How your guest room can pay your mortgage

Logan Sachon


Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Senior Managing Editor

Logan Sachon is an Insurance Expert and Senior Managing Editor at Policygenius. She joined the company in 2018 as an Insurance Editor and has written extensively about insurance and personal finance for the Policygenius website and for the Easy Money by Policygenius weekly newsletter. 

Published November 12, 2018|3 min read

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The median mortgage payment in the U.S. is $1,030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Housing Survey. Many people would love for their monthly mortgage payment to be lower without having to get a second or third job. But there may be a solution hiding in plain sight.

Enter: your guest room.

When many people think of Airbnb hosts, they think of people who list their entire home while on vacation or people subsidizing their beach houses. But many Airbnb hosts earn extra income simply by staying home and opening up their guest rooms.

Approximately one-third of the listings on Airbnb are for private rooms, and if you have an extra room in your house, you can easily create a listing on Airbnb and start making income without leaving home.

So how much can you make? Airbnb’s calculator can give you a quick monthly income estimate for a guest room.

A few examples: Manhattan residents could make $1,762 each month if they have a small private room that can accommodate two guests. If you live in Portland, Oregon, your guest room could be worth $977 a month. Washington, D.C.: $1,838. The calculator is based on 50% occupancy at similar listing prices in your area.*

Opening your guest room is not only a great way to earn some extra cash. It can also be a great way to meet people from other countries and make lasting friendships — but only if you want. When you open your guest room to travelers, you set the house rules and the vibe. You can be a hidden host or an active and involved host, whichever you prefer.

How to list your guest bedroom on Airbnb

So how easy is it to get started?

If you’re used to hosting your own guests in your guest room, you likely have all or most of the supplies that you need to get started. Airbnb requires hosts to provide toilet paper, soap, sheets, and at least one towel and pillow per guest.

Other than that, you just need the ability to respond to requests within 24 hours, and a willingness to be a host.

You can sign up and start creating your listing on Airbnb — all you need are some great pictures of your guest room. The online marketplace will help you with the rest, including how to price your room.

A final step before you open your guest room to travelers: Make sure your property is covered with adequate renters or homeowners insurance. Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance Program offers up to $1,000,000 in liability coverage, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own policies flexing for you, too.

*These estimates are based on 50% occupancy, booking prices of listings with a similar location, season, listing type, and guest capacity. How much you actually make may vary with your pricing, type and location of your listing, actual occupancy rate, season, demand and other factors. Your local laws may also impact your actual earnings.

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Image: franckreporter