If you happen to have a spare room and are looking for a new side hustle to generate some passive income, look no further than Airbnb. We’ve put together a list detailing the basic four-step process for how to Airbnb a room in your house AND make the most of it—quite literally.   

There’s no denying that the sharing economy is booming—and not going away. The business models behind brands such as Airbnb, VRBO, Uber, Lyft, and—yours truly—work for both the consumer and the provider.

The sharing economy encourages people to make use of what’s around them, instead of building or buying what they don’t need long term. It also empowers providers to make extra income by leveraging the assets they already own.

In all cases, the sharing economy promotes a more sustainable way of life. Win-win!

If you happen to have a spare room and are looking for a new side hustle to generate some passive income, look no further than Airbnb. (Depending on the demand in your area, you may even be able to convert a trailer, attic room, or even a remodeled garden shed or barn into cozy, unique accommodations.)

If you’re interested in listing a spare room on Airbnb but have no idea where to start, we’re here for you. We’ve put together a list detailing the basic four-step process for how to Airbnb a room in your house AND make the most of it—quite literally.   

 

How to Airbnb a Room in Your House in 4 Simple Steps

Closeup of hand holding smartphone displaying Airbnb logo on screen, bedroom styled in whites and greys in background

Step 1: Make Sure You’re Allowed to Airbnb in the First Place

Before even thinking about turning a room in your house into an Airbnb, you’ll need to check that your lease allows for it. If no such clause is listed in your lease agreement, just reach out to your landlord and make sure he or she is ok with it before you go ahead.

Homeowners, this step applies to you too! You’ll need to make sure that short term vacation rentals are permitted without breaching HOA stipulations, mortgage contracts, and homeowner’s insurance clauses.

Also, make sure to check with your city—is your property zoned for this kind of accommodation? What kind of limitations apply? Which taxes do you need to collect, and how do you remit them? You may even need specific licenses to run an Airbnb.

We can’t stress this step enough. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and definitely don’t move on with any further steps before you have your legal bases covered. Failing to do so may result in fines, evictions, or even lawsuits.

 

Empty room in house, miscellaneous tools and cleaning products sitting on floor amid home improvement project

Step 2: Fix Your Room Up 

Once you’ve confirmed that you’re allowed to start your Airbnb business, it’s time to get to work on fixing the place up. Inspect the room with a critical eye and make a note of anything that needs repairing.

Could the walls use a fresh coat of paint? Do all the electrical outlets work? What about light fixtures? Are windows adequately sealed, and does the door lock for privacy? Is there a smoke detector installed and if so, is it operational?

Before the repair work is underway, make sure you have the right tools for the job. If you don’t, rent the tools you need from Sparetoolz!

If it turns out that there’s a lot of repair work to be done, don’t be afraid to call in the professionals.  

Closeup of a few small appliances placed in a neat row on a kitchen counter

Step 3: Get Your Room Guest Ready

Once you’ve taken care of the basic necessities, you can move on to the hospitality touches.

First things first, your guests will need a place to sleep and store their belongings throughout their stay. Make sure they have easy access to all of the essential amenities such as toilet paper, soap, towels, and bed linens.   

Beyond just the bare-bones basics, you may wish to go above and beyond to provide a truly great experience for your visitors.

  • Add some tasteful decorations to make the place feel more homey and unique.

  • Provide travel-sized toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, mouthwash, toothpaste, etcetera for travelers who may be accidentally without.

  • Create a mini coffee station by tucking a small Keurig machine into the corner with a pair of mugs and some shelf-stable coffee creamer.

  • Write up a little “welcome guide” that includes information on WiFi and streaming options, parking, quiet hours, and the best places in the area to eat, drink, and sightsee!

Always keep the comfort and convenience of your patrons in mind. Include extra amenities such as universal chargers, a small fan or heater, cleaning products, and blackout curtains if the bed faces the window. Keep a running list of everything you’re offering; it’ll make the next step easy. 

