What you need to know about using your home with Airbnb

By: Kyle Prevost on June 14, 2016

“Turn your empty room into a full wallet.”

Airbnb isn’t just some profitable new tech darling (although it certainly is that as well). It’s a company that has actually helped—along with its Silicon Valley brethren—to revolutionize the way we use and monetize our possessions. Think about the fact that the world’s largest accommodation provider owns very little real estate. This is the new sharing economy, and change isn’t “coming”. Change actually arrived a while ago and has made itself at home. If Airbnb has created the demand, it’s up to you to provide the supply.

How much can I make with my home on Airbnb?

While all this revolution and disruption talk sounds fun, the real questions on most peoples’ minds are:

  1. What kind of money are we talking about here?
  2. Is it worth it for me?

It’s difficult to give a one-size-fits-all answer to those questions because there are so many variables in play. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the more people want to visit your city the more you can charge to put them up for the night.

For example, in Toronto and Vancouver home Airbnb hosts can make as much as $1,000 and $700 respectively per week during peak season. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to live on the Canadian Prairie (like yours truly), you probably shouldn’t expect a bidding war to take place while experiencing a cold snap in February. There is clearly a wide range along that continuum. The time commitment needed to be an ideal host or take care of the administration associated with each transaction also varies. One notable Airbnb host estimates total time invested in hosting to be one or two hours per stay.

Will they trash my place?

If you Google worst case scenarios for sharing your home, you come across some pretty alarming and disturbing scenarios. I can see how this might turn you away from the whole sharing economy, including using your home for Airbnb. However, I think it’s important to consider that the media is much more likely to report on an extreme outlier situation than the thousands of pleasant stays enjoyed daily.

The facts are that Airbnb operates on a review system which ensures a large degree of accountability and that Airbnb offers a one million dollar host guarantee. This can help you supplement your homeowner’s insurance policy. No one can enter or rent your space without you first looking at their profile and approving them. If you’ve used Uber or been a part of another sharing ecosystem before, you’re likely familiar with fairly low negative incidence rates.

How do I get started putting my home on Airbnb?

Airbnb makes it easy to set up an account:

  • Write a great listing for your space. Includes all the great attractions close by and all the amenities you offer. The more details that you provide, the more successful your listing will be. You’re basically acting as your own sales team here, so a little extra effort can directly correlate to a higher paycheque.
  • Take pictures that really showcase what your space has to offer. The more eye-catching, the more interest you get. The more interest you get, the choosier you can be and the more you can charge.
  • Let Airbnb know your approved scheduled and what dates you’d like to make available.
  • Manage requests through Airbnb’s app or website. You can run your own real estate side gig from your cell phone.

Finally, don’t forget to double-check your homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurance from Airbnb in the form of a guarantee can provide peace of mind, but you also need to make sure you understand how your side gig is covered by your insurance.