Sam Zuo’s Passive Airbnb Review—3 Key Elements To Succeed In Rental Arbitrage

June 23, 2023

Passive Airbnb is a course by Sam Zuo dedicated to teaching you how to generate passive income by doing rental arbitrage on Airbnb. Essentially, rental arbitrage is a business model where you lease a property from a landlord and rent it out to others at a higher rate. You generate profit from the difference in rent. 

Most of what you’ll learn in the course can be found in his blog. Sam also sells templates you can use as a real estate investor like an outreach letter to landlords, Airbnb house rules, residential subletting agreement, and more.

Combine that with his consultation services and you’re looking at a possible all in one resource for all things Airbnb arbitrage. But is the high price tag worth it? Can you consider Passive Airbnb a goldmine of information regarding rental arbitrage?

In this Passive Airbnb review, you’ll find out if the 3 key elements stated by Sam Zuo are all you need to succeed in rental arbitrage and generate passive income. But despite the claims that Airbnb is a passive business model, I consider it an active one. And it can easily get saturated depending on the place.

If you are looking to invest in a completely passive online business, local lead generation might be for you. It is a digital real estate business model where you make a website in your chosen niche, rank it, and rent it out for local businesses. You can earn passive income with little to no maintenance on the sites you made. There are 41,683 ZIP Codes in the US alone and 33.2 million small businesses spread throughout the country. Those are millions of opportunities to earn passive income within your reach.

Passive Airbnb Pros And Cons


Free information from Sam Zuo’s blog

Offers a well-structured course complete with weekly modules, written materials, and notes

As a blogger, he has heavily researched Airbnb and the rental arbitrage market

Offers templates even without taking the course


Blog information competes with the course

Course reviews and results have not been updated since 2019

Only 2 case studies of successful students for the past 4 years

Expensive consultancy fee


Passive Airbnb costs $2,497 for the course and $15,000 for the Startup Consultancy. Blog resources are free to access.

Refund Policy

Money-back guarantee for 45 days, even at 100% course completion.


Passive Airbnb started in 2018.


Besides in-house reviews, no third party reviews are available for the course.

Passive Airbnb’s 3 Key Elements To Succeed In Rental Arbitrage

The 3 key elements to succeed in rental arbitrage are looking for a profitable property, negotiating subleasing with landlords, and maximizing Airbnb profits while automating. Let me break it down for you:

How To Find A Profitable Property For Airbnb?

To find a profitable property for Airbnb means you have to check the location, demand, amenities, competition, and pricing. Sam suggests using iodine to look at your potential earnings on a specific property. Its calculations are 99.3% accurate. Pricing starts at $12 for neighborhood or city focused evaluations.

Reliable paid alternatives to AirDNA include Airbtics, AllTheRooms Analytics, and Mashvisor. A free alternative is Inside Airbnb with a limited coverage.

How To Negotiate Subleasing With Landlords?

Negotiating subleasing with landlords involves reviewing leasing agreements, preparing proposals, compromising, putting the terms into writing, and following the terms of agreement. Negotiating a sublease agreement requires open communication, respect, and compromise on both your ends, especially when you want to build a good relationship with the landlord. This will open opportunities for you to scale your units when the landlord has more.

How To Maximize Airbnb Profits While Automating

Maximizing Airbnb profits while automating means optimizing your listing and outsourcing your processes. Automation is a great way to streamline your Airbnb hosting duties and it will create a more efficient experience for your guests. However, you have to be mindful in maintaining your authenticity. There should be a balance between hospitality and outsourced services or technology.

Some services you can automate are messages, self-check-ins, smart locks, cleaning services, and home security. Maintaining authenticity while automating your Airbnb is to personalize your communication—making sure they feel welcome and comfortable during their stay while streamlining your Airbnb host duties.

What Do I Get In Passive Airbnb?

In Passive Airbnb, you get access to a 7-week module that focuses on the 3 key elements above. You also get course-exclusive reading materials. However, some topics he will discuss are already talked about in his blog that you can access for free. These articles are comprehensive enough that getting them in the course seems contradicting to the exclusive content you pay for.

Here is a breakdown of what you will learn in the 7 weeks:

Week 1 - The Prep

  • My Airbnb Back Office
  • Property Walkthroughs
  • Business Startup Costs
  • Legalities

Week 2 - Business Operations

  • LLC Vs. S-Corp?
  • Business Checking Account
  • The Best Airbnb Short-Term Rental (STR) Insurance

Week 3 - Know Your Market

  • Important Tips On Market Research
  • Market Research Tools
  • Create A Dummy Listing To Test Demand

Week 4 - How To Find Properties For Airbnb

  • Where To Find Rental Units To Lease
  • The Value Proposition To Landlords
  • Inbound Marketing - How To Get Leads While You’re Sleeping

Week 5 - Hire A Team For The Perfect Airbnb Listing

  • Interior Decorator Vs. Designer
  • How To Hire A Professional Photographer
  • What To Look For In A Cleaning Service

Week 6 - Maximize Your Airbnb Listing

  • Optimize Your Airbnb Profile For Maximum Exposure
  • Calendar And Pricing Strategies
  • Airbnb SEO Secrets

Week 7 - Put Your Business On Autopilot

  • How To Consistently Deliver A 5-Star Experience
  • 3 Ways To Best Automate
  • Co-Host

Unsure of getting the $2,497 course, Passive Airbnb offers 5 FREE lessons for 5 days through your email. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • How to find a profitable area to do Airbnb
  • How to find landlords that are willing to sublease to you
  • How to outsource everything and only work 2 hours a week
  • How to sign a lease even if you have a low or bad credit score
  • How to get around the rent-to-income ratio even if you’re currently unemployed

Over 5 days, you literally get a no fluff compressed version of the course for free.

