Thinking about renting your Birmingham home on Airbnb? See what you need to know beforehand!

A Birmingham home's living room.
Suzy’s UAB Apartment currently lists at $65/night. Since it’s located right in Five Points South she could double that price come the 2021 World Games! Photo via Airbnb.com.

You have the chance to make some dough if you list your Birmingham home on Airbnb. With major events like the 2021 World Games and big businesses setting up shop here, the city is a hub for tourism.

But before you hit up T.J. Maxx for decor, let’s look at what opening up your home entails.

All the fun legal things to consider

Thinking about taking a vacation in my own city at Charlotte’s Downtown Birmingham Loft. Photo via Airbnb.com

The good news is there aren’t many restrictions on Birmingham home short-term rentals. However, it’s always a good idea to check your local jurisdiction—particularly if you live in a suburb.

  • Mountain Brook banned short-term rentals for less than 30 days.
  • As of 2016, the Homewood City Council banned short-term rentals in low density residential neighborhoods (aka single-family homes.)

Another person you need to check with is your landlord. When you signed your lease, it’s entirely possible a clause was in there prohibiting Airbnb rentals. Eviction definitely won’t be covered by the extra hundred bucks you’re making.

Most fun of all and everyone’s favorite subject—insurance on your Birmingham home. Your policy could actually cover short-term rentals. Make sure to get the lowdown on what is and isn’t covered in case a guest decides to throw a rager at your place.

Phew—I’m out of breath.

Listing your Birmingham home

It’s easier than you think, and to prove it I used my apartment as a model.

You start by answering basic questions about your home. A lot of factors play into how much an estimated price for your home will be like size, location and amenities. Mine ended up being about $83 a night.

My Birmingham home can accommodate 4 guests.
I hope guests are okay with sharing their space with my cat.
A screen shot of the amenities my apartment has.
Questions like these go on for a while, but you get the idea. It basically wants to find out everything it can about your home. Later you’ll add in pictures and all that fun stuff.
This part is especially important. You will be in violation of Airbnb’s policies if you neglect to include important details — such as any pets that may be running around. Even if the pet isn’t there at the time, it’s important to note for those with severe allergies.
My apartment would make $1,827 on Airbnb.
Ta-da! I’m ready to list, but keep in mind this is an estimated price. You can list your home for however much you choose.

Now it’s time to get creative. If you want people to choose your Birmingham home over all the others it’s time to give ’em the ole razzle dazzle.

A description of my Birmingham home.
I also suggest throwing in names of specific shops and restaurants. It attracts more attention and gives your place credibility.

Short and sweet, but check out the details. I made my place sound unique and cozy, while highlighting how close it was to a major Birmingham area. Also, guests LOVE two words:”walking distance” (preferably if it’s followed by the words, “to bars.”)

Don’t jump the gun on price

Donuts and orange juice on a counter.
Personal touches to Stephanie’s UAB apartment — like providing homemade donuts — set her above the rest. Photo via Airbnb.com.

Research shows it’s easy to price yourself out of the market—leaving you with nada. If you’re listing for the first time, there will be no credibility from past guests to support a hefty price tag.

The best way to know how much you can list your Birmingham home for is by cheating (legally)! Look at what your neighbors list their homes for, especially those who are Superhosts and have repeat guests.

Timing is everything for your Birmingham home

“Avondale Mid-Century Modern, Adorable Inside & Out.” I love Emma’s title for this, because it states the location and style of the Airbnb—giving it character. Photo via Airbnb.com.

Listing your Birmingham home early gives it a higher probability of someone renting it. Since most events are set up where tickets are purchased months in advance, it’s not likely there will be many guests looking for last minute accommodations.

You gotta spend money to make money

A Birmingham home's kitchen.
According to the host, Architectural Digest named this the most beautiful Airbnb in Alabama. I think I would spend more time in that kitchen taking pictures than actually cooking. Photo via Airbnb.com.

It’s easy to see dollar signs in your future, but consider the ones coming out of your wallet.

  • Service Fee : Airbnb charges a 3% service fee to list your home on the site. This covers payment processing.
  • Basic necessities for guests: toilet paper, towels, power, laundry, snacks, water, fresh sheets, coffee, creamer, wine, breakfast items, hairdryer… If your guests are anything like my brother, these will be used liberally.It’s a good idea to think what a hotel would provide and what a family member you’re visiting might have.
  • Taxes: If the home is rented for less than 14 days, you don’t have to claim the income on your taxes. However, if your home is used as a rental for more than 10%, 15 plus days, of the year then that income needs to be reported.
  • Cleanup : Whether or not you decide to hire a cleaning service is completely up to you. I will say that how I rate an Airbnb depends about 80% on how clean the place was.

This is not an exhaustive list of everything you need to know before you list your Birmingham home, but it’ll get the ball rolling. Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, you can have some fun with your rental! Check out our guide to the coolest Airbnbs in the city for inspiration.

Do you have any advice for first time Airbnb-ers? Let us know by tagging @bhamnow!