AirBnB Hosting?
April 3, 2016 8:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering upgrading to a 2 Bed/2 Bath apartment in order to host on AirBnB. Anyone with AirBnB experience, is this is a financially sound decision?

I'm moving to Knoxville, TN for Law School and I'm getting a Studio apartment near campus. I've recently started considering getting a 2 Bedroom/2 Bath for AirBnB and I haven't signed the lease yet on my Studio. I've never hosted on AirBnB so I'm not sure how often I'd actually have guests to actually justify the costs. I have traveled with AirBnB numerous times though. The apartment is close to campus and within walking distance of the UTK stadium. It overlooks the TN River and has a paved path that goes from the apartment to the Stadium/campus. Here's a rundown of the finances:

-$300 increase in rent from a studio to 2 Bed/2 Bath
-Going rate for private room in area: $40-$50/night (currently 3 private room rentals and multiple full house/apts for $90-150 in that area of the city)
-Football game weekends most seem to double their prices (and I would be the closest to the Stadium) to over $100
-I could rent the entire apartment on game weekends ($300 range)
-I'm on scholarship, but my housing is with student loans. I will have little to no income my first year of law school. I currently have 0 debt.

So essentially, I would need to rent a room for 7 normal nights a month to cover the cost in rent/expenses. Any more nights would be a profit. I feel that's doable during football season, especially with the surge in prices and that most are already booked for a September game. However, my concern would be the winter/spring months being more of a gamble. The lease is a 10 month lease, so ideally I'd find a roommate for the spring semester once classes start and I start meeting people (that makes the 2BR $300 cheaper than the Studio), but I'm trying to plan financially on that not happening. I've already taken into account the cleaning and how my law school schedule and studying would affect hosting. I also have the furniture for two rooms so that's not an issue either. Even if I don't get the 2BR, I'm thinking I'll try renting the entire Studio on game weekends.

Is the gamble of finding guests worth it while on student loans?
posted by Deflagro to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
I wouldn't do it. The peace and quiet of your own space during law school is priceless. I say this as a law school grad still paying off loans: for me, the expense of living alone was worth it. I think this statement holds true for both roommate situations and moreso the hassle of Airbnb randoms in your space.

Law school is really hard. At least at first, make it easy on yourself. Settle in, get your bearings and, if you'd like, get a friend to be your housemate in 2L and 3L. 1L is the time to focus on yourself and your own success.
posted by slateyness at 8:43 PM on April 3, 2016 [11 favorites]

Does your lease allow this use of the property?
posted by littlewater at 8:44 PM on April 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

littewater, while my application was approved for the Studio, I won't receive the actual lease to sign for a few more days. I believe they allow subletting though. If I find out they don't allow this, that would of course nix the idea entirely!
posted by Deflagro at 9:01 PM on April 3, 2016

Agreed that law school, particularly the first year of law school, particularly at a school like UT, is too crucial be be screwing around with AirBnB. Being a responsive host that gets good reviews takes a lot of time and commitment. If you're really into the idea, why not wait until 2L or even better, 3L year?

Which is to say, I've used AirBnB a fair amount, and I don't think it's a financially sound decision. At all. A couple hundred bucks a month ain't worth the risk of subpar grades/missing out on the employability and offers that good grades could bring.

Not entirely sure, by the way, that your lease would consider AirBnB to be a sublease, rather than disallowed commercial use/hostelry. Sublets are usually for a longer period than a couple nights (and your landlord may impose additional requirements on sublets like registering them with the main office, having subtenants pay a screening fee, etc.)

posted by joyceanmachine at 9:13 PM on April 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Sounds like there's already a good consensus that this isn't a good idea so I think I'll drop the idea and move forward with just the Studio apartment! Thanks MeFi!
posted by Deflagro at 9:19 PM on April 3, 2016

Weirdly enough, I also used AirBnB to rent out my apartment that was very near a college stadium for major events while I was in law school (third year anyway). I'd consider it for 2nd semester onward. AirBnB requires a decent amount of time and effort, and I would do whatever I could to not add any unnecessary stress into your life during your first semester.
posted by skewed at 9:29 PM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you do end up doing this in the future be sure to check if you actually can do it. I live in Savannah, GA, and about a year ago the city made everyone who did what you were planning to do stop. The hotel industry is very powerful...
posted by mareli at 5:26 AM on April 4, 2016

For future readers (or if the OP reconsiders the idea), don't forget that you'll need to pay taxes on what you get from AirBnB, so the 7-night break-even point here isn't quite right.
posted by nobody at 6:06 AM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

You say you could rent the entire apartment on game weekends which implies you'd be sleeping someplace else, right? May as well do the studio, and you can still AB&B it for those weekends, won't be $300 but it'll be significant. When I was a grad student, the TA stipend was just enough that every grad student was flat broke but not in debt; I had about $150/month income from a side gig, which made my life noticably more comfortable than my peers. It's amazing how little it takes to make a difference.

Consider though - they're paying for a home base for their tailgate party, and you'll end up with significant cleanup before and after each rental. This isn't money for nothing, only do this if hospitality and tidiness are something you (at least somewhat) enjoy.
posted by aimedwander at 7:48 AM on April 4, 2016

Not in your first year. Not at all.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 11:27 AM on April 4, 2016

Not a direct answer to your question but there are some more things to consider with subletting - potential damages (or even theft) by the people that stay there, more cleaning on your end (either work for you or put some of that $ towards a housekeeper, and besides a 2BR is going to be more cleaning anyhow), potentially unruly guests that may do something to get your kicked out of your place. I'm sure Airbnb has policies to cover a lot of potential issues, but is the extra work/effort/risk worth it to you to break even or maybe make some extra cash?

As a student in a somewhat precarious living situation, it seems like a more risky endeavor than it otherwise might. The more people you have over, the more you increase your chances of Something Bad happening at your apartment.
posted by atinna at 11:57 AM on April 4, 2016

Pile on here

I never had an issue with my Airbnb guests. They all treated my studio well while I was away.

At the same time, I distinctly remember having to clean my toilet at 11pm on a Thursday night before packing for a trip that had me fly out on Friday.

That really sucked.
posted by Monday at 7:08 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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