Meet Brad and Bret, New Orleans residents and Airbnb hosts who love sharing their community with visitors. Bret was born and raised in Louisiana, and Brad is from Washington D.C. After several years living in the nation’s capital, the couple moved to the Pelican State five years ago.
“We knew we wanted to live in New Orleans and we knew we wanted to live in a house that had potential for rental income.”
The couple purchased an 1830s home with a guest house in the Tremé neighborhood and spent a year and a half restoring the properties. They live on one floor of the home and list the second floor, a loft, on Airbnb. They also list the guest house, which needed extensive repairs when they first bought the property. The couple says the income earned from short-term rentals made it possible to restore and now maintain the properties.
“The short-term rental money only made it feasible to restore this property.”
From the upstairs loft and carefully curated guesthouse to the shared courtyard where guests may encounter one of the couples’ three rescue dogs, Brad and Bret have created an oasis for guests to relax when they’re not exploring the City of New Orleans.
Brad and Bret manage their Airbnb listings themselves, with occasional help from local contractors and housekeepers. Hosting is Bret’s full-time job, and he prides himself on making sure his guests are comfortable. He personally welcomes every guest and stocks the homes with everything from toothpaste to bug spray.
“This is my livelihood now. I was in retail for 18 years, I was in restaurants before that. I worked a lot of hours, so this is kind of the perfect mix for me at my age. It allows me to do this and actually have a life again,” says Bret. “I’m customer service-driven and it’s perfect because I love to talk to people. I love what I do, plain and simple.”
“I love what I do, plain and simple.”
Brad and Bret want their guests to have a great experience when visiting and make sure to give their guests personal recommendations for local things to do.
“When people get here, we say ‘what do you want to experience?’ because everybody wants something different,” says Brad. “We find that everyone who comes here doesn’t realize how much there is to do, they always underestimate what this city has to offer.”
“We want to see all our local businesses do well, all our favorite restaurants, all our favorite shops. So we’re always pushing everything we can, local.”
So I mean we’re always pushing everything we can, local, even the grocery stores” says Brad. “The nice thing about here is it’s so easy to shop local.”
The couple loves recommending neighborhoods to explore by foot or via the city’s bike share program. And they always recommend their guests visit locally-owned businesses near their listing.
“We want to see all our local businesses do well, all our favorite restaurants, all our favorite shops. So we’re always pushing everything we can, local, even the grocery stores,” says Brad. “The nice thing about New Orleans is it’s so easy to shop local, and we make sure our guests know about those places so that they go and support them.”
“[A short term rental] affords you the ability to restore a home and not lose money on it.”
As the City of New Orleans works on new regulations for short-term rentals, Brad and Bret hope city council members consider the benefits of whole-home rentals. Not only do short-term rentals create opportunities for residents to support themselves, the income makes it possible for people to restore blighted properties, and maintain the historic homes that are part of New Orleans’ charm. “Don’t take away the best job I’ve ever had in my life.” Says Brad.