My airbnb experiment


AUGUST, 2017


Eight months in the making. Eight somewhat straight months of DIY, online tutorials on how to rewire switches, install hardwood floor, cabinets, sinks…you name it. And finally, my short term rental property is finished. The final month I did it basically on my own, my husband having to go out of the country because of a tragedy. I called in reinforcements from family members to help me move fridges, troubleshoot plugs that weren’t working, and finally to clean. But, I got it there. Yet, even on the cheap we probably spent over $15K, that we didn’t have. But, we started with nothing. The only thing that we kept from the old property is the tile in the main room, the upper cabinets in the kitchen, tub, faux marble surround, and “toilet” cabinet in the bathroom.

Old photos of the place, in a lot of the apartment we started from scratch.

My husband wanted to turn it into a music room…that only last a little bit.

The hard part of this experiment was the construction. We started from scratch, basically…most everything needed to be replaced, from the plugs and switches to all the lights, even the baseboards. The goal was presentation, the first  impression was key and this had been an apartment for a long time, with the same tenants.

This was the entrance to the back apartment before the porch was painted. We had just pressure washed so stuff is all over the place.  Don’t mind that.

After all the construction, then we had to furnish it. Even new appliances. The appliances in there were working but they were not pretty. But, that was the easiest part. Furnishing an entire house, you forget about all the small stuff. I used a list that I found online, and it was very helpful. The Host Checklist To Maximize The Airbnb Experience by Guesty. Some things were obvious, other things I might forget, like a fire extinguisher, or a can opener. Those items were a good portion of the initial investment, even though I got a lot of things because I’m an Amazon Vine reviewer.  All the mattresses were from Vine, the Master’s Headboard, the television console, and other various things. I’ll put a list in the sidebar. But, even with a lot of review items, there were a lot of items to purchase. I found most, if not all, of the best deals at WalMart, especially bedding, and the television.

The little details count.

Photographs by Rachel Rivera & Maria Guisti

I kept a few things in mind when setting up the space. One, I wanted the place to be all about comfort. I needed all mattresses to be top of the line. The bedding needed to be soft, the pillows, durable but – again comfy. And I wanted to make it easy for guests to get a restful night sleep. Black out shades, quiet fans, and rugs to damper sound, were some of the ways I figured this would help.

The second thing I focused on was a feeling of relaxation and leisure. I filled the shelves with books, made the outside space inviting with plenty of places to sit, and redid the garden, filling pots with herbs that are supposed to ward off mosquitos and pests (to be determined).

I also tried to keep things cohesive, the same look throughout the house, so if one piece doesn’t work in one room I can use it in another. I also bought extra bedding so I can clean easily. Extra duvets (I went with duvets so I could clean them easier than comforters), extra sheets, three and four sets for each bed. I leave an extra sheet in the house with them, and I have two to place in the house when there is a changeover. So, I’m constantly rotating two sets of sheets for each bed.

My focus might change later as I learn new things, but right now this is how I started. I put all the information online at the beginning of August and had my first booking a few days later. So, as of today, I’m give or take -$14,800.

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    • Parajunkee

      Thank you hun!

  1. Zirev

    Is your white cat, Fangs, dead? He’s not mentioned in your Airbnb listing. 🙁

    • Parajunkee

      Zirez, I don’t know. It’s a really long story and terrible, but he was never happy inside, so we allowed him to go on our back porch area. The woman who was renting from us at the time told us we were doing it wrong by allowing it on the back porch. Even though it was secure. But, lo and behold, when she moved out the cat was gone too. I think she took him, we posted pictures everywhere. She left her own cat though, an outdoor cat…which is the weird thing. But the coincidence of her constantly telling us the cat was going to get out…and the day she moved out the cat was gone too. I miss that cat, but it was an outside cat, and hated being inside. I hope she at least gave it a good home if she did tell it. 🙁

  2. stephanie

    The unified color scheme was a good idea – I did it in our cottage as well and it makes moving stuff around easier.

    • Parajunkee

      I figured as much, Steph. I also used a “hot” trend that I could find in all the big box stores, patterns, colors etc, so finding affordable items was a lot easier than if I went with my personal taste. I do like these colors though, just probably wouldn’t have used them for myself.