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Don’t Want to Sell? Rent it Out On Airbnb

Do you need to move, but you are not quite sure if you want to sell your home? Perhaps your employer offered you a two-year contract to run a branch elsewhere, but you intend on coming back when it’s over. Alternately, maybe you have been trying for what seems like forever to sell your home, but you are not getting as much as a nibble. Whatever your unique case is, Airbnb may be the perfect solution.

What is Airbnb?
Originally known as Airbedandbreakfast.com, Airbnb is an online service that allows you to rent a living space to guests. The company was founded in August 2008 by Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky. At the time, they were struggling to pay rent in their San Francisco loft, so they transformed their living room into a bed and breakfast with three air mattresses. Nathan Blecharcyzk, a Harvard graduate jumped onboard with the planning to turn their vision into a real business.

In just a few short years, the company has become a bit of a phenomenon. In September 2013, there were more than 500,000 listings, located in 33,000 cities throughout 192 countries. Listings include castles, apartments, tree houses, igloos, tipis, houseboats, and even private islands.

Is Your Home a Good Match?
Don’t assume that you need a unique or elaborate vacation home to list on Airbnb. There are weary travelers looking for lodging everywhere. The businessperson coming to your town may prefer a more comfortable home environment, or the newlywed couple moving to the area may be looking for a place to stay while they check out homes the realtor has picked out. Not everyone enjoys staying in a hotel for a long list of reasons. Airbnb is a solution. So, regardless what type of home you have, it could be very attractive to a variety of travelers.

How it Works
Basically, you create a profile to list your home. Airbnb offers free photographers to capture the best possible photos of your home. When you enter your price you can even create a schedule so weekends are more expensive, and you can offer deals on weekly rates, compared to single night rentals. When someone clicks on your property, they see the schedule, pricing, and availability. Schedules are updated approximately every five minutes.

You list for free and only pay 3 percent when you have a successful booking. You also have the right to approve or decline any request to stay in your home. Airbnb handles all payment transactions, and you are paid via check, direct deposit, or PayPal.

Airbnb has also become a coveted source of income by many. Some people are even buying properties just so they can list them on the site and earn a nice residual income. A good example is a guy who bought a small 750-square-foot apartment in Las Vegas for $40,000. He invested another $10,000 into renovations, and has turned it into a gold mine.

Determining Rates
One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is deciding the rate to charge. The best thing to do is check rates at local hotels and determine whether you should be charging more or less. Obviously, if you have a chalet perched on the side of a mountain or a bungalow right on a pristine white sand beach, your rates will probably be higher than what the hotel in town is charging. Just to give you an idea, below are a few listings in random places around the world.

  • NYC, New York – This very small studio apartment in the Upper East Side starts at $530 per night.
  • Sydney, Australia – This entire home on Bondi Beach rents for $272 per night.
  • Denali National Park, Alaska – For $135 per night travelers enjoy a cozy cabin steps away from Denali National Park.
  • Tokyo, Japan – A quaint apartment in the heart of the Minato District starts at $66 per night on weekdays.
  • San Diego, California – With San Diego being one of the country’s hottest vacation and relocation destinations, it is easy to understand why a small condo on Pacific Beach starts at $295 per night.
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