finance

12 ways to make your house a cash cow

Want to earn some extra cash? Turn your home into a money-making machine.

If you're like most, you've never made a dime off your dwelling (aside from appreciation) even though your house and yard likely represent your single largest asset.

What's up with that? You've got tons of extra space in that spare bedroom, garage or basement that you're already heating, cooling and paying taxes on. And don't forget that idle front yard and backyard.

Why not make the old homestead earn its keep?

"There's something very positive to be said for becoming self-sufficient through assets you already own," says Katina Z. Jones, author of "The 200 Best Home Businesses." "With gas prices being what they are these days, there's a huge financial advantage to keeping your overhead low with a home-based source of income. The tax deductions associated with operating a business from home help on the back end as well."

Barbara Brabec, author of " Handmade for Profit!", agrees:

"Every dollar you can cut in expenses is a dollar you don't have to bring in. The need for extra income right now is so severe," she says.

Of course, local ordinances and homeowner association rules may prohibit or restrict your home moneymaking plans.

Always check first with local authorities, and be sure to ask about licenses, fees and other requirements. And whatever you do, don't forget to report your earnings on your income tax return.

Disclaimers aside, the fact is you're sitting on a gold mine, friend. What are you waiting for?

Here are 12 ways to get your home a part-time job.

12 money-making ideas
Make your home earn its keep with these dozen ideas for generating income.

1.Attract a crowd with yard sales7.Go to the dogs (and cats)
2.Fire up a bakery or production kitchen8.Grow your own money
3.Make room for renters9.Seek inner fulfillment
4.Create a home studio10.Make a daycare connection
5.Throw party sales11.Ready for your close-up?
6.Share your garage12.Become a sitter, baby!

Attract a crowd with yard sales
Yard sales have one built-in advantage over garage sales or indoor sales: curb appeal.

"One crafter who had steady traffic in front of her house decided one day to put several items out in her front yard," Brabec says. "She had a big shade tree and made it very festive with an umbrella and a couple of eye-catching items and she sold up a storm that day. She didn't have to advertise or anything."

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