Passive Airbnb Startup Consultant Package

Passive Airbnb Startup Consultant Package is for the entrepreneurs, property managers, and real estate professionals looking to get into the short-term rental industry. However, for $15,000, you basically learn the same thing from the $2,497 course with the added exclusive coaching.

Personally, I would stay away from this. $15,000 is a lot of money that you can invest in your future Airbnb property. And there are way cheaper options offered by other reliable coaches from my list of top Airbnb courses.

Is Passive Airbnb Worth It?

Passive Airbnb is worth it if you are looking for resources on Airbnb rental arbitrage. Sam Zuo’s strong suit is Passive Airbnb itself as a blog. He has been featured in popular publications like NBC, The Washington Post, FOX, and ABC. This tells you he has the knowledge and expertise on topics involving Airbnb arbitrage.

The 7-week course is also streamlined to help you understand the business and industry without cramming it within a few days. It gives you time to digest information that beginners and experienced real estate investors will appreciate. If there is one thing I’d stay away from, it’s the $15,000 consultation services. First, it’s overpriced. Second, you get the same thing for $2,497. And it could also be a strategy for you to settle with the cheaper option.

Another thing to note is that the reviews and success of the course are outdated. Nevertheless, some of Sam Zuo’s students have succeeded with their rental property. And it shows that the course is effective for those that relentlessly pursue passive income by providing an outstanding Airbnb experience.

Another mentor who created time and financial freedom through Airbnb arbitrage is travel blogger Suzie Agelopoulus. You might want to check out her course BNB Method. Also, Airbnb Breakdown Academy is another option. 

Who Is Sam Zuo?

Sam Zuo created Passive Airbnb in 2018. After getting fired from his tech job in Silicon Valley, he started his real estate career by doing short-term rentals on Airbnb. He realized the potential for generating significant passive income and shared it through his blog, Passive Airbnb. 

It has grown since then as a popular resource for people interested in earning passive income, particularly on Airbnb. The goal of Passive Airbnb is to help people build successful short-term rental businesses through his expertise with his blog posts, course, and consultancy services he offers.

Passive Airbnb Alternatives

BNB Bootcamp by Michael and Katrina Stead is a course that will help you make 6-figures with short-term rental within your first year. They teach you all the steps and strategies you need to know to be highly profitable with short-term rental properties. You learn what tools to incorporate to help you automate your business, how to approach property managers, and more. Michael and Katrina are also provide support through direct text messages. 

Price: The BNB Bootcamp cost is given to you during your phone call with the sales team. 

More Info: BNB Bootcamp Review

Airbnb Kickstart Course by Kyle Stanley is an online course that teaches you how to make money with Airbnb rental arbitrage. It features 9 modules of short but comprehensive videos on starting and growing your Airbnb arbitrage business. Kyle also discusses strategic ways of acquiring 5-star reviews, enhancing guest communication, and learning the Airbnb algorithm.

Price: Airbnb Kickstart Course costs $1,497. You can also choose 3 payments of $582 per month.

More Info: Airbnb Kickstart Course Review

Is Airbnb Profitable In 2024?

Airbnb is still profitable in 2023. Airbnb saw a net profit of $1.9 billion in 2022, its first profitable year since the pandemic. The travel industry is likely to boom in the following years as restrictions get lifted around the world. This means more travelers and tourists looking for Airbnb rentals. 

It is important to note that the travel industry can be unpredictable. Changes will take place according to economic conditions, global health crises like COVID-19, and changes in consumer behavior. I also explain the financial risks, legal risks, and market risks involved in starting your rental arbitrage business.

However, Passive Airbnb will teach you how to set up and operate a profitable Airbnb business. The streamlined course and resources will help you figure out how to get around the bottlenecks in generating passive income. But you will have to put in the work.

Taking the route of local lead generation may be a better solution to earning passive income in 2023.

Why Local Lead Generation Is Better For Earning Passive Income

Local lead generation is better for earning passive income because it’s quicker to set up and requires little maintenance. Your clients will immediately pay you for the leads you generate for them—giving you the financial freedom you wanted for the little effort you put in.

Having a digital real estate property you own puts you at a higher authority compared to the Airbnb platform. You get less competition because you target a specific niche in an area. There are many untapped opportunities when you bridge local businesses to their customers. It is also easier for property management, because once you have the website running, a stream of passive income is bound to follow.

Compared to a real estate investment and earning rental income from your Airbnb rental property, you won’t have to chase your guest for a positive review. You won’t have to wait before becoming an Airbnb superhost before you see an increase in cash flow. You get to dictate your own superhost status as investor of a more effective business model.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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