These days it can be tough to make ends meet. While we all do our best to be frugal, 40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense. But if you own your own home, you may be sitting on untapped potential income.
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Rent Out Room
Fewer homes are being built, relative to the US population, than at nearly any time in history largely due to the real estate market crash of the last decade. This has led to a lack of available housing in many US communities. If you have extra room in your home to create a rental suite, this could be a fantastic and reliable source of side income for your family.
If you live in an area that has a decent tourist population, or live close to a college or university, you might also have luck renting out extra rooms, or even your whole house on occasion, to visitors through sites like AirBnB. While possibly not as consistent as having a full time tenant, the per-night rate can be much higher and you’ll have more flexibility for how often you want to share your space.
Even if you don’t have space for anyone to reside in your house, you might consider leasing space on your property for off-season storage of large vehicles like RVs, boats, snowmobiles, or motorcycles. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to take advantage of opportunities to sell parking space during special events where overflow parking lots are in demand.
Leverage Your Equity
If you have owned your home for awhile and have accrued equity by paying down, or paying off, your mortgage, your house can be used as leverage for getting certain types of loans. A home equity loan is often a better option than higher interest credit cards or personal loans. Because your home is such a valuable asset, banks are willing to lend money at a much lower rate if you can offer your home as collateral.
Another option, available to those aged 62 and over, is working with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to obtain a reverse mortgage which allows you to access cash from the value of your home while still living in your home, rather than waiting until some distant date in the future when you sell the property. While reverse mortgages are insured by the government, the loan itself has to be obtained by a private company. That means if you live in Ohio, for example, you’ll want to find a local equity release originator who works with HUD.
Live Off the Land
If you’ve never tried vegetable gardening, you might find that it’s not only a relaxing and rewarding hobby, it’s a great way to save money on groceries. After a small initial investment in establishing your garden beds and purchasing seeds and other equipment, the benefits go up and up each year as seeds can be harvested and saved and used the next year while food scraps can be returned to the soil as nutrient rich compost.
But why stop at vegetables? If your community allows the keeping of animals, you might try raising chickens for fresh eggs and poultry. A prolific pair of rabbits takes up little space and can provide as much meat to a family as a single cow!
Or if you simply don’t have the itch to farm, but you would like to put your yard to use as arable land, open your front yard up to community gardening and share in the bounty of the harvest while meeting neighbors and enjoying having less lawn to manage. Just be sure to check that front yard vegetable gardening is allowed in your community first.
From starting a home business to upgrading your utilities to more efficient systems, there’s many more ways to tap into the money-making potential in your home. All it takes is a little creativity and patience to make the most of your property’s value.