Book Your Stay
get estimate
Do you want our team to reach out to you?
Unlocking Your Property's Full Potential since 2016
The pros and cons of turning your home into an Airbnb
Table of Contents:

The pros and cons of turning your home into an Airbnb

Considering transforming your primary residence into an Airbnb? There are numerous motivations behind such a decision. Perhaps the departure of children has left you with a spacious house with many vacant rooms, or you find yourself seldom at home due to constant work travels or frequent stays at your partner’s apartment.

The sharing economy offers a lucrative opportunity, with Airbnb hosting over 6 million listings globally, spanning from cities like London and New York to Dubai and Paris. Homeowners, regardless of age, are recognising the economic benefits of renting out a spare room or their entire home while on holiday.

However, before converting your primary living space into a source of extra rental income through Airbnb, it's essential to consider both the benefits and potential drawbacks, especially in terms of how it might affect your daily routine. Here is a straightforward guide to the essentials of short-term leasing your home on Airbnb, based on our expertise in short-let management.


Pro: stress-free bookings

Renting out your primary residence on short-term platforms like Airbnb offers a more relaxed approach to bookings. Unlike investment properties, where vacancies can significantly impact your financials, your primary home doesn't incur losses from unbooked periods. This flexibility means that if your listing isn't occupied for a few weeks, it doesn't pose the same financial risk as an empty investment property awaiting tenants. Additionally, if you're looking to earn some extra income by listing your home while you're on vacation, there's no major worry if you don't secure a renter for that period. 

Let's say you own a 2-bedroom flat in the vibrant heart of London, a prime spot for tourists seeking a short stay in the city. You decide to go on a month-long summer holiday to Italy and list your London flat on Airbnb to make some extra income while you're away. Your flat gets booked for three out of the four weeks you're abroad. Not only does this cover some of your travel costs, making your Italian getaway more affordable, but the week your flat isn't booked doesn't cause you financial stress. It's simply your home waiting for your return, not an investment property draining resources while staying empty. This example illustrates the financial and mental peace that comes from using your primary residence for short-term rentals, especially in a sought-after location like central London, where demand is high.

Con: securing personal belongings 

Meet Mike, a globe traveller who loves sharing his home on Airbnb whenever he's off on his work travels. Each trip means Mike has to put away his personal stuff, making sure everything from family photos to his favourite coffee mug is out of sight. He spends time locking his treasures in cabinets or safety boxes – a necessary step to keep things safe and private yet not the most exciting part of his journey.

While crucial for protecting his privacy and belongings, this step can take the fun out of hosting. It leaves hosts like Mike wondering how to make their homes feel warm and welcoming, without feeling like they're stepping into a stranger's space every time they return. It's all about striking that perfect balance – making guests feel at home while keeping your personal vibe alive. This is the art of modern hosting: creating a space that’s inviting and cosy, yet respects the privacy and comfort we all cherish.

Pro: Tax perks

Navigating tax benefits can be a bit like exploring a new city – exciting but a bit complex. It's smart to chat with your accountant or tax advisor before diving into Airbnb hosting since tax rules can vary a lot from one country to another. For instance, in the UK, if you're renting out a part of your home, you might not have to pay tax on some of that income thanks to a tax-free allowance. And if your place counts as a Furnished Holiday Let, you could even get some tax deductions for the cost of furniture and fittings when tax season comes.

Imagine this: You've got a lovely two-bedroom in London, and you decide to rent out the spare room. Not only do you get to meet travellers from around the globe, but you also get to enjoy a bit of extra income without worrying about taxes up to a certain amount. It's all about making smart moves and understanding the benefits that come with hosting.

Con: legal requirements

As your Airbnb business grows and starts making more money, it's important to think about VAT registration in the UK. This means you're following tax rules and staying on the right side of the law. Registering for VAT might mean some extra costs for taxes and paperwork, or you might need to adjust your prices a bit to keep things balanced.

If you're renting out a place in London, keep an eye on the 90-day rule too. This rule limits how long you can rent your property on platforms like Airbnb to 90 days a year. Sticking to this rule is key to avoiding any trouble or fines. By keeping up-to-date and taking action early, you can handle these rules well and keep making the most out of your Airbnb.

Let's say you've got a gorgeous flat in Notting Hill that's always booked out. While the extra cash is fantastic, crossing a certain income threshold means VAT becomes your new paperwork. Staying on top of your finances ensures your rental success is sustainable and aligns with legal requirements.

Pro: home away from home

Airbnb welcomes visitors from around the world, offering a delightful opportunity to connect with people from diverse cultures. It's a chance for you to share valuable insights about your neighborhood, guiding guests to the finest spots for a glass of wine or the most enjoyable playgrounds for children. Welcoming someone into your home can lead to lasting friendships.

From our Airbnb management experience, creating a house manual can enhance your guests' experience. These digital or paper instructions can include essential information about your home, such as Wi-Fi passwords, instructions for appliances, and emergency contacts. Providing this resource ensures that your guests feel comfortable and informed during their stay, contributing to a positive and memorable experience for both parties.

Con: constant availability for guests

While hosting on Airbnb can be rewarding, using your primary residence comes with its challenges. Your cosy family home may start feeling more like a workplace, with the constant need for clean linens, warm welcomes, and potential guest assistance.

As an Airbnb host, you're expected to treat your home like a business, which entails responding to emails around the clock, assisting guests who may have misplaced their keys, and addressing various other issues that arise. This can significantly impact your enjoyment of your own space.

Fortunately, with Smarthost by your side, you don't have to bear this burden alone. Our expert team is here to provide 24/7 guest support, ensuring that your guests receive the assistance they need, whenever they need it. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of hosting without the stress of constant availability.

Pro: reliable source of Income

If you have an apartment or family home in a desirable location, you have the potential to earn a steady stream of income by listing it on Airbnb. For some, this extra income can even cover the costs of their own travels while they're away. If you're comfortable with the idea of welcoming new guests regularly, Airbnb offers a fantastic opportunity to turn your space into a passive income generator.

Think about it – your space is staying empty, so why not make the most of it and earn some extra cash in the process? With Airbnb, you have the flexibility to rent out your space when it suits you, allowing you to capitalise on its earning potential without disrupting your lifestyle.

So, if you've been dreaming of a reliable source of income, Airbnb could be the perfect solution for you. It's a simple and effective way to make money from your home while offering travelers a unique and memorable place to stay.

Con: design dilemmas

One important factor to consider is how you want your property to appear on Airbnb. It's not just about listing a spare room – there's a lot to think about in terms of interior design and decoration. Certain colors that you might love for your family home might not be as appealing to potential guests. Similarly, a sofa that you find incredibly comfortable might not be the best choice for an Airbnb property if it is likely to get stained easily.

If you're serious about maximising your earnings on Airbnb, it's essential to tailor your décor choices to suit travelers rather than just your own personal tastes.

Now, imagine being able to earn money from renting out your primary residence on Airbnb without the hassle of managing guest relations and marketing. That's where Smarthost comes in. We're an experienced Airbnb management company with a team of professionals ready to assist you. From interior design advice to professional photography, we've got you covered. Let us help you transform your home into a successful holiday let. 

Learn more about our services or chat with one of our hosting experts today.

Need help? Get in touch

Simplify and optimise your rental investments with our app.
Learn more

About SmartHost

We're an expert property management company specializing in short, medium and long lets. Since launching in 2016 we’ve managed over 130,000 stays and have earned our clients and property partners over £38M in revenue.

Increase your rental income with Smarthost
Up to 40% more
Learn more
Do you want our team to reach out to you?
Unlocking Your Property's Full Potential since 2016