8 tips for generating cash around your house

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‌If you’re a homeowner looking to rake in some extra money, don’t dismiss using your house as a way to generate income. We’re not talking about the typical work-from-home business opportunities that were common years ago. Our roundup of money-generating opportunities for homeowners range from the off the beaten path to the tried and true. Check out all of them and decide for yourself which ideas are right for you.

Rent out your home

Renting out your home through sites such as Airbnb.com, FlipKey.com and HomeAway.com is a relatively easy and reliable way to earn money. For each site, you’ll need to register to create a free listing that travelers in search of a place to stay in your area can view.

You set the rental amount and dates of availability, as well as establish a refund policy in the event a renter decides to cancel the reservation. Airbnb and FlipKey charge a 3% service fee based on the rental amount for confirmed bookings. HomeAway charges 5%.

The rental income you collect is tax-free as long as you don’t rent out your house for more than 14 days per year.

Get a roommate

Unlike short-term rentals, renting out a spare room in your house on a long-term basis can create a predictable monthly income stream that can be used to pay off your mortgage faster. You’ll need to pay taxes on the rent you collect, but you may be able to write off some of the rental expenses such as insurance premiums and utilities. Seek out roommates through word of mouth or place an ad on a site such as Craigslist.org. Looking at Craigslist and other classified listings for your area will also help you figure out how much to charge in rent.


Rent out your driveway

In areas where parking is limited, your driveway or privately owned parking space can turn into an income source.

When you’re not using it, you can rent out the space to those in need of hassle-free parking options through sites such as JustPark.com and CurbFlip.com. Both allow you to create free listings to rent out your parking spot at an hourly, daily or monthly rate. It’s important to note that those with parking that’s close to public transportation or major attractions (stadiums, performance venues, trendy neighborhoods and such) will likely experience the highest demand.

JustPark charges a 3% fee on all short-term bookings. For long-term bookings (more than two consecutive months), the charge is 20% for the first month and 3% thereafter.

CurbFlip charges 16% of your listed parking rental price for completed transactions, while PayPal (required to use CurbFlip) deducts an additional 3% from your rental payment.

Tap into your home’s equity

If you’ve been steadily paying off your mortgage for years while the value of your home has been on the rise, then you probably have a fair amount of equity built up. Under the right circumstances, it can be smart to borrow against this built-up value when you need cash.

There are two common ways to tap into your home equity: a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. A home equity loan offers a lump sum that you usually pay back monthly at a fixed interest rate. A HELOC is a line of credit that you access only when you need the cash. A third option is a cash-out refi, in which you receive cash back when you refinance your primary mortgage. A cash-out refi tends to have higher closing costs.

Take out a reverse mortgage

Reverse mortgages allow older homeowners who are house-rich but cash-poor to borrow against the equity that’s built up in their primary residence. To qualify you must be at least 62 years old, live in the home and have already paid off most or all of your mortgage.

The only reverse mortgage insured by the federal government is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM. After meeting with a HECM counselor, you apply for a reverse mortgage through an FHA-approved lender.

Be aware that a reverse mortgage isn’t free money; it’s a loan that must be repaid when the homeowner dies, sells the home or moves out. Meantime, property taxes and insurance premiums must be kept current.


Turn your house into a film set

If you think your place has the stuff that screen magic is made of, you may be able to cash in by connecting with location scouts for television and film productions. How do you get started? “Collect a few good pictures of your property and send them with your contact information to location scouts and film commissions in your area,” said Jim Baldwin, owner of Baldwin Production Services, a San Francisco-based location scouting company that specializes in commercial media. Baldwin suggests searching online and contacting your state’s film office.

“Fees can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars per day, depending on what and where the location is, how long (the home is) used and what the shoot entails,” Baldwin said.

Make sure you’re really prepared to open up your personal space to this type of experience before committing to it in writing, advises Patti Brashears, owner of Featured in Films, a location scouting company based in the New York area.

The experience can be overwhelming for some owners, even though the home will be restored to its original state once the production ends.

Sell unwanted stuff

Instead of throwing out unwanted items the next time you declutter, consider selling them online at sites such as Tradesy.com and Poshmark.com for clothing and accessories items, or Gazelle.com for mobile devices and computers. There’s also the LetGo mobile app for household goods.

Here’s how it works: For Tradesy, Poshmark and LetGo, you’ll need to create an account before posting a free listing to attract buyers. Gazelle doesn’t require listings because you’re selling your unwanted electronics directly to the site rather than to an individual buyer.

On Tradesy and Poshmark, the transaction process is done completely online with the seller shipping the sold items to the buyer.

LetGo urges sellers and buyers to meet in person in a public place to complete the transaction and to pay with cash.

Tradesy deducts a flat fee of $7.50 on all sales under $50 and takes 14.9% of the purchase price on items sold over $50. Poshmark charges a flat fee of $2.95 for sales under $15 and takes 20% of the purchase price for those over $15. LetGo doesn’t charge users a fee; rather, it makes money off ads on the app.


Become a pet sitter

Love animals? Apply to be a pet sitter through an online-based service such as Rover.com, which claims to have more than 60,000 sitters who provide in-home boarding for dogs only, its most popular service.

Certification isn’t required, though you will need to undergo a background check. Sitters set their own schedules and prices (of which the site charges a 20% fee per booking). Rover sitters are considered independent contractors.

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