Got a spare room or garage apartment, or even a beach house that you only use a few weekends a year? Ever wondered whether you could make better use of that space?

Hosting through Airbnb could be a viable answer. Ideally, it nets you a decent additional income for only a little effort.

Let’s take a closer look at starting an Airbnb venture.

Extra money with little hassle?

Unlike renting out an entirely separate house or apartment, with all the costs that entails — your down payment on the mortgage, insurance, maintenance fees — with Airbnb, the upfront costs are nominal. You’re simply making use of an asset that’s already in place.

Airbnb has the potential to be lucrative if you do it right.

A quick spruce-up of your guest room was probably something you were going to do anyway, so why not now?

With Airbnb, you just have to make sure your house is clean and welcoming, which is much easier if you keep on top of it regularly. That will be required if you have a regular rotation of guests.

You get out what you put in

While Airbnb landlords run the gamut from those just looking to earn a little bit of extra cash to those who manage to make it a full-time career, they all have something in common. They’re all prepared to put a bit of work in if they want to get anywhere.

Take the time to make your space inviting, engage with potential guests and answer any questions they might have.

Before starting an Airbnb venture, it’s worth researching your local area: Where are the best restaurants, attractions and other amenities? A couple looking to take a weekend break in your pretty seaside town will want to know these things.

When guests come, their entire experience from check-in to check-out should be as smooth and pleasant as possible.

Check out this page to discover if you have what it takes to become a great “rentrepreneur.”

Know your market

It’s important to know how your location stacks up in terms of Airbnb demand before starting.

AirDNA can offer you a comprehensive market report based on a wide-ranging database that covers all major Airbnb markets. This is a must-do before you start hosting through Airbnb.

As with any investment, you need to do adequate research first.

Important dos and don’ts

There are a few more things to be aware of before you start an Airbnb venture.

You’ll want to make sure there are no restrictions on renting your place to paying guests. If you own your own home you can do what you like, but if you have a rental agreement, check it carefully to make sure your landlord allows subletting. You don’t want to end up getting yourself evicted, as in this high-profile case.

There’s even the possibility of breaking the law. Cities such as New York, for example, have statutes against apartments being rented for fewer than thirty days unless the owner is living there at the same time.

The bottom line

Airbnb has the potential to be lucrative if you do it right. Before starting with Airbnb, check out all the relevant rules and regulations, put time into building a reputation as an excellent host, and reap the rewards.

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