Would You Be an Airbnb Host If It Meant $50K to Buy a House?

A startup wants you to exchange your keys for a down payment

September 22, 2017 9:00 am

Life as an Airbnb host is not easy: It’s like being a parent without any of the joy.

Guests are late, messy, annoying, dirty, irascible, and occasional, and unfortunately, naked. Life as an Airbnb host means always being on someone else’s schedule and being reachable anytime, all year round. 

And not for luxury-living money, either. Some people may have it down, using third-party services to deal with check-ins and -outs, cleaning situations and the like. For most, though, it’s a lot of aggravation

Now, it could mean a lot of aggravation — plus a house.

The new start-up Loftium will give prospective homebuyers $50K for a down payment, as long as they’ll agree to rent out one of their bedrooms for a period of no less than three years. The room also has to be available for all but about a week of that period (357 days out of 365). For their end, Loftium gets a hefty cut from all rentals. For the moment, participants are limited to living in Loftium’s home turf of Seattle. 

It’s difficult to calculate how much Loftium will earn out of a given arrangement (the company will have access to your profile and messaging, so no deliberate tanking to drive down the number of guests.) But let’s say you rent 250 days of the year, for three years. Look at it one way, and it’s barely anything — a couple friendly emails, some keys left in a planter. Look at it another, and it’s 24 hours a day of aggravation for 750 days. That’s 18,000 hours, which might work out to close to minimum wage once you factor in the $50K plus your cut of the rentals. 

Maybe there’s a better way to help young homebuyers get on the property ladder? 

Maybe this is the best we can do? 

Time will tell. 

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