The Pros and Cons of Becoming an AirBnB Host

White kitchen

Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Airbnb Host?

If you’re a homeowner in 2018, there’s a good chance you’ve kicked around the idea of renting out your house through Airbnb opens in a new window. Whether you travel for work or suffer from a perpetual case of wanderlust, you’ve probably thought about opening your house to Airbnb guests while you’re on the road. Maybe you don’t travel, but you’ve considered renting out a spare room to earn some extra money. Either way, you share the same enterprising spirit that helped Airbnb’s founders stumble across a simple idea that changed the way people travel.

 Big business with humble beginnings

When a popular design conference led to a sellout of San Francisco hotels in the fall of 2007 opens in a new window, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia decided to rent out their apartment to Bay Area visitors. After a positive hosting experience, Chesky and Gebbia saw the potential for success on a larger scale. In August of 2008, the roommates teamed up with Nate Blecharczyk and launched Airbnb.

Since then, the company has brokered more than 260 million guest arrivals and amassed more than 4 million listings across 191 countries. While the global scale of Airbnb’s success is impressive, the genius of their business model lies in the fact that it offers average homeowners an opportunity to participate in the $1.6 trillion travel industry opens in a new window

Make your home work for you.

If you travel throughout the year or have a spare guest room, listing your house on Airbnb can be an excellent way to leverage your investment, generate additional income, and accelerate your progress towards your financial goals. But before you get blinded by the prospects of teaming up with a business that reported approximately $1 billion in Q3 revenue opens in a new window, it’s wise to consider what it takes to be a successful Airbnb host. 

Creating an inviting home atmosphere is important, but there’s more to it than that. As with any business venture, there are risks and rewards. Before listing your home with Airbnb, here are a few pros and cons to consider: 

Pros

  • Extra income. We can all agree this one belongs in the “pro” category.

  • Cultural engagement. Since Airbnb offers global exposure, you have the potential to connect with people from diverse cultures around the world.

  • Improved maintenance. When you routinely welcome others into your home, there’s a greater tendency to keep your house in order even when you don’t have guests. 

Cons

  • It’s a business. Operating a quality Airbnb property requires regular attention to business-related details like marketing, customer communication, insurance, and property maintenance.

  • Digital business still involves real people. If you’re not a people person, extended interactions with customers may prove frustrating.

  • Risk of loss or damage. While you’re careful with your things, guests may not always be as considerate. When you rent your home, you assume the risk of accidental property damage and unexpected repairs. (This explains the aforementioned insurance.) 

When it comes to business opportunities, it’s always a good idea to count the costs before launching your venture. However, if you’re a homeowner searching for an additional income stream to help you establish an emergency fund, pay off student loans, or set aside retirement savings, Airbnb may be the opportunity you’re looking for.

Debt and Dating

Bouquet of flowers

Can Poor Financial Habits Keep You in the Friend Zone?   

Dating is all about discovery. It can be fun to open up and share a few personal details with someone we’re attracted to. In turn, learning more about the other person is a great way to spark conversations that go beyond polite formalities. But while we’re more than happy to show our highlight reels, we all have those things we’d rather not talk about. You know, things like misspelled tattoos. Failed relationships. An affinity for Nickelback. High school, in general. But what about our financial habits? 

Is it possible that the way you manage money could have an impact on your relationship prospects? It’s a fair question, and a recent survey of 2,000 millennials uncovered some interesting opinions about debt and its impact on a person’s dating potential.

Does debt matter? Yes. And no.

In short, significant debt is frowned upon, but according to survey responses, it’s not viewed as negatively as being a workaholic. That’s the dating game in a nutshell, isn’t it? Don’t work too little and don’t work too much. Apparently, sensible moderation is attractive. So, what do you do if you’re interested in someone but your finances aren’t as solid as you’d like? 

Before you start fumbling for the right words to confess your mountain of debt, don’t get ahead of yourself. Less than 10% of people thought that this kind of information should be shared early on. More than 87% thought it best to wait until the relationship becomes exclusive or moves to the point of sharing household expenses. So, if you’ve just started seeing someone and have more debt than you’d care to admit—relax.  You’ve got time. 

