You’re looking to make a little extra cash, you have a perfectly located investment property, and you’ve found Airbnb, an app that promises you quick money if you allow tourists to stay in your home.
Seems too good to be true right?
That’s because it kind of is. The euphemistic ‘sharing economy’ has been promoted as the next great thing to come to tourism worldwide. However, not only are these short-term leases to holiday-makers increasing rental prices in major cities and causing disruption to locals, but they are also not great long-term plans for investors looking to make money.
But you’ve heard Airbnb is fantastic! It allows people to stay in different parts of the world at cheaper rates than hotels and ‘live like locals’. How can that be bad? We’ll give you the five key reasons as to why Airbnb is not a wise idea for your investment property.
1. It costs more to upkeep
It’s true, your short-term yields will be higher due to the higher amount you can ask for short-term stays. However, this also means your costs will be higher as well. Owners of Airbnb properties claim they often see their utility bills skyrocket, their cleaning costs go up as the house must be cleaned after every check-out, and repairs need to be carried out with more frequency.
Additionally, while some properties may be busy during certain months of the year, the remainder of the year they stay vacant. This loss in rental income impacts overall earnings.
2. It takes a while to build a reputation
Like anything you decide to do in life, you will start out as a novice. Someone new to the Airbnb game won’t have the ratings, reviews, and reputation of older hosts and even ‘super-hosts’. Therefore, it can be difficult to secure anywhere near the same number of bookings for quite some time.
With more than 3 million listings worldwide, it can also be difficult to compete if you lack both higher ratings and a point of differentiation. So, if you’re not willing to ride out the initial tough phase where you may not earn as much as you’d like, this may not be the right course for you!
3. The rules get complicated quickly!
Every city has its own unique laws and regulations regarding ‘short-term accommodations’ and Brisbane is no different! The Brisbane City Council has guidelines on how to turn your home or property into an above-board Airbnb, but it can get costly!
If you’re looking to rent out a room in a property you also live in, you may qualify to set up as a Home Business and operate as an Airbnb. You can assess your suitability with the online checklist found here and you can then look at attaining al relevant permits.
However, if you do not reside in the property you wish to make an Airbnb, you need to register it and get yourself a Short-Term Accommodation Permit for your property, which can be up to $5,000 a year. Make sure you abide by the council’s policies to ensure you don’t incur any unfortunate fines!
4. Will your insurance cover you?
If the worst should happen (and with short-term holiday rentals, the chances of the worst happening increase), you would rely on your insurance to cover your home and contents, right? Well, in some cases, your policy won’t cover you if you’re renting your property through platforms such as Airbnb!
You need to check the fine print very carefully and you may need to look into landlord’s insurance policies. Make sure you find a cover that allows you to rent your property as an Airbnb.
5. It’s basically a full-time job
Did you know Airbnb often boasts that many of their hosts respond to messages within 5 minutes? Do you have the time to be sitting by your phone all day waiting for tenants?
When you gain a bit of a reputation and you have people checking-in and checking-out every couple of days, do you have time to head out in the middle of the day and clean your property for a few hours?
Having an Airbnb is stressful work unless you hire yourself a property manager to take care of it for you! Are you able to have the flexibility you’ll need to maintain your investment for short-term accommodation?
At the end of the day, all that matters is your investment property is doing what it should and making you some additional cash. If Airbnb does that for you, that’s fantastic. However, we caution all thinking about taking the plunge to work out the costs (both financial and emotional) and proceed with care!