Make money on your home

If you find yourself in a quandary about how to add some income to your bottom line, look close to home. That is, look in your home.

These six ideas could help you score valuable extra money by using space you already have.

1. Rent a room

Renting a room in home

If you have an in-law suite, basement or extra room in your house sitting empty, consider renting it to generate extra income. The strategy worked for Atlanta resident Katy Harrison, who has rented the extra suite in her townhouse for five of the 10 years she’s owned it.

“I was careful to buy a home that I could afford on my own, so I didn’t rely on the rental income to pay my basic operating expenses,” she says, noting that the money she cleared was more than half of her mortgage each month. “Instead, I used it to invest, for fun stuff like travel and shopping, and for house upgrade projects like repainting or having heated tiles installed.”

Bedrooms with their own bathroom tend to command a higher price and lodging with separate entrances, kitchen and living spaces (like a basement or guest house) can go even higher. Leverage sites like Craigslist and Next Door to do research on how much money similar properties rent for in your area, splurge on some great-looking photos to create a listing and find your ideal tenant.

2. Utilize storage space

Storage in garage
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Many of us have more stuff than we know what to do with, and that means big business for storage units across the nation. In fact, according to Mike Blackett, SVP of Marketing & Communications for the Self Storage Association, a nonprofit representing the self-storage industry, 9.4% of U.S. households currently rent a self-storage unit and the revenue from such rentals was more than $36 billion in 2017. To get in on a little bit of that financial action, you could consider renting your extra basement, attic, workshop or garage space.

3. Capitalize on demand for lodging

Travellers entering a room
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If you have a high school or college student, you know how expensive it can be to provide the basics like food, clothing, transportation. By opening your home to an exchange student, you’ll provide those things to a foreign youth and possibly make some money.

Some programs like Universal Student Housing are paid, while others like the International Student Exchange are not, though host families are eligible for valuable tax credits. Compensation rates, duration and inclusions vary based on the program, but you should always sign up with a reputable agency and be clear about the parameters of the arrangement.

In addition to making some extra cash, you might score a lifelong friend, create cultural understanding and improve your foreign language skills.

Word to the wise: Do your homework

Couple discussing at the kitchen table
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If turning your home into a money-maker makes financial sense, be sure to research the implications. Some areas require specific business licenses for home-based businesses and certain kinds of use might not be covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Make sure you check to make sure you’re complying with state and local laws and touch base with your licensed agent to make sure your home is properly insured. And, if you’re renting a room or storage space, encourage your tenant to secure their own policy for their personal property.