Renting out our house vs. Airbnb rental

My wife and I own a two bedroom house in the Temescal area of Oakland which we have rented to others for several years. The current tenants have purchased a house and will be leaving in about two months. It has occurred to us that we might make some small repairs and upgrades, furnish it then rent it out by listing the house on the Airbnb website. Before we do, however, we would very much like to have the advice of those in the community who have taken the same or similar path and would be willing to share the benefits as well the the shortcomings of such an endeavor. Our main concerns are that we would not be able to average the same level of income from periodic rentals with Airbnb as it would probably be rented only part of each month, we would have to spend a considerable amount of money to furnish it and would have to deal with reservations, multiple visitors and perhaps calls while people are there to deal with small issues which might come up even thought the house in in very good shape. These type of calls do come up from renters but are very infrequent  We would be very grateful for any thoughts, both positive and negative. Many thanks.

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You and your neighborhood will be better served if you were to rent to a local family.  There is not rent control for single family homes so I don't know what you have to lose. It does not sound like you would be a good candidate for an airbnb host given all of your concerns. You are better off vetting a good tenant to take care of your property and pay you consistent rent.

The average occupancy rate is about 60%-70%.  It also takes a lot of effort for cleaning.  Each visit may cost at least $60.  The people may also abuse the place.  If you do decide to rent it on Airbnb, be more selective about the tenants if you are worried about abuse, such as only agree to the people that verified their IDs, and who had positive reviews from the past. You do need to run it like a business, and it takes time and effort.  Check out the listings around your area, see how much they are asking for, and look at their calendar to understand how booked they are.  From there, you can estimate the income to see if it makes sense for you.     

We have an apartment which we tried Airbnbing 3 times.  First time our long term tenant was moving to Europe and left us with a fully furnished apartment.  We cleaned and listed on Airbnb.  For the first month we hit what appears to the average a guest 20 nights per month.   Some guests were there 2, 3 nights so it becomes a hassle.  Up side we have on guest which stayed for 3 months and we received $1200 over monthly rental.  But then there are dry spells with no gests for weeks.  We've talked to other Airbnb hosts and the 1, 2, 3 night stays are just killer in terms of checkout, cleaning. fixing, making everything nice for the new guest and meeting the new guest.   It becomes a full time job or you pay someone to do it and then they are the ones making the money.  And remember you need to get a business license, $$$, might need different insurance $$$$ and the city might have a short stay/Airbnb tax. $$$$ (Not sure about Oakland, Berkeley does and Airbnb takes the money from your account.

Then  you have the hassle of Airbnb web site making pricing mistakes.  We Airbnb for $80 to $130 per night.  Airbnb's web site was messed up and a guest was able to book and pay for 5 months at $35 per night.  It took over a weeks working with Airbnb to get this figured out and then the guest was furious with me for Airbnbs mistake.

Most Airbnb hosts are doing 7 or 14 day minimum. 

Then you have the horror stories.  We had a guest who was from out of town for a medical procedure.  (Not a problem.)  Guest checked out at 11 and we had a new guest coming at 2.  We went to clean only to find the pillow covers, sheets and pillow all had blood and had to be replaced.

We threw in the towel about 5 months ago after the third attempt.  Yes we were making $800 to $1,500 extra per month which sounds Uber nice.  But then when we looked at the amount of time we were spending I don't think we were making minimum wage.  My advice....  don't do it.  Oh, and there one more thing you have to fight.  Airbnbs ratings.  We had one guest complain about something stupid like water in the sink came out too slow.  (Yes, because it's a water saving faucet required by law.)  I think we were given 3 stars which placed us low on the preferred list.  (Don't expect Airbnb to have any sympathy.)  Took I think about 9 months of renting 5 star reviews for us to appear on the search list. (ther hosts scam the system to get higher ranking.)

Bottom line, we have no plans to Airbnb every again now that we are super-hosts.  If you decide to do it, forget Airbnb and go with VRBO.  (Which I have been told is really Prceline or one of the Priceline like web site companies. 

Hope this helps

I'll be interested to see what others say. We considered this, but the cost of cleaning/restocking with each new visitor and the amount of time it felt like it would take to maintain, plus the local ordinances (make sure this is ok for your area) and taxes, etc, it just seemed like way too much of a hassle. There are also so many horror stories about people trashing houses, annoying neighbors, etc. Yes, tenants have issues, but imagine new tenants multiple times per month....guess it depends upon how much time you're willing to give it - you could always try it for a bit and if it doesn't work then re-rent or sell. Good luck!

I would beg you not to use it as an AirBnB. So many people in this area are desperate to find apartments, and there just aren't enough to go around. 

I know I'm late to this conversation, but you should check the City of Oakland's regulations on Short Term Residential Rentals:

You can only rent for one week or longer, and you are required to have a business license, pay business taxes, occupancy taxes, and you may need a permit.  Yes, lots of people are doing it illegally, but they could very easily be shut down if neighbors turned them in.