Back in 2015, my parents and younger brother moved to California with me. While I was the driving force behind this move looking to advance my career in the entertainment industry it ended up benefiting all of us as we created a strong support system in sharing expenses. This gave us the ability to put away money for retirement, increase our income, and the opportunity to spend more time with one another regularly.
To make the most of the move, we ended up buying a 3-bedroom condo together in Culver City. Southern California has a crazy real estate market so this 1200 square foot space cost $500,000 plus renovations. The long-term benefits of getting the mortgage are the property has increased by over 1/3 of the original price and we recently changed one of the bedrooms into an Airbnb to develop passive income where we bring in $1200 to $2000 per month. Opening our home to strangers has removed all expenses of the place including monthly HOA fees, tv streaming services, electrical bills, and property taxes. To put it simply, our housing in Southern California is FREE.
Every choice has a trade-off. Yes, we are living in Southern California with minimal expenses, but doing an Airbnb requires attention to detail, customer service, and regular weekly cleaning. Here are 5 tips to set yourself up for success to become a top-rated Airbnb:
Develop A Strong Advertisement - Review other advertisements in your area and read through everything in the posting. Make notes of what you like and do not like. Based on our research in the Culver City area we noticed that people sell the area in their postings. They focused on highlights around them, ease of transportation, and restaurants/grocery stores nearby. Culver City is very centralized when it comes to Los Angeles as you can get to downtown, beaches, and Beverly Hills within 20 - 30 minutes. Understanding your area is key so take the public transit and explore what is around you before writing the posting so you can target your audience. We geared our ad towards solo travelers or people looking for a quiet place to work from home.
Over Communication Is Not Bad - We developed a template message that we send to everyone that is booking with us. Within the message has our phone number, the address of the unit, check-in time, and a few general questions for us to get an understanding of if they have a car or have any specific needs. Set up alerts on your phone to get notified when a message or request comes through on the APP. This will save you time daily on checking on it.
Set Realistic Expectations - In our household, everyone is working a full-time job. My father and I have the flexibility in our schedule to do check-ins and check-outs most of the time, but being sure you are in communication with everyone that lives in the house is important. This will help cover areas when something unexpected comes up and the usual points of contact are unable to cover something.
Be Clear & Repeat The House Rules - We list the house rules in the AirBnB APP, on a printout in the room, and when we check the person in we go through them again. This does not stop people from doing what they want but when they are corrected they become embarrassed when you say something about it. Usually, after that, they do not do it again.
Develop A Cleaning Schedule - Be prepared for the turnaround from guest to guest. Having a cleaning schedule and understanding who is cleaning what area based on their schedule is important. Also, in the APP, you can set up how many days you want between each stay which helps to minimize stress from getting the place clean and situated.
Warren Buffet once said, "If you don't find ways to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die." Once you pay off your debt stay focused on finding new ways to bring in new income in passive ways.