A Realtor’s Three Interesting Take-Aways from Airbnb

It’s hard to believe but Airbnb launched in 2008 (where DOES the time go?). This tech “start-up” allows home owners to rent out their houses, or even just a room, through a secure e-commerce platform that is currently valued at over $30 billion (about the same as Marriott International). It’s no trend – home sharing is here to stay.

While many home owners were initially leery of Airbnb (“What! Allow strangers to stay in my house? Sometimes when I’m still there?”) and some potential renters (“What! Stay in a stranger’s home and not a hotel?), there’s a long history that points to the likelihood of cultural acceptance for this seemingly radical idea. In fact, here in Greenwich CT there are plenty of homes listed on Airbnb.

As a realtor, I see some distinct benefits that Airbnb has to offer homeowners, especially when they are getting ready to buy or sell. Here’s what I see:

Airbnb is the commercial systemization of a long standing practice.
Does your family have a mountain retreat or a beach condo in Florida that you’ve lent or rented to a co-worker’s son and his family? Have you ever stayed with friends of friends when you unexpectedly had to travel to Chicago or Atlanta? If yes, then you’ve participated in the social contract that makes Airbnb possible and profitable. While the concept seems radical to many, there’s an attractive model here—with built-in safety protocols—that allow great hosts and travelers to enjoy a more personal experience.

Considering a drastic life change or move? Try it out first with Airbnb.
Are you intrigued by the idea of a second home, downsizing or maybe even checking out a tiny house? Have you thought about a move to the heart of the city? Or are you convinced that life would be better if you lived in Greenwich and worked from home or commuted into the city? Before you completely uproot your life and family, test your assumptions. It’s one of the least understood benefits of Airbnb—the ability to try on a different physical address to help you learn what you’re really looking for in your next house. Experiment by renting a home in Greenwich or a farmhouse in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for a few days and learn if the locale brightens your day.

Rent out your home on Airbnb and find out if it’s market-ready.

One of the features that creates trust within the Airbnb community is the reviews and member profiles. Going through the exercise of searching similar rentals in your area, writing a description of what your home offers and even welcoming guests can provide a treasure trove of information. From rave reviews to discovering potential pitfalls (maybe you really do need to update the kitchen before selling), you’ll gather information that has the potential to make selling your house if not a snap, then certainly easier. Of utmost importance when deciding to list your house on Airbnb: Check with your insurance company. Make sure your regular insurance covers this kind of income related activity.

Did you find these tips helpful? You can read all my articles about home buying and selling on my blog. If you want to look at the gorgeous homes that I represent in Greenwich and internationally, click here.