Our Thoughts on Short-Term Rentals

Today, I wanted to address a pretty big debate that has been going on in our comments sections anytime we talk about our bnbs. Upfront I want to say that I think these types of debates can be healthy and educational, and that’s something we encourage! I love to learn from your experiences and stories. We know some of you have passionate opinions about short-term rentals, we’d love to hear your thoughts and we hope you will take the time to hear ours.

This issue is complex and varies so much from city to city, so I want to encourage everyone to avoid oversimplifying it. The point of this post is to share our opinions and experiences with our bnb properties in the two cities we live in. The laws in cities around the country can be very different. The pros and cons list can be different for every city as well. It’s so interesting to learn how people feel about short-term rentals in different parts of the country. I hope the conversation around short-term rentals can become more nuanced because I truly think it’s an important ongoing conversation. Please keep in mind, we are here to share our experiences in Nashville and Springfield, not to speak for every different city.

We love our bnb properties and are so proud of them. We work really hard on making them special, beautiful homes. The home we are renovating in Missouri will be a part-time home for my family and I when we visit. We love to stay with our families, but now that we’re adopting our second child we realized we needed our own space to pace the busy holiday schedule, make some memories on our own and charge our introvert batteries. Last Christmas, I ended the night in tears because it was just so overwhelming. After that, we began to make plans to go at a slower pace that works better for our family.

We have been remodeling the Springfield home with love and care and the intention of it being a holiday home for my family. We have met the neighbors, and they understand and support our reasons for renting the house out when we’re not in town. Long-term renting would not be an option for us since we plan to use the home often, but short-term renting gives us a chance to not let the house sit empty most of the year.

In Springfield, there are new laws to moderate short-term rentals (I’m going to say STR from here on) that are really great and protect neighborhoods. First of all, there is a regulation that there cannot be too many STRs too close together. So there will never be a neighborhood or a street that is all bought up by investors looking to do STRs. (This is only for homes that will be second homes, like ours. For primary residences that only rent out their home three months out of the year or less, there is a different permit that is a bit easier to obtain.)

Next, you have to get signatures from the majority of your neighbors to show they support your intention to use your property as a STR. And, after that, you are required to host an open house where neighbors can come meet you face to face, ask any questions they may have and raise any concerns.

These are all new regulations in Springfield, Missouri. In our opinion, they are very fair and overall balanced. Neighborhoods are protected, but people like us can still rent out a property that is empty for months at a time. Best of all, relationships with neighbors are valued and protected. Even though Emma was a little nervous to host her open house (our property was mostly gutted and under major construction at the time), it was so good to be able to talk face to face with the neighbors. Best of all, we were able to give them our direct contact info, so in case they ever notice an issue, they can call us right away.

Once we are done renovating and the house is furnished, we will also be required to get another approval from the city. They will be checking that our property has enough (and working) smoke detectors and other safety necessities. Personally, we really like this oversight measure. If we were to rent the property as a long-term rental, it’s possible we would go for years without really being able to check in on smoke detectors or other wear and tear to the home. But with short term this is much more accessible and I think makes the property even safer for not only our family but anyone who chooses to rent an STR.

In Nashville, the regulations are much different. Most residents can get permits on their primary homes that they live in, but if it’s a second home it has to be commercially zoned or you cannot get a permit. These are also new laws that are ever changing.

For this reason, Emma and I chose to buy a duplex that was commercially zoned. It currently sits next to two empty lots. There are very few properties like this available, so we chose the best one we could find. It was a new construction with very little (old house) charm or details, so we have spent the past few months adding a lot more detail to the homes and furnishing them. Emma is planning to live part-time in her property and I’m so happy about it. This week, she and her husband are there and we’ve been hanging out almost every night with Nova. It’s been really great.

Since the STR laws in Nashville have become so much more strict, there are now less bnbs in the city than there have been in a long time. I understand when people say they worry investor-owned STRs will take inventory away from people trying to buy their primary home. Due to the new laws, this is no longer an issue.

