My life as an Airbnb Host

What I've learned from hosting and how I make money using Airbnb

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Airbnb hosts are not affected by the new buy-to-let tax rules

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Have you heard of the new rules regarding the tax deduction on mortgage interest for buy-to-let (otherwise known as an investment property to the rest of the planet) in the UK? The recent announcement by the UK government that tax relief is going to be limited to 20% has just been made clearer by some of the details. You can read this article in the Telegraph for further details:  The main point is Airbnb hosts could be exempt from the new rules and still be able to claim the full tax deduction. This will come as some relief for many an airbnb host including me. The general reason for this is...

Get paid twice for your listing and how to automate your Airbnb business

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I recently changed my Airbnb cancellation policy from Flexible: Full refund 1 day prior to arrival, except fees to Moderate: Full refund 5 days prior to arrival, except fees. The reasons for doing this are that I did have a few cancellations over the summer and although I had managed to refill most of the empty spaces in my calendar I started to think there is a real risk of a last minute cancellation causing significant financial loss to me so I decided to change to Moderate. This at least would give me 5 days to refill the space. What I didn’t think of was the possibility of selling the...

What should I do if I’m not getting bookings on Airbnb?

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August has possibly been my worst month for new bookings. My calendar for the month of August was actually quite full but September onwards is looking pretty empty. I find that guests tend to book about 4-6 weeks in advance so to have so many blank spaces at this stage is not good. Some guests do book much further in advance of course but the main bulk tend to come in only about a month ahead. I do get a lot of last minute bookings due to my location in central London but I would prefer to have bookings all my bookings in advance given the choice even if it meant losing a few quid. Why have...

How to get rich using Airbnb?

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Can you get rich using Airbnb? Some DO I’m sure. But how do they do that exactly? Most of the stories I’ve read about those who’s say they’ve made sooo much money using Airbnb go something like this – “I was taking a six week vacation (they are usually from the USA) and decided to give using Airbnb a try to rent out my apartment while I was away. I was making so much money I decided to quit my job and stay on vacation forever.” Or some bullshit like this. The obvious point they never seem to touch on is the fact they already own a apartment in a very...

When is the peak season on Airbnb and how to get rich on Airbnb?

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I’ve noticed a reduction in the number of bookings coming through. I’ve got quite a few empty slots from the end of August through September and beyond (in my experience people tend to book only a few weeks in advance so it’s no surprise December is still empty for example). A quick look on the Airbnb Groups discussion page for London hosts and many of the comments there are saying the same thing – not enough bookings. What to do if your not getting bookings? I price my listings cheap and to have an empty room now and again is disappointing but no big deal for me. Those with expensive big...

So what’s it really like being an Airbnb host

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I’ve been a Airbnb host now for nearly a year and have had over 150 guests in that time. Most guests stay for only a couple of days which suits me fine as the longer the guests stay I find they are more likely to hang around the house, and eat smelly takeaways in the bedrooms, instead of exploring the city. Weekly and monthly rates I choose not to offer a weekly or monthly rate for the reason that I don’t like longer term guests. I don’t offer use of the kitchen or living areas in my house so guests are limited to their bedroom and a bathroom. My ideal guests is a...

The UK emergency budget July 2015 and how it affects Airbnb Hosts

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There were some changes in the UK emergency budget this year that took many by surprise including me. The changes are not directly aimed at Airbnb hosts but will affect anyone who derives an income from property in some way. 1. The increase in the rent a room tax free allowance from £4250 to £7500 a year from April 2016 is excellent news for Airbnb hosts. Hosts earning £7500 or less will not need to declare any income to HMRC. 2. The end of the 10% wear and tear allowance for landlords (a non-cash deduction on gross rent) will end in April 2016. 3. A phased withdrawal of tax relief on...

When a Airbnb guest cancels a booking

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Last week a guest cancelled while actually on the way to my listing. I was expecting him to arrive around 1pm and got a message at 12:30 to say “it is too much trouble to come to your listing so i’m going to stay in a hotel right here.” A bad excuse for sure. My mind immediately turned wether or not he is going to get a full refund or will i still get paid by airbnb? What is your cancellation policy? When a guest cancels a booking it depends on your cancellation policy if they are entitled to a refund or not (Airbnb’s booking fee is now refundable up to 2 times a year)...

I will never have Airbnb Superhost status

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From the start of the year my star ratings have gradually gotten worse. In January I had 79% 5 star reviews, just shy of the 80% required for Superhost status. Since then my five star reviews have dropped to 66%. For a while I was very unsure why the ratings had dropped so much. Almost all my guests had written in their reviews that they were very happy with their stay. The only negative review I recall said the “bathroom was too cold” which was true because my wife had left a window open in the room across the hallway and we didn’t notice for two days (whoops!). Room For Improvement Recently...

Does your mortgage provider allow you to take Airbnb guests?

