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Your Guide to Becoming an Airbnb Host

Wondering what it takes to become an Airbnb host? If you have a spare bedroom, vacation home, condo, or other type of property, renting out your space to travelers is a great way to earn some extra money. Learn how to get started hosting on Airbnb with this beginner’s guide!

What Is Airbnb?

With listings in over 200 countries, Airbnb is one of the world’s leading marketplaces for booking vacation rentals. By signing up through the website or the smartphone app, you have the opportunity to experience unique travel accommodations or become a successful host by renting out your own space!

How to Get Started with Airbnb

Home with Large Windows Surrounding Living Room Looking Out to the Yucca Valley. Photo by Instagram user @jtreebnb

Photo via @jtreebnb

Getting started on Airbnb is simple if you’re interested in hosting guests. Follow these quick steps, and you’ll be on your way to renting out your space to travelers and earning additional income.

Do Your Legal Research

It’s important to do some research to better understand property laws before you become an Airbnb host. For instance, if you rent your property from a landlord, you’ll need to get their permission before listing the space. Depending on where you live, there may also be legal restrictions on short-term rentals.

Get to Know the App & Website

Before you begin the listing process, spend some time on the app and website to learn more about how it works. Explore the various features and even take a look at some existing listings to inspire your own future rental property. Another place that’s helpful for new hosts is Airbnb’s Community Center. Here, you can read answers of commonly asked questions and tips from other hosts!

List Your Place at No Cost

After you’ve created an Airbnb profile, listing your space is completely free. You’ll be asked to select what kind of space you’re listing—is it a house, apartment, or other unique space? You’ll also need to establish the type of property it is, such as a cabin, beach house, tiny home, or other dwelling. Other questions you’ll answer before moving forward are how many guests you can accommodate, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a few other details regarding amenities.

Choose Your Own Schedule

You’ll want to figure out a schedule for when you can host. There are three options to choose from when setting up your calendar: part-time, as often as possible, and not sure yet. This can always be easily changed in your profile settings if your availability changes.

Set Your Own Prices

When it comes to setting a price for your rental, you get to decide what you charge. Airbnb will suggest a price per night based on your location and the size of your listing, but it’s up to you if you choose the suggested rate or not. There’s also an option that will automatically change the nightly rate based on demand in your area.

Establish Rules & Expectations

As an Airbnb host, you can set the rules and expectations for guests. Some things you’ll want to think about are whether or not you’ll allow pets, if there will be a curfew, or if you’ll allow extra guests on the property. While you don’t want to go overboard on rules, it’s important to set clear boundaries for your guests.

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Types of Airbnb Rentals

There are three different types of home rentals you can choose to list on Airbnb.

Private Room

A private room is a designated space in your home for your guests. This means that, as a host, you may interact with travelers during their stay, and your bathroom and living spaces may be shared. Private rooms are great for solo travelers or anyone looking for a budget-friendly stay—just be sure to set clear expectations for guests in your listing.

Shared Room

Shared rooms on Airbnb are rooms with two or more beds where guests will be sharing the same sleeping area. These are popular among younger, more flexible travelers who enjoy meeting others, as well as among those looking for more affordable accommodations.

Entire Place

If you choose to list your entire place to rent, travelers will have the whole home, condo, or apartment to themselves and therefore won’t share space with you or other guests. Entire place listings are popular among families, people traveling in larger groups, and those who want added privacy.

Set Your Airbnb Listing Up for Success

Modern Mid-Century Home in Arkansas with Xeriscaping Throughout Yards. Photo by Instagram user @cohobnb

Photo via @cohobnb

Once you decide what kind of space you’ll be renting out on Airbnb, you’ll want to work on creating a prime vacation rental listing that will attract guests.

