Buying Decisions & Short Term Rentals: 4 Tales From O.C. Airbnb Hosts

How do short-term rentals affect real estate decisions? We asked locals who rent out rooms on their properties.
Tim K., Fullerton Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi

“It was my wife’s idea. We didn’t choose our current house for that reason, but we will definitely consider it when choosing our next home. At first I was a little uncomfortable about having strangers share our home, but it’s been a great experience so far. We once hosted a guest who turned out to have a younger brother who went to (school) with me at a small liberal arts college in upstate New York. Turned out that brother had moved to Southern California, and we ended up reconnecting after 10-plus years!” —Tim K., Fullerton

“I bought my house 13 years ago. I lost my job five years ago. Airbnb was an easy way to pay the bills. Fast-forward a few months, I had a great job and no longer needed extra income. But I decided to keep it up, in order to build a tiny house in my backyard for rentals. My neighbors all know (about the rentals), and most have visited the tiny house. I reside on the property, and therefore there is no noise or major disturbance because I am present at all times.” —Celine M., Costa Mesa

“I owned my home for a couple of years and found that having an extra room that was not being utilized was foolish on my end. I say ‘utilized’ in the (sense) of having the room filled with stuff instead of laughter or memories. I find that the memories make the guest’s stay a memorable one and not just a room with four walls and a bed. When the vacation is long over, you will not remember the price of the room, but the good memories will last for many years.” —Michael L., Dana Point

“The ability to rent out a room would be a factor in choosing our next home, but we would not choose a house to solely operate an Airbnb business. I believe that an Airbnb host should be part of the community, too—not just buying a place in a good location to rent out. I don’t think that’s sustainable either for the community or for the business.” —Christine Jiwon L., Fullerton

Bans on Short‑Term Rentals | Proponents of services such as Airbnb say that renting out space within their homes helps them meet interesting travelers and make extra cash, allowing them to live in high-priced markets, including O.C. But for the past few years, cities have been grappling with pushback from the hotel industry and from concerned neighbors, especially regarding rentals of entire homes. Some cities such as Laguna Beach have banned short-term rentals in residential areas, while Anaheim is in the process of phasing out all such rentals by 2021. Laguna Niguel plans to institute regulations on the practice, while Newport Beach is heavily enforcing regulations already in place.



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