Seattle Spotlight: Airbnb host Rich talks West Seattle, family and making lifelong friends

We’re excited to continue the Seattle Spotlight series — a highlight of stories from the local home sharing community. Seattle residents have democratized travel by turning their largest expense — their homes — into an asset to earn extra income, allowing travelers to live like locals and generate economic activity across the city.

Airbnb host Rich loves welcoming guests to his West Seattle neighborhood. “I’m right in the center of Alaska Junction, which is considered West Seattle’s downtown,” he says. “It’s an awesome location because my street is quiet, but one street over, there are bars, shopping, restaurants — you pretty much have West Seattle at your doorstep.”

He discovered Airbnb through a friend, and initially wasn’t sure if hosting was right for him. “At first it sounded a little odd,” he says with a laugh. “But I’ve met some truly incredible people through Airbnb; I’m talking lifelong friends that I never would’ve met otherwise.”

“I’ve met some truly incredible people through Airbnb.”

Rich lists multiple rooms in a townhouse he uses for visiting family, and also helps a friend manage two other listings. “My townhouse is for when my kids come to visit, and it’s great that we’re able to stay in a home together,” he says. “The Airbnb income I earn from my extra property actually allows me to keep the house,” he adds. “I literally couldn’t have my kids visit without it.”

Having used Airbnb to travel, Rich says many guests “love the warmth” of staying in a neighborhood and getting a local experience. “Many of my guests are here visiting family with medical issues, or adult kids visiting their elderly parents,” he adds. “There is one hotel in West Seattle, and who wants to stay at a hotel all the way downtown when their family is right here?”

Explore Rich’s townhouse

“The Airbnb income I earn from my extra property actually allows me to keep the house.”

Rich is aware of the city’s new proposed short-term rental rules, and believes the ordinance that passed out of City Council committee hit the “sweet spot.” “I imagine many people have an extra property or so for friends and family to stay,” he says. “If the city only allowed hosts to list in their primary residence, it would really hurt people like me, and my family wouldn’t be able to visit.”

All in all, Rich is proud to be an Airbnb host. “It has been so awesome,” he says. “Thanks to Airbnb, I now have additional friends and extra income to help support me and my family.”