Why sublet at all?
Maybe you know the situation: you want to book a workation and are eagerly looking for the right accommodation. For those who want to work from your home, since a co-working space doesn’t have the peace and quiet, the minimum requirements are: Good internet connection and a decent workspace.
But most of the time, the advertisements fail precisely because of these two criteria:
For example, when I searched for suitable advertisements on the common platforms in Valencia, I quickly noticed that it was very rare to find reasonable jobs.
From this shortage, an idea is born: Why not meet the need for mobile workstations for business travelers yourself? For me this is a way to finance my own stays abroad, for one or the other this will be a way to reduce the costs during a project stay:
The question of whether you trust strangers to live in your own home is one that everyone must answer for themselves. For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages: the chance to travel the world, or to earn twice as much during professional absences due to projects. The increase in the trustworthiness of the people is, in my opinion. by reaching the right target group. Namely: Serious businessmen.
The right target group for subletting: traveling business people and digital nomads
After deciding to rent your own apartment to a stranger, it is necessary to approach the best possible candidates. By targeting the right group, you ensure that you can set a decent price level on the one hand, and on the other hand, you reduce the risk of wear and tear and problems during the rental period.
Corporate employees are looking for accommodations that feel like home for longer-term stays. The cost of living during the business trip also increases exorbitantly if there is no possibility to cook and it is always necessary to eat in restaurants or in the hotel. In addition, sharing accommodations during a business trip can boost team building and employee morale.
Businesses save Finance by renting Airbnbs: Jonathan Liebtag (ex Global Director – Airbnb Event Spaces of Airbnb) commented on the great potential of Airbnb for businesses, claiming that Airbnb is “up to 30%” cheaper than booking hotels.
For these reasons, companies are now looking for suitable apartments for their employees on platforms such as Airbnb and Co. Airbnb has also recognized this potential and offers “Airbnb for Work,” a service that allows companies to manage their travel via a dashboard. Here are specifically suggested listings, which are considered particularly suitable for business travelers.
Requirements for subletting via Airbnb & Wunderflats
Of course, subletting is far from suitable in every living situation: At best, you are single, or your life partner also thinks subletting is a good idea. In addition, you should have a certain affinity for risk, because in my experience, despite reasonable subtenants, it is always a strange feeling when you hand over your own home.
Is your own apartment suitable for subletting?
Basically, any apartment with a workstation and a robust Internet connection is suitable. An office chair with a sophisticated design or a height-adjustable desk with an additional monitor are, of course, a plus.
Good accessibility and location of the apartment are also not insignificant criteria for the demand for a home office apartment.
If you live in one of the major trade fair cities in Germany, such as Hanover, Frankfurt, Cologne and Co., you have a decisive advantage: because business people (especially exhibitors) often arrive before the actual opening of the trade fair. This means you can rent for a longer period at relatively high prices.
Once again summarized what criteria should meet the optimal home office apartment for subletting:
- Stable Internet connection( uploadSpeedTest )
- Laptop-friendly work environment (e.g., height-adjustable desk, comfortable office chair
- At best Central, quiet location of the apartment
- Possibility of longer rental (at least two weeks)
- Other equipment: hair dryer, washing machine, laundry corner and iron
- Self-check-in with a numerical code or a locker.
These highlights for home office work should also include, for example. be highlighted in the description of the advertisement.
There are different sources discussing the requirements for Airbnb’s “Airbnb Work Collection” (formerly “Business Ready”) business line. This is an area where companies are explicitly shown listings that are suitable for business travel. In the long run, your goal should be to market their listing in such a way that it has a chance of being included in this category.
Permission to sublet
The first barrier to entry for most tenants is permission to sublet their own apartment. Should you own a condo, it makes things easier.
However, if you want to rent your apartment and rent it out on Airbnb, subletting requires explicit permission to rent to tourists.
It’s best to talk to your landlords in person and pick up on why you want to sublet the apartment and to which target group.
Explain to your landlords that you have to travel quite a bit during the year due to your job, but you would love to keep the apartment because you feel very comfortable. For this reason, you would like to rent to “reasonable businessmen” in the respective periods. At the same time, of course, harmony with your neighbors is important to you: so you make sure that both the tenants fit and that there are no big “comings and goings” due to short leasing periods. Good communication prior to subletting towards your landlords and neighbors is encouraging.
Observe legal provisions for the protection of living space
In order to legally rent out your apartment via Airbnb, you must comply with legal housing protection regulations in many countries: Housing in metropolitan areas is scarce and is accordingly protected from “misappropriation” by the state or individual countries. Misappropriation of residential space includes, among other things, short-term rentals to tourists (or in this case, business travelers). The legal requirements here vary from state to state.
As an example, here are the regulations for short-term subletting via Airbnb & Co. for NRW:
In the larger cities of North Rhine-Westphalia (Cologne, Aachen, Bonn and Co.), renting is subject to notification from the first day: this can be done by applying for a so-called Wohnraum ID. The application is surprisingly quite uncomplicated and can be processed online quite quickly since July 01, 2022. Only from a rental of more than 90 days per year, a misappropriation is present: In this case, you must obtain a special permit from your city, which is subject to a fee.
Tip: At best, rent for at least 14 days at a price that covers your monthly rent. This way you are not dependent on renting for a longer period of time and you do not need to use up your legally allowed rental quota.
The question of whether it is ethically justified to sublet one’s own apartment at high prices is something that everyone must decide for themselves.
