Airbnb, hosting, renting, what i learned from my guests, traveling with kids, family travel, diapersonaplane, Diapers On A Plane, making the decision

Renting Your Home on Airbnb: Part 1
How To Make the Decision to Open Your Home to Guests

Within our first two years of marriage, Gabriel and I co-managed a small apartment building in Downtown Portland directly next to the Max (local transit train). Our building would literally rattle every time it went by, and our window sills were full of soot-looking dust and grime no matter what we did. We lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment of a 5 story building with an elevator that required you to shut the door manually. Monthly rent checks came through a slit in the wall directly into our office, or you might call it the hallway. Across the street were the most decrepit slums potentially in all of Portland, and was constantly slated for destruction if it weren’t for the people living there. One man, in particular, ate cereal nude every evening at 5 pm standing full monty in the window.

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Home Sweet Home, the Chapman Court Apartments

And thus began our love affair with real estate. Over the next 7 years we moved from property to property and even added a few houses to our portfolio. When we would raise rents, our management company allowed us to keep the increase for the first month. We learned a lot, but more importantly, have a lot of fun stories to tell. We always said eventually we’d stop making other people money and start doing it for ourselves. Now, we’re happy with our properties. We’ve spent a lot of money trying to get them right, so we’ve really invested in the interior and exterior. Most recently, we have spent money on the siding of one of the houses to make it look more attractive and contemporary. By contacting a siding company in atlanta, we were able to get this changed pretty quickly. We really think that curb appeal sells a house, so that’s why we’ve been fixing some up.

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Yes, someone not only lived in this apartment but they showered in this too. He was a very clean looking guy, you never would have guessed.

When we bought our first house we were just so happy to not be living where we worked. It was incredible to have a space to call our own where no one was banging on the door because the washing machine ate their quarter. So, we transitioned to flipping houses, and we flipped two homes in 6 years and bought our first rental property. We exchanged banging on the doors for banging down the walls. It wasn’t exactly stress-free. We had to build a network, get in touch with many contractors, designers, plumbers, and so many different home service providers to get just one home ready to sell. Not to mention ensuring that the heating and cooling systems are all working efficiently, and if not, having the experts (like those at help with rebuilding it all over. These were but a part of the tasks we were involved in during the time.

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Gabriel demolishing the attic/loft of our first home. We brought it down to the studs, re-framed and started from scratch.

Here we are today. We decided to test out an experiment and decided to try a mixture of managing apartments and homeownership. We listed our first home on Airbnb to try our hand at renting on Airbnb. It wasn’t just the prospect of making extra money, though the extra money is pretty good. In a good market, you can make 4x more than you would on a traditional rental; of course, there is a lot more work involved as well. It was also enticing to have our mortgage paid for while we travel as opposed to paying double. Of course, there are options to help those with mortgages, like the kind you can find out more about online, but having this part paid for as part of our long-term plan was pretty great.

We also loved the co-op idea of house sharing and the humanity involved in developing relationships and communities with other people you might never cross paths with. It’s one of the reasons we love traveling as well! Not to mention the freedom of usurping the big boys and providing a service and achieving prosperity through your own hard work.


One thing we both agreed on was the standard to which our interiors needed to be decorated. Airbnb is all about selling a home through just a few images, so the properties needed to look their best in order to be shown at their best. We worked copiously on the interiors, making each one pleasant and nice not only stylistically but practically. New curtains and soft furnishings were brought to make the properties homely. New light fittings were essential to make the properties fully functional. Looking back we would have perhaps added more art and fun features to the home. One such example is these cute lights found at, which might have been an interesting feature to have added in. Though when looking back it is always inevitable that you will think about what could have been changed, we are mostly very pleased with how the interiors turned out after our hard work.


This entire endeavor was a few months in the making. First, we scoped out the market, and the current offerings; through our experience and travels we gained perspective on how to value a place to sleep at night. We determined if there was a better value in renting long term under a contract or short term on Airbnb, and how much of an increase we could expect. We read countless other experiences and combed through tons of published House Manuals on Airbnb. We searched out the things to be concerned about, and the potential for everything to go wrong. We read the horror stories, the theft stories, the destruction stories and we are here because fortunately there aren’t very many, and the ones that do exist aren’t very bad.

Listing your Home on Airbnb

The next step came to list the house. You can choose from a shared room, private room, or entire house. We opted to list our entire house. We didn’t want to become a room and board hostel or allow strangers access to our children. Our listing was an entire home with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, that sleeps 11.

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Taking the plunge


We were actually looking into selling this particular home, and pulling out the equity and potentially buying two properties near the mountains where we live to market as ski retreats. Because of this, we already had professional photos taken and they really added to the allure of our listing. Because we purchased this home as a rental we were located out in the suburbs, i.e. pretty far away from the main attractions in the city. We knew we’d have to compensate somewhat for that, and by compensate we mean lower the price.

Deciding How Much to Charge

Airbnb allows you to set a maximum price and a minimum price, and then airbnb will fluctuate based on demand, time of year, and some fancy algorithm. So, we went with that.

Describing your Home

There are a ton of places to fill out information about your property and it’s easy to repeat yourself in each section. We had to remember and fill out all the things that we took for granted in the home like automatic sprinklers, auto thermostat, etc., and all the things that needed extra attention, like daily collecting of eggs from our chickens. We had to scope out the local places to eat, count the stoplights from the freeway to the turn for our house, and offer time frames for guests traveling to where they might potentially be going. All this goes in the description of the listing.


How do you expect your guests to treat the home? What do you require for both check in and check out? Do you want your guests to wash dishes, take out the garbage, water plants, check for eggs, etc.?


Lastly, you have to consider what rules you want implemented in your home. We took into consideration what people would comply with, and what was really important to us. Ultimately we decided that the most important thing was that we had absolutely no tolerance for smoking. Secondly, we didn’t want shoes in the home (shoes are disgusting!), candles are a no-no, and we wanted people to be respectful. Asking someone to be respectful isn’t going to yield anything, but choosing good parameters for guests will!

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Absolutely no smoking inside or on the property of the home.


Airbnb does not share your address with potential guests. Only after guests have paid are they allowed to see where your property is, so that definitely adds a level of security. On top of that, you set the parameters of guests you’ll allow to stay in your home. We chose to only allow guests book our property who had previous reviews, and all guests must have completed verification with airbnb. This includes a series of steps including matching ID’s, credit cards, and personal statements. We did opt to allow instant book as it supposed to be more compelling to guests.


In addition to privacy, you are protected by airbnb up to 1 million dollars. You can also set a security deposit should anything go missing or get damaged. In all, we feel like airbnb works to protect both hosts and guests.

Above all, we wanted to make it abundantly clear that this was our home, and that we lived in this space when it wasn’t rented. The entire process is very user-friendly and Airbnb helps you all along the way.

It took just shy of 2 weeks to get our first booking.

Airbnb, hosting, renting, what i learned from my guests, traveling with kids, family travel, diapersonaplane, Diapers On A Plane, making the decision
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Next Step

Read Renting your Home on airbnb: Part 2

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