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A Bargain With the Devil'---Bill Comes Due for Overextended Airbnb Hosts

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  • #16
    Originally posted by bullsdoc View Post
    100K for furnishing? Maybe that shouldn't be the thing I'm focused on...but wow that is a lot for two properties at $190K a piece.
    That's exactly where I got stuck;-) we didn't even spend half that on the one house we live in! Because children destroy everything.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Shant View Post

      We had that same discussion in my living room for half an hour last night. Crazy to spend that on a rental business, and crazy to spend 20% on declining assets.
      well the house that you are borrowing heavily to rent out needs to look nice.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by MPMD

        fwiw we've never really gotten on the airbnb train. it seems like it's a great option for large group travel (e.g. rent a house for weekend with 3 other couples) or for long term travel (e.g. spend a month in Seattle as a family). absent that it seems like a fairly complicated way to stay at a place with fewer amenities than a decent hotel.

        the few times i've done it i've been thoroughly underwhelmed and would have preferred to just get a room.
        Domestically I'd agree with you 99% of the time. That random 1% would just be for beach houses and such :P

        Where we've had a lot of luck with Airbnb is with international travel. We had a small apartment in Prague that cost us $80 a night that was a stones throw from Old Town Square where hotel rooms were $300+ for a single room.

        Same in Tokyo. Got a 2 bedroom fully furnished in Shinjuku for $100 per night that was less than a block from the train station. Beautiful neighborhood and the owner took us out to eat at his favorite local places. Compared to $250 a night for a micro room hotel, it was a steal.

        But yeah, domestically 99 times out of 100 Airbnb just equals more headache and risk for a savings that isn't worth it.
        I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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        • #19
          Are we assuming that these properties are in MI? Are there more than 4 months out of the year to utilize these rentals outside of Ann Arbor, E Lansing and Detroit? Why was there no urgency to de-leverage at least a little with that return? I'd like to hear from more conservative short term RE investors to know what the game plan should be.

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          • #20
            I’ve spent thousands at Airbnb over the years, especially on international travel. Much cheaper and more flexible than hotels. Now I stay in Airbnb’s during my locum tenens stints and get reimbursed for it. I prefer them because I get a lot more space than I would in a hotel, have a full kitchen, access to a washer and dryer, and the hospital is fine with it since it saves them $60 a night. Win/win.

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            • #21
              With kids I definitely prefer having a kitchen so airbnb, vrbo are our go to's for travel. Never had a bad experience. So I would hate to see it go away. But you can't leverage yourself like this.

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              • #22
                Highly doubt it will disapear. Hopefully there will be fewer get rich quick podcasts about becoming a millionaire on Airbnb by 30 and all that

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Doc Spouse View Post

                  Domestically I'd agree with you 99% of the time. That random 1% would just be for beach houses and such :P

                  Where we've had a lot of luck with Airbnb is with international travel. We had a small apartment in Prague that cost us $80 a night that was a stones throw from Old Town Square where hotel rooms were $300+ for a single room.

                  Same in Tokyo. Got a 2 bedroom fully furnished in Shinjuku for $100 per night that was less than a block from the train station. Beautiful neighborhood and the owner took us out to eat at his favorite local places. Compared to $250 a night for a micro room hotel, it was a steal.

                  But yeah, domestically 99 times out of 100 Airbnb just equals more headache and risk for a savings that isn't worth it.
                  ha, I was nodding my head in agreement til you go to the "owner took us out" part...I'd pay extra not to talk to anybody else! just hang the "do not disturb" sign on the door and carry on.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by MPMD

                    i think a pretty good rule of thumb to know you have a bad money making scheme is: am i attempting to sell a luxury product?

                    if yes, it's probably not going to work as a small time operation.

                    fwiw we've never really gotten on the airbnb train. it seems like it's a great option for large group travel (e.g. rent a house for weekend with 3 other couples) or for long term travel (e.g. spend a month in Seattle as a family). absent that it seems like a fairly complicated way to stay at a place with fewer amenities than a decent hotel.

                    the few times i've done it i've been thoroughly underwhelmed and would have preferred to just get a room.
                    a real kitchen and laundry are not to be dismissed lightly. also not to be dismissed is a bedroom for kid and a second bedroom with lockable door for parents....

