Category Archives: SILICON VALLEY

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.



Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

How is Instant Booking better?

There are several options for hosts to choose in effort to attract guests to their Airbnb listing. One that is either loved or hated is called “Instant Booking”

Instant Booking (IB) allows a guest to book your listing without having to submit a request. It’s assumed that all the relevant info for a guest to make the commitment to make a reservation is available to be seen in the listing so that the prospective guest can make an educated and confident decision.


The advantages of IB allows a host to be able to accept reservations without having to immediately respond to critical questions a guest may have that would delay their decision.

It is assumed that, without having to interact with the host, the guest can review any necessary information, including what the host specifically and generally expects from their guests behavior, known as “House Rules”, while residing in the BNB. For example, not all listings allow the guests to use the property to hold events (attracting large amounts of un-vetted people, particularly for a wild animal house party), smoking or the housing of pets. Hosts often like to know who to expect, so offering the names of your colleagues or family members may be a requirement.

House Rules make things interesting. Some hosts have very few rules (like we did when we started) and some can look like a full legal adoption contract. In general, hosts don’t want any illegal activities, don’t want anyone trashing their house, or any unapproved staying after their reservation time has ended.

The clear advantage for a host to use IB is Airbnb puts the your listing in the face of more potential guests compared to those who do not elect to use IB. In other words, if you adopt the use of IB as an Airbnb host, your listing will show up in both cases, if a guest chooses to see only IB listing or not.



You might desire to seek an IB listing if you are in a hurry to make a booking and don’t want to bother waiting for a host to respond to any inquiry. However, it is customary for a responsive host to reply immediately or within an hour.

You may feel uncomfortable going into a brief “interview” session with the property manager and, instead, seek a similar experience to booking a hotel room. A BNB is not a hotel and usually does not offer the same kind of anonymity of booking a room in a hundred unit Marriot, although IB can make the feel similar to a hotel.

Even if you desire to stay at an IB listing, you can still ask questions of the host without making your booking. You may need to be accommodated for a special situation that is not covered in the listing or you may actually like to know if you can communicate with the host just in case you run into problems with the property.

It’s not impossible that there are both guests from hell and hosts from the same neighborhood. It’s a big world out there and the entire spectrum is in play, but establishing a line of positive reviews is a pretty decent indicator what typ of experience you can expect from either person.



There are times when I do not use IB, it is when I need to keep a certain block of time open for a guest I am trying to give to make a decision. One perfect example was when I wanted to work with a family who was waiting to hear from Stanford Hospital when their child’s surgery could be scheduled for.

Aside from that, the general feeling among hosts who do not use IB, is they do not want to take a chance having to accommodate someone they would not feel comfortable with. In general, for a host to have to cancel a reservation is often a negative mark against the host’s rating, although, in the case of IB, if the cancellation is executed within a day of the booking, Airbnb allows for a host to break any booking he or she feels “uncomfortable” with.

Another reason a host may not use IB is they want more control how their schedule fills up. For an extreme example, it may be rather disruptive if a guest decides to book one Tuesday every week for the next 6 months. Something like that could wipe out any chance of a long term booking from 2 days to weeks.



In general, I’ve found that using Instant Booking if a favorable experience, for the additional reason that I can let the guest (assuming they read my listing) self-exclude themselves. If they do not like our house rules or anything else we state as requirements, they are free to look at another listing, no harm done.

The guests that we’ve had are, in general, extraordinary and competent travelers who we’ve had the great privilege of hosting. People from all over the world and all over the United States who we’ve had the honor of showing them some hospitality in our small corner of Silicon Valley.



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Starting a BNB? 8 Reasons you didn’t think about

So you are thinking about starting a BNB, eh?

A floppy bunny sleeping on the wall, A fine oil painting from a Renaissant or Medieval BNB, 😉  from Stanford Cantor Arts Center – photo by Challen

Here are 8 reasons you may not have thought about yet. Well, maybe you thought of them but you could still use some moral reinforcement.


