We love our homes. They provide us with shelter, hot showers, a place to reheat last night’s pizza, and a vicinity to create loving and cherished memories over a lifetime. Having said that – they sure do cost a lot. Utility bills, mortgage repayments, property taxes, you name it. Homes are expensive, and most of us take that for granted knowing that when all is said and done, one day – many, many, many years from now – after it’s all paid off we can re-sell it and make a tidy profit.
Many, many, many years is a long time though. Why wait? There are so many ways you can utilise your home to help you boost your income. This way, you can turn the tables and stop working so hard for your home, and let your home start working for you.
Become a Landlord
You’ll want to check the laws and zoning permits first, but building a small free-standing structure on your land – such as a granny flat or a bungalow – can be the perfect way to take advantage of your space and make an extra income. If you don’t have the space or the funds to build an entirely new structure, you might want to consider converting your shed or basement into a fully functioning living space for a more humble rental option. Again though, you’ll want to check council regulations, as there are many building standards that properties need to adhere to in order to be deemed full legal. For instance some areas require that rental suites have a complete kitchen, bathroom and a separate entrance before being given the green light.
Rent out a Spare Room
If building and converting is not an option for you, then you might want to take a simpler, but similarly lucrative approach. I’m sure you’ve heard of Air B’n’B right? Heck, you’ve probably stayed in a bunch when booking accomodation for various holidays, am I right? If not, then prepare to get blown away. If you have, then you likely know exactly where I’m going with this.
Don’t think that you need to live off the coast of the Bahamas or in some magical alpine valley getaway resort to be in a ‘desirable’ location. If you live near a University, a bustling community, or even just remotely near a big city where housing is in high demand, you and your home are already the perfect candidate.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide on an area in your home to rent out. Do you have a room with an ensuite? That will always be more popular and go for more money, so if that’s currently your bedroom… you might want to move into the spare room and give up that luxury for the extra dollars you’ll be making. Now all you need to do is make the place look fresh and inviting, take some pretty pictures, check to see how much a room in your area would go for and BAM! You’re ready to create your rental listing. Oh and even better, if you live in a tourist hotspot, maybe even think about finding temporary accommodation during the high season and rent out your entire house! Think of all the Christmas dollars you could earn.
Run your own Bed and Breakfast
If by chance you like the idea of hosting guests in your humble abode and have more than one room at your disposal then running a bed a breakfast might just be your new life calling. If you move away from the idea of renting out one bedroom for more long-term accommodation and move towards renting out several for short-term holiday stays, you could see a considerable increase in profits, since B’n’Bs are considered a more luxurious and high end option for weekend getaways.
Naturally there’s more to it than just having the space, getting the breakfast ready and then listing a vacancy. Bed and breakfasts require a certain attention to detail that you generally wouldn’t expect in a one-room shared housing accommodation, and you’ll want to make sure you know what your customers are going to expect so you can cater to their needs and make your guests happy. Do some research and see if this is a good option for you before going all in but if it is, then you might just have found the perfect way to utilise your costly housing space.
Rent out your free space
Ok so maybe you’re not so keen on the responsibility of becoming a landlord or being a host to random strangers living in your home, however you still have a fair amount of unused space you have an inkling could be put to good use. Well, you’d be right, if you have the right kind of space and enough of it then you’ll be able to rent it out to those looking for extra storage space.
If you have a large shed or any undercover structure that you could free up, you’d be hard pressed not to find someone willing to pay you for the privilege of using it. There are tons of people looking for protected spaces during the winter months to house vehicles such as boats, motorbikes, campervans etc. Not only that, oftentimes people are looking for monthly and sometimes year round accommodation for their possessions since they are frequent travellers or their own homes are too space insufficient to meet their material needs.
Lastly, if you don’t have any undercover space, but you have a lot of open land, one thing you might consider is leasing a space for those travelling through in campervans or those looking to camp out on somewhere other than crowded campsites. You might be surprised how popular this option is.
Turn your yard into an urban farm
Do you like nature? Great! That’s a good start. Do you like to garden? Even better. Why not turn your garden into miniature urban farm? Despite what you might think, you really don’t need a lot of space to grow enough fruits and vegetables to be able to sell on a weekly basis to make a crazy wholesome supplemental income. Not a food person? Then what about flowers or ornamental plants? There are tons of options available to you if you consider yourself a bit of a green thumb and enjoy getting out of the house to nourish your little garden jungle. Maybe even get some chickens and you can sell fresh free-range eggs alongside your silverbeet bunches and tulip bouquets. If your garden is growing well (i.e. out of control) then you can even upgrade from selling roadside produce to opening your own stall at the local farmers markets and make a serious name for yourself in the local farming community.
There are so many creative ways you can make the your house work in your favour and make sure it starts pulling its weight, because if you can reduce your financial burden even a little, then that’s a space well used.
Mike Heathcote is the founder of Building Masters Inspections and a veteran builder with decades of experience. Utilising his industry knowledge, Mike and his team of experienced Builders provide an Inspection Service offering expert opinion on the true condition of buildings, including estimated repair costs, helping home buyers find their perfect property, Melbourne wide.