My argumentation: Since it does not concern a commercial letting of your real estate, you take away also no dwelling and offer only for the time, in which the dwelling would stand anyway Suchenden an accommodation. The price is justified by the equipment of your apartment.
Create listings: Airbnb & Wunderflats
Once you’ve taken care of the legal requirements, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: creating your own listing.
Here, two providers have emerged as suitable for me. Airbnb and Wunderflats. But first, let’s go over the most important aspects of creating your listing:
Creation of appealing images
The pictures of your apartment are the first thing that generates attention when potential tenants scroll through the listings. In addition, more views through impressive images ensure that your ad appears higher in search results.
The basic principle is: quality over quantity. Better ten bright high-quality, than 20 blurred pictures of the ad. However, there should be enough pictures to give a sufficient impression of the potential new accommodation. Shoot pictures of the rooms from different perspectives and choose the best ones.
Tip: Trick a little when it comes to flair. If necessary, place plants and decorations from other rooms in the room from which you are taking a photo.
The official Airbnb recommendation is images with an aspect ratio of 3:2 and a minimum resolution of 1024 x 683 px.
Both with a professional camera and when taking photos with your phone, it is recommended to use a tripod to shoot steady, clear images.
- Organize your photos into different categories (Especially to highlight the home office, for example).
- Provide all your Airbnb photos with captions
- Pack your best photos of all rooms at the beginning
A meaningful advertisement text
A meaningful advertisement text should attract the attention of potential tenants, arouse interest, but at the same time reflect the reality of the apartment. When setting up the description, you can use the following structure as a guide:
This is where you pack all the important selling points of the property into a brief.
Room by room description:
Short paragraphs describing what can be found in each room. Mention of special furniture, for business people you can focus on the home office with comfortable designer office chair, height adjustable desk and the high quality coffee maker. Features like smart home technology or an extra screen might also be worth mentioning.
Location & neighborhoods:
Provide an overview of the property’s location, such as access to public transportation, restaurants, gyms, or parks.
The most important thing is to always keep in mind the needs of your target audience, the remote workers, in your description.
Pricing strategies for subletting via Airbnb
The price of your advertisement depends on various factors:
Competition & Location: First and foremost, look at comparable listings in your area.
(Seasonal) demand: Are there trade fairs or other events at certain times of the year? Is your city a popular destination for a workation during certain seasons (e.g. ski resort, beach proximity)?
Your personal goal: Here, of course, it also depends on how much profit you want to make with the subletting, or if you simply intend to cover your costs.
Tip: Activate the “dynamic pricing” option on Airbnb and, if necessary, adjust the listings on the other portals as well, should demand cause Airbnb to raise the price of your listing.
ToolTip: With the tool Airdna (based on Airbnb data) you can get an overview of the profitability of your accommodation. These apply to the for current year and are calculated based on four factors: The location of your accommodation, the number of rooms available, the number of bathrooms and the capacity of the property.
High price strategy for Airbnb
This strategy is particularly suitable for luxury apartments in prime locations with high standards of interior design and equipment. The goal of this strategy is to get the highest possible price per night for subletting. So it is possible by some bookings to balance the monthly rent again. In my opinion, this strategy is rather unsuitable for longer leases, as this results in many changing tenants and may also incur costs for cleaning.
Long-term strategy for Airbnb
In the scenario of subletting over a longer period of time, the long-term strategy is particularly useful. In this strategy, by reducing the price when renting for a longer period of time, you ensure that your apartment will be booked and you will have a secure income.
Tip: At Airbnb there is the option to approve a discount for longer bookings (e.g. from two weeks).
Choice of platform: Airbnb and Wunderflats
In my opinion, two platforms are particularly suitable for renting over longer periods of time: Airbnb and Wunderflats. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. I personally decided to advertise my apartment on both platforms.
Rent out via Airbnb
Airbnb has become one of the most popular platforms for booking private accommodation over the last few years. The popularity is also a clear plus for the platform, because the appealing user experience logically means that demand is higher than with lesser-known providers.
The platform’s fees are also very human compared to other platforms, at 3% to hosts and 14% to guests (include in pricing strategy). In addition, AirCover insurance covers both tenants and landlords from damage to the property. “Unexplained disappearance(s), loss(s), or shortage(s) revealed during an inventory, or any other unexplained loss of inventory,” however, will not be covered. This means Airbnb does not pay for theft. If this coverage is important to you, you should purchase additional insurance independently.
Long term subletting through Wunderflats
During my research for a platform for furnished long-term rentals, I came across the Berlin-based startup Wunderflats. The platform’s primary target group is even like-minded people: Namely, professionals from the IT industry, managers and young professionals.
The platform collects its profit from the landlords: Here you pay as a landlord a Service fee of 11.9% incl. VAT. from the total booking amount.
Even if, legally speaking, Wunderflats only acts as an intermediary in subletting: For the fees, you as a landlord receive significantly more service from the startup: After the tenant confirms interest, Wunderflats takes care of a credit check, finds out about the reason for the rent, and checks documents such as the tenant’s employment contract to verify it, if necessary. Subsequently, you will receive the contact details of the potential tenant and independently set the terms of the lease.
Unfortunately, the platform does not currently allow you to set the minimum rental period for certain cities, even though the law allows it (in Cologne it is set by the system at three months, in Frankfurt it is set at a full six months). In a conversation with support, the employee assured me that the developers are working on this option, however.