COVID-19 and the Housing Industry

COVID-19 and the Housing Industry

The housing industry is suffering right now.....OK the economy as a whole is suffering. So you might say that we picked a terrible time to jump into the AirBnB thing. We opened our little 1000 sq ft investment property to AirBnB guests on Feb 22nd. Little did we know that the Corona Virus had also just made it's debut on the world stage and would soon disrupt travel and the hospitality industry in a big way. Within 24 hours of listing our property we were very excited to already have our first 2 bookings as well as others showing great interest through a local Facebook group. Within a week we had tweaked our house rules and the presentation of our property listing to the point where we were really comfortable with it. A few more inquiries came along and a couple more bookings and we were off! We were so excited!


So I'll get to why I'm sharing this now. One of our bookings was a military couple with 2 children. They had sold their house and had an offer on a new house, but there was going to be a month-long gap in between closings. So, they needed a place to stay for 30 days. The nightly rate was $85 so that was going to be $2550 plus fees. Yikes! They just couldn't do that, so we negotiated a deal and accepted their booking. We needed bookings and positive reviews to kick-start our new business. And since we are a military family also, we really wanted to help these people out. We're so glad we did!!


They checked in as scheduled in late March. By then the Corona Virus pandemic was in full swing! We already had one cancellation from a repeat guest coming to town for a softball tournament which got canceled due to the governor's social-distancing order. Another guest coming to town for high school graduation canceled. We started to wonder if we would have any guests at all for the foreseeable future. Then the family's contract on their new house fell through. The appraisal came in high and they couldn't come to an agreement with the seller. Construction companies had stopped work on houses. Realtors had cancelled open houses. Many sellers were afraid to have people in their homes to show the property. And nobody wanted to enter into a new mortgage amid all the economic uncertainty! So, our 30 day guests decided to extend their stay for another 6 months to wait out the Corona Virus and see where the economy lands. Our AirBnB venture was saved! At least for now.


My point? There are people out there who need permanent housing but, given the current situation, they will gladly settle for semi-permanent accommodations in your AirBnB. You may need to be flexible to make it work - adjust your price and maybe allow them to move in some of their personal belongings beyond what a short-term guest would normally travel with. We even cancelled our Cox cable internet and let them get their own bundled service transferred to the house. Minor adjustments considering the alternative - no guests and struggling to pay the mortgage and insurance!


Contact real estate agents in your area! If you have an agent that you've worked with before, they are sure to appreciate a mutually advantageous arrangement during this slump - they send guests your way and you send clients their way. People still need housing - they may just need to rethink what meeting their housing needs looks like for a little while. And YOU just might be the answer to their problem!!

2 Replies 2
Level 10
La Quinta, CA

Well stated, @Dan-and-Kathy1 .  You have already shown a great attitude that is needed in this business while showing compassion for a military family.  Welcome to Air BNB.  

Thank you!