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Podcast - Into the Airbnb

Interview with an Airbnb Host from Lake Havasu City, Arizona – S2 EP37

Welcome back to another episode of Into The Airbnb, where we talk with Airbnb hosts about their short-term rental experience.

Our guest for today is Mollie McGuire, based in Pasadena, California, who just got started this April on Airbnb with a listing on Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Join us today to hear useful tips on how to get started with a listing remotely and how to decide the right market for your Airbnb business.

This episode is sponsored by Airbtics, short-term rental analytics for high return investments, comprehensive data for insights, ideas and inspiration. Go to app.airbtics.com to find precise Airbnb data such as occupancy rate, revenue, average daily rate and so on. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Into The Airbnb Podcast S2 EP 37:
$4,000 future projection – Useful Insights on how to get started on Airbnb in Lake Havasu City
airbnb hosting tips lake havasu

You can also listen to this Into The Airbnb Podcast Episode on Otter.

Delia:

So can you tell me how did you get started with Airbnb or short-term rentals?

Mollie McGuire:

Yes, I’ve been thinking about it for about two years now at the start of the pandemic and I thought “how else can I make money?” and a friend of mine had three Airbnbs. So we just started helping me look for a property and a place that would make sense that had a good return on investment. And, you know, the main thing was, “where do you like to vacation?”, so I ended up choosing Lake Havasu City, Arizona and that is where I bought my house and I’m now currently doing Airbnb.

Delia:

And how did you find out about that one market?

Mollie McGuire:

So I just was doing research on Zillow, I’ve been looking at like Airbnb forums and just on actual Airbnb and VRBO just seeing like, where places were very hot and where everyone was getting booked. So just a lot of research, especially on Airbnb and then cross referencing Zillow to see if like the price would be right and all that stuff.

Delia:

Okay, that’s great to hear! And does anybody who you know have also an Airbnb there? Did you get like advice from someone from that area as well?

Mollie McGuire:

So funny enough, in my house here in California, my roommate has a friend who just bought a house in Lake Havasu as well. So I actually connected with her and we went live the same week, in April. So we’ve been in communication just like, “hey, how are you doing? What’s working? What’s not working?” all that good stuff.

Delia:

I see that’s great! And how has been your experience with remote hosting so far?

Mollie McGuire:

Honestly, I don’t think I will have a manager because they would be remote too. So I have the time to send the check in the checkout information and I don’t mind doing it, so I’m glad that I chose to do it myself.

Delia:

And how do you deal with cleaning and turnovers?

Mollie McGuire:

So I kept reaching out on forums like, “hey, is there any cleaners in Lake Havasu?” and then, I actually just went on Yelp and I found the highest rated cleaner gave her a call and she wasn’t taking on any clients. So I said, “Hey, do you have any recommendations? You know, I don’t want to be stepping on your toes or rude or anything” and she said, “No, I have the perfect person who took over my business last summer when she was ill”. So I called that lady up, who’s my current cleaner and when I was at the house in Arizona, she came and met up, we walked through the house, walked through expectations. Now I just text her and let her know when she has to clean and then she just goes, cleans and sends me pictures.

Delia:

Okay, that’s great. And how do you deal with maintenance as well?

Mollie McGuire:

So right now, I haven’t really had much maintenance, but I do have a home warranty, so everything’s covered with a home warranty.

Delia:

Okay, that’s good to hear. And can you tell me a little bit about how did you finance this property you bought there?

Mollie McGuire:

I got a conventional loan and had a bunch of money saved up, so that’s how I bought the house.

Delia:

Okay, that’s great. And how much did it take for the loan to be approved?

Mollie McGuire:

Oh, it was really quick. I mean, my credit is good. So the lending company has to get all the information for you, but it was super easy and super, super quick.

Delia:

That’s great. And in case you’re planning on doing like future investment again, you’re planning to use the same loan type?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, in the same lender. The lender that I have now is a great friend and he’ll be looking out for me if I ever have, you know, I can refinance or whatever. So if I get another house, I’ll definitely go through him.

Delia:

Okay, good to hear that. And what can you tell me about your market there? How is it? Is it very seasonal? How is your average occupancy rate like? If there any high seasons or low seasons?

Mollie McGuire:

Um, yeah. So for Lake Havasu, summer is definitely the craziest, busiest. So I expect in the next couple of weeks, my my summer is going to be booking out. The winter time, a lot of snowbirds from the Midwest or Canada, they come to have a sun to get away from the freezing temperatures. So that’s all I’ll be looking into, like, you know, maybe not due to months, but maybe a couple of weeks here, a couple of weeks there just so I can have someone always in the house. So definitely expecting high occupancy rates for the summer. And then we’ll kind of just see, since it’s my first go out.

Delia:

You have already been live for a whole year, right? You told me April, was it April last year or this April?

Mollie McGuire:

No, this year.

Delia:

This year only. Okay. And what rates have you seen when you are doing market research? What kind of occupancy rates were you seeing during summer time and wintertime?

Mollie McGuire:

So for summertime, it was like 85 and above. Winter time depending on if you were doing short-term or kind of long-term as an over 28 days above 70. And then of 70% if you’re doing snowbirds.

Delia:

Do you also plan on extending the stays during wintertime?

