This is a guest post from my friend Ricky who’s going to share his experience with using Airbnb.com. For those unfamiliar with airbnb.com, it’s a site where homeowners can list their property for rent without using a middleman such as a real estate agent. Although it’s not directly related to renting out a room in your house, I figured it could offer a first hand experience into the service offered by this site.
This fall my brother had his wedding in Los Angeles California. Inviting his family and friends, he has guest from all over the country coming for this joyous event. I had been given the task of finding a place large enough to hold 10 people comfortably for a long weekend. Each of us had been coming on different days and leaving at different times as well. There had been about 4 rental cars, 3 couples, and 4 singles. We needed to make sure we found a place with enough room for the right price. Also keeping in mind that each of us could easily get our own hotel rooms. I had gone through a few sites, using Google to search for cheap rentals for Los Angeles area. There was not much in the initial search, so I had changed pace and looked for realtor sites. While searching for this I found www.airbnb.com.
Airbnb is a site that lets you either find a rental to stay in or post your own rental for others to use. For my purposes, I used the site to find a rental. When you come to the homepage, you start by entering your destination, the dates you are looking to stay, and the amount of guest who will be staying. From there you get a list of all the properties available. My first requirement was that we find the best area possible. Basically we wanted something centralized. We didn’t want to end up getting a place on the outskirts of town, so the map tab on the search results helped narrow down our choices. The available neighborhoods are listed along the side to help. Switching back to the list I was able to go through what was available and chose a very affordable house with enough room for all of us.
The next step was to book the room. At this point you need to sign up for an account with the site. This is free, and lets you communicate with the contact of each listing through an in-site messaging system. The first discrepancy I noticed was that the total that the site was giving me was not entirely accurate. There had been a different rate per night depending on how many weeks you were staying. No matter what dates you chose, the site gives you the cheapest rate. I had to message the contact for this listing to confirm the actual price of the rental for the dates I needed. At this point they had given me a total price including the deposit and fees. I still had to book through the site so there was then a fee for that. The total amount due to the owner of the property could not be paid all at once because the site would not accept more money than what was calculated. This meant I had to send a separate payment for the difference. In either case, all payments were made through direct deposit since the homeowner and I both use Bank of America.
After the initial payment, all communication was done through telephone and e-mail. So all interaction within the site had been finished. At least until after the stay where they ask that you rate your experience. The service fee charged by the site was around $73.00. For helping me find this place, I would say it was worth it. There were a few problems with the rental, but that has more to do with whom you are renting from. With your Airbnb account you can rent from other users or rent out your own property. After the booking is complete (as far as the site is concerned), you are on your own.
Thanks Ricky for the review. I was one of the Attendees of the wedding and stayed at the house Ricky rented from AirBnB.com. Here are some pictures I took of the house Ricky rented from AirBnB.com