How to make money with your home
If you’re like most people, your home is the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy. You probably scrimped, saved and took out a home loan to get your hands on it.
Now, nobody’s arguing that it isn’t a good investment - a home can be a building block for your family life, it’s a great asset to have and it keeps you dry in bad weather. It’s already pulling its weight, and you probably don’t regret a single dollar you spent on it.
But why not make some of those dollars back anyway?
Make your home do you one more favour with these money-making strategies.
Rent out a room
One of the most popular ways to make money from your home is to rent out space. There are a few ways you can go about this:
To a long term lodger
If you’re open to company and have a spare room going unused, why not rent it out for an extra income stream? Long term renting is a great option if you don’t want the hassle of having lodgers come and go. While renting out a room in your house probably means a certain level of sociability, if you’ve got a granny flat to rent out, you can keep as much distance as you please.
Short term home stays for students
If you’d rather not commit to a long term lodger, you can choose to rent out a room for short-term stays. One way to find a reliable stream of short term tenants is to get in contact with Universities in your area. Lots of exchange students need a place to stay for a semester, and one of the good things about this set up is that the Uni will often regulate it - meaning you’re more likely to get a well behaved tennant.
How to do it: Check out the websites of Universities in your city and see if they have a program in place for housing international students.
Not so keen on having a stranger in your house? You can still make some extra cash by renting out storage space in your home. You’ll have to think about things like accessibility (will the space be open to the renter 24/7?) and security, but this can be a simple, long term way to make an extra buck.
How to do it: Check out online services like Spaceout to list a storage space.
Rent out your garage or driveway
Maybe you take the train to work and your car barely leaves the garage or you park your car at work all day. Maybe you don’t have a car. Either way, your empty garage or driveway can be a neat little moneymaker, especially if you’re near a business hub or in an area where parking is scarce.
How to do it: Again, online services are a good bet to list your parking spot for rent. Take a look at Spacer.
Rent your home as a film set
Lights, camera, action! Do you ever sit in your carefully arranged living room and think it looks like something out of a glossy magazine spread? Filmmakers, advertisers and photographers are always on the search for great locations and your home could be one of them! This likely won’t mean a regular paycheck, and the odds of having a Hollywood flick filmed in your house are low, but it can be a great way to score the occasional cash bonus.
How to do it: Register your home on industry sites like Big House so filmmakers, photographers or advertisers can contact you.
Turn your backyard into a campsite
This one’s great for rural or out of the way properties, but all you need is space to pitch a tent in your backyard and you can charge a fee for the experience. Bonus points if you’ve got a lake, a fire pit or some other draw card. Remember that the better the camping experience is, the more likely you’ll have a regular flow of visitors - so think about what kind of access to things like cooking facilities and toilets you can offer.
How to do it: Register on Home Camp - a site that connects travellers with unique camping destinations on private properties.
The old classic, how could we leave Airbnb off a list like this? Rent out space in your home - whether it’s an entire granny flat, or a futon in the corner of your living room - to travellers from all around the world. One of the positives here is that Airbnb is well known and regulated, so everything’s already in place for you to fill your empty room and make some extra money!
How to do it: Head over to the Airbnb website and register your space! Remember to set a fair price and put some effort into your profile - the flip side to using this well-known brand means there’s more competition. But as an added bonus, Airbnb offers a free photoshoot so you can get your listing looking suave and inviting.
Produce your own energy
Not keen on guests or don’t have enough spare space to put them in? You can still make money from your home by fitting it out for green energy production. The most popular way to produce your own eco friendly energy is by installing solar panels. Not only can this cut your electricity bill down considerably, but you can actually make money through feed-in tariffs, which funnel any of your unused solar power back into the grid, in exchange for credit on your energy account.
How to do it: First, make sure your home is compatible for solar power. Then, choose someone to set you up with solar panels from the Clean Energy Council’s list of accredited solar installers. And don’t forget to head over to our energy comparison, to find the cheapest green energy enabled plan in your area.
Things you should think about first…
Before you get too carried away with the veritable goldmine that is your family home, there are a few general things you should consider, just so you’re doing everything on the up and up. So first things first, don’t forget to:
- Check in with the ATO. Yes, the taxman needs his cut of your extra earnings. Just about all of these methods produce taxable income - with the possible exception of green energy - so make sure you check the tax guidelines and declare everything properly.
- Talk to your local council. Different areas have different rules about things like short term rentals or camping sites, so make sure you’re within your rights to have tenants on your property.
- Update your insurance. Will your insurance cover renters? Make sure your policy is up to date so that if something goes wrong, you don’t end up out of pocket.
- Think of your neighbours. While your home is your own, you should take your neighbour's feelings into consideration. Having travellers come and go all the time might get annoying - especially if you live in close quarters, like an apartment block. Not only can this cause you trouble with your neighbours, but your tenants might leave bad reviews about grumpy neighbours and damage your earning potential.