Updated Jun 23, 2023 - Real Estate

Denver Airbnb host talks rental income

Note: Available listings are defined as properties with at least one day booked or available during the month. Data: AirDNA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The short-term rental market is heating up as summer travel spikes.

Why it matters: Listing your primary residence as a short-term rental is one way to bank supplemental income as the cost of housing rises in Denver.

State of play: Vacationers are opting for locations close to nature, driving demand for Vrbo homes in the West up more than 30%, per Vrbo's 2023 travel trend report.

  • According to a recent survey from Vrbo, 69% of hosts expect summer occupancy to be the same or higher than last year.

Of note: You can only have one short-term rental (STR) property in Denver, and it must be your primary residence.

  • You need an STR license, and can rent your property for one to 29 days with that license.

Zoom in: Nicole Pinto bought her Baker home late last year. She travels for work and decided to list her property on Airbnb to try to cover the cost of her mortgage.

Reality check: It's a lot of work, and she hasn't made enough to cover her mortgage yet.

  • So far, she's been able to cover about 2/3 of her monthly payment.
  • "Sometimes I wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze," Pinto says.

It's not a get-rich-quick situation. Because Denver is one of the hottest STR markets in the country, there's a lot of competition. It takes time to gain bookings, Pinto says.

Yes, but: Airbnb has allowed her to diversify her income and offset some of her mortgage payment.

  • Plus, seeing guests fall in love with Denver and the Baker neighborhood is worth the work, Pinto says.

If you're considering becoming a host, Pinto recommends taking a look at your network. Do you know someone who cleans? Is there someone who can help you manage bookings?

  • Airbnb has some built-in tools for homeowners, but Pinto was handling most of it herself to start, including the cleaning.

"There’s a sense of entrepreneurship and pride that comes with it. If you have what it takes, go for it," Pinto says.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Nicole Pinto’s correct neighborhood name, Baker not Bakersfield.

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