make your house work for you

How to Make Your House Work for You

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14 minutes


As you may be well aware by now, your house is not necessarily an asset if all you do is live in it.

Far too many people fall into the “homeownership trap”, thinking that the house they live in is their most precious asset.

It’s the sense of ownership that traps people into houses that they can barely afford.

If your house is sucking away money instead of putting money in your pocket every month, then it’s a liability, rather than an asset as what your banker and realtor would have made you believe.

In essence, it’s what we call, illiquid asset, an asset that’s hard to convert to cash and since it doesn’t give you any form of cash flow, then it’s a liability, at least for the time being.

You will be able to sell it at a later time and cash out your equity but why wait that long when you can make your house work for you today and turn it into a cash cow?

If you’ve owned a house for a while, you may be aware of the many ways that our house costs us money.

Aside from the monthly mortgage payments, we also pay property taxes, home insurance, and utilities.  On top of that, there are maintenance costs that every homeowner has to deal with a couple of times a year.

Are the toilets clogged? Call the plumber!

Oh, crap! The furnace just stopped working, and it’s negative 30 degrees in Chicago…

All these things cost money!

On average, your mortgage payments alone eat up almost 20 to 25 percent of your monthly income and if you sum it all up, most people will be spending more than 50% of their take-home pay in home-related expenses.

Most people pay for these expenses out of pocket, based on their active working income but there are better ways of dealing with these soul-sucking housing costs that most people aren’t aware of.

You could actually make your house pay for itself and even pay you a little bit of extra, by making your house work for you!

You can do this by turning your home into a money-making machine.  It will just take creative thinking and a little bit of elbow grease.

In this article, we will talk about the different ways that you can make your house work for you!

Depending on your situation, space availability, and location, some may not necessarily fit you, but hopefully, one of these ideas will help you earn extra money from your house.

So, here are the different ways you can make your house work for you:

Offer Short Term Accommodation

If you have an extra room in your home and you can keep your home tidy and organized, you can rent out your spare room to travelers in need of short-term accommodation. This works in most areas, but you can turn this into a lucrative gig if you live in a highly sought-after, tourist destination

Of course, you don’t have to live in a resort or a luxurious bungalow to be profitable. If you live near downtown, any university, college, hospitals, or hotels, you can still hit it big with short term rentals.

If you’re in a relatively big city, you can expect your house to be fully booked on a monthly basis.

The crucial part is in deciding as to which part your house, you’ll be willing to share in exchange for cash. Bedrooms with en-suite baths are obviously more preferred for obvious reasons.

If you’re open to having strangers sleep on your master bedroom, you may be able to make some more money, since you obviously prefer that room amongst all the other rooms in your home, that’s why it’s called the master bedroom.

There are many ways to promote your short term rental offer but the easiest and safest way is to offer it on sites like Airbnb and HomeAway because you get to screen your guests with their past accommodations.

You can also post your room on classified ads sites and keep all the money but this can be risky for you, your home, and your family.


If you don’t mind sharing your home with long term tenants, this is one of the best ways to have your tenants pay for your mortgage.

This is especially effective if you’re single or a couple with no kids and already own a house because you only need one room for yourself (and partner) and if you live in a 4 bedroom house, you can rent all three bedrooms, live on one and share everything else with your renters (roommates).

Depending on where you live, you may need to have your home inspected and approved as a multi-unit rental property as some states and provinces require this if you’re renting to more than two renters in your home.

Rent Out Storage Space

rent out storage space

Did you know that storage companies make a lot of money storing other people’s junk for a monthly fee?

If you hate interacting with people on a day to day basis, just accept their junk and get paid the same way.

This is applicable if you live in a spacious property with rooms or compartments where you can store your customers’ junk.

In North America, most people have a lot of junk, but they don’t have the necessary space to keep them all and are more than willing to pay for someone else’s space to store their priced belongings.

People with recreational vehicles like camper vans, boats, bikes, and trucks, that they only use in the summer appreciates safe and well-priced accommodation for their toys during winter.

Some people store their crap long term, you would not believe seeing the junk people keep in storage facilities, just because they can’t let go of their crap.

There is a great business opportunity in offering your space to people with stuff they can’t fit in their properties or apartment units.

I once bought a couple of gardening tools off an elderly fellow who rents a couple of units on his stable to other horse owners.

There were around 20 horses in his property when I asked if he owns all those, he said, he only owned two, the rest were all “tenants”.

Not all people with horses have the necessary space to keep them. So if you’re reading this and you own or live in an acreage, this is something that you may want to take a look at!

Grow and Sell Organic Fruits and Vegetables

sell organic vegetables from home

If you live in urban areas, you can earn by farming or being a market gardener. You can grow flowers, fruit, or vegetables and sell them in the market. If you are living on acreage, you have more than one option to produce as many things as you can.

You must have seen it in many places as it is common to see roadside stands. They are selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, or any other local seasonal product.

From the past couple of years, people are more and more conscious about the safety and wholeness of the food they consume.

