As interest rates creep up, the days of wringing cheap cash from your home in the form of refinances and home equity loans are waning. But have you ever thought of making money using your house without tapping the equity?
Some concepts, such as taking in roommates, have probably been with us for as long as we have lived indoors. But the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and smartphone apps have opened up new opportunities for homeowners or even renters to put their homes to work.
Here are a few jobs your house could get.
If you’re in a suburban homeowners association, forget it. But if you have a property on a well-trafficked street or in view of the freeway, consider selling advertising space on your fence, walls, or even in the yard. You might need to consult local laws to make sure you don’t find yourself in violation of the planning department on this one — which is probably why you tend to see this on highways in rural areas more than in urban or suburban neighborhoods.
2. Filming location
You might not have what it takes to get a close-up on the silver screen, but maybe your home does. The going pay rate for television, film, and even commercial sets is your mortgage payment amount per day. Sign up on LocationsHub ($5 a month) or Set Scouter (free, but they take a cut of the rental fee) so producers can find you. And don’t think you need a mansion to qualify; productions need ordinary homes, too. (See also: How to Turn Your Home Into a Moneymaking Star)
3. Extra storage
You’ve seen facilities that rent out industrial-looking storage sheds where you can keep your offseason clothes, Christmas trees, and that chair that never found a spot in your new apartment but you love too much to sell. But did you know that you can rent out a closet in your own place for this kind of use?
No matter where you live, you can list your extra space for free on sites like Craigslist, including not just closets, but also garage space, sheds, and even backyard or driveway space. If the storage space has a private entrance, you can provide the renter with their own key; if it’s in your living space, you can set access hours and have the renter call you to get let in.
This type of service is so in-demand in space-sensitive locations like the San Francisco Bay Area, that there is an entire Parking/Storage category on Craigslist.
4. CSA drop-off point
My front porch is the pickup point for neighbors who subscribe to a community supported agriculture farm share program. I don’t get paid cash for the space, but I get a healthy discount on my box — and if more people start picking up here, I could get my box for free.
5. Yard sale spot
I never would have dreamed that anyone would pay for a yard in which to host a yard sale, but then I learned about 127 Yard Sale, an annual 600-mile-long yard sale, for which home and business owners do in fact rent out property along the sale route to vendors. This made me realize that you could also capitalize on other special events this way. Do crowds pass by your yard on the way to the Fourth of July fireworks or the weekly farmers market? You may be able to rent your yard for a sale operator or to a refreshments vendor. (See also: How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Moneymaker)
6. Co-working space
It never made sense to me that some home-based workers pay to rent out cubicles when most homes sit empty and silent during the workday. As a work-from-home mom, I’ve often wanted to get out of my noisy house to work, but I didn’t want to travel to an urban area and pay top dollar for a co-working space with a fancy coffee bar. If there were a service near me where I could book space at someone else’s empty house, I might have considered it.
Here in the U.S., it seems that so far, startups trying to connect itinerant workers with empty homes have gone bust. Not to worry, you can always list your extra work-from-home space on Craigslist.
7. Child care location
You can of course open a home-based child care facility, but what if you’re not interested in a career in child care? I found out that you can squeeze a little benefit out of your home by offering to host a nanny share for multiple families. Some share arrangements will allow the hosting family to contribute less to the nanny’s salary. In my case, I received a different, but equally valuable benefit: Because both toddlers in the share took long afternoon naps, the nanny included several hours of housecleaning service in her workday, at no extra charge to me.
Another way I have seen homeowners successfully use their homes for child care, outside the traditional home day care center idea, is by hosting after-school or summer programs. This is a home business that requires your labor in addition to your space, but you can host a summer camp at home based on arts or any other interest you have. Check into local licensing laws and insurance requirements before you get started.
8. Cold storage
There is a market of people who want to buy meat in bulk, but don’t have the cold storage space at home. So it’s plausible that you could rent out freezer space to folks who want to store a lot of food but don’t have their own deep freeze.
9. Foreign exchange student housing
The U.S. State Department doesn’t pay exchange student host families, although you can take a $50 per month tax deduction while you’re hosting one. However, there are lots of private programs out there that bring foreign students to the U.S. and pay host families for their room and board. You can sign up with 4stay or The American Homestay Network to rent a room to students and interns.
