May 16, 2017 | Bob Myers
Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.
Enter  changing consumer attitudes, the "sharing economy" and online services  such as Airbnb, FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and VRBO (owned by  HomeAway, which is now owned by Expedia).
Today, renting a room  in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn't an  outlandish concept. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for  owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better  way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from –  locals?
If you think you're up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The  rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without its  controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the  jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass  the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally,  many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them  out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited  inventory (check out this article from The Los Angeles Times to learn more).
Some  cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may  need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able  to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you  understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You don't need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:
 1. You rent it out for fewer than 15 days a year AND
2.  You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the  total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the  property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).
 Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? Forbes and TurboTax provide some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting  out your home could mean an extra insurance bill.  Check with your  insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding  short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does  provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per  occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it  easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.
In addition to  insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the  website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has  an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.
Looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Give me a call - if you're looking outside of Maryland or Virginia, I can provide you with a referal for a Realtor.

My team and I are real estate  experts in Montgomery County and the surrounding Metro area. When buying  or selling a home, please consider us your resource for all things real  estate. If you need referrals for obtaining a home loan or are  refinancing, want a recommendation on a home warranty, need a service or  just have a home related question, please give me a call at  301-910-9910 or email me at bobmyersteam@gmail.com .

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