People are now taking more interest in organic and fresh food. If you love keeping healthy and eating fresh and you have the backyard space to start gardening; you should start organic gardening, sell your produce or plant starters and feed your family with your own organically grown produce.

I was just watching a video the other day about a guy who has stripped a duplex in his lot, turned his garage into a home, and started an organic urban farm on the space where his duplex was.

You might think he’s crazy to do that, but I’d say, just out of the box because that garden replaced his full-time income and even more.

He’s now making money doing the thing he enjoys the most, feeding families with organic produce while having all the gardening therapy he needs!

Rent Your House to Hollywood!

rent house to movie sets

TV or Movie production companies are always looking for homes to use for sets for movies, shows, and events.

If you have a property that has an exquisite design, big rooms, sexy decor, and quirky architecture, you might be able to make some extra money.

If your dreams of being an actor (or actress) are nowhere near your horizon, at least you get to see your house on movies and TV shows.

To do this, you need to reach out to the production companies and let them know that your house is available for sets.

Don’t forget to take great pictures, better yet, have a professional photographer take the pictures, this could help sell your space better.

Websites like LocationWorks can help. You can register your property with them, and they’ll hook you up with production companies, they’ll also help you arrange the necessary insurances and payment processing.

You can also offer your home to advertising agencies to shoot advertisements; list your website on the set scouter, advertising agencies use these kinds of websites to find space for filming.

Turn Your House into an Event Hall

rent house as event hall

If you have a big house, a small farm or acreage, you might be able to make your house work for you by hosting parties.

Well, you don’t have to throw the parties yourself, just rent it out as some sort of event hall and get paid each time a party is thrown!

 You can also rent to organizers of festivals and concerts but having the right place at the right location is the must.

My late God Mother’s wedding was held in a garden hall, which was private property. The owner makes her property available for weddings, birthdays, and similar events. It’s technically an even hall, but a private one.

If you have more than enough space to accommodate garden parties and can hold a few hundred guests, this is a good opportunity too.

Rent Out Your Backyard

rent out my backyard

Have you ever visited the Airbnb website?

You’ll be amazed by the many types of accommodation that you can rent out to short term adventure seekers.

You may have a backyard that you could turn into some sort of a campground experience. Some travelers travel on RVs and campers, if you live in an area near RV parks, you can offer your yard at more affordable rates and accept campers to stay overnight or a couple of nights and make some extra cash along the way.

If this is something that you think will work for you; prepare your ground and try listing on Airbnb.

This idea will work best for you if you are living in an exciting place or a popular tourist destination. Before hosting your campers, also check with your city and municipality as some may not allow this kind of gig.

I live in a mid-sized city and have started growing organic vegetables every summer, this summer I wanted to raise some chickens on our backyard but found out that it is prohibited by the city government if you live within the city, the good thing, I checked before buying the chicks.

Well, we must make do with commercially produced chickens for now!

Rent an Office Space to Small Businesses

rent office space

I’ve been self-employed for years, and mind you working from home isn’t always blue skies and rainbows. Yes, you can work in your pajamas but the challenge is it’s really hard to focus on being productive, especially if you have little rascals pulling you out of the work mode every 15 minutes or so.

I’ve rented a commercial office for more than 3 years and have decided to move back into our (make-shift) home office because it was eating a lot of my revenue that if I didn’t, may have bankrupted me.

If you live in an urban area and have an accessible location, you can turn parts of your home into an office space to small business owners and self-employed professionals as workspaces or a place where they can meet their clients.

If you have small kids, and small space, this may not necessarily work for you but if you’re a business owner yourself, running your business out of your home helps to keep business overhead down, and sharing your office with like-minded individuals lets you earn extra too.

Turn Your House into a Bed & Breakfast

bed and breakfast business from home

If you live in the tourist destination, you can also consider turning your property or part thereof into a bed & Breakfast and accept travelers during tourist season.

You can offer bed and breakfast services to budget travelers who are often looking for cheaper bed & breakfast alternatives and welcoming home.

You can offer a secluded room, your couch or mattress to these travelers and package their accommodation with daily breakfast.

This is a twist to the usual AirBnB accommodation where you just let out your space and you don’t really care as to when and how your guests are fed.

This idea takes a little bit of extra effort on your end, so this is best if you’re a stay at home parent, a retiree, or unemployed.

Yes, you do have to wake up early to prepare their breakfast every day you have guests on your abode, but this means you also make more per guest.

Rent Out Parking Spaces or Your Garage

If you live in our near downtown, you know how expensive commercial parking spaces are but since you own a property near other people’s work, you can “caching” every month by renting out parking space on a monthly or daily basis.

Employees who work downtown are looking for long term parking spaces so they don’t have to deal with high parking costs and risk being ticketed, parking on private properties for a fee is a dream to most of these people and an earning opportunity for your property.

You can turn your parking or garage into money making machine for you without letting people inside your home.

You can join websites like JustPark and RoverParking to get matched with motorists looking to park their vehicles at private parking spaces.