  1. You do not want a long-term lease.  Not only do you not want one, it may become an obstacle. The future of your property is in question and you as a property owner do not want to get caught in a long term lease during a time where you may want or need to sell the property or you may need to move into the home yourself.
  2. You want to maintain the property in excellent condition.  You may be a complete anal-retentive owner and want maximum control over the condition of the house by avoiding long term leases. As responsible as a long term tenant may be, they are unlikely to keep the house in as good  a condition or correct problems in the same manner as you would.
  3. Your house is better designed for short-term occupants or guests. Most people staying long term have long term storage needs, including for the natural accumulation of stuff. If your place does not have much storage without significant remodeling or improvements, the lack of storage becomes an obvious disadvantage to get the highest lease rates but as a BNB with guests staying less than a month or a day or two, it is not an issue.
  4. You love hospitality. Your long term tenant may think you are a nice responsible property manager, but you are not expected to be responsible in anyway to provide multiple “tenants” with their situational accommodating, being involved with opening the door, responding nicely to people at all times of the day or week,  be concerned what impression they get when they see your prepared beds, picking out a guest menu – like what kind of coffee you have ready for their quick breakfast, or if the TV can get a particular movie channel. But you thrive on this kind of work and enjoy helping responsible people make sure they have a nice experience.
  5. You can accept inconsistencies. Not every guest that signs up, stays signed up. You will get cancellations on occasion. Not everyone responds to you the same way. You will get some people who will bend the rules or are not quite as clean as you would hope. On the other hand, you will find where your own routine needs to be more efficient, whether it is how you followup with guest inquiries or how you go through your place to prepare it. After several guests, you will get intended and unintended feedback. No plan starts out perfect nor does it remain perfect. It takes some faith that things work out despite the inconsistencies.
  6. You are a bored panda. It could be in your particular phase of life, you need the daily responsibility of managing a property, maintaining your listing site, website or the marketing strategies you are going to employ.
  7. You have teflon skin. In other words, maybe not what you thought … You can tolerate some jealously, even hatred, from others. Anytime you try to do something that most other people do not, you may incur some adverse reactions for doing something that has the appearance of being successful even though it takes real work to get things going and keeping it going.
  8. You value setting your own destiny. By being in the driver’s seat to make decisions, you control your own destiny and that brings you more peace. This one takes some experience, for example, balancing making money from accepting a variety of guests versus being willing to politely screen out those who don’t meet your standards. If you accept a person  who may have triggered your scrub alarm instead of leaping effortlessly over your Shaolin-monk-worthy guest criteria (even if they needed some gentle persuasion), you could likely subject yourself to the hell of wondering what’s going to go wrong until they arrive and leave (assuming they don’t cancel at the last minute). Hence, you may be able to hit the abort switch to be at peace rather than make a few more bucks.


So why does running a BNB appeal to you?


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Copyright © 2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.





A Tale of two Palo Altos

BNB’s are a popular choice in the San Francisco Bay Area and Palo Alto is not exception. With the rise of locally headquartered companies like Apple, Facebook and Google, and other companies small and large attracting thousands into the local work force they provide a regular stream of professional transients from around the nation and internationally who perform their business in synergy with the local economy.


Facebook is particularly interesting because despite the prestige of being associated with the City od Menlo Park, which is one step north of the ubiquitous “Palo Alto”, Facebook headquarters is actually adjacent to one of the lowest income-per-capita residential areas on the San Francisco peninsula (though not particularly low on a national scale). The City is East Palo Alto is part of San Mateo County, unlike the internationally-known City of Palo Alto which is the northern most city in Santa Clara County. Only a highway, for the most part, separates the two cities of common name.

Stanford University looking towards Palo Alto from Hoover Tower. Photo by Challen


Santa Clara County also includes Silicon Valley cities like Mountain View (Google), Sunnyvale (Lockheed Martin), Cupertino (Apple), Santa Clara (Intel), Palo Alto (Stanford University and Hospital, Hewlett Packard, Tesla), Los Gatos (Netflix), the behemoth city of San Jose (Cisco) and other smaller and often more affluent communities stretching into the beautiful foothills of the San Francisco peninsula.

