All posts by challenyee

About challenyee

Bringing Acupuncture Mainstream - One Talk at a Time

Advice Regarding Cancellations etc.

FYI, sorry to say, we just concluded our run as Airbnb hosts…

and I have these thoughts that you may benefit from as you might say we closed our listing with a 5.0 average rating for almost 100 guests. Not 4.9 or 4.98 or 4.99. We maintained a 5.0 average rating.

If you intend to stay hosting with Airbnb for the long haul, you need to be very aware of cancellations on your part as a host.

Over a two year period, we hosted over 100 groups of guests. That seems like a lot, it sure seemed like a lot to us.

We never cancelled a booked reservation until a few months ago (about 3 months ago as of this writing) when my wife and I struggled with a booking after I accepted it. Cancelling appears to have preceded what we consider a drop off of bookings.

Why did we cancel? There were a few characteristics of this booking that, while the reasons were not obvious to the casual observer, did not fit our ideal guest profile and when the guest exhibited a sense of anxiousness to book on the same day, instead of the next day, and it appeared to go from anxious to urgent – we got even more nervous.

My wife and I struggled with it, but decided that our peace of mind was more important than money and regretfully had to break our glorious streak of non-cancellations.

Rule One: Your peace of mind may not be more important than the income you are losing from big brother’s perspective. If you accept everyone, everyone must come through with that basic denominator – money.

You could say that our two paths (the guest and us) were not going to harmonize as, unlike most landlords, I actually have experienced a domestic violence case that ended up in a the death of the victim – by kitchen knife wound to an artery. Believe me, my wife and I were starting to get some PTSD vibes on this one.

Peace of mind, or no peace of mind, the bottom line is this. If you cancel over 1% of your booked reservations, you become warning sign to Airbnb. If you cancel 2% your pinky gets slapped with non-savory messages that as a 5.0 host, you never see.  If you exceed 3% you may get messages warning you mag be suspended (and goodby revenue stream) and I;m pretty sure it doesn’t matter if you have 6.0 star ratings, if that we even possible.

We had our first cancellation “waived” from the books, but I think it was a little like my first illegal U-Turn ticket when I was a teenager back in 1979, where the judge suspended my punishment. In other words, “we’ll let you go now, but if you do this again, it’ll be like having two strikes against you.”

We never wore the 5.0 rating on the shoulder of our listing’s title, we never changed titles to insert some grotesque word to grab attention (though that may actually work) and were quite proud of our simple, “Sweet, Bright Fresh – Palo Alto home” moniker, but even though we maintained the best reviews and ratings for almost 100 guest reviews (and that’s a lot IMHO) it does not matter as much to the boss. Guests are concerned about ratings, your boss is interested in if you are an open door to the masses because they have the same common denominator.

You can put your heart and soul into your effort to host, but it comes down to money, or the propensity to not host someone, anyone. It’s an easy metric to judge and be subject to consequences. In the end, we actually thought all of our guests no matter who or where they arrived from were pretty cool even the ones that tried to slide by with stretching the rules (just a little) with rare exception.

What we learned is that you have to develop a sense of who will be a high probability good guest of bad guest. The potential problem is this instinct may cause you to want to cancel.

Seems to me that 1% of bookings cancelled, for a privately owned property, even if it is to keep a super-host rating, is a bit harsh. Maybe that’s just me. One can cross the line from being a superhost to a super dud if you suddenly ring up cancellations.

In either case, I understand the value for a big company like Airbnb from a host’s perspective. They do all the leg work to publicize your listing and they handle all the money. It’s a great and convenient set up, and takes certain costs and concerns out of running your own bed and breakfast. However, you are a number and there’s a lot of other hosts and wanna-be hosts who would like to get a piece of the bookings in your area especially Palo Alto.

My simple advice for your long term health as an Airbnb host: Think very carefully before accepting a booking (unless you use Instant Booking then you need to take the risk of having to cancel within 24 hours ‘without penalty’), and if you have to cancel, consider the risk of taking a hit on your revenue stream. Just saying.

Honestly, we had an amazing two year run and have that to be thankful for. It wasn’t a gimme though.

