Generating Extra Income With Your Home

As you might know, I am always looking for ways to increase my income and as an Economist renting my home through Airbnb is probably my favourite.  I get to take one of my liabilities and use it to generate income when it would otherwise be underutilized! What is better than that?

Over the past 3 years, I have hosted (update: I am now a superhost!) over 60 parties in my home through Airbnb.  As I noted this is an excellent resource to extract additional income from what would otherwise be a liability or expense item in your budget.  I generally only host when I am on vacation, although a couple of times I have mistakenly booked guests at times when I would have otherwise used my home myself – OOPS – this is where it comes in handy to have a good relationship with your family, friends, or other Airbnb hosts.

I caution that you have to be comfortable with letting guests into your home and willing to do a couple of hours of work before you depart on vacation to make your home ready for someone else – which can get tiresome, but when you get your payment you will be happy you took that time.

For those of you who are interested in this additional source of income I have the following recommendations:

  • Develop your check-in procedure: if possible, a coded lock is an excellent option, otherwise, find a trusted associate who will be available to check in your guests if you are not able to (generally because you have already left for vacation!)
  • Create a plan to make sure your valuables (including important documents) are safe, whether it is a safety deposit box, safe, off-site storage, or your unique solution.
  • Do charge a cleaning fee: if you do not you are basically giving away money because most other hosts charge this fee and guests will book regardless.
  • Do charge an additional guest fee: you will have more work to do after your guests leave if you host more guests than you are used to, even if it is just more laundry.
  • Do keep good records of your expenses and income: you don’t want to cheat the tax man.
  • Set clear house rules, your guests will generally follow those rules.
  • Set your availability carefully: lest you end up staying with your friends or canceling a stay (which will reflect poorly on your rating).
  • Check in with your guests via the app after the first 24 hours to check if they need anything.
  • Poll your guests for ways to improve their experience.

I have been fortunate in that I have not had any poor experiences with guests, my biggest complaint was a guest who left a glass on my bedside table, leaving a water ring.  Seriously, I had a coaster RIGHT THERE. But, generally, my guests leave my home in better condition than they find it!

You should check your local bylaws as well as your lease (if you are renting like me) to satisfy yourself that you would not be in contravention of either if you listed your home on Airbnb.

Finally, if you have a spare bedroom or couch in your home, although I have never rented space like this, I have heard many great stories about people listing these spaces.  Hosts tell not only of earning additional income but also of developing long term friendship or simply hearing some excellent travel stories from their guests.

If you are interested in trying Airbnb please use this Link and we will happily share our referral bonus with you – just email me at economist@figarage.ca after you have signed up and hosted your first guest and we will send you $60*

* We only share referral bonuses that we actually receive so make sure you use our link.

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