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Turning Your Spare Room Into Extra Money

Updated on October 18, 2013
The current cities available are listed.
The current cities available are listed.
A Soho flat in London
A Soho flat in London

Airbnb.com does exactly that. People in NYC are using it to supplement their income in a city that is in dire need of rentals and hotel rooms that average $250 a night. So far, the service is offered only in large cities and in NYC, 15,000 offer short term rentals starting at $35 a night.

Legally, these are sublets and depending on the city ordinances could be illegal because they are under the table avoid taxes. Most of the rentals offered are also occupied by the owner It is not uncommon to find someone on the website who needs a short term rental while visiting, say a few nights to weeks. The rental owners can communicate and get a sense of what the prospective person is like through the exchange. The average rent in NYC is around $3000 a month.

Airbnb began only five years ago in San Francisco when two roommates could not afford rent and began to use inflatable beds to rent nightly. It is now available in 35,000 towns and cities and has 500,000 listings. The owners of the website take between 6-12% of the rental price. The owners now can afford houses!

However, the website has lesser competition from flipkey.com, couchsurfer.com and housetrip.com, and is coming under investigation from NYC for code violations in the rental and hotel area.

Checking into the SF area in the Marina district, Jimmy rents his spare room for $65 a night, which is by far, dirt cheap compared to the others listed. It offers all amenities and wifi etc. Past roomies have given it an excellent rating. SF has over 5200 listings in all districts.

This service is also great for commuters. Say, you live in the Northbay and have a job in SF 2-3 days a week, instead of paying the gas to drive there, the traffic to fight, the bridge toll and then at least $20 for parking, for $65 a night, it is well worth it compared to a hotel room, which is easily twice as much. Going to London for a few days, stay in Soho district for only $132 a night. Over 99 others have stay there and all say it is great and the cheapest around.

The website allows you to communicate and book the room, so easy! Once you find the room, you can virtually see where it is with a map and then street view and room view.

This is so cool. Good to know, the next time you are traveling.

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