Shampoo and Booze Episode 43: The Stress of Renovation

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We're into our second week of renovating our second rental AKA the River House. The video and photos below show how we're gutting the house and adding on an additional room. We're uncovering everything to make sure we fix any issues and do it right the first time. The job will last at least twelve more weeks (maybe longer!?)

This is our third house that we've fully renovated, so we're not amateurs. But it doesn't make it any less stressful. Handfuls of money are flying out the door each day. Even if when we plan all the details, some things remain out of our control. The good news? We know that this project will end, the house will be awesome, and we'll make money from it for years to come. It's that gap between now and then that's painful. Some people invest in 401k's. We invest in rental property.

We'd love to hear other people's stories on renovations. Was it worth it?





Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 42: What We Learned From Staying In Six People's Homes

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After a month in Ireland, our Airbnb experiment was a success. It was fun to rent a car and simply drive around the country, spontaneously renting places to stay every couple days. I hope more people get hip to this style of travel. The fact that we could stay in our own little home (vs a stuffy hotel) and meet local people made the experience super enjoyable. We're already talking about taking another month long trip next year.

That being said, staying in other people's rentals helps us know what works and what doesn't work. Here's a short list of things we didn't like:
--Don’t charge people for extras. Just add essentials into your price. One guy wanted us to heat the cabin with wood, but make us pay 5 Euro for each basket of wood we used.
--Hooks hooks hooks! In every room, bedroom and bathroom. Don't make your guests drape their clothes, coats etc over chairs.
--Have nice, matching hangers (wood or bamboo). They're cheap! Too many places had just a handful of bent metal hangers with torn paper from the dry cleaners.
--Provide liquid soap & shampoo. One guy had used bar soap in the shower and sink. That’s gross.
--In this day and age, it's easy to give guests GPS coordinates to your place. That will take us right to your house when using Google Maps. You should even check that Google has your address correct. If not, it's easy to send Google a note to correct the map.

Anyway, now that we're home, the renovation work on our second rental has started in earnest. We're waking up at 5:30am each morning to meet with our contractors. The goal is to get this second rental on Airbnb by March. Can we do it? Tune in to find out.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 41: An ex-Airbnb Employee Tells Us How to Improve Our Listings

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We recently met Daniel Rusteen in San Francisco. He used to work at Airbnb before he left to start his own business called Optimizemyairbnb.com that helps hosts show up higher in the search ranking and get more bookings.

Though he didn't have any secrets to share, he was able to tell us some smart best practices when it comes to presenting your place on Airbnb. Some of the advice was common sense (or should be), but he also had good insights on what guests (and thus the Airbnb search engine) look for. We especially were paying attention to his thoughts on the three most important sections of your Airbnb listing.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 40: Running Our Airbnb From The Road

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Every year we take two long trips for about a month each time. We're usually doing some work on these trips, but we also love traveling because it keeps us feeling fresh and motivated when we get back home. When you work for yourself, burnout is the biggest pitfall. Travel is the great burnout antidote.

For the next couple weeks, we'll be in Ireland. Several years ago when we were renovating our farmhouse, we dreamed of having our future Airbnb rental pay for our travel. Fast forward to the present and we can say this actually happening now!

We've rented a car and will be driving around Ireland with really no plan. We're staying in little houses every two or three nights that we find on Airbnb. The money we spend on lodging is being paid for by the people renting our Airbnb back home where we have a friend acting as our manager. We're actually making money because we're staying in smaller, more inexpensive places. It's a dream come true.

While we're on this Irish adventure, we're also busy planning our renovation for the river house. As soon as we get back, the big project begins. Contractors will be hired. Building material will be bought. Money will be spent (and spent and spent). Pressure will build. Stress will happen. So any planning, schedules, and cost predictions we do now will at least give us the illusion that we're on top of this big project. We just keep reminding ourselves that all the time and investment will be worth it when we get this second place rented and making money.

Our October rental schedule is almost full booked as people come to our area to enjoy the cool weather and watch the leaves turn. But winter is coming so we know slow times are coming. Hope things are good with you.

Here are link we discussed on the podcast:
  • Airbnb has a simple tool to give you an idea of how much your place is worth if you rented it. We find it to be showing you top market value.
  • Airbnb announced their anti-discrimination policy after there was evidence that some hosts were racial profiling.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!