Appealing photos. like this one of one of the The Brooklyn Apartment(s), are half the amateur hotelier’s battle.
If you have a summer vacation planned, or travel dreams for later in the year, there’s a way to make your apartment earn its keep, even while you’re lounging on the beach, or hiking in the Rockies.
“Once it’s up and running, it’s easy money,” says Julian, who first joined the Airbnb community in February 2010 (and asked that his last name not be used). The income from managing several listings around Brooklyn, all of which are already booked for the summer, covers the rent on a two-bedroom Williamsburg apartment, and has helped fund his dream: restaurant-ownership. Beyond being available to exchange keys and tend to his guests, Airbnb allows Julian to spend his days as an entrepreneur and restauranteur.
Airbnb, which has been around since 2008, seems straightforward enough: Sign up for free, create a profile, list your apartment, and hope travelers will be enticed to pay to crash with you. But why would you want to open up your home to a stranger—and what would make them want to stay with you, when there are already more than 7,330 listings in Brooklyn alone (not to mention hundreds of legitimate hotels)?
Well, there are advantages, for both you and your potential guests. As Julian proves, it’s possible to make big bucks. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says making upwards of $21K is not uncommon for hosts in NYC. The site also provides more affordable accommodations and a more local perspective for travelers to the Big Apple.
Many Airbnb hoteliers start out a bit wary and then settle into a routine with guests. “I had some reservations about it at first,” says Corey Lugg, who’s rented her spare bedroom in Prospect Heights for about $79 a night since her roommate moved out a year ago. “But considering I was meeting potential roommates on Craigslist before I started doing this, I figured this way, at least if I get a total weirdo in the apartment, they’ll probably be gone in a week and then it’s on to the next set of guests.”
If you travel often, want to make a little extra cash, or just haven’t found the perfect, permanent, roommate with whom to share your space, Airbnbjust might be for you. It probably also helps if you’re open-minded, enjoy meeting new people, aren’t overly attached to every item in your apartment, and don’t squirm at the thought of a stranger sleeping in your spare room—or in your bed while you’re away. Here are a few guidelines for making the most of putting your apartment to work.
Follow Best Practices
Airbnb offers tons of advice about how to get started using the site; one tutorial explains that a great title, well-lit photos, and accurate, informative descriptions of the place and neighborhood are keys to success. The site also offers free, professional photography services—you can sign up to have a pro come snap photos of your space to create a more attractive listing—images will receive an “Airbnb.com Verified Photo” stamp, which helps add credibility to your place.
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