mak­ing a for­tune off airbnb

Un­der new city rules, any­one can turn their home into a part-time ho­tel. Here’s who’s do­ing it and how much they’re mak­ing

Toronto Life - - Front Page - by jean grant

Paul and Meg moved into this fourbed­room, sev­en­bath­room modern home with their in­fant daugh­ter last July. But the place of­ten sat empty, be­cause they’re out of town at least 15 week­ends a year, spend­ing time at fam­ily cot­tages in Colling­wood or Muskoka.

Af­ter a few friends who crashed at their place last sum­mer raved about the ex­pe­ri­ence, Paul and Meg listed the house on Airbnb and set out to make it even more ap­peal­ing. They turned the back­yard into a mul­ti­func­tional rub­ber sports court (it’s got space for ball hockey and bas­ket­ball, with nets for bad­minton in the sum­mer) and in­stalled a hot tub and gas-burn­ing firepit on the roof—all to fur­ther en­tice po­ten­tial renters.

Now, they’re over­whelmed with re­quests. They’ve started re­fus­ing rentals of fewer than five days to curb de­mand.

linda had wanted to own a Vic­to­rian home since she was in her 20s. She opened her an­tique store, Putti Fine Fur­nish­ings, in Rosedale in 1994. A few years later, she fi­nally bought her dream house. She and her hus­band, Martin Dwyer, spent years filling it with an eclec­tic as­sort­ment of art, fur­ni­ture and decor.

About three years ago, af­ter Martin’s death, the home started to seem too big—and too ex­pen­sive— for one per­son. Even­tu­ally, Linda de­cided to Airbnb the space. “It was the per­fect so­lu­tion for me, since I wasn’t ready to give up my house,” she says. She lives there part­time, when she’s not trav­el­ling to Eng­land to visit fam­ily and stock up on items for the shop. Her sec­ond-ever guest, a 20-some­thing guy who stayed with seven friends for Carib­ana, trashed the place, but Airbnb paid for the dam­age. So far, the rest of her renters have been more con­sid­er­ate.

last spring, tul­lio bought a three­bed­room, 19th­cen­tury row house to use as his bach­e­lor pad. He trav­els a lot—he reg­u­larly vis­its fam­ily in Italy, and likes to go on hunt­ing and fish­ing ad­ven­tures—so he ren­o­vated with Airbn­bing in mind. To him, that meant mak­ing the place look stylish, but not in­vest­ing in su­per-ex­pen­sive fur­nish­ings and art, in case of un­ruly vis­i­tors. To charm guests, he gave the be­d­rooms themes. There’s a 1980s room, with pop-art posters and geo­met­ric decor, and an un­der­wa­ter room, with blue fur­nish­ings and a trio of aquatic-themed sculp­tures hang­ing on the wall.

Af­ter a few months and $120,000 in up­grades, in­clud­ing a full base­ment ren­o­va­tion and the in­stal­la­tion of some new tile floor­ing, Tul­lio was ready to rent. Be­cause he lives by him­self, he doesn’t have to do much de­clut­ter­ing be­fore guests ar­rive.

Jeff and Jil bought their home, a 1,300-square-foot, two-bed­room unit in the Wrigley Lofts, about four years ago. Among their ad­di­tions: a rain­fall show­er­head, new kitchen cab­i­netry, an ethanol fire­place and a ceil­ing bi­cy­cle rack. In 2015, Jeff con­vinced Jil to list their place on Airbnb when they em­barked on one of their fre­quent back­pack­ing ex­cur­sions.

Jil ini­tially wasn’t thrilled to be rent­ing out their home, so Jeff as­sured her safety would be his pri­or­ity. For their first few renters, he se­cured his en­tire booze col­lec­tion and any item of value in a locker they hid in the closet. Now, he screens po­ten­tial guests by ask­ing a ton of ques­tions be­fore he’ll rent to them.

At the mo­ment, to avoid the has­sles as­so­ci­ated with ex­tended stays, they rent the space mostly for day-long photo shoots.

Meg Ry­ley and her hus­band, Paul Peter­son, make about $60,000 per year rent­ing out their Lea­side home

Linda re­moved a few of her favourite ob­jects be­fore rent­ing her house but left most of the space in­tact.

Her favourite things on the main floor are the framed dried plants that sur­round the fire­place. She found them in the south of France.

The home has orig­i­nal stained­glass win­dows from the 1800s.

The daybeds are from Oly Stu­dio. A drunk brides­maid renter once flung her­self onto one to get in on a photo op and broke it.

She has a key to a drawer in the bath­room and an­other to a locked closet where she keeps a few clothes.

He keeps the freezer stocked with piz­zas for guests to eat in a pinch. He’ll also some­times leave some moose meat for them to sam­ple.

There are Bose speak­ers on all three floors.

The loft is his bed­room, and it’s where he keeps per­sonal be­long­ings, like his clothes and art­work his daugh­ter made.

The 1980s room is Tul­lio’s favourite. It has a trun­dle bed.

A Nova Sco­tian artist carved the cof­fee ta­ble from an enor­mous tree trunk.

They built or re­stored most of the fur­ni­ture them­selves, and added rus­tic pieces of decor and subtly nau­ti­cal touches, like this oar.

All they did for guests was buy an ex­tra set of sheets and tow­els for them to use.

They don’t lock any­thing away when they have guests. “If we have peo­ple stay, we trust them to treat it like their home,” Jeff says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.