Welcome back to another episode of Into The Airbnb, where we chat with Airbnb hosts about their short-term rental experience. Today's episode guest is Kim Sayre based in Fayette County, West Virginia; she owns and manages tow listings in Fayette County: one is her primary residence, and the other one is a property they managed to get ready thanks to their first listing's revenue. Come hear how she's taking advantage of her market recent rise of popularity, how has been her experience with Airbnb, along with some interesting insights from her area. This episode is sponsored by Airbtics, short-term rental analytics for high return investment, comprehensive data for insights, ideas and inspiration. Go to app.airbtics.com to find precise Airbnb data such as occupancy rate, revenue, average daily rate, and so on. So, without further ado, let's get into it! Can you please tell me how did you get started with Airbnb and short-term rentals?
In Fayette County, West Virginia, the New River Gorge and all of its surrounding just turned into a National Park. So there was a lot more tourists and stuff come into our area and I knew of a few people who had started doing Airbnb, so we knew more of the tourists, you know, would come. So that's where we got started, the idea from.
And can you tell me how did you acquire your first listing, your first property to the Airbnb?
Yeah, we bought our first home a year ago. So we were still living in our home. So we didn't really want, like go out on the limb where there wasn't many Airbnb started yet. So we decided to start our own home and just list our own home at first just to see how it would do. So we actually moved out of our own home and we just listed our house just for the summer just to kind of like, just as a trial run.
I see and you told me recently there was a change around your area, it turned into a National Park, right?
How long ago was that?
Within a year or two.
Oh, and you did get started on Airbnb at the same time? Or did it take a little bit more?
I think it was within the same year we started.
That's great! And while you were listing your own house, did you move out from it? Or were you still in there?
We just moved somewhere else just for the summer and we listed our house full time through the summer.
And how was your experience with that?
We actually put it one Airbnb in March and we listed it through the very first of October. Within I would say three days, we got our very first listing and it hasn't stopped since then. It's been a great turnout.
That's great. And during that period where you're renting like your own house, was everything good? How was like your feeling renting your own private home?
We just took extra safety as far as like mattress protectors, I clean them. So it made me feel good that I could clean them and then give everyone a good experience and where it's my own home? I don't know. It's actually a little bit better just because I make it special for the guests coming in.
What about your second listing? How did you get it?
Our second listing, it was just luck of the draw. Honestly, we know we wanted to expand. It was a little bit smaller house but it was in town. We just came across that and we just jumped on it and it we've had a great experience with that too. We just listed it last week. Yeah.
Last week? Oh my god, so it's pretty recent! Your first listing is still your primary house or not?
Yeah, our first listing was our own home and then our second listing is our rental home.
And did it take a long financing process to finance that second listing you just told me about?
Yeah, with our own home it was a little bit easier because we just kind of like left all of our furniture, all the beds and everything in there, so it took way less money. I would say we took all of our income which was two months income from Airbnb on our very first home and then we invested it into the second home as far as like furniture decor stuff like that.
And did you have to make a loan for that one?
No, we got to really get, it was kind of like a rental deal, so we didn't have to put like the down payment. So we were able to invest more money into the home as far as like, making it homey for our guest.
Okay, that's great to hear! Okay, so two months of income to invest in furnishing the property, right?
And can you tell me about how much was that? And what amenities and furniture did you manage to get with the two month's income?
Not including, like, what we were paying for our actual home. I would say we only had to put maybe like, maybe two grand in at all. Well, it was a smaller house, we didn't have to invest much.
Okay, yeah, that's a good amount actually. And how small is the house, just one-bedroom, one-bathroom?
Um, it's a three-bedroom, two-bath, but the house itself is a little bit smaller wherein it's in town.
So can you tell me a little bit about your market?
Yeah, our very first, our home is a four-bedroom, two-bath, so our market ranges, July is kind of our highest month. It's like our high season. So the very house that we went is 298 per night and then when we first listed it, we were just kind of like playing the field a little bit, playing off of other listings and kind of things like that. And for a floor bedroom, we went to 189 a night.
And can you tell me if the market currently is very, like, busy and competitive with Airbnb? Or are there very few of them?
Yes, even July our highest month, we don't have a single day open. It's completely booked up and that's with our own home. So with our rental house, it being listed only last week, it hit the market last week. We have, I would say maybe 20 bookings already.
Wow 20 bookings, that's a lot! So the stock market is very good then. So it's still like in the stage where it's a very good place to invest in?
I would say so yes. Especially where it's becoming a National Forest, so a lot more people are starting to come.
So with your first listing, what could you say was your high season in your low season during, you know, a year of renting?