All in all, I think cities moderating STRs so that there aren’t too many is a good and important step. We are obviously not anti-bnb, but we still believe regulations should be in place so that investors cannot buy up whole neighborhoods. All of the worst stories I have heard have been situations like that where no oversight was in place.

Another thing I want to mention is the responsibility of STR owners to screen their guests and have strict rules that protect neighborhoods. I remember years back we rented a home in Palm Springs and one of the rules was that if a neighbor called the police on you due to noise you would be kicked out immediately. These type of serious rules being enforced keep neighborhoods safe. We don’t allow any kind of parties in our houses (Nashville is popular bachelorette/bachelor party destination). If we had a downtown property, we would allow party groups to stay. But since we have a neighborhood property, we don’t.

We also now have ring doorbell cameras on our doors so we can make sure that our house isn’t getting a huge number of people when only a small group is supposed to be staying there. I’ve never had my property used for a party or trashed, but I have met people who have. This is why it’s important to us to give our information to neighbors so they can let us know if they notice anything out of the ordinary.

In the best-case scenario, a STR will stay in excellent condition and be used respectfully. Jeremy and I were blown away by how respectful our guests were in our first experience owning a STR last year. As an owner, the other thing that is night and day different (from long-term rentals) is that the property stays in absolute mint condition and we had a chance to make tiny upgrades all throughout the year. This is why I would personally rather live next door to a (well managed) STR than a long term. I mean our STR properties get professionally cleaned WAY (like, wayyyy) more than our personal home.

The last thing I want to talk about are my own customer experiences. I sometimes like staying in short-term rentals and sometimes I prefer hotels. It depends on the city and whether I am traveling with my whole family. If you’ve ever traveled with a kid who goes to bed early (Nova’s current bedtime is 7 p.m.), staying in a single hotel room together is difficult. Suites can work well, but they can also get expensive fast. If you’ve ever traveled with pets, same thing. And if you’ve ever traveled with a group of 2-3 couples or a big family group, you know how much more functional a short-term rental can be. Short-term rentals are something I use often and appreciate as a customer. Bottom line, they are two totally different experiences. Do you want room service or a kitchen? Are you spending a lot of time in your rental or will you be out 90% of the day? There is a need for both and having options is a good thing!

Every summer, my in-laws rent a big house with a pool for our whole family to stay in. The first few years we did it we stayed in hotels and condos. I can tell you from that experience the house is 100x better for the quality time our family is trying to achieve. When we start a new property, I always think about what kind of families might stay there and try to make it really special for them. A big part of our motivation when we decorate and furnish is envisioning the memories we have made and new memories being made.

Nashville has awesome fancy hotels, but not a ton of affordable (but still nice) ones. When we were moving here four years ago, we were staying in hotels a lot and we stayed in a couple of the worst hotels we’ve ever stayed in. That’s one of the things that inspired us to look into making a bnb—I felt like there weren’t enough medium-priced options.

Springfield is a smaller town. It doesn’t have a hotel industry like Nashville and it doesn’t have a ton of “cute” places to stay. We love that we can offer something really beautiful for people to rent in our hometown. (Although for the record, there are a few cute spots to stay and we have a couple friends who also have bnb properties around our hometown that they put so much love into just like us.)

Emma’s and my goal is to create STRs that add value to our city and the people who visit our cities. We go the extra mile to give our guests a full experience. We respect the neighborhoods as these are communities we are a part of. We really care! I hope if you get anything from this post you can see that we’re trying to do a good job. I think a lot of people who own STRs are (and I’m sure there are some bad ones too—who I am not defending). I hope if anything that I’ve shared how we’ve made our decisions and how we are trying to run a side biz that contributes positively to our communities in every way.

Short-term rentals can be good and can be bad. Like almost all other tasks in life, it needs to be done responsibly, not recklessly. We want to do it the right way. We take that responsibility seriously. And although we are forever imperfect and always learning, we felt it was worth it to share all this today.

