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SIGNING ON AS AN AIRBNB HOST IN CHICAGO CAN BE LUCRATIVE . . . BUT THERE ARE CONCERNS!

Airbnb!

Thousands are already taking advantage of this new method of finding lodging away from home.  Hundreds nationwide, and here in Chicago, are renting all or a portion of their house as Airbnb Hosts.  Across Chicago, in Diverse Neighborhoods, Affluent, or Not-So-Affluent, Airbnb’s gives out of town visitors to experience Chicago like a Local, and often for a Fraction of the Cost of Traditional Hotel Rooms.

But is it for YOU?

Beth Franken, in her article in the Chicago Tribune Real Estate Section this week, sees Chicago Airbnb Locations in virtually every Chicago Neighborhood – from the Far South Side, to Edison Park, on the Far Northwest Side – and in virtually every Chicago Suburb, from Glenwood to Antioch.

Despite the fact that the City of Chicago and many Chicago Suburbs are considering more tightly regulating – and taxing – Airbnb Hosts who rent out more than 90 days a year, and the Airbnb website imposes a “royalty fee” on both Hosts and Guests, books are growing very quickly here.  Many local homeowners see profit in participating in Airbnb, especially during warm weather months.

Many Airbnb Hosts, fearing privacy and security concerns, refuse to discuss their participation outside of the Web Portal.  Many don’t want the “publicity” should the City impose tighter regulation or impose taxes.

Here in Chicago, some neighbors in the Gold Coast Neighborhood on the Near North Side fear that too many Shared Housing Condos will create Party Houses, where young people rent Downtown Chicago Condos, then behave badly during warm weekends this Summer.

Some of the Outlying Neighborhoods in Chicago have few traditional hotels.  For example, in Logan Square, on the Northwest Side, one long-time resident has made nearly her entire home available to Airbnb Guests, with no resulting problems.

The Airbnb Dashboard has built-in security, and allows Hosts to customize their offerings, as well as set their own prices.   For some Hosts, the entire home is made available to guests.  For others, only a room or two is made available, sometimes only when the Hosts are at home.

Airbnb Hosts typically provide toiletries, towels, kitchenware and coffee.  Food is usually not provided.

Hosts, as well as Guests, are subject to screening and reviews.  For Safety’s Sake, the Airbnb Portal allows communication only when there is an offer of lodging made.  However, for most Airbnb hosts and their Guests, Security has not been a problem thus far.

In less than ten years, Airbnb has grown from a one-room operation, to a massive Online Community, operating in 191 countries, with over two million listings.    Here in Chicago, Airbnb Choices range from small Lincoln Park studio and one-bedroom condos at less than $50/night, to townhomes in Bronzeville, Lakeview, and Bucktown renting for over $400 nightly.  In the Chicago Loop alone, Airbnb lists nearly 250 rentals, with an average price of $162 each night. 

Airbnb locations abound in most Chicago Suburbs as well – Wheaton, Berwyn, Evanston, Oak Park, Schaumburg, and Naperville, among others.

The Airbnb website claims at least 247,000 visitors found their website within the past 12 months.

The City of Chicago has requested that all Airbnb Hosts register with the city, but compliance, at this time, is low.  Only 131 Hosts have registered thus far.  This will change, of course, if registration, and a Guest Tax, becomes mandatory.   Many around City Hall are predicting this soon.

To become an Airbnb Host, click on their website – www.Airbnb.com – and register.  Of course, the more detailed your background info, and the more pictures you post, the greater the likelihood you will achieve more success – and more revenue – as an Airbnb Host.

Let us know if YOU plan to list YOUR home or condo on Airbnb!

DEAN MOSS & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO  

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