We put in the work and the income really helped our financial above water. Although we were essentially like a freelancer looking at things a week at a time, the almost regular income made it worthwhile.

But with the competition in places like Palo Alto, it helps if you can avoid having to cancel for virtually any reason unless the person is clearly breaking a stated rule, like they reveal they plan to sell tickets nationwide tractor pull at your place or have the biggest damned bachelor party with the most 5 dollar vodka, a vaping competition, and the best multiple cake dancers you’ve ever seen and you do not allow them to rent your home for those purposes.

Regarding our 5 star reviews, we teeter-tottered between 4.8 and 4.9 on Value and that was because eventually we get a guest who wants to show that they can be objective and give us 4 stars on Value. We always take a moment to sigh with those 4 star ratings. Now I know what my last car salesman was pleading with us not to give him anything but 5 stars.

Regarding value in tax-arcana , I’ll say it again, property tax in Palo Alto is a rip-off, but we need to pay a property tax that is larger than most people’s mortgages, hence the higher than average prices which affect the perception of value. I always thought we stayed competitive, not charging more and often charging less than comparable listings of relatively equal quality.

The unsaid negative for long term hosting , for us especially, since we kept very tight control over the condition and cleanliness of our property, is we could never plan to be away for very long, unless it coincided with a long guest stay. If you can get a trusted person to handle the responsibilities of being a co-host, that would also be important to your long term hosting health.

Another unsaid negative is you are at the mercy of the corporate computer that cranks on some algorithm that puts your listing on top or not.

Another unsaid negative is most banks do not consider your BNB income as stable enough to bank their a loan on. Now we know why.

I think if you do this business long enough and if you care a little too much about the safety your own place, it will only take 1 out of 100 to potentially get on a the bad side of the Airbnb programmable intelligence and hurt your superhost rating.

Because our projected revenue stream looked bleak, which helped steer us away from the business, we had to do the unfortunate job of cancelling a couple of future reservations, but because they were still four months out, we hope the guests will find decent stay somewhere else. We made a point of reaching out to them before cancelling. Actually had a nice conversation with one man over the phone.

But having to cancel a total of 3 times….This is how I know about what happens when you have to cancel more than once, but we’re going deep and clearing datum so we don’t expect our rear-ends to be anywhere close to the punitive hand. It no longer matters.

Now pandemics… that’s another topic.

 

Please like, share, comment

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2020 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

 

 

Your listing not showing up?

Is your listing not showing up on your handheld or desktop?

Are you not able to find enough listings in the area you are searching?

Possible Solution: Try updating your service’s app.

 

That’s strange, I was thinking,  why is it that the only listing in our area is a place for $1400 per night? That’s not good.   I was unable to see our listing from my cell phone, until after I updated my APP.

So whichever service your use. You can see if that works for you.

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2020 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

VIRUS THOUGHTS

This is a hot topic nowadays. What happens when people get hyper sensitive about getting contagious airborne diseases.

Whether you are a guest or a host, and especially if you have to get on a plane to or from China, you may have concerns about what kind of precautions to take.

Is it safer to stay in a BNB rather than go to a hotel? It’s possible since a BNB offers more separation between yourself and other travelers. In other words, you don’t have the “cruise ship” syndrome or potential for the “legionnaire disease” when everyone shares the same air space.

How a house is cleaned, or how able it is to be cleaned can be important. Hard surfaces can be more easily disinfected. Washing towels and linen with special disinfectant additives, drying and washing  at highest heat settings and sun drying when possible help with getting the 99.9% kill rate advertised by the manufacturers of such products.

Hard floors are easier to clean and can be mopped with disinfectant additives.

Door Handles, desktops, controls, and certainly table tops, and arm rests, and all bathroom surfaces can be wiped down or cleaned with disinfectant wipes or solutions. We often let a solution “soak” for several minutes on bathroom surfaces and shower stalls.

Additional measures can be using removable upholstery that you can was with the, you got it, disinfectant additives.

Washing your washer with a bleach in the bleach dispenser with hot water can also kill any lingering nasties between washes, followed by an extra rinse cycle to make sure your next load of clothes don’t get burned.