Doing more STR properties is a goal of ours for the future. We’re at the prime of our careers and it makes sense for us to invest money in property and it is something we really enjoy working on. It’s a bonus that we can share some of these projects and tours here on our blog and it’s an extra special bonus that some of the guests who choose to rent our properties are readers who have been following us for years.

After our last big announcement, we had a real talk about whether we needed/wanted to share our short-term rental projects here on the blog. Believe it or not, my friends who don’t promote their properties to their followers at all make basically the same money on their STRs. The point of why we share isn’t to get people to rent it, they pretty much stay rented either way and from what I can tell most of the people renting our property have not all been “fans” by any means.

After thinking it over, we have decided to keep sharing this part of our business for now because A. We love doing it (really really enjoy this!) and B. We want to continue to be a part of this conversation. It’s 100% OK with us if some of our readers don’t like STRs or don’t like that we own them. We can agree to disagree and we plan to keep listening, keep learning and trying to do better. STRs are still a relatively new option (or at least recently popularized) and with anything that new there is going to be some back and forth before things are properly regulated and best practices are fully established.

Thank you for reading! xx. Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photo edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Thanks for posting, I loved reading a little about this side of your airbnbs. Great post!

  • I have definitely considered this and it is a great option! Unfortunately, we have not come across any townhouses that we like. If we see one though, you know we’ll be taking a look into it!

  • I’m curious what happened with your other Nashville Air BNB since the laws changed. Did you sell it or were all existing Air Bnb’s grandfathered in?

  • Please keep sharing! I think it’s so interesting learning about the business and besides that, I like seeing the decorating styles and renovations that you guys have made!

  • We recently bought our first home, which had been an AirBnB for ~6 years before we bought it. We definitely benefit from the private investment the previous owners put into it. (We were able to buy a moderately-priced, rehabbed home in a neighborhood full of homes that were otherwise unaffordable or needed too much work for this stage in our lives.) Neighbors say they preferred having long-term renters as neighbors compared to the AirBnB — but they prefer us to the long-term renters. 😉 However, we never would have bought a house that’s in the condition most of the LTRs are in— so it’s a give and take. I have all the feelings about STRs, and housing in general, and all I can say for sure is it’s complicated! I understand if y’all decide to limit what you share in the future, but for now I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences owning a STR.

  • I would be afraid of guests leaving bedbugs — difficult to eradicate.

  • Thanks for this post. I have mixed feelings about STRs for a few of the reasons you mentioned. Honestly, I’ve opted out of your posts about your STRs so far because of my feelings about them, so I haven’t seen that it’s been a big topic of conversation here. I grew up in the Nashville suburbs, and I’ve always dreamed that my husband and I will get to move to Nashville one day. Since it became a vacation destination and before Nashville’s legislation, I felt like STRs were a huge contributing factor to making that dream impossible.

    Right now we own our home close to downtown Atlanta, on the edge of a historic, trendy neighborhood. It’s because of my experiences here that was surprised that you said you’d actually rather live next to a STR than a long term rental. On my street, we know all of our neighbors. We have a neighborhood Slack, and we get together all the time. It doesn’t even really come up who is a long-term renter and who is an owner. In the one house on our street that recently became a STR, we lost a neighbor who was present and got temporary neighbors, in town for one or two nights a week. Even though there haven’ been any incidents with the AirBnB guests, the house may as well be empty for all it contributes to the culture in the day-to-day. The owner lives in metro Atlanta, but he doesn’t have any reason to be interested in our street beyond his property.

    On the block behind ours it has been worse. In a stretch of 7 houses, 4 are full-time Airbnbs. The past owner of one of them fully locked out their low-income tenants one day, kicking them out to prepare to show the house to investors. We lost some of the longest-term residents of our neighborhood, long-term renters, and we’ve gained streams of short term renters. Because of STRs the long-term renting stock has plummeted around here. The first time I looked at my neighborhood on Airbnb on a whim, I was shocked to see how many homes on the blocks surrounding mine are on Airbnb. I truly think it explains why rents have skyrocketed.