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My mortgage provider is not happy with me using Airbnb to take in paying guests. They sent me a letter saying that they have be tipped off I have tenants and I am in breach of contract. I rang my bank and asked for them to send me a copy of the terms and conditions  of my mortgage. I read each point cover to cover with interest and could not find any mention of lodgers, paying guests, or any mention at all of who can or can not live in the house. What type of mortgage do you have? In the UK if your buying a property to live in this is treated differently compared to buying to invest; from a...

What is your Acceptance rate? Does it matter?

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It’s April and the sun has finally come out over London and this has lead to an increase in bookings. Airbnb had been continually warning hosts that December to March is considered the low season and hosts should consider reducing their prices by 15%. Many hosts it seems didn’t reduce their prices or started to believe the low season would never end and started complaining of their being “too many hosts and not enough guests.”  Well it does look like we are all back in business. To me it seems there are good bookings and bad bookings, and in my opinion you have to take your fair share of the...

Why I use Instant Book for my Airbnb listing

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This week I turned on Instant book for three of my listings. I was always hesitant to use instant book because I liked the added sense of security of getting the chance to refuse undesirable guests at the request to book stage. When a guest wants to stay in your listing on airbnb they have to request to book by sending you a message introducing themselves. Only if the host is satisfied with the information the guest has provided do they release pre-approval and the prospective guest can book. If you turn on Instant book a guest can book without going through this request to book stage and...

Checking out the Airbnb competition

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Between changing bedsheets and checking-in guests I often peruse the listings of my fellow Airbnb hosts. Partly to get a feel for who’s charging what in the market, partly to steal ideas for making my listing look more attractive. A very price sensitive market How much of a price sensitive market is Airbnb? Very I feel. Especially at the sub £50 a night level. A simple search reveals a £5 increase per night from £35 to £40 the number of listings jumps from 149 to 317, more than 100% increase. For anyone looking to make some serious money being a airbnb host then this is not very...

Do I need to pay tax on my income from Airbnb?

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Hotel Tax In the UK there is currently no hotel occupancy tax and to my knowledge no intention to introduce one. VAT  VAT is payable on Airbnb’s service fee (collected by Airbnb at the time of booking so nothing for you to do here) but no VAT is currently chargeable on rent in the UK. If such a time comes the government decides that money earned from Airbnb is no longer rent but a service fee then VAT may become payable. Income Tax Income tax is payable on any earnings in the UK. The same applies in most developed countries. You are kidding yourself if you think that profits earned from...

Should I be charging a cleaning fee?

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You have the option to charge your guests a cleaning fee on top of their booking fee. The fee is of course a one off fee added to the total. The question is should you be charging this fee? Airbnb Cleaning fee – Why I don’t charge it I don’t charge a cleaning fee. There is just isn’t a good enough reason to charge one. In fact I would say that if you do charge a cleaning fee then guests might well assume that they don’t need to clean up after themselves as they have paid for cleaning on top of their booking fee. If I were a guest I would personally find a large...

What will Airbnb charge me as a host?

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Airbnb takes a commission for every booking your listing has. However how much of a cut depends slightly. What fee do Airbnb hosts Pay? Airbnb says it takes 3% of the hosting fee plus VAT (in the UK 20%) so If you charge £100 per night then the hosting fee will be £3.30. See here for more details on Airbnb help section. note – Airbnb will round up it’s figures so if your hosting fee is £6.60 this will be rounded up to £7. Airbnb guest fees The guest also pays a fee of 0-20% of the total price called the guest service fee. Which listing pay 0% and which pay 20% you ask? I am not...

How to get started as an Airbnb host

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So you want to be an Airbnb host and your looking forward to making some money. Well here is what you should do. 1. Register an account with Airbnb. Register here. 2. Add a new listing under your profile. Write a detailed description of your room/whole place. Try and describe factually and keep in mind what a traveller will be most interested in. 3. Your going to need to upload pictures for your room. Get the Airbnb professional photographer to take some pictures of your listing. This costs money but the pictures should look excellent and more importantly the pictures will be officially...

Your first Airbnb listing

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New listings get a boost in rankings so you may find that you a few enquires on the first day or two. After that enquires might drop off suddenly and then you will need to work on your ranking. How many of my guests are first time Airbnb users? Airbnb is still relatively new to most people in the UK and Europe despite being very popular in the USA and some other places for a few years. Consequently many of your customers will be using Airbnb for the first time and will not have any reviews from previous hosts (I estimate that about 50% of my guests are Airbnb virgins). So you get an enquiry...

How do I price my Airbnb listing?

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What price you should charge depends on your market but there may be other factors to consider what price you are going to charge. Other factors might be: The cost to clean the room and sheets Your free time taken up to meet the guests, check them out etc. The rent you could have received from a local long term renter Your location could determine the type of guest you will get no matter what service you provide My listing is in Newham, East London; a reasonably central suburb it is none the less the wrong side of London if you are a tourist (my main market). I could try and aim more towards...

My life as an Airbnb Host What I've learned from hosting and how I make money using Airbnb

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