Create a Flexible Home for Personal Use or Airbnb

Johnny Says….

When working on renovating and decorating your home, it is important to have the future in mind if you decide to sell or use it as an investment home. If you are certain you won’t move for a long time, create a strategy that can turn your home into a profitable asset.

Here are my tips on how to make your home your own while keeping it flexible for use as a nightly rental...

Create clear expectations with the contractor

A house poorly renovated or that is way above budget will not only limit you from enjoying it as your personal home but can also limit it being a successful investment. Two of the most expensive mistakes homeowners fall into:

  1. Hiring the wrong contractor who overspends, or
  2. Becoming too emotionally involved in the renovations, which can lead to overspending.
airbnb bedroom Design by Johnny Youssef
Design by Johnny Youssef

Overspending on renovations means loss of profit. Here are some tips that I have personally learned the wrong way when working with a contractor:

  • Interview and get estimates from more than one contractor. Compare the rates, experiences, photos of previous work, and how good you felt about working with them.
  • Make sure you get reviews from previous clients of the contractor.
  • Have a strong contract that creates a clear timeline, budget, and expectations on purchases and selections. This is so important to avoid a project dragging on and costing you more than you can afford. I highly recommend paying to run the agreement by an attorney and make sure you are protected.
  • Have regular meetings with the contractor to go over the progress. Is the timeline going according to plan? Is the contractor is still within budget? Is there good communication when it comes to selecting materials and designs? It’s never fun having a contractor install the wrong material or paint an undesired color!
  • Always prepare for the worst. Have at least a 10% aside for if the project goes above what’s expected, and give yourself a cushion with move-in day.
airbnb bedroom Design by Johnny Youssef
Design by Johnny Youssef

Keep it neutral

While you want to have your personal touch on your home, don’t go too hard on making it too unique to you so no one else can enjoy it. A few personal photos hung on the wall is one thing, while having tons of personal photos is not inviting. If you decide to put the property on Airbnb or sell it, you will have to deal with removing the photos and patching the holes. Plants are a beautiful touch, but if you go overboard causing the space to feel a lot smaller and stuffier than it is. Being a Star Wars Fan is cool but having a whole room with Star Wars memorabilia will cause most of the guests to brush it off as a weird room.

...But don't be afraid of bold moves

While having an overall neutral home is crucial for a flexible and inviting home for future nightly guests and buyers, don’t go too plain that your home feels so cookie cutter. The trick is to make the bold moves wisely.

One bold move that you can make that will give your home personality without losing the flexibility is adding modern wallpaper. Unlike vintage wallpapers that are impossible to remove from walls, modern products provide the flexibility to remove them without damaging your wall.

Another option is choosing a bold color for a room, as long as the color is modern. For example, a dark green or charcoal office makes a bold statement while still staying relevant to today’s style. Avoid colors like red and yellow.

You can also provide a bold statement with large art that makes an impression. I personally love a non-traditional piece of art in a sophisticated room. It provides contrast and it makes others know that your home has a personality.

Open concept kitchen and dining room airbnb Design by Johnny Youssef
Design by Johnny Youssef

Don’t over-decorate

Staying simple and clean is the key. Having too many nik-naks or fragile decor pieces such as vases and glasses can lead guests or a future buyer to be less relaxed walking around your home. Plus, you are setting up yourself up for costly damages.

Booking guests

If you decide to give it a go, make sure to have professional photos of your home to make it pop when people are browsing online; these photos will serve you later if you decide to list it for sale.

Have a closet space that you can lock. This will be the space where you can place all personal and valuable items such as passports, watches, and cash.

Finally, only allow guests that have had several positive reviews by previous hosts and that have verified accounts. This will give you peace of mind that your home is in good hands.

Give it a try

If you have been curious about having your property up as a nightly rental, give it a try. If you leave town frequently, you may be surprised by the potential profit you can make while being away. I made more profit from having guests book my space than what I spent on bookings while traveling. In other words, you can get paid to travel!

The great thing about nightly rentals is that if you don’t like it, you can simply remove the listing or block the dates as much as you would like. It also gives you the experience so that if you decide to upgrade to a new home and you have a profitable business based on experience, you can keep your old home generating passive income without having to sell it.