    Anyway, those are reasons that they need to be regulated, and I’m glad that you support the regulations. Personally, I do still use Airbnb, but I try to only stay in properties where the owner primarily lives onsite. Housing availability is such a crisis in many of the places I travel to, and staying in a place that has been removed from the rental housing market to be part of the tourism industry doesn’t feel good to me. Your two bnbs in Springfield and Nashville do seem great, and you seem like the best case scenario for Airbnb owner neighbors.

  • I so appreciate you and Emma being so honest and open about this process! I had no idea that a) there was any type of different feedback in comments or that b) some people aren’t fans of BNBs…but it was so interesting to learn more about rental properties and thoughtful investments. Please keep sharing! I love the variety of your posts.

  • I like seeing this content from the design standpoint and I appreciate you addressing the other issues. Airbnbs will continue whether people approve or no, so fair legislation and responsible owners are the best bet for lessening any negative impact. I hope you’ll con tinue sharing!

  • I’m not the world’s biggest fan I will admit. In Toronto the vacancy rate is so low and rents are so high people are struggling, and that is largely to do with Airbnb. It is also not a great way to build a community when your neighbours are a parade of strangers filtering in and out. To each her own.

  • It’s always interesting to know what other places do to regulate STRs. In my area, local government has been been incredibly slow to catch up and regulate. It has been a source of much conflict and struggle within the community. It sounds like my town could take a lesson from yours!

  • Thanks for sharing, I loved reading a little about this side of your bnbs. Great post!


  • Thanks for the thoughtful and open discussion; it was especially interesting to read about the differences between Springfield and Nashville laws regulating STRs. One issue not yet mentioned here is how STRs can bypass anti-discrmination laws, and how much harder it is for people of color, especially African Americans, to be accepted as renters or to find renters for properties they own. This 2016 NPR article sums it up nicely: https://www.npr.org/2016/04/26/475623339/-airbnbwhileblack-how-hidden-bias-shapes-the-sharing-economy

  • I just want you to know that I have visited Springfield, MO solely because of the way you love and promote it on your blog. We stayed at a BnB in an old Victorian house, shopped at the vintage and book stores, ate at local restaurants, and even had drinks at the Golden Girl! Sharing your Air BnB journey on your blog actually brings visitors to your towns, which is good for the local economy. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and reflections on the matter.

  • That was a very interesting , authentic and well-written article. And I’m glad you decided to share cause I love to see the design process !

  • Thank you for sharing this, and especially explaining the local laws in the cities where you rent out properties. Those are some good rules, especially the ones with meeting the neighbors! I wish my city had those.
    In my (large, popular, European) city, short term rentals are a menace. The city is experiencing a massive surge in rents and a shortage of places to rent, too – so it’s not just expensive, but super hard to even find anything in the first place. I love my neighborhood and the people who live here, and it’s really discouraging to see places rented out to tourist instead of people who will make a life here.
    I absolutely loathe Airbnb the company. They ignore local laws and do not cooperate with local law enforcement. For example, it’s not legal to rent out an apartment here unless you have a permit. But Airbnb neither checks that people have them, nor do they provide contact info for the ones who don’t to the local government. I think it’s because we’re in Europe and they basically don’t care. In the US, it might be different.

    For people planning a vacation, I encourage you to google “airbnb rules” + the name of the city you want to visit before you book. You may find that for that particular place, it would be more considerate to stay at a hotel or proper apartment rental. Please don’t destroy what you come to visit.

