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

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  • xraygoggles
    replied
    This is just the housing market cleansing itself of all the speculators that were levered up to the gills. Natural selection/free market at work, I suppose.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lithium
    replied
    I am doing locum tenens in the middle of nowhere and staying in Airbnbs. They rent for $100 a night this time of year.

    What's crazy is how cheap real estate is, especially compared to where I live. I looked up the prices of a couple of these units on Zillow. One is in a rough part of town and sold for less than $40k. Another house that is a little nicer, and is 1800 square feet, sold for $80k. A house like that would cost 4-5x as much where I live.

    I've always been terrified of being a landlord, but if I lived in a place like this (which I could never do), I'd be tempted to save up and buy a house every year.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Financial Engineer
    replied
    Originally posted by Cubicle View Post
    This is the exact same as the housing bubble in 2007-2008. People were fetching $400 per square foot for a condo not in a major city. Then things melted & people were crying. Not to be mean (I am), but I don't feel bad then or now.

    I'm a capitalist. Make your dollar. But don't hurt people. If you do, be prepared to get hurt.

    No doubt house values & rent rates increased as a result of "hoarding" air bnb properties. But like Lordosis said, up & down (should be) is all on the investor. That's why when you make stupid amounts of profit you're supposed to squander as much cash as possible into savings accounts for times like this.



    As anyone can see, I'm a bit riled up... Stop being stupid.
    I agree. At a minimum put away 6 months worth for each unit, or house, owned for a rainy day. This is just terrible business practice. However, I have been waiting for moments like this and will soon invest in something at a discount....

    The bubble is about to burst!

    Leave a comment:


  • G
    replied
    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....

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:


  • Romberg45
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Romberg45
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • afan
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Laeno
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • G
    replied
    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....

    Leave a comment:


  • G
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • bullsdoc
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • wideopenspaces
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lithium
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brains428
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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