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?

Why I host on

Just FYI I am in no way affiliated with or paid to promote…or am I? I’m not.

I first learned about through a blog post (I don’t remember which one) about unconventional ways to earn extra cash. Airbnb allows you to rent out your extra room or your whole home to travellers (or you can just sign up as a traveller). was intrigued, but wary- I mean who would be staying with me, total weirdos?

Then I went to the Airbnb website ( and watched their promo video featuring real hosts around the world explaining why they host, what their experiences have been, and what they’ve been able to do with their extra money (Video Here). Not only did it allay my fears, it actually made me excited. It looked really fun to meet travellers from all over and to fairly easily earn extra income. Plus, all the hosts looked like nice, normal people. (Good marketing Airbnb).

So I set up my hosting profile and within days had my first traveller booked to stay with me. It was really easy and the experience was great. Since then, I’ve been pretty steadily booked, earning me way more moola than I originally expected. So in terms of a way to make extra money, its been a great experience. (My Airbnb Listing)

I have also found that it’s a really efficient use of my resources. I have an extra room and bathroom that hardly got any use before. Now they’re earning me money (so far more than paying for my monthly mortgage & HOA fees).

I had been considering getting a roommate, but felt that hosting travellers would be a better fit for me, and so far I definitely think I made the right decision. I’ve really enjoyed meeting every one of my guests and they are so interesting to talk to. I’ve learned about the places they’ve lived and visited, have been shocked by how many ways there are to earn a living (I’ve had flight instructors, students, pro skydivers, artists, herbalists, nurses and more stay with me), and more often than not made new friends.

I have also had a fantasy for awhile about running a “real” bed and breakfast and I feel like this is great experience for me if I ever decide to do so.

For these reasons I host on Airbnb and really love it.

Thinking about hosting also?

  • First, I’d peruse the Airbnb website- you can set up a profile without listing your space and look around, see who else is on there and learn about what’s involved
  • It’s a great way to earn extra money, but if you’re not also interested in taking care of people and really providing a safe, comfortable, clean stay for them, its probably not for you
  • If you’re hesitant because you worry about the people staying with you, I think there are a lot of great ways to find guests who are a good fit for you and your place (I’ll post more about this soon). I also think you can be very choosy- if you’re worried, only accept guests who have at least a couple of positive reviews from other hosts that they’ve stayed with and who have a profile picture, as well as a few security verifications (done through Airbnb). You have total control over who stays with you. Plus, I’ve only encountered a few pirates and cat stranglers (kidding).

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about my experience with Airbnb or to let me know about yours.