|It turns out that renting your home to strangers can be a real pain in the butt.
That’s the realization some Airbnb and Vrbo hosts are coming to as they navigate the short-term rental business in a post-pandemic world.
Demand for short-term rentals remained relatively high this summer, but an influx of properties, particularly in once-hot markets like Phoenix, has meant more competition.
Some have stepped up to the challenge, with one host creating a “romance package” for his rental. But others are considering just throwing in the towel, Insider’s Dan Latu reports.
It’s not just the pressure of attracting renters. The headaches of maintaining a property and answering guests’ questions are forcing some hosts to reconsider.
To be sure, a self-culling of hosts seemed inevitable. Short-term rentals saw steady growth throughout the 2010s. But the pandemic was rocket fuel for the market. Typical host income jumped 85% from 2019 to 2021.
That kind of bump in business piqued people’s interest. But the era of set-it-and-forget properties where hosts could bank on high-priced bookings well in advance didn’t last.
It also wasn’t long before a disconnect grew between travelers’ expectations and hosts’ reality.
Chores that hosts expected their guests to complete, sometimes on top of a cleaning fee, proved to be a hot-button issue. One host even placed signs with rules on nearly “every surface” of their home.
Fraud also became a problem, with some hosts using a bait-and-switch scam where they change addresses or units at the last minute.
So what’s next for hosts looking to get out of the short-term rental game?
Long-term renting is an option, as hosts might give up potential revenue for stability. Outright selling the property is another route, but don’t bank on an influx of homes upending the under-supplied housing market.
A lot depends on when the host entered the market, Dan said.
Veteran hosts are in the best position. They might have already paid off the mortgage on their property and now just view it as some extra income.
For those who got in before or right after the start of the pandemic, it’s a bit trickier. But at least those hosts benefited from generating revenue when business was booming.
Meanwhile, new hosts, particularly those with properties tied to sky-high mortgage rates, are under the most pressure.