A few years ago I decided to take my whole team to a real estate convention in Las Vegas. There were five of us at the time and getting hotel rooms for everyone would have cost a fortune, so we decided to check out Airbnb to see what might be available.

I was shocked to find we could rent a huge 5 bedroom, 4 bath home for an entire week for less than $900. Even if we doubled up in the rooms, staying at a hotel would have easily been double that cost, and with renting a large home it gave us the space to hang out and relax. The next year, that convention was in Orlando, Florida, so we did the same thing and rented a huge townhouse. In February of this year, we flew to New Orleans and stayed in a huge 5 bedroom house right on the waterway. It was amazing and we each had our own private bedroom and bathrooms.

Thinking about this makes me wonder how many people choose to stay in a short term rental home or condo while on vacation? Airbnb is super easy to use, and you get to stay in some interesting places. It’s sort of like experiencing what it would be like to own a home and live in that city, without all the costs of actually owning and maintaining a home. I also enjoy having a little more privacy as well. Even the nicest of hotels can have the occasional drunken guests yelling in the hallway at 2:00 am. 

Last year my wife and I, along with a few family members, decided to rent a home down at Lake of the Ozarks. It was right on the lake, plenty of bedrooms/bathrooms, and reasonably priced for a 5-day vacation. Because the house had a boat dock, we were even able to bring my nephew’s boat down there and pull it into the boat slip.

This turned out to be a wonderful vacation. Renting an entire home gave us the opportunity to hang out together. If we rented hotel rooms, we wouldn’t have the large living room to spend time together in. We’d have to meet in the lobby or someone’s room where there just isn’t enough space to be comfortable. We probably saved a considerable amount of money on food too as having a full kitchen allowed us to buy groceries and cook some of our meals. 

These personal home rental sites have changed the hospitality business for sure. I have two friends that have purchased condos at the lake with the intention of being able to use them as needed with their family but to also have the availability of renting them out through https://www.airbnb.com or https://www.vrbo.com the two largest short term rental websites. The idea is that while they’re not staying there, someone else could be paying them and this would help to defer the costs of owning a vacation home. 

While setting up the home rental for my real estate team in New Orleans this year, I had the opportunity to speak with the homeowner on the phone. As it turns out, she was a REALTOR® who built this home for her family, but then a few years later decided to downsize. She told me, “We decided we didn’t really need this large 5 bedroom home anymore. Years ago I would have simply sold the home, but with New Orleans being a tourist city I thought we might try to rent it out through Airbnb and see if we could get enough rental income to pay the monthly mortgage payment. We typically rent the home by the week at $1,400. Our monthly payment is only $1,800 so finding someone to rent the home for just one week, ends up making 75% of the mortgage payment. During the winter, we end up renting it at least two weeks out of the month so we’re making money during that time. By keeping the home, we are building equity, making a profit most months, and it’s a second home so it still qualifies for a tax deduction. 

It’s crazy how technology can change the way we vacation. To be honest, renting a home on these websites is super easy. Sometimes I like to visit the sight and look at the crazy, luxurious homes you can rent in far off locations around the globe. A couple of years ago my dad rented a million+ dollar home in Honolulu for the whole family to stay in together. It was so wonderful and we have such great memories of that time. How many people ever get the chance to live in a beautiful home like that on the Hawaiian Islands?

I’m curious about how many people have done this for their family vacation. Tell me where you stayed and did you enjoy renting someone else’s home?