How I Started an AirBnB Business as a Property Investor

Very much like how I set up my first retail store, and ever ready for a challenge, I have recently started my next venture in renting out properties on Airbnb back home in Ireland.

I’d found myself in a situation where both of my tenants in my two properties left within the same month. I’d had a little bit of hassle with both tenants but having them there was better than the houses sitting empty.

I just didn’t have the time to find new occupants and truthfully, I’d been looking for a way to spend more time in Ireland, specifically to bring the farm I grew up on back to life. The farm has been dead for so long and it saddens me; I owe it to the farm and to my ancestors to revive it. 

I decided, with an extensive property portfolio under my belt, that instead of renting out the properties in Ireland to long-term tenants, that I would instead list them on Airbnb.

There was a schedule of works that needed to be done in both before anyone would be able to stay there – works that amassed a fee of in the region of £65,000 – but in my eyes, this new venture was the perfect way to get people in the properties, whilst simultaneously giving me the opportunity to spend more time with family, work on the farm diversification, build up my network in Ireland and bring in money as a quick win.

I listed the properties with the old pictures I had and set them as being available in one week’s time. I didn’t have a cleaner or a builder. I didn’t have a full itinerary of what I needed to do to get the properties to the Airbnb required standard. Never one to be deterred, I booked myself a return trip, travelling by Stena Line, with the anticipation that I would return to Liverpool two days later.

When I’d listed the properties, I’d wanted to just generate interest and gage the reaction of the Airbnb frequenters. But within minutes of them being listed, the booking requests came flooding in. It was a domino effect, and I found myself suddenly in a situation where I didn’t have time to play with: I had to find a solution to getting the properties ready, and I had to do it swiftly.

In the same way as how my first retail store opened, I had a deadline that couldn’t be altered, only this time, I’d set the deadline myself.

I gathered my team, firstly getting one of my maintenance crews over to start the refurbishment work. I involved my friends in Ireland, too. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who runs a furniture outlet, so I tasked him with kitting out the houses in the finest quality. I’ve another friend who is a handyman, and a dab hand at painting and decorating. My marketeers – Push4 – flew over to take new pictures and drone footage.

We all got stuck in, including me. There was a funny occasion when I’d driven into Newry in my Lamborghini jeep. Admittedly, it is a nice jeep, and it garners attention from onlookers whenever I go out in it. I’d gone out to purchase accessories, such as pillows and cushions, duvets, crockery and cutlery – basically everything you could possibly find in the “Home” section of Next and Dunnes Stores – and set about singlehandedly pushing my two trollies full to the brim with my purchases back to my Jeep, where I wasn’t relishing the thought of ramming them in. I was run ragged and must have looked a sorry sight.

When I got back to my vehicle, I became aware of a crowd of people who’d gathered around it to have a look, taking photos of it and next to it! “Mister!” called a couple of teenagers, “Can we have a look in your Jeep?” I laughed, and agreed, warning them that if they opened a door they’d probably get hit in the head with a pillow or two. Each day, I did 4 or 5 trips to the shops to get what we needed to make the houses perfect.

Within 4 days, my team completed a £65,000 makeover across two houses in two separate towns.

Looking back, I was able to get Airbnb ready because of the experiences I had lived in getting the sweetshop ready.

I made it happen; I didn’t accept no for an answer. I didn’t procrastinate, I didn’t waste or lose time. Back then, it was Mr. A. who pushed me and gave me the deadline. This time, it was all me.

Within two months, I’ve made back 15% of the money I spent on the refurbs. That’s income I wouldn’t have brought in if I’d held back or delayed getting the properties listed.

If you don’t seize the day, or set yourself a deadline, you won’t ever get things done. So, get out there and seize the day!

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