Looking into leasing property to run Air BnB

4 Replies

@Lianne Ottaviano This strategy is called air bnb arbitrage. If you google it, you can find many different websites that will give you some tips on how to get started and be successful. BP even had a blog post on it last week by @Paul Moore that I found very interesting. I will paste it below.


@Lianne Ottaviano - What market are you in? You will get better advice if others can respond based on your specific circumstances. I manage 8 30+ day rental arbitrage properties for business travelers in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Given this market, I have found that the most successful properties: are in safe neighborhoods, slightly below market rent, include a dedicated parking space (very important), a place to cook (kitchen or kitchenette) and a high number of bathrooms per bedroom (e.g. if 2 bedrooms or more, make sure there are 2 bathrooms). Also 80% of corporate travelers travel solo or with their partner, so studios stay booked. Secret ninja tip: if you can find a property with 2 units (e.g. a home upstairs with a private guest suite downstairs), grab it! These can be very profitable since many owners will charge you the rent of about 1.5 units rather than viewing them as totally separate units, but you can rent them out as 2 separate units. 

@Blaine Alger - I also read @Paul Moore 's article, thanks for providing the link. I love the rental arbitrage business but I think a more balanced perspective is important: "Martin" and "Al" are my two mentors and both worked very hard to build their rental arbitrage portfolios. @Al Williamson continues to work very hard to grow his business and teach others how to do the same, and a big part of Martin's profits go to the team that he has so skillfully outsourced his business to. It is absolutely possible to do well in this business, but it takes a lot of up-front work, hustle and some capital: to find the right properties, close the leases, finance the deposits and furniture, furnish the properties, bring in the bookings, get the ratings and then do it all again with the next unit. It can often take 9-12 months to earn back in profits what you have spent initially on deposit and furniture (especially in expensive markets), so that years 2 onward become the real money-making years.

The hard part will be finding a landlord willing to do this, and then continuing to let you do this once he sees how much money can be made.  Do you have a housekeeping service ready?  How are you going to promote it?  What makes people want to visit the area you plan to Airbnb?  What's the competition like?  When some appliance breaks, who is going to fix it?