A Google map of the Bay Area


To give you just a bit of the contrast between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, in 1990-92 East Palo Alto earned the dubious distinction of being the “murder capital” of the United States.


Criminal and illicit drug dealing activities were so rampant in this decades-old lower socio-economic area, residents and commuters were frightened to drive down main thoroughfares for fear of being car-jacked by brazen criminals. Moreover, the homicide rate was so intimidating (in 1992, there were 42 homicides) it made my law enforcement friends who worked in Compton, CA balk at the prospects of having to jump into the fray.


Fortunately for the community, the state and local law enforcement agencies did step in and with sweeping campaigns putting the area on the right track removing entrenched drug crime elements. Nearly 20 years later and steady progress has made the East Palo Alto a much safer place to live and to work, the future prospects continue to look bright.

Image source: showing the boundary of East Palo Alto in relation to two corporate giants.



The potential of the area of East Palo Alto is probably best evidenced by Facebook’s Menlo Park move (2011) and breakaway expansion plans which paralleled more major anti-drug actions in East Palo Alto bringing even more substantial changes to the peace of the community in the last few years.


While the recent high-flying developments in the real estate market are widespread in the San Francisco Bay Area, including East Palo Alto, the area still has a deep community of lower income residents and home owners who are proud and happy to be established there. Progress continues to be made to improve living conditions and it attracts more companies like Amazon, a recent addition to the business landscape of East Palo Alto in addition to investor-philanthropists like the Zuckerbergs and Laurene Powell Jobs, both residents of Palo Alto.


A sharp contrast still exists, however, as highlighted in a recent article, a particular zip code in Palo Alto has registered the most expensive average real estate prices in the country.


From a financial investor standpoint, rental rates per home value ratios are often more favorable in East Palo Alto, where properties can still be found for under $1M, when compared to Palo Alto despite Palo Alto’s safer, quieter, established neighborhoods and highly-regarded schools. For example, a 3 bedroom 1 bath home in East Palo Alto, valued at about $1M may rent for about $4000 per month where as a similar Palo Alto home (humble based on trends in home building) may only rent for $6500 per/month but cost $2.5M.

Downtown Palo Alto on a Winter day. Photo by Challen


Although this previous example of rental rates is only an single snapshot (rents can be substantially varied and higher in both cities, especially in Palo Alto, given more valuable properties) the demand for rentals remains strong. This could be reinforced by the fact many professionals are assuming not to buy properties (in the Bay Area) but rather opting to rent or lease believing their long term plans will take them out of the area (where property is less expensive among other reasons) or that their investments are better situated outside of the real estate market.


What makes BNB popular, nevertheless, is not so much related to the real estate values, it is better linked to the professional transients in the area with the proliferation of business activity, Stanford University, Stanford Hospital and the others variety of needs for temporary accommodations in this hub of Silicon Valley where a home is preferred.



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10 Thoughts on furnishing and equipping a BNB

Cool, so you’ve got a place to to start your BNB?

What are your ideas to equip it?

Here’s some ideas for you to tinker with on Christmas 2018. You have your own ideas, so you can just take my insights as considerations as some will naturally be biased to my own tastes or circumstances.

1) If you are starting from scratch, you can get a lot of great deals from Craigslist. You can to be patient and you should have an idea how to design your place with an overall theme. I’ve seen all kinds of décor and you will attract certain kinds of clients with the décor you choose. If you desire to go for the fantasy island route, you will tend to get the fantasy island group of guests.

My feeling is families on vacations don’t mind the novelty of personal belongings in a house as long as they are not a safety hazard, though executives might rather not have the distraction of an array of Justin Bieber posters or the latest table designed as the prototype to Star Trek 2020.

