Airbnb: Mi Casa Su Casa!

Airbnb homes are getting more and more popular.  This phenomenon has carried into the home buying process.  I’m starting to see clients viewing properties as a business opportunity in addition to a place they call home.  I thought it would be fun to interview my friend and successful Airbnb owner; Adriana van de Pol, to see what it’s really like to own one.
Why did you decide to get into the business?
It was 2012  when I closed my home office and jewelry business after twenty years. I also just got divorced and wanted to stay in my two bedroom house that I loved so much.
The combined costs of my mortgage, insurances and maintenance was close to 100K a year and I could not justify this by myself. I was lucky to have a two story guest house in the back of the property where I eventually moved into.
I transformed my home and spare rooms in my guest house for short term rentals and listed it on Airbnb and Vrbo – and the rest is history.  I live there for free now and maintain the house by myself for visitors.  This house now has now much more meaning and purpose.
What are the main steps involved with setting it up?
Some simple steps to list your room or property would be to get rid of all personal clutter: start with a clean slate and empty all cabinets and closets. My priorities are; a great looking bed and bed linen, new towels and pillows, clean wood, tile or vinyl floors. Then coordinate furniture with curtains, rugs and wall colors. Minimize small accessories, only add items that enhance the decor, and add splashes of color to pop on the photos. Get some ideas online and see how resorts and hotels and homes like yours are furnished.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had with a guest?
I have been an airbnb Super-host for six years now and I can write a book about all the priceless experiences with my guests and learned the biggest lesson, never to judge a book by its cover.
Couples have gotten engaged at my property, gave birth (elsewhere) and brought the baby back with them to the home and I have also been invited to residences of my guests all over the world.
Your life will just expand when you open your home.  I have made many new friends for life and there is never a dull moment.   I am never alone on my own property which also makes me feel safe.
Are there typical expectations from guests? 
I always ask my guests if there is something I can improve on and update constantly.
This is perhaps the reason so many of them return to Hollywood-House,
There is a movie marquis in my garden welcoming each and every guest by name to Hollywood-House.
They know I don’t cut corners and the quality of their stay is better each time they visit.
Once the guests have experienced a great host, it is not easy for the average host to impress them.
Travelers expect more of a resort / hotel experience in 2018 and I give them what they want.
I elevated my listings to Airbnb Plus, it’s a notch up from the regular listings for hosts who go that extra mile.
Your house is so warm and inviting.  How did you achieve the look?
Creating the right ambiance is very important. Avoid making your home look like a museum, it needs to look alive and be enjoyed like a home away from home.
I have been a jewelry and interior designer for decades.
“Layering” is the word that comes to my mind when I design a room. I look ahead of me, what can I see from my toes to the end of the room?
Its like seeing a stage from the best perspective in the room and decide on a focal point.
Is the lighting right, do I need plants, colorful curtains and pillows where can I add print and pattern?
Layer with furniture, flowers, art and colors you love to look at and anything not worth looking at in my home gets eliminated. I find treasures at flea-markets, estate sales and even yard-sales.
Any advice for someone thinking of getting into the business? 
If you decide you want to be a host –  make sure you love people from all over the planet and prepare to communicate a lot and have patience. Cleaning and maintaining your property will have to become a priority or your guests can leave bad reviews and the reviews make you money. They are the life line for your new hospitality venture.
I am fortunate that I have traveled the world and I know how I like to be treated…whether it be it 5 star or no star.
If you have never traveled before maybe you experienced staying at a relative or friend’s home where you were offered a bed with a bad mattress, old musty pillows in a dusty room with no curtains and a missing bedside table lamp, depressing right?
Make an effort and offer the guest something you would love yourself and nothing less.

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Here’s are details on Adriana’s Airbnb:

 

Disclaimer: Check with your local city jurisdictions re: any rules/restrictions/ordinances concerning Airbnb or any third party rental agencies. Material presented is intended for informational purposes only. While this information is believed to be correct; it is represented subject to errors, omissions and changes, or withdrawal without notice.  Homeowners/Buyers advised to verify the accuracy of information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.
(Photos courtesy of Airbnb & Paynis.)
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