If you've always wanted to become a successful Airbnb host, this is your episode. I'm sitting down with an expert host to learn about all the different ways to be a part of the Airbnb platform and make $$.
From hosting to co-hosting to interior styling & turnover services to how to host without owning a property, Sarah dishes on some of her best tips and strategies that helped her become a superhost and successful short term rental owner.
Sarah Karakaian flipped one of her first short-term rentals on national TV on the HGTV show, Beach Flip. Little did she know that would take her down the journey to becoming an Airbnb expert obsessed with helping others find the courage to open and/or run an Airbnb of their own!
get in touch
sarah's related resources
ready for fall? Check out my fall decor ideas + diy projects
what i'm loving this week
Ryobi Cordless Hot Glue Gun — It's perfect if you're a serious crafter or just starting out with power tools.
I LOVE this tool because it stays consistently hot unlike other cordless hot glue guns that cool off when they're not docked. It works with the Ryobi ONE system and runs of the same battery as all my power tools.
I did a video about this for the ASK CARA Knowledgebase because I recommend this tool as a very first power tool purchase if you are legit afraid to own power tools like drills or saws.
It will get you started building your collection since it runs off the same battery pack as other tools you can add to later.
Plus, it has a similar shape to a drill and requires a similar motion — so it will get you started using power tools at the very basic level with a tool that can't cut you.
stuff we just need to talk about
Fun plant fact 01: Plants can get sunburned
While scouring my plant support group for info on how to help my plants flourish, I learned plants can get sunburned —WHAT?
Like, sunlight for plants is literally their food — I had no idea sunburn was a possibility. Just another thing to add to the "reasons my plants might be dying" list.
Fun plant fact 02: The snake plant / MIL tongue is poisonous
I thought we were over allowing poisonous things into our house as a society, but apparently not. This plant is moderately poisonous and called the mother in law's tongue because eating it can mess with your tongue and inhibit your ability to speak.
Fun facts 🙂
let's talk about it!
Do you have any crazy or fun plant facts!? Are you a flourishing plant parent or on the struggle bus like me?
Leave a comment below or use #MakeSpacePodcast to share your response on social media
EP 09 TRANSCRIPT
...just in case you wanna read
Cara: 00:00 You're listening to the MAKE SPACE Podcast. Episode Number Nine.
INTRO: 00:22 Hey, welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces you truly feel at home in Cara Newhart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pen worthy rooms to tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design, tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiast behind never skipped brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like people style watch and Denver Style magazine as an influencer. Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon, h and m, Twitter and Thrillist. Here's your host, Cara Newhart. ble].
Cara: 01:22 Hey guys, it's Cara and this is ridiculous. I am drinking pumpkin coffee. It is just barely the end of August. It still feels like summer, but I have been doing a lot of fall decor DIYs — um, creating content and filming, so I guess I'm in a fall mood because I'm drinking a fall coffee. It is way too soon for this. Um, but if you are a fellow fall fanatic, you can check the blog because there are a ton of fun fall, um, DIY projects hitting the blog soon. So go hop over there if you haven't already. If you're needing some fall crafts, we've got like pumpkin ideas and wall decor and I'm super excited to be sharing all of that with you even though it's barely fall — like the first, the first day of fall hasn't even started yet. Anyway, let's dive into what this episode is really about, which is super highly requested.
Cara: 02:19 You guys wanted to hear all about Airbnbs: how to host your own, how to know whether it's right for you. And I'm so excited to bring you this episode because we have like the airbnb expert. So, so Sarah actually flipped one of her very first short term rentals on national TV, on the HGTV show, Beach Flip. And little did she know that would take her down the journey to becoming an airbnb expert who is obsessed with helping others find the courage to open and or run an airbnb of their own. So Sarah actually has her own podcast, which you're gonna want to check out after this episode because you're going to fall in love with her. It's called Thanks for Visiting and it is all things Airbnb. So if you're really interested in this short term rental space, that's going to be something, a good followup for this episode. And then her main website is Nesters. Um, and so her and her husband renovate houses. She does a lot of design work and then a lot of um, stuff in the short term rental space. So you're gonna wanna check her out because her style is so, it's so cute and she's done a lot of really unique things, um, with her short term rentals. So let's dive into this episode because Oh my gosh, she packed so much good advice and just a short period of time.
Sarah: 03:45 Hello.
Cara: 03:47 Hi. How are you?
Sarah: 03:48 I'm well, How are you?
Cara: 03:50 So good. Very, very excited for this. This is highly requested.
Sarah: 03:55 No, I love talking about this. Talk about all day long.
Cara: 03:57 Yes. So let's just dive in. Um, when did you start renting out part of your house and how did that lead to you becoming a full blown designer and AIRBNB experts?
