Running a Rental Business

How to Start an Airbnb Business Without Owning a House

March 14, 2022

Buying a house to rent out on Airbnb, or even owning a second home, requires a lot of cash for down payments, closing costs, renovation projects, and more. Fortunately, there are several ways to generate Airbnb income without having to own a house. In this article, learn how to make money on Airbnb without owning a home or property.

Title and a picture of a house with an X over it

How to Start Airbnb Without Owning a House: Is it Possible? 

Starting an Airbnb business without owning a house is, indeed, possible. 

If you are among the thousands of people worldwide trying to join the vacation rental industry but don’t have the means to own a house right now, great news! There are numerous other ways to earn profitable income on Airbnb without being a homeowner.  

According to leading vacation rental software iGMS, “Airbnb business owners can make close to $100,000 per year, if not more, without owning any properties.”

Below, learn about ways to make money through Airbnb without owning a home — or without owning any property at all. 

5 House Alternatives to Start an Airbnb Business: How to Start

The vacation rental industry is quickly evolving as more and more guests seek unique vacation experiences away from crowded areas. 

Many guests are searching for a greater connection with nature and gravitating towards new adventures as a way to fulfill this preference. With this in mind, non-traditional Airbnb stays such as yurts, treehouses, tents, RV camping, and cabins are becoming more trendy. 

To start these five house-alternative businesses, research the safety regulations, zoning restrictions, and required permits for your state. Then, work with your local government to complete all necessary paperwork and get the ball rolling. 

1. Yurts 

Cost: $4,000 to $30,000 

A yurt is a portable, round insulated tent made of wood and covered with felt. Originally used by Mongolians for thousands of years, yurts are easy to build and can accommodate a full family. 

According to Field Mag, “A yurt can take anywhere between half an hour to three hours to set up. This depends on the size of the yurt and the number of people helping. Most modern portable yurts can be erected or broken down in around an hour.” 

Yurts are becoming increasingly popular, especially in national parks close to meadows, rivers, and hills. 

Yurt-first house alternative

Photo by De Lemster Krant from Pexels

2. Treehouses

Cost: $8,000 to $35,000 

Gone are the days when treehouses were no more than a hideout for neighborhood kids. Today, Airbnb hosts and co-hosts are bringing a childlike wonder to the vacation rental industry through elaborate, fully furnished treehouses. 

Provide guests with a one-of-a-kind vacation with sustainable, mostly-wood treehouses. You’re sure to attract nature lovers looking to enjoy a cozy stay nestled in the trees. 

3. Domes 

Cost: $10,000 to $50,000

Domes are a curved type of structure. They are basically transparent pods, which means they are a perfect option if your chosen location is known for its entrancing sunrise, sunset, or starry night sky. 

According to the Farley Group, building “a large dome could take as long as five weeks.” If you donʻt have the ability to build a dome yourself, good news. When considering starting a dome Airbnb rental business, you can make things simple for yourself and buy a premade option. 

4. RV Camping 

Cost: $10,000 to $300,000

In the past few years, we have seen an increase of RV owners turning to peer-to-peer rental markets to put their adventure-prone vehicles to work. 

RV camping can be a lucrative business because there are countless travelers looking for creative ways to have a unique traveling experience. According to MobileRVing, RV camping gives travelers the opportunity to stay at different resorts, allowing them to plan numerous activities — bringing strangers together. 

This is possible because you can equip your RV with the essentials and amenities needed for living in. Depending on the size RV you plan to have, it could provide more space and protection than a traditional tent. 

People talking and singing outside an RV

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

5. Cabins 

Cost: $25,000 to $100,000

If RVing is becoming popular among travelers wanting to move from city to city, there is also a significant increase in demand for cabins. Ironically, there are tens of thousands of travelers all over the world wanting to get away from the city for a quiet and peaceful escape. 

Ideally, your cabin would be situated in the mountains, in a forest, or near a body of water, as these are features highly desired by cabin renters.

How to Make Money With Airbnb Without Owning Property 

Just like you can start an Airbnb business without a house, you can also make money with Airbnb without owning any property at all. Below, learn three ways to do just that.

Start a Rental Arbitrage 

Rental arbitrage allows you to bring in cash flow without the challenges of homeownership. 

For instance, you can rent an apartment for $1,800 per month. If you sublet the apartment on Airbnb for $140 a day, you could pay off your rent in just under two weeks. The money you earn during the rest of the month is pure gain.

Keep in mind, you must consider legal rules and regulations, as some cities do not allow rental arbitrage. Equally important, you should obtain permission from your landlord before you start this venture. 

Become a Short-Term Rental Property Manager

Becoming a short-term rental property manager is one of the most common ways to generate money on Airbnb. 

Services of a short-term rental manager include advertising, inspecting the property, communicating with guests, confirming bookings, cleaning or hiring professional cleaners, and addressing guests’ needs. 

Be sure to research state legal requirements as some states require you to obtain a real estate broker license and/or a property manager’s license. Other than that, becoming a short-term rental manager allows you to work flexible hours without having to own your own property. 

Become a Co-Host to an Airbnb Host 

Co-hosts have similar responsibilities as short-term rental property managers. The biggest difference between the two is that Airbnb property management companies may have to operate under specific real estate regulations. 

Additionally, a co-host tends to be someone the primary host knows personally, such as a relative, friend, or even a close neighbor — essentially, someone who is trusted enough to handle the listing and the guests. 

Airbnb host and co host working together

Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels

Build a Non-Traditional But Profitable Airbnb Business Now

Listing your own house to run an Airbnb business is rewarding but stressful. By building a non-traditional Airbnb business through unique rentals like yurts, treehouses, domes, RVs, and cabins, you will attract bookings from guests who are looking to experience one-of-a-kind vacations.

You can also work to generate substantial profit — without investing in large capital — through rental arbitrage, short-term rental property management, or co-hosting. 

Are you a host looking to make your new Airbnb venture easier? Download our host app now to automate and simplify your business.

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By Mia Pimentel