Roommate vs. Airbnb Guest

So you have an extra room and you’d like to make some money off of it by having another person rent it. While there are more options out there, I found myself debating between getting a roommate and listing my space on Here are some of the pros and cons as I see it.

Roommate Pros:

  • Regular, reliable income
  • You get to really know one person well and you (hopefully) know you can trust them and feel comfortable around them.
  • You share responsibilities for cleaning and buying shared goods (like laundry detergent)
  • While the search for a roommate may take some effort, once you find one you’re done

 Roommate Cons:

  • You have to share your common space and take another person into account in your decorating
  • Any issues with your roommate will need to be discussed and worked out….or you can let them build up and be featured on
  • They can bring their friends/significant others/family over (who you may or may not like)
  • You have to collect rent from them, or split bills together, etc. (at the minimum some coordinating effort)
  • You don’t control when you have the house to yourself

 Airbnb Pros:

  • It’s possible to make more money per month than you could with a roommate
  • You get to know lots of interesting people and make new friends…but if you don’t totally jive with someone, its not a big deal, because they’re only with you for a short while
  • You maintain total control over the décor, cleanliness, etc. of your home- they are a guest, not moving in
  • If you have minor issues with a guest (maybe they’re not as tidy as you’d like, or are loud when you’re trying to sleep, etc.) it’s easy to let it go- since they’re only with you a short time, it’s easier to just accept the fun of meeting a new person, and not worry about working out any issues
  • You can specify the terms of their stay- you can state whether smoking, pets, kids, or bringing other guests into your home is allowed
  • Airbnb takes care of the payments-  the guest pays Airbnb, and 24 hours after your guest checks in, aAirbnb pays you (you can specify how, I’m paid via direct deposit to my checking account)
  • If you want the house to yourself, you just don’t book a guest- no big deal.


Airbnb Cons:

  • Your income fluctuates & you have little control over this
  • You might earn less money- your location may be more attractive to a roommate than a traveller
  • Depending on where you live and if you rent or own, hosting on airbnb might not be legal
  • More time required. Airbnb rewards you for responding quickly to messages from guests, so I check my account daily & then there’s the time and effort of vetting potential guests
  • You do all the cleaning and chores and buy all the shared items like dish soap, laundry detergent, etc. And the cleaning takes a fair amount of effort…this is kind of a pro too. It forces me to keep my house clean!
  • You have new people coming into your house all the time, which requires a degree of being “on” and acting as a considerate, helpful host. A roommate is there long enough for you to feel comfortable and let your hair down around them, plus you’re not responsible for making sure they’re having a good stay at your house.

So which is for you?

I’d recommend identifying your biggest priorities/motivating factors and try to figure out if a roommate or listing on Airbnb would be better for you. If you’re not sure, why not try Airbnb? If you decide Airbnb isn’t for you, it’s easier to close your profile and switch to getting a roommate than it is to get a roommate and then decide you don’t want them anymore. Also, you can get longterm guests through Airbnb which ends up pretty much like having a roommate.

Good luck! What do you see as some of the pros/cons of having a roommate vs. a paying guest?

One thought on “Roommate vs. Airbnb Guest

  1. Yup, those are all the reasons I think about too. I’m sort of tempted to try this… I’ll let you know.

    The income would be great ( I think I’d charge more than you do–all that cleaning and wear and tear on sheets and towels will add up eventually), and I would probably offer a continental breakfast of muffins, juice and coffee and fruit.

    But this is seriously tempting. I love you blog my darling girl!!

    Oh, did you talk to Travis about a cell phone??

    specifically I’d like to know if he is with T-Mobile and if he had to buy a T-mobile phone and how much he pays a month. Also did he do all of this through Best Buy or Walmart or ????

    Thanks, Erin. I love you!!!!!


    On Wed, May 8, 2013 at 3:38 PM, Erin Ellacott

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