I was not even really expecting what happened, even though I encourage people to expect this all the time.
Last year my husband and I moved into a home we owned and had rented out for a few years. It’s in a location I love and had always wanted to live—20 minutes from the closest town, 60 minutes from San Francisco; but in a piece of Northern California (Marin) that feels very remote and has expansive views of large hills. In the evening you can see the sun set from the deck, and then turn around and watch it rise the next morning. We have 13 acres, that comes with frogs, salamanders, hawks, deer, bobcat, bats, hollowing coyotes, turkeys, jackrabbits and so on. We also have dark skies solitude, Wi-Fi (no TV) and a hot tub.
Our home came with a small studio with its own entrance and bathroom. My husband immediately took it over for tools and bikes, but I had other designs.
It’s not a spectacular space, but it had potential. It needed painting and the removal of the aforementioned tools. I imagined it a small long term rental, very much below market value. My husband was hesitant to rent it long term, so we compromised that he’d support it being a short-term rental, “As long as you do it.” And we could stop if it didn’t suit us (him).
So out went the tools, bikes, spiders, and dust. I painted, grabbed lots of funky art, furniture, and other things we really did not use (much) from our main house. We put in no kitchenette but did buy a small frig and microwave. I hoped to rent it for about $100/night maybe 15 times a month.
I listed it on Airbnb, and it booked. And booked. And booked more. Most people LOVED it and wrote incredible reviews. It became known as a “sanctuary,”a “gem,” where “pictures do not do it justice.”
Guests included a couple that just got married, someone recently divorced, another promoted, several couples had anniversaries, and one guy came from close by and whispered he was, “Desperate to escape.” I did not ask from what.
One gentleman came and wrote love letters to his wife who had recently died. He left one.
We had sisters visit and sleep in the same bed. Others brought bedding and slept on the floor. So, we purchased a small roll-in bed. One person came who was terrified of our “wildlife” and practically ran to the unit. Others sat in our yard and had picnics. Couples brought newborns, toddlers and pets. One couple proposed. Almost everyone had a story.
A common theme is their gratitude. They leave thank you cards and promise to come back.
Airbnb keeps giving us suggestions to increase the nightly rate up to $574 plus cleaning, taxes, and their fee-- a night!!
We have never charged that—the most was about $249, which is more than enough. Well, you can do the math…it beat my goal.
More than a great source of passive income, however, is that we are richer for observing the joy in others and being able to share our great fortune of living in, what we consider, paradise.
My husband now thinks it’s a phenomenal idea. Soon I imagine he’ll remember it was his idea.
Here’s the thing, if you own a home, you too can convert, add on to it, or periodically rent it out.
There’s more abundance than you may imagine— in expanding your home. In inviting, in letting others know they matter, that they belong, and they are welcome.
That’s what we do at our company, VADU. We help people realize the value of their home (also their empty office spaces). We walk people thru the entire process up to and including listing and renting.
Co-Founder, myVADU.com AND Co-Owner of Nicasio ADU, as seen in Airbnb and VRBO
“You don’t have to be tall to see the moon.” –African Proverb