From Craigslist, You can get super savings on such things are stylish bedframes, tables, and chairs. Some products new are a super value, so you do need to spend some time to do some comparative on-line shopping. Places like Home Depot have a large on-line only order only inventory that you may be better off buying from rather than taking the chance on a used product offering very little discount versus new. Ikea is another value stop especially for kitchenware.

2) Some items are better new, like mattresses, pillows, linen, towels and cabinetry, fixtures and faucets that are new can do much to brighten and freshen your décor.

If you need to replace bedroom and bathroom doors, a solid version will give your guest a better sense of privacy and security. Closet doors can be hollow-core. Replace the beat up door jams.


3) Appliances can be bought new on clearance sales or blems at a substantial savings.

Once you get these appliances, keep them clean. Regularly cleaning them right after they are used by a guest is easier to maintain than letting them develop baked on stains. Also, care should be used not to scratch your stainless or other metal surfaces.


TIP: If you order stuff from a retail store when they have an inventory or backroom blowout sale, plan on picking these items up yourself otherwise you risk having the move totally trash your once acceptable items. For example, we ordered a refrigerator and a range which were floor items in very nice condition, but because they were shipped without their original packaging by some demolition derby forklift driver, the end result? We inspected them upon receiving and found they both were damaged so much that we had to reject them.

4) In terms of numbers of beds, to make it comfortable, having close to a 1 to 1 ratio of beds to baths is ideal for executive and professionals, although some places offer 3x or more beds per bathrooms, and while they can attract a higher rental rate by way by housing more people, it doesn’t bode as well for you and your boss fighting over using the john in the morning (for those of you who do not know what a “john” is, that’s English slang to toilet).

Choosing the same size bed is our choice in order to make cleaning up, logistics, and upkeep more efficient (we use all queen sized beds). This, however, may not be ideal for families with several children or two families staying together or anyone trying to avoid the one comfy scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” starring John Candy and Steve Martin.

5) Black out capable blinds for the bedrooms can help handle little kids taking naps and adults who are cave dwellers.


6) Don’t forget all of your safety items like smoke detectors, Carbon monoxide Detectors, First Aid kits, door stops to avoid holes in your walls and dings on your new cabinet doors, even a fire extinguisher can give a guest a sense of security.

7) Allow for guests to plug in their chargers for their various electronics, in every room.

8) Short-term guests enjoy some niceties. Things like free bottled water and a K-Cup and drip coffer makers, a TV with a reasonably full set of channels, free wireless and access to a washer dryer, and free onsite parking, all can help appease their needs for amenities. A Bluetooth equipped radio is nice, so as one of our guests said, they could jam with their Ipod tunes while cooking pizza from scratch.

9) We do not offer a telephone landline. That’s the nice thing about the cell phone generation. Though we do offer a fax/printer that is Bluetooth capable and that is good for business customers or those who just want to print something from their personal device.

10) Since cleaning a place becomes a really really really (really) big deal, you may want to choose furnishings that are easy to clean. That’s another reason why we like our hardwood floors instead of carpets. It keeps the dust down and it’s easier to vacuum and light mop. We ask our guests to use our clean/disposable slippers (which we provide) and not wear outside shoes indoors.

And just an aside… Even if you hire someone to do your cleaning, be prepared for you or someone you trust to do a final check before you release the space to a new guest. Remember, no one takes responsibility as much as you the owner. An un-emptied trash can or, worse, a dirty towel with awkward body fluids or a grotesque hairball sitting on the bathroom vanity will do a lot to nuclear detonate the impression of pristine cleanliness and will likely have your guest screaming in horror as they frantically catch a LYFT ride to the next nearest clean listing.


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Copyright © 2018 Challen Yee  All Rights Reserved.

Compelling Reasons for a Stay

A thought that sometimes comes to the tip of a host’s tongue but without the words is,

“Does this guest have a compelling reason to stay in our house?”

instead, you just feel uncomfortable. Have you as a host ever felt like this?