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                    • #25
                      I'd say I can't believe these folks didn't retain any earnings... but then they super leveraged themselves to get into the position. But clearing $4-7k a month you'd figure they'd last longer than a month. Poor business plan.

                      At the same time, if my income at least somewhat holds, I wouldn't mind an opportunity to pick up some real estate during a dip to turn into long term rentals. I was just starting medical school during the last crisis, so I missed out on the chance to jump on the RE cleanup wagon.

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                      • #26
                        I feel sorry for everyone who is suffering. In this case the problem was not investing in rental properties. The problem was leveraging to the hilt on that investment. I realize there is an arm of real estate investing that bases its appeal largely on leverage but this is the risk.

                        Had they paid cash for the properties and only needed the income to support taxes and maintenance, they would be in very different circumstances.

                        They could have gotten into similar trouble if they had leveraged themselves to the hilt investing in stocks and had no money to pay the margin calls.

                        Even if AirBnb the company disappears, the model will be picked up by others. Perhaps individuals will be more careful about debt. Since these sorts of stories come up after every downturn, it seems we will always have gamblers and we will always have people wiped out when their bets go sour.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MPMD

                          i think a pretty good rule of thumb to know you have a bad money making scheme is: am i attempting to sell a luxury product?

                          if yes, it's probably not going to work as a small time operation.

                          fwiw we've never really gotten on the airbnb train. it seems like it's a great option for large group travel (e.g. rent a house for weekend with 3 other couples) or for long term travel (e.g. spend a month in Seattle as a family). absent that it seems like a fairly complicated way to stay at a place with fewer amenities than a decent hotel.

                          the few times i've done it i've been thoroughly underwhelmed and would have preferred to just get a room.
                          I would disagree because I've had wonderful experiences with Airbnb. In my experience, I get 3 times nicer places for 1/3 the price.

                          Granted, I'm young, so I may have a different take on it that older people since my generation tends to like this type of stuff. Airbnb was wonderful for interview season where you literally just need a place to sleep for one night. I was able to stay across the street from hospitals for only $40.

                          In general, one night doesn't make it worth it a lot of times over a hotel room because of the cleaning fees, but it saves tons of money if you're staying a few nights.

                          The downside to Airbnb is that you can't necessarily check in at 2 am like you can at a hotel, and you MUST do your own due diligence on the listing. With a hotel, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good experience. But with Airbnb, you must read the reviews to make sure it's a good place and you must do research on the city beforehand to make sure you're not renting on murder's alley.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by G View Post

                            ha, I was nodding my head in agreement til you go to the "owner took us out" part...I'd pay extra not to talk to anybody else! just hang the "do not disturb" sign on the door and carry on.
                            Different strokes for different folks, but I've made good friends with people from Airbnb. During a stay in NYC, a guy renting out the room next to me turned out to be a sociology professor at my university and we keep in touch today.

                            Just last month or so I was in a dude's Airbnb for 4 weeks and halfway through the Covid shutdown hit and I was doing online work for med school and the Airbnb host was now unemployed so we stayed inside all day and watched Fox News. We ended becoming friends and are planning on traveling to Asia together next year.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Romberg45 View Post
                              so we stayed inside all day and watched Fox News.
                              well thats scary.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Romberg45 View Post

                                Different strokes for different folks
                                ...
                                I was in a dude's Airbnb for 4 weeks and halfway through the Covid shutdown hit and I was doing online work for med school and the Airbnb host was now unemployed so we stayed inside all day and watched Fox News
                                different strokes, indeed! from my perspective, you are describing one of those infinite torture scenarios from Greek mythology....

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