Create Extra Income with Airbnb and Enjoy the Freedom to Travel

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on January 25, 2017 in Money Saving Strategies, Personal Finances

Anna Lebedeva writing on financial freedom

Building a treehouse on his property in Washougal, Washington, helped Brian Little, 59, to quit his job.

“With the income from the treehouse, my pension, and my 401K savings plan, I was able to retire early. It also helped me to be able to travel, take vacations, and enjoy my retirement,” says Brian, who had been a paper mill worker for 33 years.

He has been on a couple of trips to Mexico and is planning to go to Costa Rica and Europe over the next few years.

“I listed the treehouse on Airbnb in 2014. Before I knew it, it was booked out solid for the summer because, as it turned out, everybody wanted to stay in a treehouse,” he says.

Properties in rural areas tend to bring seasonal bookings rather than a steady, year-round stream of guests typical for big cities. However, they can provide good earnings as Brian discovered after listing his treehouse on Airbnb.

“I expected just a couple of fishermen to come and stay once in a while because I was on the Washougal River,” says Brian.

His guests book the treehouse when they want to visit the world famous Columbia River Gorge or Dougan Falls, or the nearby state parks or microbreweries that the area is known for.

Brian thought about having a treehouse on his property for a while before he built it.

“I had a hammock between the trees and started to daydream what it would be like to build a treehouse,” he recalls. He checked the building codes in the area.

“The regulations said you can put a temporary structure on your property as long as it is not over 12 by 12 feet. I thought, well, a treehouse is a temporary structure as it has no foundation. I had pretty much every stick of wood figured out in my head and knew how I was going to do it.”

One day, he went and bought lumber…and four months later, he had a treehouse that only cost him $5,000 to build.

He charges between $95 and $125 per night for people to stay in his treehouse…and offers special discounts during low season.

“From end of April to August, it is booked solid almost every night. September is always almost full, and I get bookings for a few weeks in October and November,” he says.

The guests use the spare bathroom in Brian’s house, which is 30 feet away from the treehouse, but there is a microwave oven, a mini fridge, electricity, and internet access up in the treehouse for guests.

“I am really happy with the way it has worked out. At first, when I put my listing online, I was worried that I would have to be there to greet people when they arrive and show them around the property, but after a month or two, I realized that I really didn’t need to be there,” says Brian.

It turned out that his Airbnb rental is very low maintenance.

“I now leave the key and a set of instructions because you never know when the people are going to arrive. When the guests leave, I change the sheets, re-stock the water in the fridge, empty the garbage, vacuum, and sweep. If I am gone, I have someone who can do that for me,” he adds.

The rapid growth of the sharing economy means that there are plenty of opportunities for earning some serious side income by renting out a spare room…an empty cottage…or even your entire family home.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/byronwmoore

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