    • Thank you for posting this. Airbnb is a lot like Uber in this way. They try to influence local laws and oppose any of the regulations that cities are trying to promote to protect their residents. Elsie, and Emma, I appreciate the heart of this post and understand the amount of internet hate that running a blog generates and how hard that must be. However, the bottom line that I can’t seem to shake is that you’re promoting the ownership of your second and third home. The amount of privilege it takes to buy a home so your family can be less inconvenienced during holidays shouldn’t be a right. The airbnb in my neighborhood is the same and the lady at the meeting was very incredulous when she had to pay a fee for a year long permit. She actually stated that if she wasn’t allowed to profit from the home she’d have to sell it. Which is like wow, do you not see that this is your SECOND home? The part that really makes me a little queasy is the fact that you use your platform to promote this as an idea for others and it’s spreading. The idea of the flip house and the airbnb house as a fun easy way to redecorate a space and make money is having a damaging effect on property values nationwide and it is seen on so many blogs and on HGTV these days. I’m glad you took the time to discuss these issues in depth. I just hope it’s enough.

      • So just to clarify, Marisa—do you see people working in the home improvement sector (whether it be a flip, renovating a property to then rent out part-time, etc.) as an inappropriate way to earn an income? I’m thinking of contractors (not necessarily people like Elsie and Emma) who see a dilapidated/outdated house that needs love and attention to be revived using their talents and hard-earned skills to renovate it and then sell it… Do you see that as problematic?

        • No, because they’re not in the business of glamorizing it as part of a lifestyle. Big difference. Also, part of my comment was about how AIRBNB as a company actively campaigns against regulations that protect residents. As nice as Elsie and Emma seem to be and as much thought as they put into this post, which is admittedly more than most people, this is still a problem. Property values going up nationwide, less availability of housing stock, none of that happens in a vacuum. STRs are defiantly part of the problem. Posting about how great, fun, and pretty it is on your blog is part of the problem.

          • With respect Marisa, I think the way Elsie and Emma write their posts makes it abundantly clear that they know they are blessed and lucky (although they have worked very hard to EARN their privilege the way I see it) and I have never felt that they have put the owning of a second property as a right. As a long time follower, I would hate for them to think that that is how they come across.

            I prefer working hard on my own situation as opposed to tearing others down. For the record, I live in Australia where owning your own home is viewed as ‘severely unaffordable’. For such a small population the housing prices in Sydney are rated as the second most expensive in the world (after Hong Kong – and LA is third after that). I believe this was caused by overseas investors, loooong before airbnb was a thing. For mine, I think STR are making it much more affordable for people who could otherwise not afford it travel and to me that is a massive pro. I also find it interesting that while some people oppose SRT due to perception that they drive up housing prices but when it comes to saving themselves money on a trip or holiday some of the same people will use them.

            It’s a very interesting topic and I thank you for your habit of not shying away from the hard conversations, even though I know it must be causing you so much anxiety.

  • There should definitely be more city oversight of STRs. Last 4th of July, our neighbor’s AirBnB guests lit our front yard on fire. The mature landscaping has not recovered, and won’t for another 45 years, as it was original to the house. In Seattle, there isn’t any neighborhood approval or a meet-n-greet. Sounds like you guys are taking this very seriously. More seriously than our neighbor who didn’t help pay for the damage his guests caused.

  • I live in edinburgh Scotland and I HATE STRs. My children will never be afford to buy a flat in my city. It was a possibility before this boom.
    My friends are plagued with people using the flats as holiday places with no thought for the residents. The streets are clogged with the service vehicles changing the linen and cleaning. I work in a library and I spend my day printing off boarding cards for tourists who don’t have a hotel reception to do it for them. Edinburgh residents have a reputation for hating tourists and this is only adding fuel to the fire. I will never ever stay in an air BnB.

  • I used to love staying at STRs when traveling, but I’ve been burned way too many times by homeowners cancelling at the last minute and leaving me in the lurch paying hundreds if not thousands more dollars to find lodging. For example, in the past year I’ve had three STRs cancel on me in short notice when I’ve booked months out…obviously causing panic and money to travel. So I’m pretty much done from a renter standpoint.