Renovated attic bedroom featuring natural wood lap ceilings and floors, round window, skylight, mattress on floor

Step 4: Take Photos + List Your Room

Once your room is officially ready for guests, it’s time to list it on Airbnb. First, you’ll need to take plenty of photos. Don’t be shy—the more high-res photos you provide, the better potential visitors can envision themselves staying there.

Include the room, any special details of the space, the bathroom from multiple angles, the view outside the window if there is one, and so on. Take photos during daylight hours for the best effect.

The listing process is pretty simple, and you shouldn’t experience any hiccups. The full nuts and bolts listing process is in this step-by-step listing guide, but here’s a brief overview:

  • Sign-up to become a host on the Airbnb homepage.

  • Click the “Add listing” button found on Airbnb’s homepage and fill in the online form. You’ll be asked about the type of room you’re offering, how many people it can accommodate, and your area.

  • Choose your listing space, provide a description, and list all the amenities you offer.

  • Upload photos and describe, in 250 characters or less, what the place and the neighborhood have to offer.

  • Indicate when your room will be available and for how long. Be sure to note how far in advance guests can book and how much notice they’ll need to give you before their arrival.

  • Set your prices. You’ll have to indicate both the lowest price you’re willing to offer as well as the highest price, for when your room is in high demand.
Woman with long brown hair sits at table looking at laptop, blowing on hot cup of coffee to cool it

How to Make the Most Out of Airbnb

The appeal of Airbnb hasn’t gone unnoticed, and more than 650,000 people have signed up to be hosts. So, when dealing with that many competitors, how can you make your room stand out?

How can you ensure a return on investment for the money you fork out to get your room ready?

What can you do to sway a would-be guest to choose your listing and not someone else’s?

How can you generate more money?

Keep reading. 

The Smallest Details Make the Biggest Difference

It’s important to remember that vacationers are opting for non-traditional accommodation instead of a hotel. To guarantee positive reviews and possibly even return guests, focus on the little things you can do the make their stay as enjoyable as can be. How can you be better, more unique, and more interesting than a boring hotel?

Here are a few ideas on how to make your Airbnb unforgettable:

  • Go above and beyond in your “welcome guide.” Provide menus and contact information for local restaurants & takeaway shops in your neighborhood, in case guests arrive ravenous.

  • Work with the time of year and cash in on it. Is it winter? Offer your guests a cup of hot chocolate on arrival. Summer? Place a fruit bowl on the counter. Is it a festive season? Leave a little gift for them to open.

  • Stock a mini-fridge with bottled water as well as milk or creamer for them to make their coffee just the way they like it at home.

  • Pick a color scheme and stick to it. Remember to keep your tones light to encourage better sleeping and avoid overstimulation of the mind. Speaking of sleep…

  • Do ALL that you can to ensure a good night’s sleep. Splurge on a comfortable mattress, memory foam pillows, and luxurious bed linens if you can. Think of the details you would appreciate, such as disposable earplugs, an eye mask, or a white noise machine.
Closeup of camping mug, passport, décor items, lettered sign behind says "Travel is good for the soul"

    Keep Your Pricing Competitive

    The average Airbnb host earns around $924 per month. Yeah, we can see those dollar signs flashing in your eyes!

    Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you want to charge, but we highly recommend you do a lot of market research and a little internal reflection before setting your rates. Browse through existing Airbnb listings in your area to get an idea of what those around you are charging. Take note of what the space looks like, amenities offered, and any added extras included in the rental price.

    Now compare everything your competitors have to offer with what your place provides, and make your decision from there.

    There you have it, side hustlers: the low-down on how to get your spare room Airbnb ready, as well as a few tips to help you make the most of your listing.

    Will you be getting your room Airbnb ready in the weeks to come? If you used our guide to help you, hit us up on social media so we can share your listing link. Who knows, one of our readers may end up being your first guest!    

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