REAL ESTATE MINUTE with Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh: Should I “Airbnb” my spare room for extra income this Christmas?


“Koo, the “borgas” are coming, you have to look sharp and make some money ooo”. While I focused on my “united nations” fufu at the restaurant, the inseparable pair of Christmas and “Borga” definitely caught my attention. You couldn’t miss it especially with the way the other gentleman, who I later found out was Yaw Micky spoke so passionately about Airbnb opportunities for landlords to host tourists and other Ghanaian returnees this coming Christmas. Yaw may have sensed my interest and gesticulated, almost praying I agree with him, as they sat across my table. Koo was a bit hesitant, yes he lived in big house and could easily rent the boys quarters for a quick change this Christmas, but clearly you could tell he risk averse. But his hesitancy is not uncommon, there are many more like him. For him and his like, if it will help, here is a recap or breakdown of the process, hopefully it provides a bit of comfort.

How does it work practically?

Before we delve into the mechanics, a little light on the name. Airbnb is a short form for Airbed (a type of bed or mattress) and Breakfast. The basic model is that, you as a homeowner or space owner, known as the host, can sublet part of your house, be it any space, living room, bedroom, outhouse by listing on Airbnb’s site in the hope to attract travelers or guests who are also looking for bargains and a closer feel of the local community. Everyone wins really – Airbnb makes money off commissions it charges both host and guest, hosts also carve out an additional revenue stream from letting out surplus space within their residence. Guests also are able to not only enjoy a more homely and local community feel but also access big bargains that would have hitherto not been available at expensive hotels. Win-win right? But what are the mechanics?

Commissions & Bookings

Airbnb takes 3% commission of every booking from hosts, and between 6% and 12% from guests. If you aspire to be a host you will be required to create a profile online which would be verified and this verified profile can be linked to social media.  Guests can then send a message to the host and either book instantly, or submit a request for later booking. Hosts are also required to show calendars of availability. As a guest, you pay in full as you book through a secure platform, and hosts will receive that money 24 hours after guests check in.

Trust and Security

As with all ventures, there is the question of security and trust, who are you allowing to your home and in whose house are you sleeping. Genuine security concerns that have been addressed by the peer-review system, where hosts and guests can leave honest reviews for each other; comments can only be left after a reservation.

There’s also the Verified ID system which confirms people’s identities by matching them with social media and other offline documents like scanning photo ID (this system is currently only compulsory for last-minute bookings). In addition, you can use the oldest security system since Adam, trust your gut and be totally comfortable be you a guest or a host. Now shall start listing?

That’s pretty much a bird’s eye view of the process, are you interested in becoming a host or have other questions? I am available as always. Speak soon and happy future hosting to you.

The writer is the Executive director of Yecham Property Consult & Founder of Ghana Green Building Summit.

 Email: [email protected]

Linkedin: Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh

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