I spent a very fast and furious week updating the Airbnb. My list of things I want to do to the house is a mile long, my budget, however, is blown. So I just did minimal updates and cleaning, and after a week of long days & nights, it’s ready to go!
I just love the charming feel of the exterior. Sure, it’s a little plain right now with no landscaping, but I’ll improve that in due time! I’ll probably snag some perennials and bushes on clearance at the end of the season at Lowe’s.
Since the house is very close to the lake, I wanted to give a nod to the lake life. A lot of what I used to furnish I was able to pick up 2nd hand, clearance, or overstock (and a few Amazon scores thrown in the mix). It’s simple, and I’m still searching for the right coffee table, but for now, I think it works. And those awesome midcentury inspired rockers– aren’t they awesome? They were a rare find on Facebook Marketplace; they were new with tags!
I got rid of the bold red walls and softened up the space with the ever popular Repose Gray. It’s the perfect light, soothing gray. In order to maximize sleeping arrangements, this is one of two couches available for guests to sleep on. This one isn’t a sofa bed, but it would work for children or teenagers.
I debated and discussed with other Airbnb hosts about how much you provide to your guests. I purchased a new TV, new DVD player, picked up several 2nd hand DVDs, and purchased a digital antenna from Amazon (which works amazing by the way), but I opted to not provide cable subscription or access to my Netflix account. Maybe in the future on the Netflix, but for now, I think those options are suitable.
There are several Airbnb/VRBO forums for hosts where they discuss (and debate) hosting. There are some that really pull out the stops in what they supply. Others provide basically nothing. And then there’s several like me that provide a good bit, but not everything. If I provided everything, I would have to increase my night price.
The kitchen is definitely one of my favorite parts of the house! I kept the original cabinets, but I gave them new life with a fresh coat of paint. Since I was trying to create a throwback feel in the kitchen, I kept the original bronze hardware and Formica countertops. Instead of my usual white or gray cabinets, I had a little fun with this one, and I chose PPG’s Mountain Dew and, of course, I used Breakthrough paint. It was the perfect light blueish/green.
Again, when it comes to hosting, there is such a broad range in what hosts supply. I chose the basics. Unfortunately, this house doesn’t have a dishwasher, and that won’t be on the agenda (i.e.-budget) for a while, so while I chose to supply dishes, I am also providing my guests with a small supply of disposable plates & utensils- in case they don’t want to hand-wash dishes. I had a leftover brass tie back that I used as a towel holder. The only new appliances I had to purchase were a toaster & a coffee pot. The microwave was left by the previous owner.
There is a back room in the house that was clearly an addition a while ago. The previous owner utilized it as a storage room and laundry room. Again, I was wanting to maximize sleeping arrangements for guests, so I opted to add another sleeping couch in here as well. I purchased this one on Wayfair for staging at Flip 7, and what’s nice about this one, is that it actually folds in half for moving. But it also converts to a sleeping bed for guests. I don’t suspect it’ll get used a ton, but it helps to increase the number available sleeping areas.
This cottage is little- it’s not huge! It’s just over 1,100 square feet, and it only has one bathroom. The bathroom is pretty much a blank slate, and definitely has a laundry list of things I’d like to do to update it (new tile floors, different vanity, add board & batten, etc), but, alas the budget doesn’t allow. I did absolutely no work in here except supply furnishings. I did discover that the toilet is the original– from 1962! And it works…and it’s clean! In its original state there were no outlets in the bathroom, but for an Airbnb, it’s essential to have that bare minimum upgrade, so I had my electrician do a last minute GFCI addition in here so guests can use flat irons, razors, or whatever.
There are only two bedrooms in the house, and, again, I wanted to maximize sleeping capacity, so I chose to stage one with twin beds. This was my first time ordering mattresses in a box- and it’s as great as everyone says! I scored these on Wayfair for around $130 each. I found the southwestern throws on Amazon. One of the areas Airbnb hosts agree on is that you should provide a work station for people, so I brought the table I used in Flip 7 (and purchased on Amazon). This room doubles as sleeping area and work area without feeling cramped. I scored the really cool large rustic A at a yard sale for $25, and it’s my way of hiding the ugly plumbing access.
There isn’t a designated master bedroom given the age of the home, but I staged the largest of the bedrooms as a master retreat. I wanted to create a cheery place that guests enjoy being in. From Walmart to thrift stores, this room really came together on a tight budget.
This room doesn’t have a ceiling fan (a staple in the hot south), so I purchased a cute little fan at TJ Maxx that matched the decor & helps to cool off the room. The dresser is a Facebook marketplace score, and that awesome accent chair was a $40 thrift store score!
I did my best to create a very clean an charming space for guests, but I’m not going to lie, the toughest part about getting started in this business is the upfront cost. You buy SO.MUCH.STUFF., so it’ll take several guests to eventually pay off the purchases and for my account to transition into the black. But every investment has some kind of overhead, right? I tried to use what I had, I scoured thrift stores and yard sales, and definitely shopped overstock stores and clearance aisles to help save money.
And while I think my little cottage is a stunner, the downtown historic district is really the winner here. The cottage is located in the most quaint and adorable downtown area. The house is literally steps from the revitalized downtown. There’s an old school theater, shops, boutiques, museums, trails, and coffee shops. Isn’t it the most precious small town…and yet, it’s not really that small, it just feels that way.
It’s my experience that people love throwback charm with modern amenities which is exactly what sold me on this area for the Airbnb. From the brick paved streets, old school murals, and street-side cafes, it’s really the most precious historic downtown!
I listed my property on Airbnb and VRBO on Wednesday and within 24 hours, I had FOUR bookings! I had my first guests on Friday night the same week. Currently, I only have a one night minimum stay which does make the turn around time on the house way more frequent, but until I’m in the black, I don’t want to give up any revenue by having a 2 or 3 night minimum stay. I may increase the minimum stay once I get in the black just because it’s so much work doing the turnaround so fast. Initially, I had check-out time as 11am and check-in time as 1pm, and I quickly realized that was a mistake to have the entire place turned and ready in two hours. So I have since changed the check-in time as 3pm.
If you’re ever traveling to the NWA area & you’re looking for a cozy place to lay your head, consider staying at my cottage.