Vacation Rental Owners

Can I Rent My Basement on Airbnb? (13 Awesome Tips)

Have you found yourself wondering, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb?” The answer is yes, you can! Not only is it possible to transform a basement into a guest suite or basement apartment that can be listed on Airbnb and other vacation rental sites like RentalTrader.com, but there’s potential to make more money with a short-term rental than if you rented out the basement for a year at a time. This article covers everything homeowners need to consider and do to turn their basement into a profitable Airbnb type vacation rental property.

Questions to Answer Before Making Your Basement into an Airbnb

Basement vacation rentals are an effective way to make more money without having to own additional property. Still, there are several factors to consider before transforming a basement into a short-term rental or apartment Airbnb.

 

For a QUICK summary of this article, please click through the Powerpoint presentation below:

 

Is it finished?

Homeowners who plan to rent out their basement on Airbnb will need to ensure it’s fully finished. A finished basement is complete and has the same characteristics as the living area upstairs. It must have a full electrical system as well as an HVAC system, plus finished floors, walls, and ceilings, and an accessible entrance or stairway. All bedrooms in the basement are required to have a closet and an egress window as well.

Does it meet code?

If you’re asking, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb,” then another question you’ll need to ask is, “Is my basement up to code?” A basement used for storage has different code requirements than a basement used as a living space or Airbnb rental property. Hosts will need to check all of the local codes to ensure that their basement meets requirements. For example, most cities require an egress window for any bedrooms in basements.

Is it dry enough?

Basements with water damage and other issues like mold and mildew are not suitable for Airbnb and other rental property listing websites. Not only will guests quickly notice these types of issues, but they can also be hazardous and have negative effects on guests’ health. Fixing and preventing water damage can add to hosts’ expenses, but it’s necessary to ensure the basement is waterproof before listing it on Airbnb.

Will you welcome short-term or long-term guests?

Short-term and long-term stays both have their pros and cons. While hosts can potentially make more money with short-term stays, long-term stays offer more consistent and reliable income. Hosts considering long-term stays should take a look at this article, which goes over all of the pros and cons.

What will the theme or aesthetic be?

The most successful Airbnb rental properties have a cohesive theme or interior design scheme. Considering most basements tend to be dark spaces, it’s wise for hosts to select lighter colors as a way to make the space warmer and more inviting. Themes that reflect the surrounding area and elements of nature are also good choices.

Can I Rent My Basement on Airbnb? 13 Steps and Tips

 

Renting property is an excellent way to earn more income, but there are several steps to take before listing your basement on Airbnb.

1.   Check Planning, Zoning, and Tax Requirements

The first step in starting up a basement Airbnb is to research all of the local planning, zoning, and tax requirements. This is essential to ensure the business is completely legal and up to code. Many municipalities have different rules and regulations, so it’s always best to do research specific to the local area.

2.   Acquire All Permits and Licenses

It’s often necessary to acquire various permits and licenses when doing major home improvement projects, such as waterproofing and finishing a basement. The rules surrounding licenses and permits vary by location, so plenty of city-specific research is often needed for this step. Generally, local building officials can provide information and assistance in acquiring permits and licenses.

3.   Follow HOA Rules

Homeowners and aspiring Airbnb hosts who are part of a homeowners association will need to check that there aren’t any rules against short-term rentals or vacation rentals in the area. Simply asking, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb?” should be sufficient. Another thing to remember is that HOAs often have rules regarding parking, trash pickup, noise levels, pets, and more that vacation rental hosts will need to abide by.

4.   Waterproof the Basement

airbnb-basement-rental-waterproofing

Waterproofing can be an expensive and labor-intensive project. It may consist of interior waterproofing, exterior waterproofing, or both. Basements with water damage or issues with flooding aren’t suitable to become vacation rentals.

5.   Install Fire Protection

Whether a basement is functioning as an Airbnb or not, it should have at least one working smoke detector and fire extinguisher. A carbon monoxide detector is also good to have. Housefires can be extremely dangerous, so it’s always good to have protection in place.

Basement safety equipment

6.   Add Egress Windows in Bedrooms

For a room to officially constitute a bedroom, it must have a closet and an egress window. Egress windows are especially important in basements because they provide an exit in the case of a fire or other adverse event. They also let in plenty of light, brightening up a dark basement.

egress window before and after installation

7.   Insulate Ceilings and Walls (Floor too!)

Insulating the basement walls, ceilings and the floor will help keep the space warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’ll also cut back on heated or air-conditioned air that makes its way outdoors. Sufficient insulation can reduce energy costs and keep the basement feeling more comfortable overall. Plus, it’ll decrease the amount of noise that can be heard between the basement and the other floors of the house. This way, guests and homeowners alike are less likely to become irritated by excessive noise.

