Hey $avvy readers! We have an incredible guest post today from Kayla over at Be Her Guest. Kayla is a millennial taking advantage of using homeshare services like Airbnb. She currently manages two locations in Pittsburgh and Philadephia. She has some awesome experience on this subject and we as pleased to share it with you. Enjoy! – T$C
Purchasing and owning your first home can feel like the biggest accomplishment of your adult life. The feeling of accepting those little keys and stepping into your home is exhilarating and rightfully climatic following that treacherous home buying process.
Most homeowners will agree that the pros of homeownership completely outweigh the cons in terms of freedom to control your own living space, having a sense of privacy/security, and having flexibility in future decisions. But how will you know when it’s time to settle your roots for a long-term commitment like owning a house?
If you’re a millennial, one large perception to homeownership is the inability to own a home. Many cite low credit scores, inability to afford downpayment and closing costs, or student loans as common obstacles.
However, a study by Fannie Mae in 2014 found that 49% of millennials surveyed considered home buying their next big purchase! It’s more of a possibility than millennials realize, despite large amounts of debt and low monthly incomes. Sure, it might require sacrifice on your part-skipping your daily Starbucks or monthly shopping spree but in the end, owning your own property is an amazing accomplishment.
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What are other millennials doing about mortgage costs?
I bought my townhouse in Pittsburgh when I was 25 years old. My job with one of Pittsburgh’s most respected healthcare systems was secure and fulfilling, and my family was always nearby.
Four months later I unexpectedly switched jobs and took a position as a contractor which required travel away from home. I was living in an Airbnb in Philadelphia when I realized that I could use my empty nest as another form of income by becoming a host myself.
I took a week off in order to create my online listing, rearrange my space, and to hire a cleaning service. Two days later, I accepted my first reservation and have been hosting ever since! Sharing your space, also known as a homeshare, is a common option, especially for Millennials, to help offset mortgage and living expenses.
Many millennials are opening up their homes and using their spare room as another source of income. Politicians and industry giants consider using homeshare as part of a larger movement termed the “sharing economy,” which is similar to using Lyft or Uber as transportation.
A study conducted at the end of last year by Airbnb found that 75% of millennials “recognize Airbnb as an important innovation, believe that Airbnb helps middle-class families afford their homes, and brings travelers to areas that wouldn’t otherwise benefit from tourism. Most also believe that Airbnb will become important to the economy in the future and that it’s important to reduce carbon emissions by using homeshare services like Airbnb.”
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Should I become a homeshare host?
How can you determine if homeshare is right for you? Firstly, you should decide if you are comfortable hosting strangers in your home, especially if/when you are not going to be present. If this sounds like something you can handle, then start to figure out what type of space you can offer as well as manage.
Homeshare is exactly what the term implies-you’re sharing the home in which YOU live. This means sharing the kitchen, remote, and/or laundry room! If you’re not comfortable with this idea, then perhaps homeshare is not the right option for you.
Safety is also an important factor to consider. My home is not appropriate for someone with young children or infants because I do not have the proper safety hazards in place. It also has a full set of narrow stairs with one railing so it would not be suitable for an elderly couple who have difficulty climbing stairs. If your home has environmental obstacles like this, be sure to illustrate this in your online listing.
Homeshare & Airbnb
Airbnb offers its host complete control of reservation details. It allows you to control the minimum and maximum length of stay, which is a great option if you are looking to maximize your profit.
You can also designate a certain amount of “prep” time before a reservation in order to prepare and clean your space for the next guest. You are also able to change pricing, block off certain dates, and rate each guest after the reservation is complete.
Before you hit that “Create a Profile” button, however, you should be aware that homesharing is a commitment. You must be readily available for questions or emergencies, make arrangements for the check-in process (which may occur at any hour of the day), and frequently restock your amenities.
Creating a seamless expectation for guests, starting with your online listing, sets the tone for the rest of your guests’ stay. Your utility bills may increase, as well as the monthly cost for additional amenities and toiletries.
Lastly, you may consider altering your homeowners’ policy to include extra liability insurance in the event of a catastrophe. Airbnb does offer host protection up to one million dollars, but you may feel more comfortable with the security of your own policy.
Final thoughts on homesharing
Homeshare, through platforms like Airbnb, is a cost-effective method for millennials to offset mortgages and to promote economical travel accommodations for every budget. It has allowed me to comfortably live in two separate cities and avoid duplication of living expenses.
Because hosting requires time, consideration, and potential up-front costs, the home share may not be a suitable option right now. However, if you’re willing to share your knowledge and your kitchen, this might be the perfect opportunity to earn some extra cash!
In the past year, I’ve learned many valuable lessons in hospitality, communication, property management, home maintenance, and budgeting from this experience. It has allowed me to launch my blog, Be Her Guest, which serves as a resource for new and seasoned hosts who are interested in home shares and Airbnb.
Making the transition from traveler to host is always a risk and a challenge, but the personal and financial rewards are worthwhile. What are you waiting for?
Comment with your experience with homesharing and using Airbnb to travel!