10 Ways Your House Can Make You Money

by Thursday Bram
DIY Landscaping for Less photo

You work hard to pay for your home. Why not put your house to work for you? Here are several ways your house can make you money and help you cover those monthly mortgage payments.

Most people think that selling their house is the only way to profit from owning a home.

That simply isn’t true.

Your house can make you money in a wide variety of ways. It might be a good time to investigate your options, especially if your mortgage payments have you a bit worried.

Try putting your home to work for you.

1. Rent Out Crash Space

Everyone is familiar with the idea of taking in a roommate to cover part of the costs of your current residence, but you may not be comfortable renting out your spare room all the time.

Maybe the thought of having a paying guest for only a night or two sounds better to you.

It’s pretty easy to rent out an extra bedroom or even a couch. Just post your information to a site like Airbnb.com. Posting your room for rent is as simple as filling out a short profile, providing your address, and setting a rate. The profile is just a precaution, offering an opportunity for travelers to avoid hosts they might not be comfortable with. While other websites provide similar services, Airbnb is one of the most popular because it maintains worldwide listings.

2. Plant Some Produce

Spending hundreds of dollars on a perfectly manicured lawn doesn’t have much of a return, but if you’re willing to plant something with a bit more retail value, you can take advantage of the land around your home.

As support for locally grown produce has increased, a few growers like Kipp Nash of the Boulder, Colorado-based Community Roots Farm have developed the idea of a distributed farm. You plant tomatoes, peas, or other produce where you once grew a lawn. You can reduce your food bill by eating your results or selling it on your own or through a CSA.

If a distributed farm already exists in your community, you can often offer up your yard and let the existing organization do most of the work.

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3. Sell Your Junk

Many personal finance gurus suggest cleaning out the stuff you’ve bought over the years, like clothes, movies, etc., and selling it. If something is taking up space in your house that you aren’t going to use again, it’s worth getting it gone. You’ll get a little more space in your home, and you’ll get a little cash, too.

You can sell junk on eBay easily, but watch out. It can turn into a great home-based business before you know it. Suzanne Wells did just that. She started selling online to downsize after a divorce. She went thrift shopping to find a new blouse and wound up bringing home clothes to sell on eBay.

4. Rent Some Storage Space

Once you’ve downsized your belongings, you may have some room to spare. If that extra space is an area you can easily close off from the rest of your home, you can often rent it out.

Basements, garages, or storage sheds are particularly ideal, and you’ll want to invest in a padlock so that your prospective renters will be comfortable leaving their property at your home. Since you’re effectively taking responsibility for that property, you may also want to add to your homeowners’ insurance.

5. Make It in the Movies

Your house can be in the movies, and you can earn money on it.

Making your home available to location scouts is surprisingly easy. Just register with the local film council. States and regions tend to have their own councils, as do large cities. You can find out more in this article on Forbes.com.

Depending on the project and location of your home, the rental rate can range between $500 USD and $5,000 USD.

If you do rent out your home to film productions, be aware that you’ll need a place to stay for the duration of the filming.

6. Put It in Park

Especially in big cities, car owners are always looking for a place to keep their vehicles. The same holds for boat and motorcycle owners.

If you have room in your garage or even in your driveway, you may be able to offer that space up for cash, especially if you live in a busy part of town, such as near a hospital or a business area, where parking is scarce. Craigslist.com has a section devoted to parking and storage ads under its housing section, making it very easy to offer up your spare parking spaces.

7. Leverage Your Equity

Especially these days, relying on property values to increase isn’t a great way to make money. Still, you can borrow money against your home’s equity value to finance another investment.

While you should only borrow money against your home if you’re confident that you can handle paying it back even if your planned investment goes south, it can be an easy way to get money to purchase a rental property, start a business, or otherwise invest.

8. Share Office Space

Co-working, the practice of sharing office space by individuals who run their own businesses or telecommute for different companies, has become popular. In Philadelphia, for instance, a group of co-workers rents space together at Indy Hall.

If you’ve already got a great home office set up, nothing is stopping you from renting out a desk or two in your office area, along with an internet connection, of course.

9. Set Up a WebCam

Many donation-based websites make money off a streaming video straight from somebody’s webcam. You don’t even have to put on a show for the camera.

Consider showing off your Halloween or Christmas decorations. That’s what Alek Komarnitsky does. He also has set up controls, allowing visitors to the website to control his Halloween decorations.

10. Run a Home-Based Business and Claim the Tax Deduction

There are hundreds of opportunities to run a business from your home, from offering daycare services for web-based enterprises to anything else you can think of. (See Could What You Know Make You Money?.)

Some perks go along with working at home beyond paychecks, as well. In many countries (including the U.S. and the U.K.), you can deduct at least a portion of the expenses of owning and maintaining your home on your taxes if it’s also your work location. You will want to consult your tax preparer about the specifics of the home office deduction.

Reviewed September 2023

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