How to decide if you should Airbnb your house

What to know before you rent out your vacation home

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The booming popularity of Airbnb is hard to ignore, especially as today’s travelers continue to largely favor local and unique lodging over the standard hotel room. Own a second home and wondering if listing it on Airbnb is right for you?

It’s not a decision to take lightly, so we’re here to help. At Vacasa, we offer full-service vacation rental management to 44,000+ homes in North America. If you’re considering renting out your property to paying guests, use our guide to explore both the pros and cons, and other considerations before you commit.

Can you legally rent out your home as a vacation rental?

First things first: Find out if you can both legally operate a vacation rental and list your home on Airbnb. Every destination has different local vacation rental laws and regulations. Some cities and counties stifle a homeowners’ ability to rent to travelers, while other destinations support their residents’ efforts to capitalize on tourism.

Pros and cons of renting your vacation home

The pros of renting your vacation home


Rental income

The obvious upside to listing your home on Airbnb is earning extra income. If you think beyond Airbnb—say, listing on other highly visited vacation rental sites, such as Vrbo and Booking.com—you’ll have even more opportunities to fill your calendar and make your maximum revenue. The right vacation rental property, in the right place, with the right amenities can be a fantastic earner.


Flexibility to charge based on demand

For example, special events, high season, and weather all can be reasons to charge top dollar. At Vacasa, our revenue team and analysts update our homes’ prices daily to match future demand, so that you don’t have to.


Tax deductions

Renting out your vacation home is a business, so you may be able to write off business-related expenses. Here’s a list of some vacation rental deductions you may be able to claim:

  • Hosting fees for Airbnb and Vrbo
  • Insurance premiums
  • Housekeeping
  • Utilities
  • Mortgage interest
  • Lawn or garden maintenance
  • Guest supplies
  • Property management fees
  • Occupancy taxes

Rent or stay when you want

Your vacation home is still first and foremost, yours. So you’ll have the flexibility for your own getaway—or to host family or friends—when there’s a gap in bookings. With Vacasa, you can block off periods on your calendar as much or as little as you like. Though, most homeowners prefer to leave high season open to bookings to maximize their earnings.


The cons of renting your vacation home


Taxed income

Typically, when you rent out your vacation home for more than 14 days out of the year, you’ll owe federal taxes on your rental income. That is in addition to any local, state, and property taxes.


Round-the-clock guest service and home care

WiFi down? Sink leaking? No hot water? When hosting paying guests, these issues need to be handled pronto. Otherwise, you risk getting a negative Airbnb review, which can drive down your rankings in Airbnb and make it harder to get future bookings.

The solution: Work with a local vacation rental property management company, such as Vacasa. We not only address guests’ calls 24/7, our local teams make sure your home is kept pristine and in top condition for every guest stay.


Annual marketing

With plenty of competition out there, it’s no longer enough to list on Airbnb and Vrbo, then expect the bookings to flood in. You’ll have to attract people to your listing throughout the year—especially if you want to boost your bookings during the off season.

Step 1: Make your vacation home listing more enticing than the others. Some ways to do this:

Step 2: Continue to bring attention to your listing all year long. Your vacation rental marketing strategy can include:

At Vacasa, we do much of this work for you. Our multi-channel marketing keeps our vacation homes in front of travelers all throughout the year. In fact, marketing your home is included in the management fee.


Inconsistent income

While you can adjust rates to compensate for a slow season, consistent rental income isn’t guaranteed. However, there are ways to help increase your off-season bookings, including:

  • Consistent marketing throughout the year
  • Targeting business travelers
  • Investing in amenities that off-season guests look for
  • Leveraging local events
  • Marketing to past guests

The bedroom of a vacation rental in 30A, Florida
The living room of a vacation rental in 30A, Florida

Is your home ready for short-term renters?

After determining that you are legally allowed to rent out your home as a vacation rental—and understanding the pros and cons—you can start preparing your vacation home for paying guests.

  1. Conduct a maintenance inspection to make sure your home is in top condition
  2. Decorate your home to boost bookings
  3. Stock your home using our Ultimate inventory checklist for vacation rentals
  4. Carefully hire a quality housekeeping team
  5. Establish a team of local contractors and put them on speed dial
  6. Invest in professional property photography and a virtual tour
  7. Write a persuasive listing for Airbnb and Vrbo

Find help renting out your vacation home

Need help setting up your vacation rental up for success (and keeping it that way)? Then work with a full-service vacation rental manager—like Vacasa, who helps thousands of vacation homeowners just like you. We’ll take care of your guests, your home, and your bottom line by:

  • Bringing exposure to your rental
  • Replying to reviews
  • Adjusting rates based on demand and other factors
  • Providing 24/7 guest support
  • Cleaning your home thoroughly after every stay
  • Maintaining your home and coordinating repairs
  • And so much more.

Turning your home into a vacation rental takes some research and prep work. But, in the end, the benefits (hello, rental income and tax deductions) can be well worth it. Follow this guide to make sure you have all of your bases covered before rolling out that red carpet for your first guest. Once your vacation rental is up and running, our homeowner guides will show you how to drive more bookings and maximize your revenue.


Should I Airbnb my house FAQ

Airbnb Hosts generally pay a flat service fee of 3% of each booking subtotal. In comparison, guests typically pay a 14% service fee of the booking subtotal. According to Airbnb, the service fee goes towards:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Marketing to guests via Google, social media, and more
  • Protection for you and your place
  • Educational resources for Hosts

To price your Airbnb rental, consider factors that impact how desirable your home is at any given time. Demand for your vacation home can change based on weather, market patterns, local events, and regional competition. At Vacasa, we use dynamic pricing (leveraging proprietary technology and regional experts and analysts) to set the optimal rate for each of our homes—daily. Our rates are based on many variables, including:

  • Seasonal weather patterns
  • Holidays
  • Nearby events
  • Competitor pricing
  • Occupancy rates
  • Booking window trends
  • Current sales and promotions
  • Regional demand trends
  • Proximity to local landmarks
  • Seasonal demand curves
  • Changes in demand

Let's get started

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You've got questions. We've got answers.

Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.