Side Hustles

How To Become An Airbnb Host – Everything You Need To Know

Would you like to make some extra money renting out a spare room or your apartment while you’re out of town?  

Airbnb has become one of the largest peer-to-peer booking sites in the world with approximately 150 million users covering more than 65,000 cities with 1.9 million listings available at any given time.  Part of that popularity is due to how easy it is to both make reservations as well as become a host for their community.

If you’re interested in how to become an Airbnb host, then here’s everything you need to know about the process as well as a few other important points that you’ll want to consider.   

airbnb logo

Things To Consider About Being An Airbnb Host Before You Start

What Are You Offering?

The very first question you need to consider is what kind of listing do I want to offer on Airbnb?  For example, will you:

  • Lease out your apartment or entire home for a week just while you’re on vacation?
  • Rent out a spare space in your house that never gets used (such as a guest room or a finished basement)?
  • Offer to let people stay at your vacation home (maybe a condo in another state)?
  • Try to fill your rental property will Airbnb travelers (instead of the traditional tenant monthly lease)?
Things to consider before starting to be airbnb host

Investigate The Local Laws

Another big box you’ll need to check is if your property is even eligible to participate as an Airbnb listing.  

For example, if you live in a subdivision with a homeowner’s association, it’s entirely possible there may be something written in their bylaws that prohibits temporary leasing of your property.  Some local counties or cities might also have similar restrictions.  

Do some research ahead of time on the Internet.  In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to check with your local government or even consult a lawyer (especially if you’re considering buying property for this venture).

What Additional Insurance You Will Need?

No matter if you’re just renting out your place for one night or buying an apartment with ten units – if your guests hurt themselves, other people, or damage the place in any way, there’s going to be legal action necessary.  Therefore, you need to get set up with complete insurance protection.

Call your local insurance company and find out exactly what’s already covered (and not covered) on your existing policy.  Then ask for recommendations as to what additional coverage you’ll require.  They may just recommend that you get an umbrella policy.

Applying To Become An Airbnb Host

If you’re going to become an Airbnb host you’ll need to apply. Below is how to do that and what you need to know for each step.

airbnb host procedure

1-Create An Account

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to create a user name and password.  You’ll also be required to fill in some basic profile information such as your name, address, etc.

2- What Kind Of Space Are You Listing?

From Airbnb’s homepage, click the “Host Your Home” button at the top-right menu.  You’ll then be taken to a screen where you can start your listing.  

The first question you’ll be asked is what type of place you’re offering:

  • Entire place, private room, or shared room
  • Number of guests allowed
  • City, State

Next, you’ll be asked to be more specific about your place:

  • Is it an apartment, house, secondary unit, etc.?
  • What kind of property type is it: Bungalow, cottage, tiny house, etc.?
  • Will guests have the entire place, a private room, or a shared room?
  • Is the space specifically set up just for guests, or do you keep personal belongings there?
  • Are you listing on Airbnb as part of a company?

Finally, you’ll be prompted to enter some additional important details about your place such as the number of beds available, bed types, number of bathrooms available, the exact address, etc.

3- Write A Captivating Description

With the facts about your listing out of the way, its time for you to “wow” the travelers with your description of the property.  Be creative by writing an enticing headline – this is the first thing the travelers will read before they click on your listing.  

In the description, paint a beautiful picture of what your guests can expect if they book with you.  Remember to be honest and don’t mislead travelers; this will not only lead to bad reviews later on but it can also ultimately get you kicked off Airbnb.

4- Take Beautiful Photos

As cliché as it might sound, pictures truly are worth a thousand words.  Even the Airbnb community will testify to how important photos are for attracting users to their listing.

Make your listing stand out by taking lots of bright, inviting photos of the space you’re offering.  Be sure that the area is clean and free of any personal belongings.  

Especially if your Airbnb is a business property such as a vacation home or rental, you might even wish to have it professionally staged and photographed.

5- Set Your Price

It’s completely up to you what you want to charge.  However, unless you’re savvy to the latest rates and comps in your area, you can rely on Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool which automatically adjusts your price based on local demand. Pricing is always important; if you want to learn more you can also read our article on how much can you make with Airbnb.

6- Decide On Your Policies

Here you can decide if you’d like to let travelers “instantly book” with you or if you need to accept their reservation first.  Although “instantly book” would be the fastest way to make a sale, it may be a good idea to require that you accept the reservation first so that you can check out the traveler and make sure they are someone you’d want at your place; especially important if it’s your personal home they will be staying at.

You will also decide on the type of cancelation policy you’d like to offer: Flexible, moderate, and strict.  Again, it’s up to you, but being as flexible as possible will most likely help deliver the best overall experience.  

After Your Airbnb Listing Is Active

You’ve posted your listing on Airbnb, what should you do now? There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind for after you’ve listed, such as being responsive, avoiding cancellations, and more. We’ll go into more detail about the things you should consider for after you’re listing is active below.

listing is live on airbnb

Be Responsive

Everyone respects solid communication.  Reply to booking inquiries and reservation requests as quickly as possible.  Never let more than 24 hours pass.

Avoid Cancellations 

When you accept a reservation, do everything in your power not to cancel it.  Respect the fact that your guests have probably already purchased flights, made rental car reservations, and other travel arrangements that they can’t adjust.

Hire A Professional Cleaner

If your listing is for a vacation home or rental property, do yourself a favor and hire a professional cleaning service to take care of it for you.  Not only will this save you the hassle of actually dealing with any mess yourself, but it will help to make your business as hands-off and scalable as possible.

Stock Up On Essential Amenities

As an Airbnb host, you’re going to be expected to provide essential amenities such as toilet paper, hand and body soap, towels, linens, and pillows.  Start stocking up on these items and buying them in bulk for the best discounts.

Observe Airbnb’s Other Important Restrictions

  • Lock up any weapons inside a safe place.
  • Don’t keep dangerous animals on site unless they are in a safe, secure enclosure AND you’ve disclosed this in this listing.
  • Don’t spy on your guests with security cameras and other recording devices.
  • Make it clear that unauthorized parties are prohibited.

Reach For Superhost Status

Nothing helps boost your sales like the credibility of 5-star reviews.  That’s why it’s in your best interest to shoot for Superhost status.  You will automatically qualify if you can complete the following:

  • Complete 10 trips OR 3 reservations totaling 100 nights
  • Maintain a 90% response rate or higher
  • Maintain a 1% percent cancellation rate
  • Maintain a 4.8 overall rating 

Maintain Your Tax Records

Don’t forget – anytime you earn any extra income, you have to report it to the IRS, generally using a Schedule C, and pay self-employment tax on the net earnings.  

Whether you’re just renting out a room one time or starting your own Airbnb hosting business, get in the habit of keeping detailed records of all your transactions.  Don’t forget to keep receipts for all of the expenses you’ve paid because they may be eligible as deductions and can reduce your overall taxable income.

Final Considerations: How To Become An Airbnb Host

Now you know exactly what it’ll take to become an Airbnb host. From before, to the application stage, to after your Airbnb listing becomes active, we’ve detailed every step along the way. Being an Airbnb host takes some work, but it could definitely be worth it. Maybe you’ll even like it so much that you’ll want to start an Airbnb business yourself! You never know until you try, so go and list your Airbnb!

DJ Whiteside

DJ Whiteside is a financial enthusiast who believes in helping other people to achieve financial independence. He’s constantly looking for practical ways to optimize savings, reduce spending, and create a lifetime of passive income. DJ holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, which allows him to take an analytical approach to financial topics. He has been a financial writer since 2011 and has self-published 5 personal finance eBooks relating to saving, retirement, and financial independence.

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