too much work done. You can still find good deals on the MLS in Omaha.

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