Sarah: 04:09 No. Oh my gosh. So, um, let's take it back to 2012 when it has been an, I were living in New York City. I used to be a musical theater performer and we knew that we wanted to buy a property. We didn't know if that would have to be, um, an apartment, but we lived in queens and I saw that there were houses for Santa. I was like, wait, I get on like a house with like a little tiny backyard that'd be so cool. And your house down the street from where we were renting, that was the smallest, ugliest house on the block. And I knew very little at that time about real estate, but I knew that was the one rule that would kind of keep you safe if you had the smallest, ugliest home on the block that you had. It's kind of like that whole thing of you should be the dumbest person in the room, right?
Sarah: 04:52 Like a hundred ways to like grow. So we, um, we got an FHA loan because I mean I was an actor. Nick had a super humble job. He had just graduated with his master's in architecture and actually the academy was just starting to improve after the recession. So, um, we didn't FHA loan, which means we only need a 3%, but in New York City there's actually a lot of money. Um, yes, we bought the house. Oh my gosh. I always forget the number and my husband, nick always kills me. But for like four 75 so 3% is no drop in the bucket, but right. We, um, we did. And the house, you need a lot of work and hi, we had a basement that had its own entryway, so it wasn't a duplex, but they had its own entry and had own entryway. And so when you walked in you till the bathroom and how do you, and to the right was like a living space and then it connected to the rest of the home with another door.
Sarah: 05:43 Yeah. So for awhile we had like, um, you know, New York, you have roommates all the time. It's like, that's how it, when I moved there, I lived with like four other people. And so yeah, trends, friends, like, Hey, who wants to live in this little, this little basement in oak with your own bathroom. A of mine live with his boyfriend in there for a while. And then they decided it was too small cause it was for a longer living. Um, and AIRBNB was super new at the time. My friend was doing it, but he is from Australia. Uh, and I feel like Australians always know about things before we do like a u s thing. Um, he was like, hey, I need someone to turn the bed for me, um, for this airbnb guest. And he explained what it was and I was like, I'll totally do it.
Sarah: 06:26 So I went over and I turned the bed down and you know, the room was really sparse and bare and kind of unwelcoming. So I just went down to the Bodega and I got like a bottle of water. I got a little plane, like a little, um, I'm sure it was like carnation cause they sell on the streets of New York. Yeah. And I got inspired. I was like, maybe we should try this versus um, you know, just a longterm roommate cause it was expensive trying to renovate this home. So long story short, we did and I had to convince nick to do it, but um, that was in 2000, I think 13 at the time. We actually did that, did AIRBNB and I've, we've never stopped since, since 2019 so,
Cara: 07:06 oh my goodness. That's so cool. Um, and your story is just so cool cause I feel like you're kind of like a multipotentialite like me where you just like have so many interests. So like doing a thousand things at the same time. Um, but no, I know we have a lot of listeners that are interested in opening an airbnb and aren't really sure like what that looks like, especially now since it's such an established industry. Um, do you have any like input on like some deciding factors, whether when it comes to knowing whether it's right for you to become a host?
Sarah: 07:39 Yeah, and the really cool thing is like you can become a host in many ways. You can own property yourself, so, and that can then split off into two ways you can own it and maybe rent out a room in your home like we did when we started more. I mean, let's say you have, um, a rental property that you have a longterm renter in, but it's an amazing location and you know that it'd be a great spot to welcome guests from all over the world on a short term basis. You can then transition into airbnb that way. Or, um, and this is one of my, my business partner because we do a lot of airbnb education. Um, she does it where she reaches out to real estate investors, real estate developers. And offers them like, Hey, let me help you diversify your portfolio. And we could do one or two airbnbs in your big building of, you know, longterm renters or I know you've got this single family home.
Sarah: 08:35 It's super cute, it's a great location. Let me manage it for you. So if your listeners are like, well I'm not a real estate investor and that's not something I'm not interested in, you can still, we call it co-hosting, you can still co-host a property and I can take it a step further and let's say that may be too much for you, like being on call all the time because really our co-hosting is like, you're like the front desk of a hotel. That's kind of what you're doing and you're the GM of a hotel. So if that sounds like too much for you, you could do turnovers. And I actually, I, one of those Weirdos who actually really loves cleaning. And the cool thing we're on airbnb turnovers is that it's actually less of cleaning cause it gets done so often and it's more like a restaging.
Sarah: 09:19 And every time a guest comes, you want them to feel like they are the first person to ever walk through the doors of that airbnb. You know, like you don't want to let them ever know that anyone has ever slept in that bed or eaten at that table. And so the turnover process is probably the most important aspect of being a part of an airbnb. And so many of your listeners out there, obvious they're interested in, you know, design and DIY and all that kind of stuff. This could be right up their alley because not only do you have to yes vacuum and I'm not going to lie to you, there's some toilet cleaning involved. There's not so pillow fluffing and there's like the perfect laying of the blanket and there's maybe in the holidays you want to go a little above and beyond and, and you know, redecorate. So, uh, there's just a lot of opportunities since Airbnb is less scary these days and more of a norm.
