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Rental Hack: Airbnb

Can’t find a place to rent? How about an Airbnb?

The rental game today is an entirely different animal than it was when I was fresh out of college. I snagged the first house I ever rented without even having a job...he took me on the promise that I’d get a job as soon as I moved back to Michigan. All I had to do to secure my second rental home was tell the landlord I waited tables at Outback Steakhouse. Proof of income? What’s that? The third rental (which was double the rent I was previously paying), approved me based on my references alone. Your credit score sucks? Eh. Which private landlords even thought about checking credit at that time? Today, if you don’t have a bare minimum of a 650 credit score and several pay stubs proving somebody pays you about $3600 a month, you are denied access to 95% of what’s available. Oh you bartend and bring home $4000 a month in cash? Nah, you aren’t reliable. Next applicant. 😳 So what do you do if you desperately need a place to stay but either your credit sucks and/or you don’t have documented income? Have you ever thought about renting an Airbnb?

Okay, okay….I know what you are thinking. Rent an Airbnb? Are you crazy? Those things are expensive! And besides, aren’t they just vacation homes?

Just hear me out for a minute.

Airbnb Homes are Everywhere

First of all, no they are not just vacation homes. There are tons of regular ole houses in my city on Airbnb. In fact, they are in every city. There are rentable houses everywhere that suit every type of need and market. Download the app and check it out. You can also rent any Airbnb home for up to a month at a time, and most of them allow you to stay longer than a month if you need it. So, vacation at these homes if you want, but they can also serve as your everyday residence.

The Cost Covers More than Rent

Secondly, yes they are more expensive than a regular rental. But guess what guys? They are all fully furnished! You don’t have to buy a lick of furniture, a pillow, or even a spoon. How many of you know the life of moving out of your mama’s house just to be sleeping on a hardwood floor, sitting on milk crates, and stealing plastic forks from Taco Bell to eat with? Not at an Airbnb! Everything you need is already there. Also, ALL of the utilities and maintenance costs are paid for...even Wifi and cable (or TV app subscriptions). So while you might be spending your entire budget on the rent, you don’t have to pay for anything else related to living in a home. Additionally, most Airbnb homes provide discounts for long term stay. So while the house might cost $100 a night if you only stay there for a few nights, it will probably cost less than $100 per night if you stay longer. They are all different, so check out your options.

Desperate Situations Call for Radical Solutions

Now, it might sound crazy to you to spend something like $2500 to live somewhere for a month. That’s crazy to me too. So this hack is for those of you in desperation mode….for those of you who absolutely need a place to stay, but one or more of the following is true:

  • You don’t have documented income (you make cash only)

  • You don’t make enough income

  • Your credit is terrible

  • You can afford rent but nothing else

  • You have one or more evictions on your record

  • You have a felony on your record

  • You don’t have the luxury of time to go through the rental process

  • You need a temporary place while you get some things together

  • You are in a dangerous or abusive situation and need out immediately

  • You don’t have a job and you didn’t make the section 8 waitlist but you have a credit card

Creative Financing

If any of those scenarios sound like you, then you might want to consider an Airbnb. If you can’t afford the full cost of an Airbnb or if you don’t have any money at all, you can use a credit card to get you through temporarily. You can’t use a credit card to pay regular rent! In fact, you could apply for a new credit card with a 12-18 month 0% interest promo rate and basically secure a free and easy “mortgage” for yourself for a short time. (I put mortgage in quotes because you aren’t actually buying the house but you are utilizing the same idea.) Just make sure you pay the card back as much as possible per month so that you aren’t too underwater when the promo period ends. And for those of you who want to cuss me out right now for suggesting the use of a credit card to pay rent….listen…..when I was a poor college student, I had to temporarily use credit cards to get by too. Airbnb didn’t exist back then, so I couldn’t put my rent on a card….but I sure did need to use credit for groceries. If I couldn’t sneak eat some of the bread at work, then I had to put my dinner on a card or I wasn’t eating. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Change your Mindset; Change your Life

This may be a radical suggestion, but is it really that much different than regularly utilizing Uber or Lyft? I know many people who can’t or don’t want to buy a car and choose instead to pay $20 per ride to get to work via Uber or Lyft. That turns out to be an $800 a month transportation cost when a car loan could be $150 a month (plus approximately $150 for insurance and $200 for gas, totaling $500 a month on the low end). An Uber might cost you $300 more a month, but it’s convenient, has zero requirements, and accepts credit cards. An Airbnb home might cost you $1000 or more a month in rent, but it’s convenient, has zero requirements, accepts credit cards, and covers a whole slew of other living expenses. Food for thought. 😉


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