Should I use Airbnb or a short-term rental company?
Digging into the difference between home-share apps and a professional rental company.
If you have ever had to find a home for short-term living, it can be a little stressful at times. Is the neighborhood safe? Do they have availability? How long am I allowed to rent this place?
When it comes to searching for a short-term home you usually have a couple of options in any city you stay in. We took a look at the differences between a professional rental company and an online service like Airbnb and found there are a few circumstances where the two differ by quite a bit.
The convenience of the hunt
Home share apps give you a lot of choices. With Airbnb alone, there are more than four million active listings in the world. It can be a bit overwhelming to find something that works for you. But that’s the deal, you’re looking through all the listings, reaching out to the homeowners, and following up with the check-in and check-out details. If you have the time, home-share apps are a nice option to go with for the variety.
However, if you’re like most people, time is limited. Having a professional search for a home for you is an added luxury a short-term rental professional can provide. Plus, you won’t have to fork over extra money for the search—it’s a free service provided to you as the renter.
Vacation rental fees and taxes
Home shares want to make a profit. Especially with whispers of some becoming publicly traded in 2019. In order to hit that large profit margin, many have added service fees charging guests extra fees as high as 19% depending on the time of year or place you’re renting.
For some, a new home month after month is exciting, but it can also do some damage to your wallet. Depending on where you stay or how many times you need to renew your rental, you could be charged a fee every time you rebook your place. Booking a new home or even rebooking your current place can lead a 12–19% rental fee each time, which can add up quickly.
Plus, while you’re deciding on a rental, Airbnb only allows three cancellations a year without a cancellation fee. Cancellation fees can be over $100 each time.
Renting from a short-term property rentalwill not run you any extra service fees. There are no surprises. The monthly rent is front and center for each home. Even if you have a change of plans in your rental agreement, that’s not a problem. You can work with the rental managers to extend your rent without accruing extra fees or charges each time.
Safety of the home
Researchers analyzed about 600,000 Airbnb homes in 16 cities throughout the United States. They found that over 42 percent of Airbnb homes do not have carbon monoxide detectors, 20 percent have no smoke alarms, and 58 percent have no fire extinguisher in the home. In many cities, building code and regulations have not caught up to home-share rentals as of yet and, with new rentals hitting online sites every day, it’s likely that oversight will continue for quite a while. Renter beware: If you’re home isn’t up to par, enter at your own risk
Renting from a short-term property professional there will be no back-of-mind worry about carbon monoxide poisoning or a silent fire while you sleep. You can rest easy that any rental property you choose will have a legal obligation to keep up with the city safety codes — meaning you won’t have to worry about choosing safety over shelter.
It’s fun to think about the cool homes that await your search on all the home-share sites, but ultimately, it is someone’s home you’re staying in. Homeowners don’t really have the same rules as rental properties when it comes to kicking you out or canceling your request, leaving you with the stress of starting over, or worse, out on the street.
A study was done in 2016 about Airbnb reported complaints and problems. The study found that over 20 percent of Airbnb guests experienced a host canceling a stay within 24 hours or just did not show up to let the guest in the home. This can leave you panicked with nowhere to go. In the same study, over 12 percent of guests reported pictures or locations not matching up with what the actual property looked like.
Again, when you work with professional people in the short-term rental business, there is more of an expectation for these professionals to get it right for you. They want your business and they want you to tell your friends about the great experience you had. A trusted rental company can find you the perfect place for your exact needs without the need to hide behind fancy pictures.
Which choice is the best for you?
Overall, it’s really up to you and your comfort level when it comes to renting from a home share or a professional short-term rental company. If you’re looking for a place to stay on your vacation, home share is probably an okay choice. Looking to stay longer than a vacation? Finding a short-term rental company to work with will probably be the less stressful option for you.