Some people use bleach in a dishwashers but it’s safer to use a cup of white vinegar since at leas it’s edible, whereas bleach is not, with a cup of being soda sprinkled across the bottom of your dishwasher will help kill odors.

HEPA grade filters can be used in your HVAC system.

What are some of your ideas, and perhaps for stories from your travels of hosting in an epidemic situation?

Have you noticed a downturn in travel from your point of view these last couple of weeks since the virus has gotten more attention?

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2020 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

Ways not to screw up a 1031

Hey BNB peeps! Let’s talk more about saving money when selling an investment property in order to buy another one.

You don’t want to end up like the poor rabbit in the painting.

More about 1031s

Here is a little detail you want to keep in mind when calculating how much capital gains you could get stuck with in selling your property, after all, the reason you are doing a 1031 is to avoid paying taxes on capital gains (CGs).

If you determine that you are not going to have any taxable gains, you do not need to do a 1031.

Simple formula to remember to estimate the amount of gain that will be subject to CGs: Sale price minus Commissions and escrow costs minus Depreciation value of the home.

Key thing: You do not deduct your mortgage from the capital gain calculation.

Another Key thing: The value of your sale does not include your Depreciation.

For example: If you sell a home for $1,000,000 ($1M) and your commission and escrow are $50,000 and your depreciation is $400,000, your Capital Gains would be… $550,000.

BUT, the value of your sale would be …. $950,000

This calcalation is important to get straight in your effort to think through your 1031.

You do not want to underestimate your sale price of your “relinquished property” when you are trying to conduct a 1031 Exchange.

 

Again, a 1031 Exchange is designed to help people who are selling an investment property to buy another investment property while protecting them from paying taxes on their capital gains.

Now about calculating the value of the relinquished property, there is a qualification for a proper 1031: You must buy into a property that is at least EQUAL OR GREATER VALUE.

 

So take the previous example: If you are going to purchase a “replacement property” for $750,000, you will need to either buy another property within 180 days or buy another qualified investment property so that your total reinvestment meets or exceeds $950,000 to have a valid 1031 transaction.

In other words, if you only plan to spend $750,000 to purchase a replacement and you think you are done – PLEASE think again. This one transaction will not qualify the 1031.

Better yet, go and talk to a 1031 Exchange Officer for a reputable 1031 firm and ask him or her these important questions ( DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional or certified 1031 dude, but I want you to make sure you’ve got all your facts together).

Worst comes to worst, you can park the remainder of your unused  1031 funds into a special 1031 “fund” that will be the equivalent to buying a replacement property if you cannot find the right property to purchase and use all of your proceeds, but it would be helpful if you have all the numbers figured out before you begin the process, especially if you are only intending to target one investment property.

A last note for today: If you decide to do a 1031, be prepared for some escrow delays as doing the necessary paperwork or setting up LLCs  is extra work, requiring special contracts, registering LLCs, and often requires some additional government oversight (more paperwork).

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

To Party or not to Party

Have you ever wondered if it was worth lending your house to someone who wanted to have a one-day  “celebration”?

Especially if you do not have built in book-end days before your next potential booking, meaning that you only have a few hours to clean between different bookings, here are 8 reasons why you should NOT book to guests wanting to use your house for their party space:

  1. People just do not care as much about being clean when they don’t have to live there. Especially all the extra guests who don’t plan on staying over night who are not signing an agreement to any house rules. I’m not saying that people are necessarily bad, they just do not have as much at stake to keep things clean.
  2. A party will fill your garbage cans quickly with smelly rotting food mixed with alcohol to smell just like a back alley sewer in San Francisco.
  3. Large amounts of alcohol result in inebriated people who spill liquids, make floors sticky and harder to clean, along with your arm chair, sofa and tables.
  4. Inebriated adults cannot supervise young children.
  5. The responsible adults are policing the inebriated adults, and are not watching their children, or they are watching their children and are not watching the inebriate adults. Hell, they could be inebriated, cause, hosts just want to have fun.
  6. You can attract unwanted attention by creating a parking lot in front of your place.
  7. Especially if you have a no-shoes-in-the-house rule, which one-day guest/host is going to police their one day visitors to take their shoes off as they go in and out of your house wth a tray of food and drinks?
  8. Remember, outdoor shoes carry floor destroying micro and macro matter and have stepped through many public bathrooms. Enough said.