As a host, you often go on your intuition whether to accept a guest reservation or not. The conflict occurs when in the case a host feels uncomfortable to the point it leads you to thinking you want to decline a booking request or inquiry. I find this case is RARE though one begs to understand his/her own feelings to be a fair judge.


There may be several reasons why a host may believe a guest is not a match without violating anyone’s rights, some are clearly delineated in the basic house rules related to:

Smoking, Pets, Parties, Max number of guests

Yet, there could be less definable reasons why a particular inquiring guests may be giving off bizarre vibes in how they offer their reason for their stay.

We have had over 50 groups stay with us and all except for 1 had what I would consider a compelling reason. Some may have had other issues but their reason to stay was reasonable and believable.


Common reasons are:

Flying in for a Business trip (seminars, company training, meeting clients), family vacation, loved one having surgery at local hospital, extra space needed for family gathering (holidays, funerals), reunions, small group retreat, visiting main office from out of state/country, child attending tech camp (Summer school).

Almost all are guests are from out of state or out of country with a few from some distal part of California and in a brief messenger communication they manage to  candidly express their reasons.

When all of these factors converge, combined with (when available) good reviews, this results in a compelling and reliable framework for the guest that follows through without issues.

In other words, it’s unlikely that anyone will have a vague reason why they are flying in from a foreign country to stay at your home. So you get use to a certain level of direct and honest communication and learn to be apprehensive of vague purposes.


For instance, I experienced the not-so compelling and actually quite vague reason which was: “Need a place to crash for one night after an “event” (“Event” was undefined and the guest were all local residents).  It’s this reservation that resulted in the most difficult cleanup job, which I will not detail, but… at least it was only a one-night stay.


You might imagine what type apprehensions you might have when another inquiry comes in from another local who, upon questioning, contentiously offers only a vague reason why they would want to stay… and want to book, not for days, but for multiple months.


A BNB is different than a Hotel

It helps to know that a BNB listing is not like a hotel where the potential difficulties caused by a higher risk guest are somewhat eased by large numbers of unrelated guests. One guest only takes one room of many units in a hotel drawing income from a mass of guests.

Conversely, a BNB home is a key income source, and can be THE key source of income for a family, so it is with great reliance on host’s judgment to best avoid unnecessarily risky contracts that may interrupt a steady income stream for their family. By establishing a pipeline of guests with compelling reasons  to hold and fulfill reservations will a host ensure a stable income and, perhaps more importantly, peace of mind.

When there are no reviews to support a new guest to BNBs, then the relationship is completely based on the rapport generated in a brief messenger conversation. I’m very glad by the fact that virtually all guests do not come across as entitled to stay at your private residence.

I believe most guests pretty much get it. They are respectful, if not kind and respectful, if not kind, humble and respectful while certainly not easily angered or triggered by a polite and logical question by a host of a private home.

I remember one woman was so polite, unassuming and understanding when I told her I made a mistake by allowing her to make an instant booking reservation (didn’t turn it off in time or thought I had turned it off) when I was in the process of working with another guest over the same booking period. The displaced guest was remarkably gracious. It’s beautiful people like her, who did not even have a chance to be my guest but, filled with understanding, helped me accommodate another person who she didn’t know. It’s considerate people like these I would want to do something special for if I have a chance, they make the world go around.


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Copyright © 2018 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.



Hosting Fears: Screening your Guests

With the world of travelers one step to booking your home, how will you determine who is safe? How do you deal with the mystery of who is coming to stay?

As a corporate sponsor, how is your approach to working with a family-owned BNB?

From a host’s standpoint, It’s good to have an expectation that any prospective guests offer you a reason why they are coming to your area and if they’ve had the experience of staying at someone’s home before (this is where previous guest reviews become important).

