Buying Waterloo Region Property for Airbnb – A Beginner’s Guide

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In the summer of 2008, three financially strapped college students in San Francisco were looking for a way to supplement their income so that they could afford to pay tuition, rent and still eat, something they were struggling to do. Their answer, given that their apartment was in a high demand area, was to put an air mattress in their living room and rent it out to tourists and visitors on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

The idea grew. Starting out as, and later becoming the Airbnb we know today, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk now oversee a company that not only made them rich but is helping people from all over the world supplement their incomes and even create viable businesses.

If your head to the Airbnb website, you’ll see that there are plenty of listings in our area. And why not? The Waterloo Region boasts a myriad of reasons for people from all walks of life to visit, from taking in the gorgeous countryside and unique history that surround us to visiting their kids attending one of the many colleges and universities the area is home to. Not to mention the business travellers flying for meetings at one of the large number of major corporations who maintain offices here.

Expanding on the idea of renting out space in their own homes, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are purchasing properties for the sole purpose of turning them into Airbnb. And some are doing well out of it.

There is a lot to consider when undertaking such a venture, and there are people a lot more qualified than us who you can turn to to explain them all. However, if you have done your due diligence and you’ve decided to purchase a property in a particular area, it’s time for you to narrow your criteria down by weighing the pros and cons of each property for sale you come across.

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Here are some factors to consider when evaluating individual properties:


Is the property located in an area that’s likely to attract guests? Is it walkable? Are amenities such as public transportation, shops, restaurants, and recreational activities located nearby? Would business travelers find your property to be convenient?

These are all important location factors which will affect the number of bookings that your property receives. In the Waterloo Region we host thousands of travellers coming to the region for both business and pleasure reasons so its likely there are properties out there that will be just right.


We’ve heard that some would be Airbnb hosts are often uncertain about choosing the right size for an Airbnb property. There isn’t a right size. A well-located condo may generate more income than a large family home. The best advice we can offer is to look for something you can successfully manage and will generate enough profit to exceed the mortgage and other ongoing costs related to your property purchase.

Unique Amenities

What is it about the property that will catch guests’ eyes? In order for your property listing to get attention on Airbnb, it needs to stand out from the array of other properties that are available.

This is where working with a local real estate agent will prove invaluable. We know the ins and outs, the pros and cons, the unique features and much more about each of the neighbourhoods we serve.

What areas might be best for attracting the business traveler? Where might you find a more rural, unique property that will appeal to those looking for peace and tranquility? Are there areas that offer ‘bargain’ properties that could be renovated into something really special? The best people to help you determine such things are local real estate agents.

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We can offer an extra service to Airbnb investors too. Once you’ve found that perfect property you will have to market it while also creating those little resource binders that guests find so useful when staying in a new place. When working with a Waterloo Region real estate broker to find the perfect Airbnb property, you won’t have to rely on Wikipedia and Yelp! for the best local information, you have access to it already; us.

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