Amenities, and flexibility
Tynesia Hand-Smith and her husband, Derrick Smith, have rented out a basement unit with a bedroom, living room and kitchen in their rowhouse in Bloomingdale for three years in a long-term lease. Because their tenant is moving soon, they are preparing to offer the space to tourists through Airbnb. “We’re interested in it from a financial standpoint and like having the flexibility of having a space that wasn’t rented all the time,” says Hand-Smith, an interior designer.
Hand-Smith and her husband heard about the Web site last year from a friend, and while the catchy name was something they hadn’t heard, the concept was familiar. “My husband and I have a timeshare, and it’s a very similar situation,” she says. “[It has] the same amenities — you can stay in and cook, watch a movie. It offers the comfort of being at home. Knowing how we like to vacation, I’m surprised it didn’t catch on earlier.”
The concept is ideal for homeowners who often travel for work or relocate to another region of the country and may not be able to readily sell the property.
“I have a client who has a three-bedroom home that’s been on the market for 60 days,” says Hand-Smith. “If it doesn’t sell soon, she’ll make it available for [Airbnb] renters. You can re-market the home. It offers options for investors.”
Preparing a home to sell is different than opening it to travelers. Not only does it need to look good, it also has to be functional — real beds in the bedrooms and dishes in the kitchen. But one rule stays the same. “The photos have to be generic. No wedding photos, maybe pets, but you don’t want someone to feel they’re intruding,” Hand-Smith says.