Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know.
So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks.
But if you’re willing to give it a shot, you could make some serious extra income.
You can share a spare room — or list your entire place if you’re headed out of town. Yep. You’d basically be making money for going on vacation.
Keavy Murphree, a 37-year-old Superhost in Nashville, Tennessee, has been listing her home on Airbnb for about four years now.
“It’s been awesome — a game changer,” she says. The extra money was a lifesaver when she got laid off. Plus, it allowed her to spend more time with her kids and launch a career as a freelance artist and designer.
If you’re starting to come around on the idea of becoming an Airbnb host, see how much money you could make by listing your place in Nashville.
Nashville is a top travel destination, and there’s a shortage of hosts. Between the live music on Broadway, trendy East Nashville eateries and nearby hiking options, Music City is considered an “It” city these days — which means there’s a demand for space.
How Much Could Your Place in Nashville Fetch?
Listing your place on Airbnb is simple — but it does require some creativity and strategy. The good news is you can adjust your information and settings at any time, so you’re not committed to anything permanently.
Yep. You’re not locked in. Try hosting and see if you like it — if you’re curious, it’s worth a shot.
Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area.
Now, we’ll walk you through the sign-up process and offer some pro tips, courtesy of Murphree.
How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in Nashville
The first step to becoming an Airbnb host in Nashville is to get a short-term rental property permit from the Metro Codes Department before you create your listing.
Yes, this sounds tricky, but Nashville offers a straightforward guide and checklist of everything you need to do and which types of homes are eligible.
If you’re interested in listing an owner-occupied space (an extra room in your home or a garage apartment on your property), use this checklist to ensure you have everything you need. Once you’re approved, you’ll pay an annual $313 permitting fee.
All good? Now you’re ready to list your place.
Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space and Amenities
To start, you will need to answer a few basic questions about your space. Be ready to detail the number of guests you can accommodate and any amenities (free parking, pool, washer/dryer, etc.).
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t list an entire place — Airbnb welcomes all kinds of listings. In fact, there is often a higher demand for a spare room, basement or garage apartment.
Set the Scene With Photos
Good photos are crucial to your success. Add plenty of high-quality photos to your listing after cleaning and staging your space.
The Airbnb platform provides basic photo tips, like shooting in landscape mode and using natural light, but your years of experience taking your own smartphone photos and browsing through other online listings should help guide you.
Staging your space doesn’t have to be too complicated, either. Add a pop of color with eye-catching artwork and fresh flowers. If there are specific amenities that set your place apart — everything from a Keurig to a hot tub — include photos of these. If you need some inspiration, Murphree suggests flipping through a few home-design magazines.
Also offer photos of the outside of your residence, including parking options and entry. Many guests appreciate knowing there is a keypad or digital keylock so that they don’t have to coordinate their arrival with your schedule.
You can also add photos of the view from your windows or porch (if appealing), as well as photos of nearby hot spots. If you live in Mt. Juliet, for example, snap some pictures of Percy Priest Lake. Can you see Centennial Park from your place? Take a picture of the nearby Parthenon. If you are within walking distance of trendy restaurants in East Nashville or on Broadway, include photos of those locations.
“Tell a story through your photos as much as you can,” Murphree says.
She also encourages new hosts to hire a professional photographer. She says it’ll more than pay off.
Oh, and the photos you take can impact the type of guests you attract. Murphree highlights a little play nook full of toys in her photos. This helps attract families with kids, which she prefers.
Write a Description
So your photos have hooked your potential guests. Good — now reel them in with a winning description. First and foremost, that means good writing: professional in spelling and grammar with succinct sentences and bullet points for easy scanning.
But what should your description include? Think about the types of guests you’d like to attract (families, large groups, couples, business professionals) and what would appeal to them.
Murphree’s description highlights the history of her space as well as its hardwood floors, cozy fireplace and outdoor deck. She also lets her guests know an air mattress and/or Pack ’n’ Play are available upon request.
It also helps potential guests get familiar with Murphree’s location within the city: “The home is a convenient three miles to the heart of downtown Nashville, and just 15 minutes to the airport.” You can also include the average cost of an Uber to these prime locations.
If your residence is farther outside downtown Nashville, highlight what makes your home worth the longer drive into downtown. Is it close to the airport? Is it in Franklin with its own charming downtown? Is your home close to unique hiking spots in Long Hunter State Park?
“Think about how people will be coming to your space and in what capacity they’ll be using it,” Murphree says. “Call that out in bullets.”
If you get stuck, spend some time browsing other Nashville Airbnb listings in the area to see what you find appealing. Pay attention to which ones have generated the highest reviews.
Name Your Listing
Giving your home a unique name can really seal the deal. Think about what makes your pad stand out compared to the others. Location, style and amenities can all formulate a solid name.
Murphree chose to name her space, “Updated 1930s Tudor Style House with Backyard Deck.” It highlights both the character and charm of the home but also its updated features and amenities.
Set House Rules
You want your guests to have an amazing time staying in your space, but you also want them to treat it with care.
Luckily, Airbnb offers a set of rules you can opt into, which cover things like pets, smoking and parties. But you can also write your own rules as necessary.
Murphree suggests leaving reminders of the rules around your space. For example, she has a sign that her guests be considerate of her neighbors when it comes to noise.
Set up Your Calendar
It’s important that you set up your calendar accurately, because you might be penalized if you cancel on your guests.
When setting your calendar, you’ll answer questions like:
- How often do you want to have guests?
- How much notice do you need before a guest arrives?
- When can guests check in?
- How far in advance can guests book?
- How long can guests stay?
Remember: You’re not locked into these settings, so you can change things as you go. Do plan to always leave one day in between bookings, however, so you aren’t rushed to clean your home in between stays.
Price Your Space
Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can use to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand so you don’t have to constantly worry about changing it.
That said, you should always specify a minimum and maximum price within the platform. Airbnb will suggest these for you, but do your homework. Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers:
- Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements.
- Be realistic. People tend to have an inflated view of their place.
- Search other similar Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those.
At first, keep your prices lower to encourage more visitors to stay and leave reviews. With enough experience and reviews, you can achieve Superhost status and start to charge more.
Note Your Local Laws
You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws.
Here are the main points you need to know:
- You’ve probably already gotten your short-term rental permit, which was covered earlier in this article. Once you have that, familiarize yourself with the city’s property operation rules.
- You’ll also need to obtain a business license. You can download these forms online.
- Ah, now the fun part: Taxes. While hosting in Nashville, you’ll have two taxes you need to familiarize yourself with: sales taxes and hotel occupancy privilege tax. Airbnb handles the general sales taxes, but you’ll need to take care of the latter.
Remember, Nashville’s short-term rental laws are evolving, so you’ll want to stay in the loop. Murphree suggests joining the local short-term rental association, Nashville Area Short Term Rental Association (or NASTRA). She says the group is helpful if you run into any issues, and she’s enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other hosts in the area.
Ready to Try Out This Whole Hosting Thing?
How are you feeling? Like we said, listing your place on Airbnb is simple, but it’s going to require some patience, creativity and strategy on your part.
Our biggest tip? Stay up on your listing and be connected to it. Airbnb is constantly updating its features, so keep your eyes peeled. Don’t be afraid to tweak your listing description, prices and calendar settings as you go. Plus, Nashville itself is constantly evolving, so stay in tune with your city.
Timothy Moore is a market research editor and freelance writer covering topics on personal finance, careers, education, travel, pet care and the automotive industry. His work has been featured on Debt.com, Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel. He lived in Nashville in 2018 and 2019 but now lives in his home state of Ohio.