It helps if your listing has “house rules” so people aren’t as apt to treat your home too impersonally. When they can see your rules upfront they have a better idea what you expect. Sometimes, you need to politely ask them if they’ve reviewed the rules if you suspect they have not – it could’ve been something they inadvertently overlooked. For example, the may only cite one of your rules, like “yes, none of us smoke” because that rule happened to show up without having them to pulldown the entire list. Then you might reply, “There are 26 rules, I’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns once you’ve reviewed them.”

After a while, there is something relevant to “The Truth has a Ring to it.”

When people offer their clear reasons, it is a positive. Not only do you need to commit to them, but they need to make a commitment to you. They may know a little or a lot about your depending on your website profile, but you know nothing about them so you can take the opportunity ask some simple questions if they do not take the initiative to provide you an adequate introduction.

So far, after a year of serving the community, cancellations are pretty rare and they are accompanied with good reasons, such as, “the conference was moved from Palo Alto to San Francisco” or “Our child’s surgery needed to be rescheduled” or “we now have a funding problem.”

So when these things happen, you just have to move on. Be understanding, you are in the hospitality business, not military recruiting. There is some variations how hosts handle their cancellation policy, some can be very strict while others can be very flexible.

Corporate coordinators are worth their weight in gold when they can help put you at ease when they are making arrangement for a team of executives or engineers. These are usually some of the most seamless transactions. As we have discovered, corporate guests tend to be without any issue and they have (so far) never attempted to barter my prices down (which so far only happens rarely).

There is more uncertainty within the typical 24-hour period before the actual reservation booking is made, as you can imagine, a potential guest is searching for the ideal accommodation of which your listing may only be one of a handful they are looking at, or if the potential guest does not have any significant guest history, you may be seeing to find out more about the guest(s) who will be staying at your home. There will be moments when you are living in a grey area of uncertainty. In either case, I like to get prompt and candid answers from guests and that can influence whether you extend an offer to book your house or not.

I had one guest who needed to communicate through their minor child, and I was really stretching my tolerance level when they couldn’t nail down how many people were staying or respond to my questions promptly. The reservation was being made a couple months out, so I could be flexible, but as a guest, you don’t want to give your host the inadvertent impression that you’re planning to hide anything, particularly if you have made any suggestion that the guest count was over your limit (ours is 6 normally).

As a host, I like to respond to inquiries within an hour or as soon as possible. I like to communicate with the guest, in a way that I would like to be responded to, as someone needing to resolve their accommodation problem ASAP, even when ½ the world away, they send an inquiry in the middle of the night.

A tip to guests, you should know that from a host’s perspective, we would really like to feel comfortable with everyone from the first inquiry. If there is anything unusual about the condition or circumstances of your inquiry or reasons for you needing to stay, please understand  the need for host to make inquiries to you.

And please, no marketing or spam-based inquiries on a reservation/booking messaging service. Those are a drag.

Yes, your phone should stay on all the time since you are in the 24/7 business of hospitality.



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Copyright © 2018 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

Hosting Fears: Do guests trash the house?

This is quite a fear at first.. You spend all the time, money and energy to setup your place and you wonder how will your guests treat it.

In my experience, the answer is no, our guests do not trash the house. In fact, they are generally remarkably clean.

They do not leave our place like most people would leave a hotel room.

Here are some reasons that, in my opinion, help support this phenomena.

We’ve stayed at some decent hotels in our life, but we keep our place cleaner than any hotel we’ve ever stayed. When you have a high standard, people will notice and it affects how they treat your place.

Another reason is, our guests are very nice about the requirement that they offer the purpose of their stay and who will be staying as guests. This allows you to screen your guests, but in reality they are prescreening themselves. As a host, you get to know them as real people, whether professionals or otherwise, and you get an opportunity to develop that connection.

Moreover, unlike a hotel, a BNB can set several “ground rules” that you would never see at a hotel. Hotels do have smoking and non-smoking rooms, so we choose to have a no-smoking rule as part of our list among others.

