Atlanta-Denver-Chicago-Cleveland-Dallas-Huston-Portland-Phoenix-Seattle-South Bay-San Diego
What is Loftium?
Seattle based start up, Loftium provides a cost effective solution to outrageous rent prices and puts you in a home in the city you love. Loftium finds homes that have some extra space for a separate Airbnb unit. Loftium offers guaranteed discounted rent (up to 50%) to renters who want to live in the home while managing the on-site Airbnb unit. Currently, Loftium is operating in Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Huston, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, South bay (California) and San Diego. It seems like they have aggressive growth plans for the future.
Your discounted rent does not come without a small catch. As a Loftium renter, you're expected to do a few things to ensure success.
Set up the Airbnb unit. Loftium sends all the required furniture, and other furnishings, but its up to you to assemble and and install the furniture and gadgets they send. Assembly ranges in difficulty with the majority of the jobs being a 3 on a scale of 1-10. It definitely helps to have experience with common hand tools, screwdriver, hammer, drill, ect... Take time and follow directions step by step. It is a lot of work, we estimate it took us 30 hours start to finish. You'll also be asked to set up the airbnb listing, which was fairly easy due to an intuitive user interface at your airbnb dashboard. Your formal title will the primary host, but Loftium is the co-host on the listing.
Communicating with guests. You will be the main point of contact for your guests. You will communicate mostly through text messaging, all inquiries from potential guests are forwarded to your personal cell from airbnb's messenger. It makes very easy to sort booking instructions, and you never miss a notification. It helps to know your area. Suggesting public transit options, fun activities, and good food in your area goes a long way in creating a positive interaction with guests. The first few messages are sent automatically on your behalf, but beyond that, its up to you to be there for guests.
Cleaning is another big part of the project, but its not all for nothing. You are awarded a rent credit for cleaning the unit yourself, of if your're short on time you can spend it on a pro cleaning service. In our case the rent credit is $45 per booking, not bad. We take this part seriously, as its what new guests are most likely to be upset about. The typical stay is 2 nights, with the maximum being one week.
Managing the guest experience by going the extra mile and adding personal touches to make your listing stand out. Small inexpensive complimentary like soap, coffee, water, small snacks all enhance your guests experience and lead to good reviews.
Loftium manages the all the financial things. They set the price, provide the auto-response messages, and make improvements and optimizations to your listing remotely, so you can focus on your guests.
Who can rent with Loftium
Loftium is not for everyone. There are many criteria potential renters must meet before being accepted to lease. Those parameters can be found here in greater detail.
You will get furniture, tons of furniture.
Guest essentials: Things like all the towels and linens, kitchenette supplies, and other basic items. Note you will receive extra blankets and pillows. (all of ours were white) Loftium tries to create a minimal modern decor. Many items come from Amazon home essentials line. *keep track of where your items came from, because it will make it easier to find a replacement.
Listing setup and optimization. Loftium provides support for setting up your listing. They will they offer helpful tips and optimize your listing, as well as set up your auto-respond functions, which is super helpful. Whats really great is that the inventory sheet which includes the estimated arrival dates for each item. This helped us plan around our deliveries and we were much less concerned with package theft, and we got a head start on getting everything organized.
as you can see, the space really looks nice with the furniture loftium provides. Loftium encourages to add your own personal touches too. We added the large world map tapestry, it was like 7 bucks on amazon and helps break up that big bland wall and brings some needed brightness to the room
Your lease will start 7 days after signing the lease. Now, Loftium adds new homes fairly regularly, buy they do become rented quickly. Apply to the homes you're interested in, but be ready to make the move quickly.
Much like a traditional rental agreement, common utilities are to be paid on time by the renter, not the property owner. Common utilities are things like, gas, electric, water, trash, and sewer. In most cases, the renters are also responsible for yard chores around the house, but could be included in your lease, just consult the homeowner and lease agreement. Keeping the grass green, trimmed and pleasant looking will go a long way in making a good impression on your new guests, while showing that you take their experience seriously.
The Leasing Process
You've decided that you want to lease with loftium, what next?
The leasing process is super simple and touring is a cinch.
select the homes available in the area you would like to live
complete screening. There is a $45 screening fee
Tour the home. This you can do on your own time, without a Loftium representative present. Our home had a combination lock box, which held the key. Loftium still asks to schedule a time, and let them know when you will be touring the home.
sign your lease and prepare to move in.
Loftium support is great throughout this entire process. They communicate mainly through email and have fair response time
There is one fee, and that is the $45 screening fee. The screening fee is paid to a 3rd party company who specializes in background checks, just the same as any other traditional lease. If you're approved, loftium pays the cost of the screening fee.
Loftium will use a number of ways to verify income. Current pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements are most common, but they will also use employment contracts and offer letters.
Credit Check Background Check
The approval time is super fast. Once we picked a home, we were approved in a handful of hours. You should know within a day if you get the home you applied for. Its a "soft" pull on your credit report, meaning it will not harm your credit score to apply. Your credit and background check is valid for 60 days for all loftium homes.
Deposit and Whats Due at Signing
Ok, so this part is slightly confusing. I had to read it a couple times to fully understand it.
You'll pay a deposit, which is equal to one month of the full priced rent, not the discounted rent price after you move in and start hosting.
You'll pay a pet deposit, if you have pets (pets are allowed) We have a dog and it was $250
The first two weeks (when you will be setting up the Airbnb) you pay half the full market value of the rent. Our full market rent is $2500, so we paid $1250. The remainder of the month, two weeks after you move in (when the Airbnb is active) is paid at the discounted rent and is prorated. Our discounted rent is $1700, so we paid $850. That made our total for the 1st month $2100. Also, you have the option to split the deposit into 3 or 6 installments. That was helpful.
The deposit will be returned at the end of your lease, provided there is no excessive damage beyond normal wear and tear, just like any other rental deposit.
Yep, Loftium requires you to carry renter's insurance. Its not expensive. You're also covered by Airbnb's insurance policy, which is comprehensive and covers you up to a million bucks.
Communicating With Landlord/Property Management
Communicating maintenance issues with your landlord or property management is your responsibility. Loftium does ask that you "cc" them in correspondence with property management/ownership.
Smoking is not allowed inside or around the property. This is a condition of Airbnb, landlords, and owner.
The pet policy varies from owner to owner. Some allow it, others don't. All the listings on loftium will say if pets are ok, or not. Like I said in the deposit segment, our lease allows pets, and our deposit was $250.
Traveling While Hosting
You are fee to travel and leave your home whenever you'd like, you're not tied down to your hosting gig, however you are still expected to perform as a good host while you're away. Loftium recommends that you have a back up cleaning plan in place. You coud even get help from friends or family to answer guest questions while you're away.
This surprised us the most. the Airbnb unit books super fast. We got our first booking in 2 days. Same day bookings happen more often than we estimated, so that presents a challenge for working people. We do all the cleaning, so that cleaning fee adds up quickly, as well as the 20% profit share when your unit is out performing. The bookings are exciting and the extra money is so great.
Note: Prior to the current model, Loftium offered 50k towards a down payment on a home, provided you manage the onsite abnb listing. In general, they loan you 50k, you pay it back with airbnb profits. They had some problems with that that, and that can be found with a quick google search if you're interested in learning more about that.
Loftium in ways is still staying true to that concept, except now you share the profits of the airbnb unit, and you can use yours to save for a house. That's what were doing. But, do whatever you'd like with the extra cash.