I’m Officially Retired!

Well, from my Airbnb hosting duties.  I’ve hosted 74 groups, and over 380 people.  Time to share the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

Dorm life on steroids does not work when you’re a married couple with a dog and a cat.  It’s like, “hey, I love you, but not that much.”  The thing was, Airbnb wasn’t supposed to be the end goal.  It was a means to an end: living my luxuriously frugal and financially independent life.  After the wedding, I said goodbye to Airbnb and hello to a partner who helps contribute financially to the household.  Together, our household expenses make up about 25% of our annual income.  We’re doing just fine without the extra boost.  Since we have a cat, we will not be renting out when we travel, because there’s more value in knowing she’s safe.

The Good

  • Money, money, money.  I basically got an additional $900 paycheck once a week for letting guests sleep in my house, plus the tax benefits of a schedule E are unmatchable.  It allowed me a ton of flexibility to pay off my 401k loan and save the bulk of my paycheck, getting to financial independence.
  • My house has some cool new things, both purchased and found!
  • So... many... skills.  My people skills improved ten-fold.  How can they not, interacting with well over 400 people?  It isn’t just the people who stay in the house.  It’s the people asking questions about the house and representatives from Airbnb, too.  My business and marketing skills improved, too.
  • The knowledge that there are actually some really cool people doing some really cool things.
  • Getting paid to have a clean and minimalistic home.  It’s probably the one situation where someone who struggles with OCD will benefit.
  • It was so easy to keep the pool clean during the summer, because so many people were swimming in it.  Not so fun during the winter.

The Bad

  • Getting woken up by children banging on the grand piano outside my bedroom door.
  • Waking up to the smell of bacon and knowing you can’t have any unless you go out for breakfast.
  • Walking around outside the garage when it’s raining, especially if the yard flooded.
  • Realizing you forgot to restock the mini fridge or snack bar, ending up on an 8pm run to Publix after a long day at work.  Or just going hungry, because forget that.
  • Staying up late to finish cleaning the house, because you unfortunately had to work late two nights in a row.
  • Waking up early to finish cleaning the house, because “Oh my gosh I just can’t even right now.”
  • Wear and tear.  You can’t bill a guest for normal wear and tear.  I’m planning to replace all my pots and pans and have tossed a bunch of stuff or passed it on.  Slightly mitigated by “Yay, new stuff!”​

The Ugly

Lessons learned the hard way...

The occasional entitled jerks who spend a lot of money to stay in the house and therefore think that (1) they own the place and (2) can treat you rudely.  I am not your servant, I am not “below you” because I rent out part of my house, and I am not going to pander to you.  Thanks, no thanks.  I didn’t have a ton of interaction with my guests, but there were a good 5 or so of the groups that I would not welcome back, just because they were rude.  Fall off the face of the earth, please and thank you.  These experiences were truly ugly.

I’m most excited to...

Not have to refill my mini fridge or snack bar before guests come.  Not eating on my bed.  I now solely use the kitchen like a normal person.  Or snacks on the couch.  Couch snacks are great.

Blast the music whenever I want.  I generally tried to keep music and phone calls to a minimum.  Guests couldn’t hear me, but I definitely could hear them.  There were definitely some awkward conversations overheard, especially the ones where people wondered what I did, who I was, or if I could hear them.  Yes, the answer is yes.  You’re standing outside my bedroom door.  Quit being creepy.

Not have to answer questions from Airbnb guests or potential guests at any and all hours.  Hospitality isn’t something that can be turned off.

Real feelings...

Sometimes it really, really was great.  A family came to stay for New Years’ Eve, and I ended up spending a lot of time with them, drinking wine, watching movies, and it honestly felt like I had a family in town for the holiday.  It was awesome.  During multiple visits, I’ve had people who are fun, or kind, or who I never had to see because they were out all day, in which case I used my house like normal but got paid to, and that was seriously awesome.  Complete calendar flexibility was also awesome.

But sometimes it was just exhausting, and it wasn’t always easy dealing with guests or keeping things perfect.  The thing is, my house was expensive and it was unrealistic to afford it alone, at least if I wanted to afford all the other stuff and maintain a high savings rate.  Not a whole lot of options if I want to achieve all my goals.  Give and take, give and take.

Life is a string of choices.  If you want to know how you got to where you are today, look back at your choices.  I’m grateful for the choices that got me here, and I’m excited to move forward to the next chapter.