Offering short-term rentals through Airbnb is growing in popularity among homeowners and investors. And it’s no wonder—with Airbnb attracting guests from all over the world, hosts in major cities profit by an average of $20,619 annually, according to iPopertyManagement, a research and information site. With U.S. bookings seeing an increase of 45 percent in the past year, Bellingham hosts average over $2,000 per month in rental income. 

The fastest growing demographic of property owners becoming Airbnb hosts are people age 60 and over,  increasing 102 percent since 2017. The possibility of passive rental income can be enticing, but taking the plunge into being an Airbnb host needs careful consideration and planning. It’s not for everyone.

If you are contemplating the Airbnb option, consider these five points. 

  • Are short-term rentals are allowed in your municipality and homeowner’s association?  With Airbnb's on the rise in many non-traditional vacation destinations not all municipalities welcome the idea of short-term rentals. And, if you belong to a homeowner's association, the rules may be even more strict. The City of Bellingham has adopted a new Short Term Rental (STR) Ordinance which will go into effect May 2019. The ordinance restricts STRs of primary residences to 95 days per year and requires home owners to obtain a rental permit.  Short Term Rental FAQ

  • Are you prepared for the extra work—and costs? Short-term rentals take more work than a traditional long-term rentals. Guest stays expect the comforts of home but with the conveniences of a hotel, which means owners must provide furnishings, amenities, maintenance, frequent cleaning, and utilities.  Out of town owners may also find it necessary to hire a management company to maintain rental operations. 

  • Are you prepared to price competitively? Pricing an abode too high or too low can cost you in the long run. Make you have a good understanding of the short term rental market in the area to get an idea of whether operating an Airbnb will be profitable for your particular property.

  • Can you emotionally detach from the home? If you’re thinking of renting a home which you’ve lived in long-term, the emotional attachment of your home may be a consideration. Are you comfortable opening your home to renters?

  • Understand their target market. Who will be the typical Airbnb guests staying in the rental? College students? Couples looking for a romantic getaway? Families? Professionals traveling for work? Gain an understanding of what the market bears so you can decorate and market the home appropriately.