The end result is, even if you charge extra for cleaning, you will have to spend more time cleaning and risk damages that you have to go through the process of proving, not to mention the anxiety wondering if any of this is true.

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

Towels

OUR LOVELY TOWELS

We provide these wonderful towels bought from Macy’s. We carefully selected them from scores of choices from a variety of retail outlets and the colors and quality match our interior decor. We check, wash, and dry each towel before carefully folding them to store for our next guests.

One of our rules is we ask our guests not to use them to clean the floors with or leave them on the ground.

This leads me to ask my audience, how do you treat your towels at home compared to how you treat the average  hotel towel?

How much would you use your towels at home to soak up liquids, fluids or matter that is anything other than wiping your cleaned-rinsed-off-body dry?

For the most part, I believe our guests are very good at handling our towels. We provide a special towel just for the floor for wet feet. We provide a common hanging hand towel for our guests who have some guests over. We provide a hand towel and as you can see, a face towel, personal hand towel and body towel.

On top of that we provide a clothes basket to put stuff for wash and a washer dryer with hypoallergenic detergent powder.

 

Come on. Let’s see…

Let me know what you would use a hotel towel for that you would never use your wedding gift towels or your last bargain from COSTCO or BED, BATH and BEYOND? You know what I’m talking about… those white towels ones that can be bleached with chlorine to kingdom come after they are used for janitorial work or the latest physiology experiment.

Now that you’ve got that out of your system, please don’t stay at a BNB and exercise any of those little bad habits. We are like a hotel in good ways, but you’re still guest in someone’s home.

 

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

CHECKOUT CHECKLISTS

Hey Friends of BNB!

Here’s something that I’ve been oddly resistant to but it seems more frequent our guests are requesting that I provide them a check list of things to do before checking out.

I guess after about 18 months, I have to wonder how all our guests survived without a checkout list and so I have to wonder.

I would imagine it can be pretty stressful if you don’t know to what standard the host will hold the guests to in terms of the condition of the house. And if you don’t, in some cases, though rarely, people will feel like it’s permissible to leave some greater mess that what we  would expect.

I believe we start each new booking with such a clean house, people naturally (most of the time) obligated to do a decent job of keeping things in order.

So, okay, here’s a draft of some of the things I thought of for our place, maybe it’s help both hosts and guests alike. Your place may be different and may have more or less expectations.

 

GENERAL GUIDE FOR PREPARING THE HOUSE BEFORE CHECKOUT

  • Put garbage in a trash can, but not necessarily in the bins outside (we often use used trash liners in the process of our cleanup). If it’s full, you can take it outside to the bins.
  • Wash Dishes, or rinse off chunks (and empty out into compost bin under sink) and wash in dishwasher using the supplied soap tablet.
  • Cleanup any spills anywhere at anytime.
  • Do not leave towels on floor, leave on the towel racks or the supplied dirty close baskets okay.
  • Do not need to take sheets/linen off beds.
  • Leave any used blankets on the beds (normally stowed in a package in the closets), do not put back in their plastic storage cases.
  • Not necessary to restock food you have eaten.
  • Turn off and unplug coffee makers and hot water pot, blender, and other countertop applicance.
  • Clean top of stove (mainly wipe up spills) but not with anything abrasive.
  • Do not flush garbage down any sink or toilet (toilet is used for only what is normally expected).
  • Do not leave unwrapped food out, especially candy, best to dump out garbage in compost bin outside and best wrapped in a compost bag to reduce chance of attracting pests. Similarly, Seal up used diapers, especially the #2 kind, and put into garbage bin outside.
  • Turn off water faucets, shower, bath
  • Shut garage door, make sure garage door opener is in its wall-mounted location.
  • Turn off heater, air conditioner, microwave, stove top, oven.
  • Turn off lights and shut windows.
  • Shut and lock doors on the way out

 

THANK YOU FOR STAYING AT SWEET, BRIGHT, FRESH

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

 

Tips on Saving Time in Escrow (REVERSE 1031)

Hey BNB Peeps!