Cara: 10:09 Right. So I feel like, I don't know when it started exactly. It was it in New York, right? Yup. Cause I didn't really hear about it for a long, long time.
Sarah: 10:19 So if your listeners are interested, there's a great, and I don't know what the episode number is, but if you listen to the podcast, um, how I built this and highrise interviews the founder of Airbnb and kind of talks them through the story of how they got started and what it really started with an air mattress. That's where the air comes from. Um, you know, Ben breakfast, they lived in San Francisco and there were conferences and of course San Francisco is always known for their housing shortages and even, you know, hotel shortages. So, right. Because they were techie, they were like, we can figure out a way to advertise these conference attendees. Like, Hey, we've got extra rooms you can come stay with us. And that gave him the idea of leveraging technology to open up the everyday home to travelers. And so it's a really, I think it's a really cool story.
Cara: 11:04 It is so cool. So, cause I feel like it did start a little more casually. Like obviously now it's a really formal yes situation, which is awesome. But, um, because it's become such a developed market, but when people are renting out rooms in their own homes, like is it still common to have a room like just down the hall from the host or is it more of that like I'm out of the space and you have a to yourself kind of situation?
Sarah: 11:28 I think people are still opening up rooms down the hall. Um, it's a great way for actually, you know, and I don't know if the stats are true, but I will share something. I've read that uh, a big population for airbnb are baby boomers and you senior citizens who want to stay in their home and they're in, they're healthy to stay in their home. They can do it, but it'd be nice to have the offset of income of a roommate down the, so it, you know, maybe maybe you know, you, you're just starting out in a new place. You don't know anybody, but you have a home and you have a bedroom. Like I think that type of Airbnb is still very popular. Yes. People are making businesses out of it. And all of my airbnbs now are full time airbnbs. I don't, we don't share space anymore, but it's still something that, that people can do. And, and I think it might be one of the most profitable ways to airbnb because it's, you know, you can get maybe, you know, $86 a night plus a cleaning fee for a one bedroom apartment or you get, you know, 50 bucks a night for a room in your home. You know what I mean? Like, and yeah, you know, that's, that's pretty great considering it's just a small space in a, in a home that you are already living in.
Cara: 12:40 For sure. That's really exciting because I feel like a lot of people feel intimidated, like they have to own a whole property, but like you totally don't. It still is an option to just do like a small space and starts.
Sarah: 12:52 Absolutely. And if, you know, people always ask me like, how do I do that though, Sarah? Like, how do I find people who would be willing to let me cohost for them? I'm telling you what turnover, if any of your listeners live in Columbus, Ohio, let me know cause like all day long, but we're interested in turning over as like a side hustle or something. Um, I would just go to like real estate meetups or talk to real estate agents who, no investors or no real estate investors. Uh, maybe even just, um,
Sarah: 13:22 this is kind of maybe not as a popular choice, but you can go on Airbnb and message some of your local hosts and say, Hey, I'm so sorry I'm not interested in renting but if you ever need help with cleaning, you know, a space, you might get someone who's interested. Um, and if you want to cohost for someone the same, the same thing goes. You know, I would just go to meetups and go on Facebook and see who you know, who needs help and it's just a really cool way to get involved in the industry.
Cara: 13:47 Yeah, that is so cool. A good, a good like easy start just to kind of explore it cause you are just cleaning but learning and then you don't have to dive all the way in yet. So if you do want to like cohost, um, do you have any tips for like getting a landlord on board? Like say you have someone that has no idea that this is a possibility but has a property and might be interested.
Sarah: 14:10 I will tell you maybe like three or four years ago it was harder to convince a landlord or a developer to diversify their, we'll call a portfolio, which sounds fancy, but it's just a bunch of, you know, regards hi all the spaces that they own that they rent out. Say Hey longterm, I love that it's working for you. But what if we, you know, divvied up some of your spaces in your apartment complexes or in a single families you own. And I would rent it for you and there's a couple of ways you can do it. You could sign a lease with them and then in that lease it would give you permission to sublease [inaudible]. Did he know that you're going to be listing on Airbnb, airbnb and so one way you could do is say, hey, I'll give you 3% 5% above market value if I can sign a year or two lease with you.
Sarah: 14:49 And then if you have the cash, you could furnish it yourself and do all the things that you want to do with an airbnb. The landlord is going to be super happy that they have a quote unquote good tenant, right? They know that you're going to care about this space because if you don't get five star reviews and you don't get that superhost status on Airbnb, you're going to get swallowed up by all the competition out there. So you can tell the landlord that, say it, it would behoove me, I will make more money if I take care of your property. It's going to get cleaned two or three times a week if not more. Depending on, you know how often you are allowing guests to stay. If you go out one night stays, you could clean up six times a week, you know like right.