Take High-Quality Photos

Listings that have high-quality photos are more likely to get booked because beautiful images get your rental noticed by travelers. Airbnb recommends taking photos in landscape format with natural lighting for best results. You can take pictures on your smartphone or hire a photographer to get the best shots of your home. Be sure rooms are clean, decorated, and inviting to give renters the best idea of where they’ll be staying.

Write Detailed Descriptions

Along with photos, you’ll also want to have a detailed description of your listing that appeals to potential guests. Give your place a fun, exciting name to grab the attention of travelers, explain all the details of your home, and let people know what there is to do in the neighborhood and close by. This is also where you’ll inform guests about what they have access to during their stay and how much contact they’ll have with you.

Build Positive Reviews

Once your listing is live and you’ve had a few bookings, you’ll want to work on receiving genuine, positive reviews from your guests. As you start to build a history of good reviews, your vacation rental or private room will start to appear higher in searches for Airbnbs in your area.

Airbnb Costs, Pricing, & Earnings

There’s a lot that goes into the overall financials of hosting your home on Airbnb. Here’s what you need to know about associated costs, pricing your rental, and how to earn money before you list your property.

Anticipate Rental Hosting Costs

While being an Airbnb host will bring in some extra earnings, there are some costs that come along with it. While listing your space is free, Airbnb does charge a hosting fee of 3% to 5% once a reservation has been made. Your other costs will mostly come from stocking and maintaining the amenities you provide to guests, your utility bills, and paying your co-host if you have one.

Set Pricing with Market Research

When pricing your Airbnb property, you’ll want to conduct some local market research beforehand. This can be done with AirDNA, which will give you some analytics on short-term rentals in your area, so you can make the best decision on how to set your daily rates. You’ll want to work toward giving guests the best value for their stay and a reason to choose your Airbnb over a hotel or other rental property.

Make Money with Bookings

Once you’ve received a booking, your guests will be charged before their arrival. Airbnb will then release your earnings through PayPal or direct deposit 24 hours after check-in.

Don’t Forget About Taxes

There’s no uniform tax policy for Airbnb hosts. Your policy will depend on where you live and your city’s laws, and this will determine whether you need to collect or pay in order to host. If you need to collect tax fees from guests, let them know before booking or include the price in your listing. Additionally, you’ll be responsible for reporting your income to the IRS. Airbnb recommends hiring a tax professional for these matters.

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Expert Airbnb Hosting Tips

Want to become a top destination for Airbnb travelers? Here are some expert tips to help you improve your hosting skills so that you can become a Superhost!

Be Available to Your Guests

It’s important to make yourself available to your guests during their stay. They’ll appreciate you being responsive if they have any questions about your property, ask for recommendations of things to do in the area, or have any special requests. If you go above and beyond for travelers, you’ll be more likely to get shining reviews and attract future guests!

Hire Cleaning Services

After each stay, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to clean your home and get it ready for the next guest. Not only will this take some of the work off of you, but you can ensure that it will be done well by a professional and that your rental will look amazing for the next guest.

Purchase Extra Linens & Towels

Having extra linens and towels on hand is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, if a guest needs an extra blanket or more towels for any reason, they can easily grab them out of a spare closet. Second, this can shorten your clean-up time after your guest checks out because you’ll have fresh linens and sheets ready to replace used ones.

Include Essential Items

Think about stocking your Airbnb rental with essentials for convenience. This includes basic kitchen items like pots, pans, a coffeemaker, and silverware, as well as bathroom items like travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, and soaps. Another thing to consider is having cable or a TV streaming service available for guests to use during their stay.

Regularly Update Your Airbnb Rental

After you’ve booked a few stays and have gotten the hang of hosting, you may want to consider investing further in your Airbnb rental property by adding more home decor, purchasing new furniture, or updating light fixtures. This will help create a more memorable experience for guests while adding value to your property!


Hosting your home on Airbnb? Extra Space Storage has business storage units where you can keep cleaning supplies, extra linens, and other items to help prepare your home for guests. Find secure storage near you!

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