You can expect to earn a minimum of $200 a month per parking space you rent out.

Offer Student HomeStays

student home stay

Foreign students are the perfect tenants. You get your rent cheques on time and they’re always well-behaved.

Imagine your teenager studying in a foreign land, with nothing but a student visa?

As a parent, all you want is that your child is safe and well cared for even when they’re oceans away, so you make sure that they’ll have the means to live and study comfortably.

Offering student homestay is an excellent way of making your house work for you while at the same time helping foreign students by providing a friendly home environment away from their real homes.

In Canada, you can register with colleges and universities as a homestay provider.

Most of the time, students will require 2 – 3 meals a day included with their accommodation, some may need to be dropped off and picked up from school. Technically, it’s like adopting them as your own on a temporary basis but compared to regular renters, homestays pay more lucrative which ranges from at least $800 to $900 a month on average.

The length of stay ranges from 6 weeks to 6 months at a time. The students are mostly on temporary resident visas, usually in the US and Canada, to study university courses or learn to learn English.

You will get interesting tenants and lucrative paychecks to boost your income. Moreover, you will develop a connection with new people, explore their cultures, or you can even learn another language.

If you have the place with private bathrooms, laundry, and living rooms, you can earn even more. You can also offer meals to the students.

If you are not interested in hosting teenagers or students, you can also guest lecturers from all over the world. The people come around in the states to teach courses, so it’s pretty evident that they need a place to stay.

To implement this idea, you need to establish contact with schools, colleges, or universities. You must reach out from local language schools to the community colleges and universities, to contact with the student housing offices.

Once you are successfully in contact with the school, you need to apply and submit your interview formally. It also includes a tour of your house, background, and reference check.

After getting approved, the university will list your name and other details in the school or university database. In this way, the guest students or lecturers can reach you easily.

Lease Your Roof to Solar Energy Companies

rent my roof

Another smart way to make your house work for you is to rent out your rooftop. Many renewable energy suppliers are looking for rooftops to rent for solar panel installations.

Depending on where you live, this opportunity may not be available in your area. To check if such is available to you, run a quick Google search for: “rent my roof state/province/city” and see if there are companies that offer leasing programs to homeowners.

These companies will take care of all the installation, development, and maintenance costs of putting up solar panel systems in your home, pay you on a monthly basis for the lease and some may even throw in free solar energy to your home just for hosting.

Turn Your Basement into a Rental Suite

Do you really need all those basement space? Most people use their basements for storage or rec rooms but most of the time, these coveted spaces lay idle, collecting dust.

Why not, convert it into a cash cow by renting it out as a separate suite?

It would help if your basement has a separate entrance, or at least a secluded door from your main entrance, and of course, kitchen and bath of its own.

Turn your House into a Day Care Center

In North America, parents struggle with juggling work and kids and the waiting list on most daycare centers is a couple of years long.

If you have kids, you will know that most daycare centers have a long list of people trying to get their kids in and it does take at least 2-years of waiting.

There is a high demand for Home Day Cares in the US and Canada as most parents work, if you have kids and are looking for alternative ways on how you can make money from home, why not start a Day Care Center from home?

Take note that most states and provinces will require you to licenses and certifications to operate one. So, if you’re willing to get the necessary licenses and certifications and are good with kids, a Home Day Care Centre is a lucrative opportunity that allows you to make a full time living from home.

In most instances, you will have to alter your home a little bit to have a dedicated space for your daycare, and yes, most provinces and states will inspect your facility for safety before allowing you to operate.

Offer Pet sitting services from Home

earn money from home pet sitting

If you love pets and have the extra space in your house, you can board pets. You build the traditional kennel in your backyard to welcome pets there. You can jump up on the idea of using an indoor house place where you welcome someone cat or dogs into your house and take care of them.

Just list your services, fees, and availability on the pet sitter websites of apps to get started. If you have enough time, you can offer dog daycare, pet grooming, or walking. Well, it all depends on you, how good you are with pets. Once you get positive feedback from your clients, you can have enough sitting jobs that you can handle easily.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways on how you can make your house work for you, yet none of the above may be applicable to your specific situation but hopefully, these ideas have sparked some ideas and creativity that could turn your house into a money-making asset.

The best way to make your house work for you is to have it offer services like short term rentals, parking rentals, bed, and breakfast, etc.

Some of the ideas are more involved than others, some are not; if you simply let it on short term rental websites, you have the opportunity to earn semi-passive income from your property, where you have a system in place that lets your guest access your home without you being physically present.

If you’re welcoming guests into your home, the most important thing to consider is your safety and that of your loved ones who live in the same home, the second thing is the safety of your home and belongings.

In keeping yourself and family safe, make it a rule to only accept guests who have history on sites like Airbnb and HomeAway, read the reviews, contact other hosts who have accommodated them before.

Airbnb, provides insurance for your home and everything inside it. Avoid posting short term accommodation on classifieds websites because you’re not sure what kind of people you’re going to get.

I hope that you found this article helpful and that you could finally start making your house work for you.

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