Sarah: 15:25 A lot of opportunity for property upkeep. Um, and that includes the outside of it too. Like you gotta keep that long looking good. You've got to keep that front door looking safe and welcoming. Cause if, if you, if it's travel or a solo and they pull up and it looks sketchy, it's very tough when they won't even come in the door. So you can explain that to a landlord. And I would even like type it up on a piece of paper and have it look, you know, really put together. Um, also it's, it's pretty common that guests don't really use, although the book airbnbs to stay with some place with a kitchen where they can have like make a sandwich or make dinner and not go out to eat all the time. They're still gonna use the appliances much less than a longterm guest though longterm resident would.
Sarah: 16:04 So you can let them know that too. You know, you've just newly renovated. Um, I can guarantee you I can keep it up and looking amazing. That fridge looking amazing. You know all those appliances because number one, I'm going to be cleaning them all the time. And number two, short term guests, just don't use them that often. Right. So um, and then of course because you'd be able to offer them a little bit over market value. Let's say they want to ask $1,000 a month and you can offer them 3% over that because you know that you're going to cash flow more than that because you've done your homework and you've spoken to other hosts in your area or gone on websites like air dna.com to see what you could make. Um, that way it's win win for both parties.
Cara: 16:41 That's such good advice. That's what I was going to ask next is like I know real estate is so dependent on market. So for someone that's not really tuned into that, how do you know if your area can garner, you know, enough money to keep it open? Like how do you price and that kind of stuff?
Sarah: 16:57 Yeah. So there are websites, unlike airdna.com, I feel like your first few inquiries on the website are free. So maybe you just do your, your neighborhood. If it's a, it'd be a great location for an airbnb. I kind of sidetracked too on that. Um, Forbes did an article, I think it's maybe a couple of years old now, but it still holds true where just because you live in a place that isn't, you know, New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Colorado, um, it doesn't mean you can't be profitable in airbnb. Think about what I mean people into where you live. Is there a university, is there a, um, you know, a big business is there, what's bringing travelers to where you're at? And so in Forbes did it a couple years ago, you know, the number one place to be profitable and Airbnb was Akron, Ohio. And you know, and it's because, you know, the, let's say a mortgage in, in Akron, Ohio is much less than it's going to be in, you know, New York City.
Sarah: 17:55 Even, even, um, taking in consideration the cost of living, it's still much less. And the cost of staying at night is that the difference there isn't as big. So you know, as opposed to needing to rent out for 20 nights a month to profit an Akron, maybe you only need like five or six months a night to cover your mortgage and utilities and then to start profiting. So I don't want you to get discouraged if you feel like you're not in a big city. There still could be, I'm not saying it's definite, there still could be a great opportunity for you to have an airbnb in your area, but location, location, location is still, it's that number one real estate role goes for Airbnb as well. You know, if it,
Sarah: 18:34 if you're really off the beaten path, there's no highways near you and there's no experience related to that site. Maybe it's not the best place to have an airbnb. But, um, so yeah, so I would go to websites like air DNA and see what you could possibly make. Go on Airbnb and you can do a search in your area and like use the map portion to zoom in and see if there's other short term rentals in your, you know, just because there's not one year, you doesn't mean that there's not opportunity that could be that you have, you know, the, uh, you have the, uh, upper hand on, on the airbnbs and area. If you know people are coming, you need a place to stay. And then I would just talk to hosts in your area, like maybe go on Facebook and see if someone you knows, know someone else who hosts in your area and see if you can get them on the phone or um, take them out to coffee or something and just see what, what their businesses like. And in some people might think of that as like, well, you're competition, but I can only come at it from a, an abundance mindset. [inaudible] um, you know, if they're doing really, really well, chances are your airbnb isn't gonna take away business from them. It's just gonna make it more enticing for people to to come.
Cara: 19:43 Exactly. That's something really interesting about what you guys were doing because I did not expect you to be in Columbus, Ohio. Like I kind of assumed like as she, because everything was and like, I don't know, I just thought it'd be like a big city, but there's so many good places that people travel to that aren't like the major cities. So that's really encouraging and, and really good insight on just like doing your homework and kind of connecting with people. Um, cause I feel like it's such a community. I know you talked about like Airbnb meetups and different groups like real estate groups. That's something really interesting. I feel like people should get plugged into if they're just starting.
