Now that I have some time on my hands I've decided to become an AirBnB hostess. My sister, Janet, who lives in Bellingham, has been renting out room for about 2 years using www.AirBnB.com with great success and talked me into it. She gave me all the tips and pointers she could think of and I finally took the plunge.
But before that, James and I had to finish the room that we would rent out. The entire upper floor of our home was in shambles after we took possession of the house from 7 years of renter abuse (they had 5 kids). The walls had holes and were drawn on with sharpie pens (doors too). The bathroom didn't appear to have been cleaned at all in the entire 7 years. I was worried we'd have to replace the shower surround it was so bad. So we fixed holes, repainted, put in new pad and carpet and I did manage to get the shower clean with commercial-grade cleaner and a couple hours of scrubbing. The toilet was a goner so that was replaced along with a new floor, counter, fixtures, lighting and mirror. I was pleased to find a quartz counter at a salvage yard for less than $50! The bathroom fix-up cost us less than $500 and it looks wonderful.
We put a double bed we had stored as well as futon and then bought some inexpensive night stands and dresser. Then off to Ross I went to buy sheets, towels and doo-dads to decorate. It all looks cozy and warm now. Did I mention the room is huge? I would say it is probably about 300 square feet or so.
I put the posting on AirBnB on Thursday 7/7 around noon. Within an hour I had my first booking for that same night! I was shocked. I figured I would be able to rent it out a few nights a month. Here we are only one week into this and I've only had one day where we didn't have a guest. Wow!
The first three visits were one-night visitors, and this last one was a 3 night visitor who is working here in Auburn. I immediately realized I didn't have enough sheets. I ran off to Ross and bought more sheets by the third day when I realized I was going to be a slave to the washing machine every single day between check-out and check-in time if I didn't. There's a lot to learn about this hosting stuff. I want to get 5 star reviews, so I have to figure out how to be a good host.
I've been reading AirBnB forums, and believe it or not, there are hosts out there who do things I wouldn't dream of doing in order to get "Super Host" status: supply wine (even champagne), flowers, airport pick-up, meals, and more. Amazing. There has to be a middle ground here.
I do keep tweaking my title and description to make sure I draw eyes to my listing. I have my price a little lower than the others in the area since I only have one review so far. I can probably up it a few bucks once I have a lot of reviews.
This will be an amazing journey, and provide some nice spending money while I'm on my sabbatical. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up.
The big news is that I am taking a sabbatical. The not so big news is that I haven't had much excitement in my life on a day to day basis. since I've been home each day without a busy work schedule to take up my time. But I can say that the stress level is near zero and it is very nice; with a capital V! I can't remember the last time I've felt so relaxed. That's not to say that I haven't had plenty to do.
Boeing had/has and still is going through labor contractions as it is trying to compete better and lower their costs (raise profits). So every quarter they offer Voluntary Layoffs and when they don't get enough "bites" they start handing out layoff notices. I didn't bite, so I did get a notice. It didn't take long for us to decide (less than a weekend of discussions) it became clear that we could come out ahead financially to NOT stay at Boeing, but to go ahead and leave and pocket the generous severance. My IT Project Manager skills are in high demand here in Seattle, so I can take some time off and then go do some contract work later this winter and work a few more years and continue lining the retirement nest. I will turn in retirement paperwork and start my pension early next year. The big question is where to put the money each month, because I don't need it now. Roth? Extra payments on one of the houses to get it paid off? Lots of mental chewing gum.
Prior to leaving in late, I made a long list of things to do while I was off. I knew I was going to be busy. Now I'm not sure I'll get it all done! I already feel the clock ticking away: tick, tock, tick, tock... I still have to paint the small decks, finish the upstairs bathroom, organize the pantry, organize the upstairs storage room...yikes.