You could make $4k a month!

Make Money Renting Out Extra Space in Your Home

by Debra Karplus


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Your mother told you never take rides with strangers, but that shuttle to the airport was an Uber. You took a ride with a stranger and it felt safe. Your mother also told you to never allow strangers into the house, but you've just discovered a house on your block is sometimes utilized as a vacation rental. You talk to these neighbors and learn that they use their home as a bed and breakfast and find it to be fun, interesting, safe, easy, and lucrative. Extra money is always nice to have. Maybe you should use your college-bound son's bedroom for travelers to rent. You could even rent out your entire house when you are away.

How can you use your home as a vacation rental?

Look on Airbnb.com, and you'll discover that since 2007, regular folks like you have been making hundreds of dollars renting out their space to travelers worldwide. Whether you have a room, a small cottage or livable structure on your property, a log home, a tree house, an apartment, a condo, or any other living arrangements, vacationers seek accommodations like yours.

One woman in her thirties bought a charming old home in a college town that was built in 1907. To her surprise, her landlord would not let her out of her current lease, putting her in a financial dilemma, especially as property taxes became due. Her friend suggested she rent out her new place.

She bought seven beds for the three bedrooms, an inexpensive television, and a few tables and rents the 1500-square-foot abode for $125 a night. During Mother's Day weekend, a popular film festival and graduation weekend, she books the place. She has the potential to earn over $4000 monthly. Her only costs have been the one-time purchase of furnishings and the ongoing washing of sheets and towels and providing inexpensive breakfast foods, such as orange juice, coffee, and dry cereal. She has had 100% satisfied guests. In fact, her online reviews are 5-star. She is considering just remaining in her rented house and continuing to operate the bed and breakfast.

Make Money Renting Out Extra Space in Your Home

Skeptics wonder about safety.

Services such as Airbnb and its growing number of competitors all have a mutual screening system on their sites. Hosts put up a photo of themselves, first name, and a short profile. Guests also write a profile about themselves with a picture, and upon request, they need to provide identification like a state driver's license to prove that they are who they say they are. Also, both hosts and guests have the opportunity to rate each other after the stay. If potential hosts and guests read these public reviews online, they will have a reasonably good idea of who they will be sharing living quarters.

How much could you earn?

What is a good way to rent out your unused space?

It's probably a really good idea to first contact your city and county officials and see if you need to register this as a business. You also want to make sure you are in compliance with all zoning regulations. Additionally, you want to contact the company that provides your homeowners insurance and inform them of your desire to use your space as a rental.

If your municipality and your insurance company are onboard with the use of your property as a rental, then you want to get on some sites like Airbnb.com and read and re-read very carefully to make sure this is what you want to do.

Once ready, you can list your property online. Start with a description of the inside, the outside, and any amenities, such as walking distance to downtown, on a bus line, gated community, or use of swimming pool. You will also want to describe yourself. As far as photos, you need a good one of you, and more important, you need several pictures of the inside and outside of the space that potential guests will use. The site will give you guidelines for setting a price and house rules. Also, you will need to determine availability. Maybe you just want to rent your place certain days of the week, months, or seasons.

Remember you are a business, and the site that you use will send you a tax statement at year-end to report all your earnings.

If you are comfortable sharing your living space with strangers, renting out rooms in your home can be a great way to meet interesting people while making money.


Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.

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