Sarah: 20:22 Yeah. You know, you might think of a real estate at best, something depending on what your interests are, but really boring people anymore. A bunch of like, I don't know, I'm going to say this anyway, but a bunch of guys hanging around talking about portfolios and ROI and things like that. But there are some really great people who get started in real estate because they love home, right? Because they love carriers because, and that's why a lot of real estate agents get involved in and in selling homes, they want to sell something that they really believe in, which is the home. So if you are interested in Airbnb and never thought of considering it as a parallel to real estate, I challenge you to, to go to a real estate meetup and I bet you'll connect with someone who loves the interior of a home exterior of a home just as much as you do. And you might find a lot of opportunity there, whether it's turnover service or co-hosting or maybe leave and get the, the bug to, to, to buy a piece of real estate and get involved in investing.
Cara: 21:21 Yeah. So let's dive into the other side. Kind of like if you have a space and you're renovating it solely to be a short term rental, um, are there any things that you would do differently if you were doing it? Like as a flip versus as like a rental? Like what are some, I dunno, like Airbnb, short term rental specific tips.
Sarah: 21:42 So the great thing is hopefully you've already done your homework and you know how much you, so we call those buy and holds, right? Whether you're gonna buy it and hold it to rent out longterm or you're going to buy and hold a to rent it out short term, which means, you know, Airbnb, it as we say now it's a verb. So buy and holds. Then then you have to ask yourself what, what can the neighborhood with, cause I always tell people who they want to buy a piece of real estate just to Airbnb it. And I love that. And you know, I'm a big fan of Airbnb, but I am also a big fan of not every space is meant to be Airbnb, to be very careful when you're looking for a space solely for an Airbnb, you want to have, I say two exit strategies.
Sarah: 22:22 Um, if it does, if it fails as an airbnb or you don't like airbnb hosting and there's no money for you to, you know, hire a manager to help you, then the next, the first exit strategy is to go to longterm tenant. And so you want to make sure your numbers still work. Whatever you can get for a longterm resident, it's still gonna work for that property. And then of course if that fails and you don't want to be a landlord and there's no room to hire a property manager, manage or take care of your property, you want to make sure it's going to sell easily in the, in your market. So those are two things you want to keep in mind. If you've yet to buy the property, if you've done all your homework and you know the numbers are there, you know you want to invest in materials that are going to stand the test of time.
Sarah: 23:03 You. Now, while, and this is another thing too, is airbnb is not passive income. It is not passive. It's quite active, it's a lot of fun. But people are spending their hard earned money to travel and they're choosing to stay in an Airbnb as a place to come home and relax and wind. And so there are service, you know, that comes with that. Yeah, there are many things you can do to create systems. And again, that's a whole other conversation probably, but to make it as just a hands off as possible, but it's not passive. So I'll get off my soapbox. But you do want materials that are gonna last you a long time. You don't want to, you know, um, get hard wards that are hardwood floors that are easily scratch. Like that's kind silly because at the same time, people who are staying in an Airbnb, while I've been doing it for several, several years and I had very little damage done to properties, nothing epic.
Sarah: 23:55 Um, people still don't take care of it as well as they would their own home. So you want things that are super durable. So when you're choosing your floor is make sure, like, you know, you could drop a, no, I don't know, a brick and it wouldn't really dent it, you know, so be careful with that. You want to choose counter tops that are super durable. I maybe wouldn't put marble in your shower as our marble in your kitchen. Um, and if you have to do carpet like something that's easily, you know, you can clean easily when you're ready to furnish it. I actually am not a fan of doing super cheap furnishings because you don't want to have to replace your Ectorp couch from Ikea. And I'm aware because then that that takes away the how cheap that couch was. Now you've bought three of them when you could have just bought one couch that has performance fabric that's easily, you know, you can spot clean. It's not fading, it's not pilling. Um, so yeah. Um, those are decisions that you can, uh, make when your specifically setting something up as an airbnb. You want it to last long. Um, but you don't need to like invest in crazy things like marble and, and cabinets that are just, you know, bells and whistles. Like I think you just Kinda have to keep with your budget and make sure you're looking at those numbers.
Cara: 25:09 Yeah. So let's dive in a little bit to like the concierge concept. I can never say that word — concierge — Um, because you're not just providing a place to stay. You're really providing kind of guidance as to the area and maybe some things you could do. So I know you have a lot of unique ways you do this. Like isn't think you have one where the coffee is like a local person and like really partnering with local brands and local people to kind of create that experience and kind of give people recommendations. So what is your insight when it comes to that?
Sarah: 25:41 Yeah, actually this is a good transition from the conversation we were just having with how, what should you do when you are doing a property just for Airbnb, let's say you get a property that's not renovated. So I, cause I've got one of those and I don't really have the money right now to renovate it. I'd like it to cashflow for a while so I can set money aside. So when I'm ready to renovate it, I can close down shop, get it done in a month and then open it back up again. But in the meantime, I was like, but I need to do something special because, because it's kind of, it's old, it's dated. It's very much from like late seventies, early eighties was less than even touched it. I partnered with a local graphic designer who in Columbus, he, it's DNW elements. And if you come to Columbus and you go out and you're walking around, you're gonna see someone wearing his tee shirts, you're going to see the one with like their laptop out and their sticker is on their laptop.