Here’s some thoughts about how you can save time in Escrow involving a Reverse 1031.

Most people may not be aware of how a 1031 affects an Escrow, so you can be sure that even less people know the effect of a REVERSE 1031.

A REVERSE 1031 requires the creation of an LLC for the Exchange Accommodate TITLEHOLDER , also known as the EAT, where the title of the replacement property is held.

In the regular 1031, CASH is held in a special account, but since I have not done a regular 1031 yet, I will not say whether it is an LLC or NOT. In a Reverse 1031, the TITLE is held in a special account. An EAT is specifically for a REVERSE 1031.

TALK TO YOUR 1031 ADVISOR about this LLC  detail and how it may affect the purchase agreement.

THEREFORE, you real estate lawyers and escrow officers, the Purchase Agreement must have an amendment to accommodate the LLC of the buyer. If you know this ahead of time you can get the real estate attorney to prepare the amendment to the purchase agreement ASAP, before he or she decides to take a week off without his lap top and cell phone.

Sometimes it takes so long to nail down a purchase agreement, it just helps to know this detail beforehand to smooth things out when you think everything is supposed to be on autopilot.

BTW, Buyers have the option of keeping the LLC after the escrow is closed, so buyers need to carefully consider the actual name of the LLC that is created.

My second thought about saving time in escrow, is working with a LAW GROUP or at least a legal professionals who have a backup in case they need to go on vacation or get sick, run off to Jamaica, or anything else that can interfere with getting work done when needed.

Is it ever possible that lawyers can work together in a way that is collaborative and to save time?  Ugh.

Even if your Escrow officer and you 1031 Exchange Officer are from a Title/Escrow company and its affiliate, do not assume that days will be saved based on what I just tried to explain to you.

ANYWAY, the next time you find yourself in a 1031 situation, I hope his little information will help.

 

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

 

 

Need for two new Fruit Trees

The tree on the left and the third tree had to come down, they stopped moving water. This photo was from the fall of 2017.

Apparently, apricot trees are pretty sensitive. 

After landscaping the back yard in the summer of 2017, the two apricot trees in the backyard died.

The one large tree actually blossoms in the spring of 2018 but then suddenly went dry.

We tried to do some deep watering but that didn’t matter.

I had to chop down one the larger of the two trees last summer and just recently had to chop down the smaller of the two, realizing that it was not responding to the season and had in fact followed suit with the other, just decided to stop moving water from its roots.

With two spots open for fruit trees, what kind of fruit trees do you like?

We definitely would like to get at least one more apricot.

 

(No promises just yet, as to how consistently I can blog here, but giving it a shot when I have time and ideas).

 

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

 

 

What is a REVERSE 1031?

In your efforts to secure a property for your BNB you may run into a situation where you are selling an investment property to obtain a replacement investment property.

For those of you who do not  understand what a 1031 Exchange is, here is a brief summary.

You can defer capital gains on selling an investment property if you set up a 1031 carefully (adhering to all 1031 rules) pipe it to another investment property of equal value or greater.

It can be any kind of real estate to any kind of real estate, anything from undeveloped land, to commercial property, as long as both are qualified Investment properties.

Normally, you sell an investment property, use the proceeds from that sale to fund the purchase of your new replacement investment property.

WHAT IF, you need to purchase the replacement property (i.e. with cash) before you can sell the relinquished property to fund the new acquisition? You are totally screwed, right?

What I discovered, someone in their infinite  wisdom created a 1031 instrument called a “REVERSE” 1031.

This way, the title to the replacement property is held in a special Exchange Accommodated Titleholder (EAT) until such time you can close the sale of your relinquished property thereby accomplishing the desired deferring of capital gains.

 

Please speak to a qualified 1031 Exchange Intermediary or Agent to get the full details as there are different costs involved and other requirements that I have not covered in this blog article.

Good Luck.

 

Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.

CKY

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.