Mollie McGuire:

I mean, I’m definitely going to look into it. Like if it’s pretty slower, if someone asked to book, I’ll just have to do the calculations and see if it’ll be worth it.

Delia:

That makes sense! And for now, you’re only doing short-term? Or you also accept mid-term or long-term?

Mollie McGuire:

Right now we’re just gonna stick to short-term for the summer.

Delia:

Short-term, that’s great. And so far, how much can you estimate for monthly revenue?

Mollie McGuire:

Right now, I’m looking at around 35 to 4000 a month.

Delia:

Those are good numbers. And are those real rates you’re receiving right now? And how much is your occupancy rate with those numbers?

Mollie McGuire:

So right now, that’s my projection. This month is a lot lower because this is the first month that I started. I’ve had three guests so far. So right now, my occupancy rate is super low, but that’s also because just slow season. So once June hits at all, it’ll start picking up.

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Delia:

And since you have recently started, are there any strategies you’re taking so you can like upgrade your listing?

Mollie McGuire:

I made a talk, I made an Instagram, a Facebook business page and I just kind of mess around with the photos every day and description just to try to get it boosted. And just posting in like the Facebook forums like “hey, heart for heart” or just “take a look at my listing” and also just having like family members and friends go in and see if they can find my listing on for example, Airbnb.

Delia:

Those are good strategies to be honest. And what about lowering the rates and letting many guests come in first, so you can get a good amount of reviews and stuff like that?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, so right now, my rate is pretty low. I mean, I’m definitely going to be raising it for the summertime. But again, yeah, those reviews are just really crucial.  

Delia:

Yes, that’s right. How much would be your average daily rate for now?

Mollie McGuire:

Right now is 150 to 160 per night, depending on Fridays for Saturday or, you know, Monday or Tuesday.

Delia:

I was about to ask you that. Do you have any pricing strategy for weekends, for example? Or any close events?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, so I mean, I just raise it a little bit on the weekend. And then for example, like Fourth of July, I do like a three or four night minimum as well as Memorial Day and Labor Day like the major holidays.

Delia:

What is going to be your average daily rate in the future? What are you planning to raise it to?

Mollie McGuire:

I’m hoping to get at least around 220 to 240.

Delia:

Yeah, those are good rates are you planning to pricing competitively according to the other listings in your area?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, that’s kind of just what I’ve been doing, just checking out all their rates.

Delia:

And how competitive is the market as for now there?

Mollie McGuire:

I mean, it’s pretty saturated. But at the end of the day, there’s so many people that come to have a sun, so I’m very confident that I’ll be booked out.

Delia:

Okay, that’s great. So you still think is a good place to invest in?

Mollie McGuire:

Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, my sister’s gonna be probably paying some of my mortgage this summer because she goes all the time.

Delia:

Can you tell me a little bit about your property price? Maybe people might be interested now that you talked about the market. How much did you pay for your property and some numbers that you’ve lived before for other properties as well?

Mollie McGuire:

Well, let me tell you, if I would have bought summer of 2020, I would I got the house for like 300 grand, but because the market is really hot right now, I paid 450 and at a good interest rate before that also skyrocketed. So definitely a lot more pricey these days and, you know, it was a lot better a couple of years ago.

Delia:

Okay, so thinking expect around 450 and about for… How many bedrooms and bathrooms?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, for a three bedroom, two bathroom, that’s like, updated.

Delia:

Okay, that’s great. Sounds good. And can you tell me a little bit about the challenges so far do you have encounter, either in your market or as an Airbnb host?

Mollie McGuire:

I think the biggest struggle that I had is, like two weeks ago, my sister went out there and the hot water wasn’t working. And then I had a plumber come out and he was like, the water’s fine. So I’m like, “did she not turn it on to the right temperature? What’s going on? The water heater is good”. So I think that was my biggest stress. But other than that, I really haven’t had any issues. Of course, you know, a lot of people will go to have a sun and they want it really, really cold inside, but when it’s 120 degrees out, you can’t put the thermostat at six degrees, it will blow. So I think that’s just something that is interesting for the location. But other than that, really having any issues.

Delia:

And if this one issue that you said about the thermostat and also the hot water, can be presenting to you again, in the future, how do you plan on dealing with that?

Mollie McGuire:

I just have a person on call that’ll get out there right away. And then was like the thermostat, it’s in my contract, so they read what the AC is able to get to.

Delia:

Are there any particular things you say to your guest as a remote host? Do you offer like the list of the rules, the list of what situation should they call you for and stuff like that?

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, you know, I just have house rules and I have a rental agreement. I just have my number and my email and I just say “let me know if you have any questions or anything I’m available”.

Delia:

That’s great. And lastly, any tips that you could give out for other future Airbnb hosts or current Airbnb hosts who are starting as well like you in your market?

Mollie McGuire:

I think get things done sooner rather than later. Have your cleaners lined up, your handyman lined up, your trash people lined up. And don’t be afraid to manage it by yourself because at the end of the day, if you have a really good cleaner, you can always have them check on the property, pay them a little bit extra. But don’t be afraid to host by yourself because at the end of the day, they’re remote host as well, so it’s not like they can put out a fire any quicker than you can.

Delia:

That’s right. Yeah, thank you a lot for your tips. It has been really nice talking to you. So that’d be it for today. Thank you a lot for your time!

Mollie McGuire:

Yeah, thank you so much for having me and good luck!

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