Sarah: 26:27 Right? He's like, just iconic here. So I reached out to him, I said, hey, would you help me create some stuff that I could make this airbnb super specific to Columbus? So when parents are coming to visit their kids at OSU or people are on business, like, oh, hi. And sure you're, your town does too. Like there's a lot of pride for your city and your town and your state. So we did, we collaborated. We put a big, we cut out a big, um, one of his designs on a CNC machine and put it in the kitchen. And I had some custom temporary wallpaper made for one wall in the space, just like made it an experience for the guests even though it's older. So, um, that is something that you can do to, to make your space a stand out even if it's not renovated.
Sarah: 27:12 And a good way to partner with someone who's local. And yeah, like you said, you can go to a local coffee shop and they may not donate the coffee for free forever, but you might give you a discount if you buy in bulk or if you put their business card, maybe you have a little section of like local businesses in your airbnb or like what I do is I have a welcome book and I've got QR codes next to all the businesses that help me make my airbnbs what they are. So they can go in and shop on them online or hey, this coffee shop is local and it's a five minute walk away. [inaudible] ways to highlight local businesses and [inaudible] I also recommend you having a Hashtag farrier bnb that works in your airbnb. They can use the Hashtag and then you can reshare it either on your business page or your personal page and just let people know that you've got something cool and create a little bit of that fomo experience. People book your space because you wonder why too. Like, well how do I know who's going to want to book my space, you know, on Instagram. But local people are excited to put up their friends and family in places that are clean and safe and comfortable and kind of like this like local celebrity type space. I get people who are like, hey, my mom's coming into town or any of your airbnb's available. Heck yeah. You know? So yeah,
Cara: 28:30 I really love that. I love like the collaborative mindset too that goes into like hosting an airbnb. Like you can really leverage it to be like, you know, really, really be impactful for your community or your town or like support local business. Like that's just such a cool element that you could be making money and really collaborating with. People can save time.
Sarah: 28:50 And I know you do this really well on your Instagram account too. It's like sharing [inaudible] the interior of your space and how you make it beautiful. I mean if you get your hands on an Airbnb, whether you lease it from a landlord or you decide to buy your own or you're helping someone else, you can share how you make it beautiful on social media and, and that's another way you could, you know, eventually make it profitable. So there's just, that's why I love, and if you don't mind, I want to share another way that you can do this without owning property, without selling the lease, without co-hosting. It will be your listeners do something else anyway every day. Maybe they are podcast hosts or maybe they own um, a bar and restaurant. Maybe they make cupcakes, maybe they do something in their lives that other people find interesting.
Sarah: 29:37 Maybe there's, maybe you live on a river where people kayak and love giving your friends kayaking lessons on Saturdays and Sundays. Airbnb has this thing called the airbnb experiences. You don't have to own property or host a property to be a part of this program and they will market you essentially not for free. Cause they do take a portion of what you make, but they will monitor you. They're pushing it so much. So for example, you know, you have people who um, okay, um, you have people who are booking. Airbnb is right in your town. Well, every time someone books in your bnb, in your town, they get an email saying, yeah, your space is booked. And then right below the fold before they even scroll down on that email, there are three highlighted experiences in your town that that guest could do. So whether it's like learn how to make cupcakes or learn how to make a cocktail or come kayaking with us, um, that's a lot of people who are seeking business, uh, for a lot less expensive and actually no money out of your pocket cause you're doing it anyway.
Sarah: 30:42 And airbnb is paying upfront for the marketing services. In addition to that, I've got a friend who has a podcasting, um, uh, she is on a like local radio stations. She's got her only podcast, she goes or whatever. And so she's doing this anyway. And so she signed up to be an airbnb experience host. And so yes, people who are booking spaces in Columbus, Ohio are seeing her experience. But also if you live in Columbus and you want to start a podcast and you're googling how to start a podcast in Columbus, Ohio, or just even how to start a podcast cause Google week, her experience is popping up the top of the search engine because Airbnb is doing that for her. So I don't even booking a space on airbnb or still learning about what she's doing. She's doing an, anyway, she is inviting people to come in and learn from her. So I don't know, there's just so many possibilities for ways to, to um, get involved in this platform and it's getting a lot of publicity, a lot of good. I feel like we hear a lot about a lot of the bad stuff, but, and a lot of good stuff too. And, and this is just a few of the ways that you can get involved.
Cara: 31:47 Yeah, no, I totally listened to the episode you did with her because I need to do that for my DIY workshops. I'm just like, I don't know why I got around to doing that. But yeah. So, so cool. And so many opportunities. So I guess just like a final one, um, will you share some of your like biggest mistakes or maybe just like unknowns, um, for when you first started hosting.
