Last week on the podcast, I mentioned that we decided to keep our little Uptown bungalow and turn it into a short-term rental. It is a great little place and with it’s location and with the price of local real estate going up at such a rapid pace, it makes sense to keep it. Maybe someday, when I retire I’ll move there. Maybe one of my daughters will get married and move there. It is like a cute little cottage, well located in UpTown Waterloo.
So we spent a few hours on the weekend hanging up some mirrors and paintings from Home Sense, took some pictures and then posted it on Airbnb. Holy smokes, we have lots of bookings already. Six or seven groups, some staying for three weeks.
We priced it low on purpose. We want to get a lot of positive reviews. The objective is for the place to pay for itself. Basically it has to cover its municipal taxes, insurance and utilities. I’m confident already that this will not be a problem.
Short-term rental opportunities
Hotels are great. I love staying at the Marriott. It is expensive, but you know what you are getting.
When I was backpacking through Vietnam last year, I stayed in 3 and 4 star hotels for an average of about $25/night. For that, you get a clean room with a hard bed and your own bathroom.
You also get breakfast.
But staying in hotels looses its charm after a while. I like to linger in the morning over coffee and maybe a novel. I like a place less like a hotel room and more like a home.
Airbnb is the Uber of accommodations. It is part of the sharing economy. I recently stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in downtown Taipei. It was well located. It was modern and had everything I need for a week away.
Airbnb has been around since 2008. It is essentially a trusted community marketplace where individuals (like me) can rent out a room, a condo unit or a whole house for a night or longer. If you have extra space, you can become a host and have it generate income.
For visitors, instead of staying in a hotel, Airbnb offers unique living arrangements at a range of good to great prices.
Airbnb is a website that connects people to 190 countries in 34,000 cities around the world. According to their website, more than 60million guests have stayed in over 2million airbnbs around the world.
A few years ago, some homebuyers relocating from Winnipeg told me that they were staying at (the Executive Guest Houses and Suites at) Boardwalk Homes. Since then, I’ve recommended it to others.
Boardwalk Homes offers high-end furnished executive short and long term accommodations that are professionally decorated and located in a quiet residential area, within walking distance to the Boardwalk, KW’s newest and largest shopping area.
Boardwalk Homes is another short-term lodging alternative to hotels and B&Bs and another great way to experience community living and get a sense of neighbourhood.
Unlike an airbnb, you won’t feel like you’re living in someone else’s house, however you can rent one bedroom, two or the whole place. It won’t be as cheap as an airbnb, but it will be professional and modern and have all the bells and whistles.
Another temporary luxury residence in Kitchener Waterloo is Premiere Suites. They also offer all the comforts of home like a full-sized kitchen, free WiFi, and enough bedrooms and living space for the whole family to spread out. Like Airbnb and Boardwalk, this kind of place is designed to feel like a home away from home.
Back to the topic of Airbnb and the sharing economy, there was an interesting article in Fast Company arguing that future homes will be designed for sharing.
According to the article, people are sharing homes at a rate that no one ever predicted but residences were not designed for sharing. Homes were designed around privacy and separation from the outside world. How homes need to be designed is with more smart home features and with a lot more flex space, so that it is easy to use the space yourself when you don’t have visitors. Shared homes essentially need separate spaces and shared spaces.
We are doing this already. I recently helped a client buy a condo unit for her daughter. The daughter is a university student so the requirement was for a two bedroom unit with the bedrooms on opposite sides of the common living room, kitchen.
No problem. We have lots of those.
There was a story in National Post about a guy who got evicted from the 28 square foot box he built in his friend’s living room. The box, which he called his living pod was equipped with a twin bed, a fold up desk and LED lights. The city deemed it unsafe and a fire hazard. The median rent in San Francisco is more than $3500/month and there are reports that residents are making their own homes in tents, garages or in one case an old FedEx delivery van.
I talk a lot about Uber on the podcast but I suppose it’s in the news as the taxi drivers are making a lot of noise about it. The sharing economy is here and Airbnb is really the movement that no one is really talking about.