Monday, March 24, 2014

You Down With AirBnB?

Yeah you know me!

*sung to the tune of "O.P.P." by Naughty by Nature*

As the title indicates, Justin and I are "down" with AirBnB as we are hosts on this home/room sharing website. AirBnB stands for Air(mattress) Bed and Breakfast. Created as an alternative to expensive hotels, hosts on this website can rent out sofas, rooms and entire homes. Basically, as hosts on this website we open our home to travelers by renting a room out in our house (Yes complete strangers! Dun-dun-dun!). DC real estate blog, Urban Turf, provides a great primer on AirBnB here.

As discussed in the Urban Turf article, we had to get some licenses in order to rent out a room legally in the District (it varies by state). I also made sure we got the proper inspections done because that was the only way that Justin would let us participate--we had to be fully compliant with the DC laws of course. ;)

Click to see our listing

With our prime location in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC, we get a ton of inquires! We received so many inquiries that we have to decline some of them for various reasons (e.g.: Justin's exam week in school, family visiting, etc.) After all, we do want some time for ourselves every now and then. ;) We even get inquires about intern housing for the summer, but we aren't quite ready to host a young 20-something in our home for three months quite yet. ;)

Yes, there are some cons to this process, but to me they are minor. You have to sacrifice some of your privacy and obviously share your space. The language barrier between some of our guests got to Justin more than it did to me. Of course on the pro side we have gotten to meet some interesting people from all over the world, and everyone for the most part has been really nice! Additionally, I can't leave out the monetary benefit. For the few months that we have been doing AirBnB, we have earned enough money to remodel our upstairs bathroom. So if you ask me, I think the trade-off is worth it.

"But, Joanne! What about if they wreck your place or steal something?"

First off, we don't host guests without us being home ourselves. Thankfully, Airbnb has a really good insurance policy in those types of instances, and guests have to be verified though the website. As hosts, we are in no way obligated to accept every inquiry to stay in our home. As a general rule, if it doesn't feel right (listen to your gut feeling!) then don't do it!

It's pretty cool that this is a worldwide thing. Although hosting might not be an option for less metropolitan areas, I did see listings in Louisville, KY for Kentucky Derby weekend, with prices around $500/room (!!).

So what do you think? Is this something that you would do?  Of course, if you are our friend or family you get to stay with us for free! ;)

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