    In this experience (and my experience as an attorney) I’ve learned that the current state of the law doesn’t protect the short term renters from this type of fraud. They will try to work things out with you but if you’ve booked a popular weekend and there is no inventory available there’s essentially no recourse other than filing a lawsuit. If a renter cancels less than 60 or 30 days in advance the property typically gets the full payment but sadly there’s no mutual protection for the renter.

    None of this is to imply that Elsie or Emma are being unscrupulous STR landlords. It’s a developing area of the law and both parties need to protect themselves.

    Suffice it to say for peace of mine I now only book hotels.

  • One thing I’d like to point out is that any kind of STR may be taking away housing from full time residents in your community. I live in one of the top 10 least affordable cities (a community lacking high paying jobs combined with very high housing prices) Its not always a conversation about playing nice with the neighbors, its question of taking one more property out of the pool.


  • Great article. Well written and informative and looked carefully at both sides.

  • I really love STRs – they are usually beautifully decorated, and travelling as a family with 2 kids, it makes things waaaaay easier- we can make breakfast and some meals there, and when the kids go to bed, my husband and I can still have some downtime. Having stayed in hotels with the kids before, I assure you, it’s not that fun to have to hide in the bathroom or sit on the other bed in a dark room trying not to wake the kids. I also don’t like hotels at all- I find the hallway sounds to be way louder than any bnb I’ve stayed at, and they always look and feel like impersonal, generic hotel rooms. I get that affordable housing is an important issue in basically every city on the planet (I’ve yet to go anywhere that tourists were also interested in going that wasn’t considered to be very expensive to purchase property) and it’s important to manage it- while keeping in mind that property values almost always consistently go up in cities, so the rising cost of housing is not always because of airbnb. I’m glad cities are putting in rules to help manage the number and distribution of bnbs. No one wants to live somewhere that is nothing but STRs. It’s nice having neighbours.

  • IMO, the short term rental debate is along the same lines of the commercial vs. residential zoning debate, in that it can only truly be assessed by individual property. In a city with a housing shortage (commenting from L.A.) there are pros and cons. Pro: more people can afford to own homes and pay their exorbitant mortgages by renting out rooms, converted garages, or guest houses/suites on property. Con: less housing for full time residents. But we also need tourism out here to thrive economically. Very complicated issue. Apartment buildings in Beverly Hills banned Airbnbs, but there are different laws governing single family residences. In a city without a housing crisis, I think short term rentals are far less of a pressing issue and it really boils down to preference, instead of a cost of living/available housing issue.

  • I’m glad you posted this, because I was very confused why people were arguing in the comments. I live in the midwest, where housing is cheap and property values in even the largest cities are nowhere near the price of other large cities. Every Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in has been the renter’s only home. I’ve always seen it as a way for the middle class to pay their mortgages faster than they would otherwise, and it’s a great way to have another income stream. If companies did come in and buy up properties and turn them into STRs, we would be better off for it to support the local economy. To all of you city folk – move to the midwest! We’re fun, cheap, and we have amazing lakes that look like oceans. 🙂

  • I love this, thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate how intentional you are with your choices, and also that your cities are thoughtful about STRs. I personally almost always stay in bnbs when I travel because I have a medically restricted diet and it’s often hard to eat out, so being able to cook for myself gives me a lot of freedom and security.

  • I too have a STR (I try to get longer term guests in the winter) but didn’t realize how opinionated people were. Mine is in a small town just outside a mid sized town but about an hour from Orlando and Tampa. Currently there are little regulations minus taxes but my first step was strict rules and open conversations with the neighbors. They know the rules and I’ve asked that they call right away if they see an issue. So far I love owning it and it has been positive. Between your site and Young House Love, I’ve learned a ton and improved my own rental.