To share or not to share, that is the question. 

Maybe all this talk about debt and dating has you wondering whether you’d be willing to share your most intimate financial details with a potential partner. The survey designers wondered the same and posed an interesting question: Would you rather tell your partner about your large debt or a pre-existing STD? Not surprisingly, the majority of respondents said they’d rather spill the beans about bloated borrowing. But it’s worth noting that more than 39% said they’d find it easier to divulge their most personal medical details. 

If almost 40% of people would rather reveal their personal medical history instead of discussing monetary struggles with a potential partner, it’s safe to say debt-related anxiety can impact us emotionally as well as financially. If there’s a takeaway from this survey, maybe it’s the fact that debt and relationships have something in common: Neither improves when ignored. 

Three tips for navigating the debt discussion 

  1. Understand your debt. Rather than lumping everything you owe into one negative category, it’s important to remember not all debt is bad. Home mortgages and student loans are traditionally viewed as desirable, while credit card debt and payday loans can be roadblocks to financial success. Knowing the details of your debt is essential to managing it effectively. (It can also help you sound smarter if, and when, the topic comes up on a date.)

  2. Eliminate bad debt ASAP. High-interest credit cards, auto loans, and title loans can throw you into a tailspin of making minimum payments that never pay down the principle balance. Whether you cut frivolous spending or pick up a side job, find ways to pay off the accounts with the highest rates first.

  3. Get a good wingman. When it comes to your finances, there’s no shame in admitting you need help. With debt management tools ranging from credit counseling to low-interest consolidation loans, credit unions can play a pivotal role in your financial success. And judging from thousands of survey responses, a solid financial foundation may improve more than just your credit rating.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Giving flowers

“No act of kindness—no matter how small—is ever wasted.”
-Aesop 

February may be the shortest of all the months, but with two separate days dedicated to helping others feel special, it certainly seems like the nicest. Just three days after Valentine’s Day celebrates the beauty of romantic love, Random Acts of Kindness Day comes along on February 17th and encourages charity.

Though the day may seem like an appeal to selflessness and altruism, helping others is usually a mutually beneficial experience. Kindness tends to reward the giver as well as the recipient.

Being kind is good for everybody.
We’ve all heard that being nice to others makes you feel good, but did you realize science backs up that claim? According to researchers at Dartmouth College opens in a new window, simply seeing an act of kindness causes our bodies to produce oxytocin, a hormone that lowers blood pressure and increases optimism. If just observing kindness can improve our heart health and social outlook, imagine what can happen when we get involved!

Okay, I’m in. What do I do?
There are endless ways to be kind, but sometimes the myriad of options makes it hard to decide what to do. While randomness offers a world of freedom, it also leaves room for overthinking. To help you avoid analysis paralysis, we’ve come up with a few ideas for you to consider on Random Acts of Kindness Day:

Look back and pay it forward.
If you’re hitting the drive-thru for coffee or breakfast on the way to work, paying for the order of the car behind you is a great way to start a chain reaction of selflessness and smiles.

Sweeten up the office.
When it comes to the workplace, stumbling across free food in the breakroom is one of life’s simple pleasures. You can boost everyone’s mood with nothing more than some bagels, donuts, cookies, or candy (or fruit, if resolutions are still unbroken).

Put your phone away.
Just for the day, commit to keeping your smartphone out of sight while you’re talking with someone else. The notifications will be there when you’re finished, and the people who got your undivided attention will feel valued.

Smile. Seriously, just smile.
A genuine smile can make you and everyone around you a little happier. But did you know a fake smile can do the same thing? That’s right, as far as your brain is concerned, a smile’s a smile opens in a new window. It releases endorphins either way. So even if you’re not feeling it at first, go ahead and grin. When you start getting return smiles from others, you won’t be faking it for long.

Let the kindness begin.
Now, before any of us try to excuse ourselves from participating with rationalizations like “We should be kind EVERY day, not just once a year,” let’s remember that every perpetual motion needs a little nudge to get it started. Random Acts of Kindness Day 2018 may just be the friendly push we need.