Airbnb hosts are planning to sell their properties due to the pandemic

These small business owners are doing whatever it takes to stay afloat

But when the coronavirus first spread to the United States in March, Offield, which has been a full-time Airbnb host for nearly two years, began seeing a wave of cancellations. When Galveston temporarily closed short-term rentals as part of his stay order, Offield turned his Airbnb into a 30-day stay, the minimum required to be considered a long-term list. He hasn’t received a single reservation and his beach bungalow has been empty for two months.

Eventually, after the long drought, her husband lost his software sales job and the ongoing burden of home loan payments, Offield made the difficult decision to sell the bungalow on the beach and close the business. Airbnb.

“It was kind of an emotional roller coaster,” Offield told CNN Business. “We have lost practically all of our income in the past three months.”

With the global travel freeze halting during the pandemic, some Airbnb hosts are planning to sell their properties – at an uncertain time for the wider real estate market – or to get rid of some of their rents and furniture that they bought for beautify their homes. These desperate moves come when hosts face the possibility of losing thousands of dollars a month in canceled reservations while bills, maintenance costs, and mortgage payments are piling up. The sudden and painful whiplash for the hosts highlights both the wider financial impact of the pandemic and the potential risks of placing one’s livelihood on the resistance power of the new technological platforms.
“We have worked to support our community through multiple efforts, including a $ 250 million commitment to help hosts who have been affected by guest cancellations related to COVID-19 and $ 17 million for our Super Host Relief Fund, “said an Airbnb spokesman in a statement, adding that it has been launched new cleaning protocols for hosts. “Our internal data indicate the desire of guests to travel and we are preparing to help hosts welcome them as soon as possible.”
As the pandemic continued, Airbnb’s business model was questioned. After reported planning to make its Wall Street debut this year, the company has had to lay off about 25% of its workforce. At the same time, he struggled to appease the hosts who are the backbone of his service. Airbnb announced in late March it would pay hosts 25% of what they would typically return through their individual cancellation policies, but some hosts told CNN Business that the policy hasn’t gone far enough to help, or that they have received smaller payments expected.

The financial fallout from the pandemic could lead to an Airbnb exodus for hosts like Jake Wolf, who has been on the platform for more than five years and closed his only list in March. “I’m absolutely not inclined,” said Wolf, when asked to return to the platform in the future. For others, it is leading to painful choices about which Airbnb properties to abandon and which to save.

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Christina Zima, an Airbnb host for nine years, has managed 25 full-time homes primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, of which only one owns. So far, it has closed two of these lists during the coronavirus crisis, one of which had been scheduled in advance. Zima said some of the owners he works with are considering liquidating multiple properties or looking for long-term tenants, further throwing his business into uncertainty.

“I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do and what will happen in the future,” said Zima. “I’m not making money. With the Airbnb business, I’m just trying to minimize my losses. Only one of the houses is paying its bills, which means my rent and utilities.”

Six of the properties that Zima rents from owners for a fixed cost, ranging from $ 2,800 to $ 5,600 per month, and then subleasing them on Airbnb as holiday homes, in a practice known as arbitrage. The rest are partnerships with the owners, where he takes a cut in exchange for managing the property and acting as a liaison with guests. It takes a higher rate for home decor and the supply of linens and other household items.

Christina Zima, an Airbnb host for nine years, has managed 25 full-time homes, but has since closed two of these listings amid the pandemic.

With some of her Airbnbs closed, she was also forced to find ways to quickly liquidate her furnishings. Zima listed the items on the Facebook marketplace and installed a pop-up tent outside her home where people can collect their purchases. Zima listed so many things on the Facebook marketplace in one day that she said she was temporarily blocked from posting for one day. Offield has also started selling the various vintage items that he has kept under his house in Galveston, which is bred, on the Facebook marketplace.

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But some hosts who feel the need to sell are waiting a little longer. Cindy Cabrales and her husband have decided to sell one of their three Airbnb – in Boulder, Colorado – but are holding on for now because they still have a reservation in July that hasn’t canceled so far.

“The margins are so low, it doesn’t make sense to keep it,” said Cabrales. “The pandemic pushes it over the edge.”

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