With our very first home, we started and we listed it in March and we're only listing our own home until October and we're going to move back in. I would say our high season definitely is July. We have a lot of things going on in Fayette County too as far as like whitewater rafting, we do live music stuff like that here too. So I feel like there's a lot of that going on, so that's definitely our high season. Even with our low season, even if we're pulling off the market in October, we still have in Fayette County golly season. It's a part of whitewater rafting too. So I don't even think that we would have a low season until maybe December January.
Okay, and how much revenue do you estimate during the high season? Like you said July-October?
July alone with one home, just with our own house, we are expected to make 10 grand in just July.
10 grand, that's a lot. So can you tell me a little bit more about how did you make your market research to find out for example, the pricing? And to estimate how much could you make and stuff like that?
We definitely joined like Facebook groups as far as that goes. They're really helpful as far as like across the nation, good things, bad things, you know, what to expect stuff like that. As far as pricing goes, we honestly just got on Airbnb ourselves as travelers traveling to Fayette County and just like started searching the market around houses that are worth kind of like ours, like the bigger four-bedroom home stuff like that. And just kind of see what the market is around us and we just went from there.
I understand and with your current situation, do you have to change the prices manually basically every day? Or do you keep like this steady daily rate and it gets booked still?
Well, whenever we first did our list, our daily rate was very, very low. I will say that Airbnb kind of like low balled us as far as that goes. So we did go through manually and bump up our prices and then when we found out that July was such a booming month, we went in again and changed our price ratings. But yeah, we do that manually as far as like what our bookings are and if like we're having a slower month we'll go and adjust
Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense! Do you use any pricing strategy? Do you open for example, your calendar for months in advance and how do you plan to rise during the highest months that are oncoming?
We were mainly just going through Airbnb as far as like where to start? what our competitors were doing? wherein it was our first year, we were kind of like new to everything. So mainly, we just went around through Airbnb, just, you know, with houses just like ours and went from there.
Okay, yeah, makes a lot of sense. And so far has there been in any particular big challenges that you went through as an Airbnb host?
Not really, we have had a great experience as far as like, I mean, everyone has been great. We've never got a horror story yet as far as that goes. No, not really, it's been really great. But we have, you know, we did have a little bit of an advantage of like listing our own home. So we didn't have that first big hiccup of investment money, you know what I mean? That we had to come up with for furniture and stuff like that. So I feel like that did help us. But no, we've had a great experience. I cleaned them myself. So even then, I mean, walking into our homes, we've always had a great experience with all of our guests so far.
Okay, that's great. And do you also plan on expanding your Airbnb business in the future?
Yes, we're actually looking at another listing. I don't know how many in Fayette County we will still get, we'll probably do at least another one to two listings in Fayette County. And then we want to try to expand, I don't know, maybe in different areas, maybe in different states, just so we could be able to travel too, just have an extra house, you know, to go to.
I get it! And are you also planning to deal with remote hosting? I mean, is there an option for you as well?
It could be. I feel like I would want to be more season host before we go to remote just because two is already a lot to deal with. So I want to get those under my belt first before we, you know, go remote.
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. And lastly, are there any tips that you would like to give out for future Airbnb hosts or current Airbnb host?
I will say amenities go a long way, the price that you pay for an extra shampoo, conditioner and so, just to have just in case they forget theirs goes a long way. And a washer and dryer, I mean, you can't really accommodate that for every home, but that has been a lifesaver for us, as far as me personally cleaning them faster flips for sure. Yeah. And it will help it too, me and my husband both, he's the main host, I'm the co-host, so the faster that you reply to people, the better it is all around.
That's right. Communication is key, absolutely! Now that you talk about amenities, I would like to make you one last question. When you did the market research, did you find out any particular amenities that are popular around your area? Did you consider that when you were getting ready for this last listing?
We did, wherein it was our own home, we already had the full kitchen and stuff, so that went a long way to as far as like people are already paying so much, you know, during the high seasons that they do want a full kitchen to where like, you know, it'd be cheaper on them to have like pots and pans to be able to cook one night or something like that. I will say the full kitchen definitely is an advantage. I mean, just having that extra few things like we do maybe just the toothpaste and toothbrushes just like to have them there just in case someone forget and that's been a really great thing. We, on our second home, we invested in a hot tub, so we're gonna see how that goes. We haven't actually, our very first listing comes this weekend, so I don't know if that would be, you know, more trouble than it would be helpful as an amenity, but we will see.
Okay, yeah thank you for sharing with us about it! I'm also excited to hear about your future stories when, you know, this listing also has like more time in the market. And yeah, thank you for your time and thank you for your tips as well!
Okay, thank you very much for having me!
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