Sarah: 32:10 So it's scary, right? Like especially if you're walking's welcoming someone into your home and you live there, that's super scary. And I'm sure a lot of your listeners, like I would never do that. Um, I actually need to check, you should check this stat so don't take my word for it, but it used to be where if you were a female host, I feel like you can limit who you welcome into your home to other females. So I believe that's something you can do. Um, I think that you can do that I didn't know about at first was, um, when you list your space on Airbnb. Okay. And before you make it live, block off your calendar entirely. And I know that sounds backwards, but block it off so that no one can book. Make your airbnb public and then go into the calendar and open it up because you're going to say that, um, you're, you're going to list your property and it's an Airbnb is not going to give you the opportunity to set a cleaning fee.
Sarah: 33:06 And that's the number one mistake I see new hosts make is that they don't, I don't know why, I don't know if it's like an oversight or if it's on purpose, but um, there's nowhere to set the cleaning fee before you're listing is live. So block off that calendar, make it live, set the cleaning fee, cause cleaning fees are just there. There the culture of Airbnb, everyone does them and everyone who tries to not do them in saying their title, like cleaning fee included, you're still gonna look more expensive than everyone else who is your competitor. And also to those hosts out there who clean their own spaces. Don't do it for free. No, that's, that's still your time. So one thing people pay for is the space and the utilities and the furnishings. And the other thing we'll pay for, and you pay for this in hotels too, it's just wrapped up differently, is for some of the clean up after you so that you don't have to, you know, and that's a nice model somewhere else.
Sarah: 33:56 So I encourage you to pay yourself a fair wage for doing that in airbnb actually gives you the opportunity to check a little box below your cleaning fee that says, you know, I pay my cleaning team a living wage. And that's, that lets people who are booking know that yes, you see this cleaning fee and I might be an extra fee, but just know that someone who is working really hard, whether it's a third party or yourself, um, he's getting paid a living wage to be in that place for an hour, hour and a half, whatever it is to turn it over. Um, another thing I would say too is airbnb gives you opportunity to, um, give a discount to the first three people who book, uh, your Airbnb, which is great because it also, they, they'll email people who are, who are looking for a place in your area and they'll say, hey, you should check out this place that's brand new.
Sarah: 34:42 This person would love to have you stay. Here's 20% off. Make sure you're not allowing people to book like four months at a time. Yeah. Limit how long that person can take advantage of the 20% discount. That's another, well, he actually just had one of our followers message us that she did that and I feel so terrible. We want to be very careful about that because now someone has her airbnb for four months at 20% off, which is cheaper than what a longterm person would have. That's so cozy. All another thing too. Um, um, and actually I want to mention this too before I sign off. I hope I'm not talking too much, but oh no, you are doing great. Another way you can get involved in the airbnb worlds. I just spoke at the RESA conference and RESA is the real estate state association, and this is perfect for your listeners, is maybe there's someone out there who they love managing the Airbnb and they may want to do it themselves, but they don't have great in interiors.
Sarah: 35:39 You could totally pitch your services on making a space beautiful and on a budget. So that's another way you can do it. Um, and I say that also in relation to if you are furnishing your own Airbnb, if you're helping someone furnish the airbnb makes you save every single receipt, I would scan them, put them on, you know, in a Dropbox folder or a Google drive folder because anyone does, you know, stay in something or ruin something and you want to file a claim on airbnb. You need to have that original receipt for that piece of furniture or that rug or that pillow or whatever it is that means well to you. Um, so just save all the receipts when you're shopping and furnishing your space.
Cara: 36:19 Oh my gosh. So many little things that are just like, I mean you learn as you go, but it's just so fun to talk to you because you just know all of the little details. Um, so, okay for followup, I know listeners are going to want to check out your podcast so it's called thanks for visiting. Um, we'll link it in the show notes and it's amazing. I just recently started listening to it like after haven and now I'm just like, I need Airbnb I need to get plugged in in some way. Um, but other than that, where can everyone find you online?
Sarah: 36:48 Yeah, so we are actually in the middle of transitioning our thanks for visiting website from Shopify to Kajabi cause we will be having courses coming out very soon on, on how to open up an airbnb and how to create a hosting handbook meeting like treating it like a business. Um, so you can go to thanksforvisiting.me and that's for f o R. Dot. Me Or you can also find me on nesters.com and I have plenty of ways for you to get to. My thanks for visiting brand as well. From there. Um, I'm really big into educating people on the Airbnb in short term rental industry. It gets a bad rap because of bad hosts. So if I do my part in educating people on how to make this a really great way to share spaces and to put — I — you know, like control into the everyday person.
