Seattle Spotlight: Airbnb is a family affair for Judy

We’re excited to debut the Seattle Spotlight series — a weekly 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.

One of Seattle’s defining characteristics is the mixture of cultures and people throughout its neighborhoods. In Fremont, located a few miles north of downtown, “everything is close, the people are nice, and it’s a great neighborhood,” says Judy, who has lived in Seattle for 25 years. “From the second I arrived, Fremont always just felt like home.”

“Airbnb is allowing people to stay in their homes.”

Judy is a licensed masseuse and her husband is a contractor. “I developed some health issues so I couldn’t work as much,” notes Judy. “Airbnb has been a great way to supplement our income.” As a senior, Judy understands the challenge of finding additional sources of income. “The older you get, taxes go up and income goes down — a lot of people can’t afford it,” says Judy. “Airbnb is allowing people to stay in their homes.”

She learned about Airbnb from her daughter and decided to give home sharing a try. She immediately fell in love with it. “I can’t believe how fun it is!” she exclaims. “It is really cool to meet people from all over the world.”

Having used Airbnb while traveling, Judy understands its appeal firsthand. “You get a whole different flavor of a city by home sharing,” she says. “You find places you wouldn’t even know existed thanks to host recommendations.”

“You get a whole different flavor of a city by home sharing.”

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

As a host, Judy goes above and beyond to make her guests feel welcome. “I like to add little touches for my guests,” she says. “From a walking guide of Fremont to toys for families with young kids, I try to provide guests with things I’d want if I were traveling.”

Judy’s husband uses his handyman skills to take their love of hosting to the next level. “My husband loves working on little projects to make our space better for guests,” adds Judy. “He converted one of the closets in the bedroom into a kitchenette area with a microwave and dishes, and the other closet into a little playpen for young kids that’s filled with toys and stuffed animals.”

“My Airbnb income enables me to do more for my family.”

Family is an integral part of Judy’s life, and the additional income from Airbnb allows her to spend more quality time with her kids and grandkids. “My Airbnb income enables me to do more with my family,” she says. “We were able to take a trip to Mexico to celebrate my daughter’s 10-year wedding anniversary. It was fantastic.”

Airbnb is popular throughout Judy’s family, and has played a role in their ability to connect. “My daughter suggested Airbnb to my son as well, so my husband helped him renovate his home to accommodate guests,” says Judy. “So now thanks to the extra income my family makes from Airbnb, I can go visit my son and his family and have a place to stay, and they can afford to come here and visit me. We are truly an Airbnb family!”

“Keep home sharing open to us. So many people benefit from it.”

Judy is aware of the regulatory discussion around short-term rentals and is happy to hear that Seattle’s elected officials are working with the home sharing community to craft fair, common-sense rules. “I would tell the city to keep home sharing open to us, it’s such a great thing,” she notes. “So many people benefit from it.”