Add insulation to airbnb basement

8.   Add Drywall, Flooring, and a Private Entrance

Homeowners wondering, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb?” should ensure that the basement is properly finished. Drywall, flooring, and adding a private entrance can take some time, effort, and money, but they’re necessary for homeowners who want to make their basement into an Airbnb. Unfinished walls with exposed pipes aren’t suitable for a rental property, and neither is a hard concrete floor. It’s key to remember that a finished basement should be similar to the upstairs living area, including finished walls, ceilings, and flooring. A private entrance is also essential for a basement that functions as a vacation rental. Guests should be able to enter and exit the basement directly and as they please, rather than having to walk through the entire house and use the same entrance as the other people living on the property.

9.   Install Safety Features for Children

Install Safety Features for Children

Homeowners who plan to welcome children to their basement Airbnb should take the time to add some extra safety features. Family-friendly vacation rentals that pay attention to the small details are sure to earn positive reviews. For example, it’s wise to use outlet covers to help prevent electric shocks. Cordless blinds are generally safer than blinds with cords, and rubber guards on sharp furniture edges can cut back on injuries. Heavy items like televisions should be strapped down or anchored to the wall, and any storage areas with dangerous chemicals should be kept locked. If homeowners are questioning, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb to families?” then they should absolutely add some extra safety features.

10.   Provide a Basement Thermostat

As a short-term rental guest, staying in a basement that’s far too hot or too cold can ruin the entire experience. Providing a basement thermostat that is separate from the temperature controls for the rest of the house is an effective way to keep guests comfortable and in control of the heating and air conditioning in the space. It’s also smart to have fans, space heaters, and extra blankets available for guests to use if needed.

11.    Furnish, Decorate, and Take Photos

Now that all of the difficult projects are out of the way, it’s time to have some fun with the interior design and furniture. If the basement is dark, light colors can make it more inviting and appealing. If it’s a small space, the addition of a few mirrors can create the illusion that it’s larger and more open. Try to choose a theme or aesthetic and stick with it, and be sure to take high-quality photos that will entice people to book a stay.

12.   Stock Up on Amenities

Before welcoming guests, hosts will need to get plenty of amenities like bedding, towels, high-speed WiFi, bathroom toiletries, and various forms of entertainment. Amenities are a great way to improve the overall guest experience and ensure that guests leave good reviews. Those who wonder, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb without amenities?” should expect some negative feedback from guests, as it’s generally expected that certain amenities are built into the vacation rental experience.

13.   Create and Optimize Listings

Create and Optimize Listings

Finally, hosts will need to identify their target market and list their basement-turned-guest-suite on various listing sites, such as RentalTrader, Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and more. A good listing has high-quality pictures and a well-written description covering all pertinent information. Hosts may wish to consider hiring a professional photographer and copywriter to help them optimize their listing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I turn my basement into an Airbnb?

If your basement is finished and waterproofed, it may be a good candidate for Airbnb. The process of ensuring it’s up to code, fully decorated, and prepared for guests will take time and effort, but with effective marketing on listing sites like Airbnb and RentalTrader, it can absolutely become a success and a way to make more money. However, homeowners who are considering turning their basement into an Airbnb should note that being a good short-term rental host requires plenty of dedication and effort.

Is renting out your basement a good idea?

Renting out the basement can be a good idea if you aren’t opposed to strangers staying on your property on a regular basis. But homeowners who ask, “Can I rent my basement on Airbnb?” also need to be aware of the effort and time that goes into making their basement into a suitable short-term rental property. The process begins with looking into local zoning, planning, and tax requirements, and it’s necessary to acquire various permits and licenses for any home improvement projects needed to turn the basement into a short-term rental. These steps must be completed before interior design and listing creation. But for homeowners who are willing to go through the entire process, renting out their basement can be a great and even lucrative idea.

Can I live in my basement and rent out my house?

Renting out a house while living in the basement is absolutely an option for those who are looking for a way to make more money. While this isn’t the ideal situation for everyone by any means, those who don’t mind having roommates on the main floor of their home can earn consistent income by living in the basement and listing the rest of their house on sites like RentalTrader.

Still not sure if you should rent your basement on Airbnb? Just watch out this video where we tried to explain the matter in detail:

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