  • Thank you for writing this. This is also a big debate in my city. I know there are pros and cons but in my area, it was more of a positive. Anaheim is monopolized by the hotels and Disneyland. Once they started losing money to short term rentals, they banned it unless you went through some permits which are hard to get for most residents. There were little things around the area like the neighborhoods were cleaner and safer, people could afford to stay in their areas, and tourists could have the option of a affordable travel over luxury hotel stays (which is most of Anaheim). As for the affordability of the housing area, I live in California and it’s always been expensive and it’s always been high living cost area, that hasn’t changed from short term rentals. I saw more of a positive impact and I hope the city changes its mind but unfortunately they make more money for the city than individual short term rentals, it’s hard to compete against Disneyland and Hilton’s.

  • This was very interesting to read! This is not a topic I am super educated in so it was very helpful and I can see both sides. However, as a family with two kids I can definitely see a rental like this making a ton of sense. Besides hotels on Disney property where it’s ALL KIDS, staying in a regular hotel with them completely stresses me out. The noise issue is a real thing, nobody sleeps well, I can go on and on. I think the open house thing that is required is super cool and in a way I feel like it would make the neighbors feel like they have a little part in the property too which I think is awesome. I can tell that you guys really care and at the heart of if you are making it FOR YOU not just to make money off of it. It makes me so so sad to see houses just sitting empty so I think it’s a great way to keep them in good shape when you aren’t using them for your own personal use. Can’t wait to see more!!

  • Thank you for writing this most informational post. Whenever I travel I prefer staying in a STR over a hotel for all of the reasons you stated and more.
    I had no idea about all of the regulations regarding STR but I agree that they are fair and balanced.
    I would welcome more posts on this topic.

  • Wow! Thanks for sharing. I had no idea this was such a passionate topic.
    I have always loved your bnb posts, but I guess the law in Denmark is much much different. A lot of people have 2. homes here, mostly vacation houses but most of them are being short term rentals.

  • I love that you have bnbs. I love that you are spending time and money to create affordable places for families to stay. I would 100% rather stay in a house than a hotel, and some cities they are so hard to find! I Love what you guys are doing to make a few little spots in the world just a little better.

  • I completely understand both sides of the issue of short term rentals, but have come to really value short terms rentals and their availability in cities around the world. My husband and I have stayed in numerous short term rentals around the country and in Europe which has allowed us to experience the culture in way I just don’t think you ca we you stay in a hotel. My sister received a double lung transplant on Memorial Day, and is required to live in San Francisco (one of the most expensive cities in the world) the next few months. My parents have rented a 2 bed/2 bath Airbnb which gives them the space they need while she recovers. Much better than a hotel or even a suite! It’s still expensive, but is more cost effective than a hotel would be and gives them the comforts of home. I now have such an extra appreciation for these STR’s!

  • We used to own a home in a new town on the coast of Washington. Most of the homes were STR’s (over 75% I think) It’s a vacation destination spot. Anyway, our house got broken into and lots of stuff stolen. I called our insurance broker and lo and behold she had sold us the wrong type of insurance. We had landlord insurance, not short term rental insurance. They are VERY different policies. We ended up having to get insurance from Lloyds of London, they were just the only ones in WA state that offered the type we needed. It was $$$$$$$$$. The whole thing for us ended up being a bad experience. We were shocked at how badly our home was treated by people staying. Who lets their kids trash things so much? Anyway, we sold the home to get rid of the headache it really ended up being. I hope your owner experiences are better than ours was!

    • Oh my gosh–I am so sorry that happened to you and your family! What a stressful experience. I really don’t have anything helpful to add, but my heart just sank as I read your comment.

      Renting out a property you own (long or short term) is risky and sort of scary. Insurance is for sure a very important thing to pay attention to, so although I am SO sorry for what happened to you I am thankful for your comment and perspective (we actually have our STR insurance through Lloyds of London as well, I haven’t found many options available. Seems to be a hole in the market on that aspect).

      • I get mine from farmers. They Actually offer great coverage and prices.

  • Thank you for this post and for sharing your experience! I found this to be really interesting and informative.