Sarah: 37:35 I love hotels. I love what they do. I used to work at a hotel and we work really hard in that industry, but I think there's room for all of us. Even us, you know, small time real estate investors or homeowners, we just to make some money out of their home. Um, and that's why I just want to elevate what it means to be a really good host and put the guests first. Profits will, I promise you they will follow. So, um, yeah, so nesters.com thanksforvisiting.me and I'd love to, yeah, help anyone who has questions.
Cara: 38:05 Yeah, for sure. I'll link all of that in the show notes. And you guys, Sarah has a really cool — like you have like an app list for like 5 apps you should use to get started. Like so many good resources and blog posts. You'd definitely want to hop over there and love to share with you. Yeah. Well thank you so much. This was like so much good information in like such a short period of time. I feel like we covered a ton.
Sarah: 38:28 Yeah, no I like I said if I didn't do that for furious cause it's just really exciting. You, anyone can get involved and I think that's cool. Yeah, no so good. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you. Yes. All right. Bye Bye.
Cara: 38:46 Bye
#OBSESSED: 38:52 hashtag obsessed
Cara: 38:57 so the thing that I'm loving this week, either you're going to be really excited about or you're just not going to care about it at all. But it is my Rio baby. I'm hot glue gun. It literally looks like a drill. It runs off the same battery, like the same as all the power tools and it's a hot glue gun. It's super nice cause it gets really, really hot. And with like other wireless hot glue guns, they have like the little stand that they sit on to warm up and then when you use them they like cool off and then you have to put it back on the little stand to heat up again. But this one has the battery built in and it's pretty awesome. So I did a video about this actually saying like if you're totally intimidated about power tools like legit scared to own them, you should buy this first because first of all you're going to get used to like the battery pack.
Cara: 39:50 How that works. It also has like a similar weight to a drill. Like Jill's a little heavier but the same like kind of motion. So you're going to get to practice with something that can't cut you. So anyway, if you're like a hardcore crafter, this is just awesome to have. If you want to start building your power tool collection but you're like a little intimidated. This one's good cause it's like 29 bucks for the glue gun and then you got to buy the batteries. But those can be used in any tools. So as you build your collection, you've got it. Um, yeah. So it's Kinda like a weird thing to be really obsessed with right now. But I am, I used it on all my fault crafts that I was doing and it worked really great. Um, a link in the show notes in case anyone cares.
WAIT, WHAT?: 40:48 [inaudible] wait, what?
Cara: 40:54 Okay. So my, wait, what for this week is some fun plant facts. If you follow me on Instagram or I guess I even talked about it on the podcast before, I am not really a great plant parent. My plants are not flourishing, they are just barely surviving. Um, I joined that plant support group from my fiddly fig tree and I've learned a lot of things about plants recently because turns out I can't just love them and expect that just to stay in them. I have to like actually learn how to take care of them. Surprise. Anyway, fun plant fact number one is that plants can get sunburned. At least the fickle fiddly fig tree can cause I posted in the group like my tree is dying once it's problem. And some people were like, it might be sunburned, which is hilarious to me because it's like inside like you're getting indirect sun from the window but also like as a plant, sunlight is your food.
Cara: 41:57 So how are you like getting sunburned if that's what you have to be eating? I guess. I mean I guess if it was like super intense but it wasn't that, it sounds like it was in my living room and it's fairly shaded so maybe that's not the problem. I just didn't know that it was a possibility for plants to get sunburned. Like that was a totally new fact for me. Okay. So on a more positive note, there's one plant that I haven't killed besides that one that's like the succulent that is I thought was fake but now it's growing and if you miss that you need to go back and listen to episode seven. Um, cause that saga is pretty funny. But the other plant that I haven't yet killed that seems to be doing okay is the snake plant or it's also called mother-in-law's tongue, which is really pretty like kind of tall and long.
Cara: 42:48 And then is like, stripey Kinda does look like a snake. Um, but I never knew why it was called mother-in-law's tongue. I was like, oh, because like it's a play on the fact that it's a snake plant and like some mother-in-laws are snakes like weird, but okay. No, actually it's because it's poisonous and it can inhibit your ability to speak. Not that you should be like taste testing your plants on the reg, but yeah, it's moderately poisonous. It can mess up your tongue. And apparently that's why it's called mother-in-law's tongue. Like not sure that's better than her being a snake, but fun fact, don't eat that plant. It's not good for you. Um, as far as I, my research is concerned, which I am by no means a botanist. So do not take this, literally do your own investigation, but apparently it cannot kill you.
Cara: 43:37 It is just moderately poisonous. It can be harmful to dogs and cats, uh, if your dog is crazy and eating your plants. But you know, that's a whole other issue. So this was an interesting fact because for some reason I just assumed like with all the technology that we have, we have chosen to no longer let poisonous things into our homes. But it turns out that it's fine. As long as you don't eat it. It's a great plant. It looks cute. Um, but yeah, this concludes our segment of fun plant facts with Cara. I'll be back next week with some more surprising information. So talk to you guys later.
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