Our guests know that they are staying in somebody’s home, in our case, they know that we didn’t just buy our place only to rent it as a BNB, and they are paying for that privilege (though it’s less expensive than a comparable hotel room in the area). Even though we accommodate both domestic and an international guests, we find them to be rather amazingly courteous and clean. We’ve had to do some mild educating of some young single male engineers (LOL), but they took it with good grace and were fine guests.

We, my wife and I, are quite pleased, even surprised, that even families with young children have been remarkably responsible with the general tidying of the house.

Sometimes a few dirty dishes are either left our or left in the running dishwasher, but we take this into account with our cleanup.

In our experience, guests who tend to leave without paying as close attention to cleaning are the ones who book at the spur of the moment, meaning the same day. As extraordinarily rare as this may be, you may need to be wary of guests who want to book for a place to crash for one night after a party… it’s likely they will be having that party at your place.

Although it is comforting to see a guest making a reservation having already earned several previous good reviews (airbnb), in general, the new guests are pretty attentive to being good guests.

I cannot speak for other hosts, but I write a lot of information for prospective guests to read about our place in our listing. I write about what we hope and expect. You’d think it might scare some people away (maybe it does), but, assuming they actually read how we care about the house and have a bunch of rules, our guests seem more than willing to do a decent job of being careful and considerate. Judging by our reviews, works out well so far!



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If you’d like for me to speak with your group in regards to hosting or property management, send me an inquiry


Copyright © 2018 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

Begin with a vision

Back in 2016, our family was about ready to sell this property thinking we had held it long enough. Long story short, we reconsidered the opportunity to renovate it to rent it out to the open market.
We did a lot of work ourselves, my hands, back and knees still feel the wear and tear. There were plenty of long days and weary nights over a year’s time when a second or third wind had to kick in knowing darn well that we had to get to the magical survival point where we could pay the mortgage instead of further depleting our savings.
Working on this project and bringing the level of this home to a new plateau was nothing less of a start-up company-like effort where hitting goals was simply a relentless hacking away of front-end to back-end tasks day after day without any option to surrender. Quitting was not an option.

Never worked so hard and so long with my brother Jon.

A “before” shot of the backyard.

My wife is simply amazing. She painstakingly set each one of these squares stones, over 300.
Despite depleting funds my wife and I had to fix our own house, we couldn’t leave this family investment undone. Thinking bed and breakfast was a possibility, at least for the short term until we knew what we needed to do for sure with the house, we knew we needed to design the house and landscape in such a way that it would please people, though without the money and time to work with a professional. So we mustered our collective experience and hacked mercilessly to completion.
For a bed and breakfast in Palo Alto, there has to be something nice about it, at least that’s the way I figure. The house is neither extravagant nor overtly trendy or fashion setting, but simplicity holds a value all its own. I grew up in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area since the 1960’s so the reminiscent value of a house that is not a modern era Mac-Mansion is pleasing to me. The house was built in 1955 and still retains its simple proportions.
Think about the “great idea”, it happens when your mind is clear, and we hope that the uncluttered nature of the home will inspire a sense of vision of your own as our guest. The detached garage could have been a humble inventor’s oasis, or the lab of budding scientists which Palo Alto is known for.
The nice thing about a bed and breakfast not just that we get regular opportunities to keep the house clean! The nicest thing about hosting is providing a place for so many amazing and satisfied guests: tech executives, scientists, engineers, families on vacation, or those staying with us while they are recovering from procedures performed at nearby Stanford Hospital. They come from around the United States and from around the world and they appreciate what we have to offer. We’re proud to take a small part in representing city, much like an unofficial ambassador for the great City of Palo Alto.
In Closing
I write this on my mother’s birthday, December 16th. She passed away in October 2017 but she was able to see us complete this house in time and enjoy our little gathering of family for a modest “Grand Opening” dinner party just prior to receiving our first BNB guests.
Thanks to mom, if it wasn’t for her vision, we wouldn’t have ended up with this property. She had a vision of the value of real estate long before it was synonymous with insanity.

My brothers share a quiet moment with mom during our little “Grand Opening” in September 2017.

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