Homeowners see extra income with Airbnb

By By Royal Mcgregor, Odessa American, Texas

Jonny Wyall knows sharing is an important part of life.

That statement is more truthful now than ever — especially since a person can rent out their house, apartment or room for extra money.

Wyall is one of about 100 homeowners in Odessa and Midland that have had at least one of their properties listed on Airbnb.

“In 2018, people are used to sharing their stuff on big economy platforms,” Wyall said.

According to Airbnb, Ector County had 1,700 guest arrivals in the past year, which is a 346 percent increase from a year ago. The hosts earned about $412,000 combined in supplemental income. Midland County had 2,000 guest arrivals in the past year — a 315 percent growth. Hosts made about $400,000 combined in supplemental income.

Airbnb serves a similar purpose to hotels, but people can rent a house, apartment or room for a cheaper rate.

The average price per night on a handful of houses in Odessa on a weekday is about $143. The average price for a room in the string of hotels near the Parks Legado Town Center is about $276.

“Hotel rates in the area have really contributed to the success, because we are cheaper than a hotel — even for one person,” said Amanda Dickson, who owns three Airbnb properties in Midland. “We are definitely (cheaper) for multiple people. Companies have been able to send three, four or five people and pay $150 to $200 a night compared to $600 a night if they were renting them rooms. It works out for both parties. We could go up probably, but I’m still trying to make it affordable for single travelers also.”

Though a person can pay a cheaper rate per night compared to a hotel, Airbnb typically serves as short-term rental.

Dickson turned three of her long-term rental houses into Airbnb locations. She prefers the switch to short-term rentals.

“Going with Airbnb, there’s a lot less wear and tear on the house,” Dickson said.

Wyall purchased his second property on Monticello Drive for the specific use of Airbnb.

His first Airbnb location is his guesthouse on Golder Avenue. Wyall said the guesthouse was trashed when he and his wife purchased the property in 2015. He remodeled the guesthouse and used the old basketball court from McCamey High School as the hardwood floor.

“It would have been a shame for (the guesthouse) to just sit there,” he said. “It was kind of accidental. A happy accident though.”

Dickson said her properties are booked a majority of the time, but she still receives messages about returning those properties into long-term rentals.

“We have a lot of people still messaging us to rent them longer term — monthly or six months a year — which we aren’t doing,” Dickson said. “We can definitely tell there’s a shortage of rent houses in the area.”

Airbnb doesn’t serve as Wyall’s main source of income.

Wyall and his wife work at EagleClaw Midstream in Pecos. Wyall has thought about adding another property, but he’s going to wait for the housing market to slow down.

According to Zillow, the median listing price in Odessa is $225,000. That’s a 19 percent increase from a year ago. Throughout 2017, the median listing price was below $200,000.

“I would totally do a third, but I’m a little scared to buy at peak prices in the real estate market right now,” Wyall said. “Sometimes you have to risk it. Scared money doesn’t make money.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.