Kitchen Sink, Renting, Selling a Home

Should you Airbnb Your Home While It’s on the Market?

I’m often asked if a home on the market can be Airbnb’d to offset holding costs. I love how Airbnb has changed my life, but I’m a big believer that Airbnb isn’t always the cash cow answer to every real estate short-term vacancy. It takes work, and it takes time. 

As a 7-year Airbnb Superhost, I’m often asked if a home on the market can be Airbnb’d to offset holding costs. I love how Airbnb has changed my life, but I’m a big believer that Airbnb isn’t always the cash cow answer to every real estate short-term vacancy. 

It takes work. It takes time. 

While listing your property on the popular platform is possible, I want to share reasons for you to think long and hard before making that decision.

Do You Need to Fund Furnishings

Are you leaving the home furnished until it sells? If you are, great! This puts you in a great position to Airbnb your home as you’ve already cut down on set-up time and expenses. 

If the home is vacant you’ll need to furnish it and to do that properly it requires a decent investment. Depending on your current market, buying furnishings only to have your property sell in 2-3 months wouldn’t be worth your time and money.

My company, Nestrs, offers staging services and we’re often asked if we can stage a home for Airbnb while it’s on the market. Staging a home with rental pieces is quite different than staging a home with pieces that will be used by guests. To have a stager curate a short-term rental is not inexpensive. You would need to pay for their design and installation services on top of the costs of the actual pieces. 

If you want to DIY the furnishing stage remember it takes a decent amount of time to shop, receive, and install pieces. Even if you decide to only Airbnb one of the bedrooms in the home to limit your spending–the cost of a bed frame, mattress, and linens will add up! And we haven’t even discussed outfitting your kitchen and bathroom with the bare necessities. 

And who wants to offer paying guests the bare necessities anyway?! Airbnb guests are paying customers who deserve all the luxuries of home. Once you start furnishing your home for guests–between the time it takes you to get it ready and the cost of all the items, is it still worth it?

Host with the Most

Hosting and turning over an Airbnb requires time and attention. Are you prepared to answer guests’ questions? Do you have time to dedicate to turning over the listing? If your home is on the market, is your plate already full of other life demanding things like finding a new home, moving, etc? While there are a ton of things you can do to make hosting more efficient, your guests will still depend on someone to be there to answer their questions or accommodate requests. 

If you’re not able to take on these responsibilities you will need to pay someone to manage your listing for you and that will just eat into your profits which again, continues to beg the question: Is Airbnbing still worth it?

Instances Where Airbnb Might Work

If your home is already furnished and is in a desirable location Airbnb might be a great way for you to make some extra money while it’s on the market.

You’ll need to take into consideration when your real estate agent could show your property. You do not want to put guests out and have potential buyers walk through when guests are trying to feel at home. Perhaps block off one day or two days a week where guests aren’t permitted to book so your home is free to show. 

Let your guests know that the property is for sale before they arrive. This way they aren’t confused when they pull up to your home and there is a “For Sale” sign in your yard. And you never know–they might be able to connect you to your buyer!

Be Ready to Sell as an Airbnb

If your property is in a fantastic location, is furnished beautifully, and you can prove it is/will be profitable as an Airbnb you might be able to sell your home as a working business!

This is exactly what I did with my Astoria, Queens property in 2017. Our agent informed potential buyers that we were Airbnbing the home and shared with them how much the property could bring in a month. Our buyer purchased over list price–as well as all the furnishings!

Create An Ideal Listing Scenario

Let’s say you know you need to sell your home but the market just isn’t right or your home won’t be ready until the home selling “slow season” Depending on how much time you have between now and when you would ideally like to list, it might make sense to wait until that ideal listing time and Airbnb the home until then. 

Be a Superhost

Remember, while Airbnb can be profitable you need to make sure you’re opening your doors to paying travelers for the right reasons and with enough resources to make their stay amazing. Create a space YOU would be proud to stay in and create a win-win situation. Airbnb requires not only an upfront investment of time and money but an ongoing investment of time and money to keep your space competitive and lucrative.

Sarah Karakaian
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Sarah is a 7-year Airbnb Superhost, home flipper, stager, and real estate investor. Together with her husband Nick and their team, she runs Nestrs--an Airbnb management and real estate design company based in Columbus, Ohio. Sarah loves that her full-time job marries her passions for hospitality, design, and real estate! She is borderline obsessed with iced coffee, warm weather, and her grumpy cockapoo, Hiro. You can check out her podcast all about Airbnb and short-term rentals wherever you listen by subscribing to “Thanks For Visiting.”

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