Another way to go about this is to contact a local university. Some of them keep a list of available rooms, or they allow people to post on a bulletin board to advertise their space for international students or visiting professors.
10. Lodging for nurses or other medical professionals
Some travel nurses move from city to city taking on new assignments arranged by agencies. These agencies may provide housing, so one way to become a host for a travel nurse would be to get in touch with one of these agencies. You can connect with these nurses through the The Gypsy Nurse’s Travel Nurse Housing Group, or list your room on Furnished Finder, a housing site just for traveling professionals.
11. Get a roommate
If you have a second home or travel for long stretches, getting a roommate can be preferable to renting out your entire home, because it allows you to maintain access during the times when you are in town. Social media is a good way to find trustworthy roommates, since ideally they’ll be recommended by someone you know. There are also websites and apps dedicated to helping people find renters. (See also: The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space)
I live on an island, and the ferry terminal parking lot always fills up before the last ferry of the morning leaves. Some folks who live nearby are capitalizing on that by renting out their empty driveways to ferry riders. You can list a parking spot in any of 15 U.S. cities on SpotHero, either on a regular basis or for special events. I’ve also seen signs offering parking rental posted on lampposts in cities, and seen college kids simply holding up cardboard with the price scrawled on it to rent out their front yards on college game days.
13. Vacation rental
The vacation home rental industry has exploded in recent years thanks to Airbnb, and now anyone who lives in a popular destination can turn a spare bedroom into a consistent source of cash. If you have dismissed becoming an Airbnb host because you don’t have an empty bedroom, give it another look.
Not everyone realizes that you can list your whole home on Airbnb while you’re on vacation; I have done this several times with good results, and have even had guests who were happy to care for my cats in exchange for a discount. (See also: 13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb)
You might also be overlooking spaces in your home that are “Airbnbable,” especially if you live in a high-demand area. I have stayed in lovely RVs parked in people’s yards. I’ve seen a breakfast nook rented as a bedroom in Monterey, and a living room sofa listed for $15 a night in Columbus, Ohio. Some people also rent out camping space in their yard; if you do this, think through where your guests will use the bathroom. And if you don’t love Airbnb, there are a few competitors, like VRBO or HomeAway, that could help you rent out your space as well.
14. Event space
Even my nonexpansive home has garnered requests for use for a workshop through Airbnb (I turned them down because I don’t have one large room where people could gather comfortably). If your home is more of a showcase than mine, you could register it with a company such as Peerspace, which lists spaces for all kinds of events.
One advantage to listing with a company that specializes in events, rather than Airbnb, is that they tend to offer insurance coverage appropriate for events, and have safeguards in place to make sure your property isn’t destroyed.
15. Home swap
This isn’t necessarily a way to generate cash from your home, but it is a way to get more value from it. Sign up for HomeExchange or another home swap site, and you can get a free place to stay while you’re traveling in exchange for hosting travelers at your own place. Recently, HomeExchange debuted a points program that makes it easier to arrange non-simultaneous exchanges, which is great for folks who might want to rent out their home but don’t want to deal with rent, which you may have to report on your taxes.
In the past year, my family has enjoyed free stays in Santa Cruz, California; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Ashland, Oregon, thanks to home swapping; we’re currently working on an exchange for France this summer. We enjoy that we are welcoming members of a more limited community into our home, as opposed to renting on Airbnb, and that when we swap with other cat owners, they are usually more than happy to care for our cats. (See also: Home Exchanges: Free Accommodations With Perks)
16. Package locker
Since ordering online has become the de facto way for many people to shop, secure package delivery has become a problem. Even in my safe community, neighbors are constantly complaining of packages from UPS or FedEx disappearing from their porches.
Providing a package locker is partly a work-from-home job, and partly getting paid for your space: eNeighbor pays you $3.50 for every package you receive. The work part is that you have to be home from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to sign for packages, then hand them out to their recipients when they come pick them up. The space part, of course, is that your living room or other space becomes a little mailroom for these boxes.
17. Rehearsal space
You could rent out your garage, basement, or other large space to up-and-coming musicians who need a place to jam. Keep in mind, however, that nearby neighbors might take issue with this plan, so be mindful of local noise ordinances.