  • I really appreciate this article. Living in coastal CA, I’m generally anti Airbnb’s/STR. My husband and I work good jobs and don’t have kids but it will be many many years before we can afford a home in the city I grew up in. However, I appreciate the information you shared and how you showed how thoughtful you’ve been in your process and how some cities have excellent regulations. I agree with your decision to share your own properties because of this article (I admit, it frustrated me before). However, as you mentioned, it’s not that way everywhere. I hope that you won’t continue the new series you just shared that you plan to start on highlighting rental properties, unless you are planning on asking the rental owners all the same questions you asked yourself and are planning on looking up the zoning regulations for all cities you feature and how they impact the locals hoping to own a home someday. You started with a property in the SF Bay Area. Four of the 7 most expensive cities to live in the US are in the general area (within an hour or two of San Francisco). This who live in SF who are not making nearly $200,000 annually cannot purchase a home, which has greatly raised the price of all the surrounding areas. The SF area is also one of the most rented on AirBnb. They didn’t cause the housing crisis but are contributing to it. Please consider that these features can increase the difficulties for others.
    P.S. thank you for your always open and honest discussions- I really admire that quality.

    • Tessa, thanks for your comment. I also live in the SF Bay Area, and it’s not just the impact to locals trying to buy a home, it’s also very negatively impacting those trying to rent because units that ordinarily would serve as long-term rentals are being used as STRs, This exacerbates scarcity and further drives up rents, which are already unaffordable. I agree that different cities have different issues, and not all cities will be impacted by the proliferation of STR properties in the same way. And I’ve stayed in STRs, so I’m not someone who thinks they should all be banned. But I too hope that STRs in places with serious housing crises won’t be glorified without an honest acknowledgement about the downsides, which are very real.

  • Learned so much from this. I love staying bnb’s and rented out my guest room for a while before there were a ton of regulations and it felt like the Wild West. Agreed that oversight is great for all parties and super happy you’re going to continue sharing. I love seeing the projects and the different versions of your styles. ????

  • When I first started reading this post, I was like, “Seriously? People are fighting with them over bnb properties!?” with my claws up. But now I get it. I think you guys have the right intentions (with everything you do) and I’m always inspired by how much THOUGHT goes into every decision. Nothing is ever just done for more content or more business. You’re finding ways to creatively satisfy all of your passion projects and I think that’s awesome.

    Springfield should give you guys some sort of award for the amount of love you give it. You always promote local businesses and seem to be doing a lot to give back and nurture your town. I love it! Plus I’m sure all the positive press you give it must offset the fact that people probably travel there for Gypsy Rose reasons, haha.

  • I love that you share about your properties, especially when you show how you DIY them. I say, if it makes you happy, then keep posting about them! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve commented on your blog (or any others for that matter), but I wanted to say how it’s always a joy to see how open and thoughtful you are about your process. Your willingness to share the whole experience (both the good and bad) is truly inspiring and real. Thanks for taking the time to go deeper into so many parts of creating a beautiful life. It’s been fun watching the journey unfold for over a decade!

  • I very much understand the concern over investors… huge investors with no heart looking to make money are hard on so many people in a city/community. That goes for rental units to building huge ugly buildings to gentrification and the issues are broad, layered and diverse, as you have stated. However, as a person who loves to travel, but has a family and a budget, small business family owned rentals are by far my choice. They’ve made traveling more accessible and have given us the neighborhood feel we seek when going on vacation. And the other side of the coin is that small STRs support local business and families, over mega hotel chains. I’d so much rather support that. I’m so glad you share your thoughts and the process. It’s helpful for me to see how you attack these issues. Thank you for not being afraid of the debate.

  • STR-s can provide a home feeling what I personally enjoy. Soon heading to Iceland to a lovely airbnb apartment ????. I’ve been an Airbnb host 4 years long in Eastern Switzerland. It was so much I learnt from.
    I loved that you share your thoughts, Elsie and also the renovation/decoration part.

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