Thinking about strangers staying in your home or sleeping in your bed are always the top objections friends share when I tell them we rent out our home occasionally on home rental sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, Housetrip, and Couchsurfing. My first reaction is, “Well, you stay in hotels don’t you?” There’s nothing grosser than that really. I’ve watched the Undercover episodes on it. EEEWWWW. So what about you? Would you Airbnb your home? Think we’re a little crazy? Let me just share five of the reasons why we do it.
1. It Helps Us Afford New Experiences
I’ll be honest. Financial reasons are the number one reason we Airbnb our home. Renting our home occasionally allows us to save money when we go visit family for holidays and don’t have to pay to stay. We use the money for home improvements, savings, and on new experiences for our family. We love traveling, visiting new places, and creating memories as a family and we can’t do that without the income we receive from Airbnb. One day soon we hope that changes, but until it does, this allows us to have some extra spending money to do some things we love and value together.
This may seem weird since people are paying to stay in our home, but I’ve always prayed that we would have a home that was warm and inviting, and where others could come and experience refreshment. God answered that prayer in our house and we want to always have an open hand with it. We invite others in, even strangers, to enjoy the gift that our home is. I delight in knowing that others are able to visit Portland and have the safety and comfort of a family home to add to their experience and memories. That’s the heart of hospitality; even if we’re not there in person, we set it up for them to experience it even in the absence of our presence.
3. Keep Our “Stuff” in Proper Perspective
Another common question we get asked about airbnbing our home is what do we do with our valuables? Well, let’s be honest, there are very few things in our home that are worth much money. Your home doesn’t have to be made up of expensive things to be amazing. We have some things that are valuable because of emotional attachment, but even those are rare. We lock all of our most valuable things in a place that is off limits and leave the rest. We want to continually remind ourselves and our kids that our stuff is just that, stuff. Living open-handed in a spirit of generosity is so much more important to us. It’s one thing to say you value that and another to practice it. This forces us to live it out in a different way.
4. Living Simply
It takes a LOT of work to clean and make your home ready for Airbnb guests. One thing that makes that harder is if you have too much clutter and, again, “stuff.” This keeps what we bring into our house to a minimum and we’re constantly cleaning things out. There isn’t room for too many extras. This keeps us living simply which we love and value.
5. Teaching the Practice of Stewardship
Have we had any bad experiences? Yes, once two Airbnb families staying there left trash, candy, and toys all over in the bedrooms, misplaced things everywhere, and the biggest mess and trash pile in the kitchen that you would have thought thirty people stayed there. Nothing was destroyed, but it was a classic example of entitlement, not caring for others’ things, and leaving a place much worse than you found it. This goes against everything I try to teach my children. When they see and experience what it’s like to have your things, your home, your space not taken care of, it really drives home the lesson that we are meant to be good stewards of the things in our lives, even if it’s just for a weekend and even (or especially) if it belongs to someone else. We want to leave the places we go better than we found it. We want the world to be better because we were there.
So far it’s been overwhelmingly positive and worth it to Airbnb our home. What do you think, is it something you may ever want to consider?