If you’ve ever wanted to experience the tiny home life, there’s no better place to look than Airbnb. The platform offers numerous bona fide tiny home experiences across the country. In fact, one particular rental located just outside Las Vegas, Nevada became a big hit amongst guests, as well a lucrative business venture for its hosts. Insider recently featured Jilan Wise’s story about how she turned her former tiny home into a bustling Airbnb. Enter the Blue Baloo!
This 140 square-foot two-story tiny home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a sitting area. It currently has a 4.88 out of 5-star rating on the platform as well as over 100 reviews left by guests doling out praise for the minimalist pad as well as for Super Host Jilan.
Jilan's husband, Josh, who has a master's degree in architecture, built the entire home himself. Overall, it cost the couple $19,000 to bring this tiny home to life — which they successfully paid off within their first year since moving in. They happily lived inside the Blue Baloo with their two kids and dogs for two years.
However, when zoning laws prohibited them from continuing to live there full-time, they had to switch gears and graduate to a bigger home—one with a big backyard where they could park their tiny home in. Just because they couldn't live in their tiny home full-time anymore, it didn't mean others couldn't experience their labor of love.
In February 2019, they listed the home on Airbnb. They spent $1,000 preparing the home for guests — which they earned back within their first month. They also hit Super Host status within their first 30 days.
"We booked out so quick, and I think it's because we are in such a niche that we have nothing like that around us," Jilan told the outlet. "People said, 'I'm going to Vegas, and I want to stay in this really different experience.'"
She attributed some of the rental's success to its price. Instead of estimating rates themselves, Jilan and her husband let the Airbnb algorithm adjust the pricing for them, which usually put it at a price point between $95 to $125 per night. They also didn't impose a minimum night stay requirement.
Within a year of listing the home on Airbnb, the Wise family had earned over $21,000 from hosting guests inside their former home. Since this wasn’t their main source of income, "it was just extra money to play."Although, they did have to continue to put more money into the Blue Baloo to keep it up and running.
After their first year in business, they spent $2000 to have the home professionally deep cleaned after guest damages started to accumulate (think: spilled Slurpee that had seeped through the floorboards). The couple also had to completely overhaul the bathroom after a guest had broken the pipes and flooded the area — another $1,500 in costs.
"We had a couple of doozies, and it was a great learning experience, but we also had a ton of really great people stay with us. It's bittersweet for sure,” Jilan said.
In March, she took the Blue Baloo off the platform due to COVID-19 precautions but planned to reopen it when the time was right. Currently, the page appears to be active — but is not allowing any guests until March 2021.
"We wanted as many people in that tiny house as we could because it's an introduction to this lifestyle that we believe is the future of housing," she added. "It was totally worth it. The people that we met were amazing."
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