I renovated a house for Airbnb: here’s what I learnt

By | August 23, 2019

In December last year I bucked the millennials’ fail-at-home-ownership trend to purchase a property on Woodward Street.

In keeping with the millennials’ dig-the-gig economy trend, I decided to renovate the three-bedroom home to list it on Airbnb – here’s what I learnt.

1. Listen to no one – unless they’re a lawyer

Everyone is excited when you buy a house. It reminds them of when they bought a house and how young, in love and smug they felt. Nobody I know had experience listing their new house on a home-sharing site for strangers to enjoy though, so they didn’t agree with it.

“Why don’t you just lease it?” said my mum, my colleagues, my mates.

“Sounds boring,” I replied.

“Do that many people really visit Orange?” they all asked.

Yes, I’ve since found out.

“How quickly can you get to the office to sign the paperwork?” asked the lawyer.

2. Renovating sucks – enlist you mum, your colleagues, your mates 

Until last year I’d never spent $ 300,000 before. So when I settled on the house I felt accomplished enough to lock the door for a month while I celebrated over the Christmas holidays.

When I walked through the door with a friend for the first time in the New Year he (very helpfully) listed all the work the house required. It was a lot.

That afternoon he and I and I took turns with the crowbar ripping up all the carpet. That night I called in the help: everyone I knew.

Bring your dad out of retirement if you have to. Ken Crowe certainly enjoyed it.

Bring your dad out of retirement if you have to. Ken Crowe certainly enjoyed it.

3. You don’t really need a plan – go in guns blazing 

I started work in January and set myself a target for the last week of March to catch the FOOD Week tourists.

I didn’t make it, but it did put the pressure on and put an end to any thoughts of procrastinating over bathroom tiles.

Despite having no experience handling tools, I quickly became handy at prepping floorboards for polishing, painting skirting, doors and frames, and bossing around tradies.

Just kidding, my dad was my renovator and I’ve been bossing him around for years.

VIDEO: Prepare to go a bit mad …

4. Bunnings’ sausages are breakfast and lunch and ‘smoko’ 

When I kissed goodbye to my disposable income I also farewelled my social life, my fashion sense and my concern for my diet.

While I didn’t take up smoking like a true tradie, I did live off bakery food and sausages while rocking Blundstones in Bunnings* for three months.

When the hired help had enough, I spent hours in the house alone sanding, scraping and painting.

I spent all my other hours trawling Facebook Marketplace for decent second-hand furniture.

By the time I was done I was broke, bored of my own company and pretty close to developing diabetes. But it was worth it.

*Also, if you’re not a jerk to the Bunnings people they will let you return EVERYTHING – people should know this.

NEW FASHION: My weekend wardrobe consisted of boots and board-shorts for three months.

NEW FASHION: My weekend wardrobe consisted of boots and board-shorts for three months.

5. The Airbnb market is not flooded, difficult or dangerous

The easiest part about this process was listing the house on Airbnb.

The photographer handed me a USB stick with my house photos on Wednesday morning, I had them online that afternoon and was booked for Thursday, Friday and Saturday that weekend.

Since then, the cleaning, the constant messages from guests and the upkeep on the house has been time-consuming and at times frustrating, but the house is almost never empty – it’s worth it.

Plus there are now services in Orange you can pay to do all that for you. Don’t be scared. There’s a tourism market big enough for all of us.

VIDEO: All done …

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