Renting out your home on Airbnb - is it worth the money?

Renting your home on AIrbnb - is it worth the money?
[So fresh, so clean, so depersonalised]

We recently rented out our home on Airbnb for the third time. 
So, is it worth it? Would we do it again? Let's have a look at the pros and cons...
  • Airbnb tenants are total strangers who stay in your home when you are not there. This means they have the opportunity to snoop through anything they please, and you can't do anything about it! Ordinary guests are probably too polite to examine the inside of your bathroom cabinet, the top drawer of your bedside table or anything else that you don't want them to see. But nothing is off limits for someone renting your home, unless you physically lock it away.
  • It's a LOT more work than you think, especially if you have children and/or lots of personal or precious items. For example, here are some of the things you have to take into account:
  • Kids break things. On that note, so do adults. After our first Airbnb experience with a family staying in our home, we came home to find several of our things broken or missing. Mostly small things - an old shoe rack, a curtain rail, a kids puzzle, etc, (they also cracked our glass stovetop but that's another story!) - so we learnt the hard way that anything we want to keep nice, we need to remove. There is a dispute resolution process you can go through but honestly it's easier just to remove all your nice things. Don't want your new throw pillow getting stained? Remove them. Don't want your kid's puzzles getting massacred? Remove them. Baby photos, sentimental letters and cards, journals, bathroom products, things you'd rather not have a stranger poking through? Remove them. But know that it's a LOT of work to remove so many things from your home!
  • On that note, you really need a lockable room or at the very least a wardrobe. We lock a whole room downstairs. I'm listing it as a con because it takes some work to set up, and it seems to take months afterwards slowly sifting things back into the rest of the house, but it's the only way we can make it work.
  • Everything must be cleeeeean. Maybe I have high standards on this but I spend several weeks beforehand trying to clean/sort a small area of our home each day. We clean inside the cutlery drawers, inside our emptied-out top drawers, under couches and under couch cushions, under beds, dusting the skirting boards, etc. It's a big job because they have to be not only clean but also tidy.
  • You may go through a LOT of linen and therefore a LOT of laundry. We recently had 4 people staying while we were away and between towels, duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases and mattress protectors, it took about 3 weeks for me to get through all the washing afterwards. Chances are you also have all your washing from your time away from home, AND all the linen that you stripped off your beds BEFORE the guests arrived. It's just a lot. I'm thinking in future, we would say linen NOT provided and just skip all that.
  • It can be little gross coming home when your house has been lived in by strangers. Finding someone's hair all through your child's bed, for example, or stains on your sheets... it's just a bit stomach-turning, for me at least. I also find myself thinking, were people sick here? Did they sneeze on our cutlery while they emptied the dishwasher? Did they wash the cups properly? We had long-term tenants one summer of a lovely family similar in stage to ours, and they left everything spotless and it felt like we'd just had friends staying. But then other times I've found blood and who-knows-what and, well, enough said!
  • You can't assume people will treat your home the same way that you would treat theirs. We found that when we didn't meet the tenants face-to-face beforehand, they would basically treat our home like a motel. Stained towels, mess everywhere, melted chocolate crumbs in the beds... etc. But when we made an effort to meet the tenants face-to-face beforehand, they seemed to understand that it REALLY IS OUR HOME where we live and treat it better. Our policy now is we always try to meet them in person when they arrive.
Renting your home on AIrbnb - is it worth the money?

  • If you price your home right and 'sell it' well (with good photos, nice decor and nice touches like baking or whatever) you can make some decent money. Especially if you do this at a time where you would be away anyway, or if you have a flexible job and can go take a cheap holiday whlist renting your home out. We try to time ours for when we had a holiday planned anyway. But on that note - if you price it too low as we did the first couple of times, it might not really be worth all the hassle.
  • It COULD be fun. I think this applies more to people without kids tho, who are free and easy and have a nice home that doesn't take much work to get in order!
  • It makes you clean and organise with motivation. Which is good. However, stuffing stuff into our downstairs room was actually a backwards step for me because I have been decluttering and organising our home, and now half our stuff is downstairs in piles again.

Ok, that's a lot of cons for not many pros, but if you really need the money and can make it worthwhile financially, then that's kind of the only motivation you need.

So, would we do it again?

I don't know. Each time we've done this I've sworn we're never doing it again, and I still kind of feel like that! Maybe in a year's time when I've recovered from alllll this laundry and feel like I have the time and energy to be ridiculously organised. 

Have you done Airbnb hosting of your permanent home? Would you try it?

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