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The Simple Dollar

Extra rooms? Rent them out.

Renting out your extra rooms is a good way to  cover home maintenance costs and make extra income.

By Guest blogger / September 5, 2012

In this June 2012 file photo, real estate agent Jim Klinge, right, hosts an open house in San Diego. Hamm recommends renting out extra rooms to keep up with home maintenance costs.

Gregory Bull/AP/File

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Right now, we live in a four bedroom house. Soon, it may become a five bedroom house. That makes sense, because we have five people living here.

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Now, let’s roll the clock forward fifteen years. At that time, there will be two people living here, with five bedrooms.

Naturally, we’ll want to hang onto one or two or even three of them as rooms for when the children come home at Christmas and the like.

However, we have a family room, a bedroom, and a bathroom down in the basement that will largely be unused at that point. With a bit of remodeling, the basement could have its own exit to the outside.

Why not rent the whole thing out and enjoy another revenue stream?

Many people find themselves in the very situation I’ve described. They have a nice big home, perfect for raising a family, but then the children grow up and move out, leaving you with an empty nest.

That empty nest often includes a few empty bedrooms, ones that only fill up when the children and grandchildren visit. Sometimes, other rooms become empty, too.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have a house that much bigger than what you need. The best solution is to downsize, of course, but for many people, that doesn’t make emotional sense. They raised a family in this house. They don’t want to leave.

So, you’re left with empty rooms. What should you do with them? Leaving them empty costs you money in terms of property taxes, as well as heating and cooling.

You might as well fill them with people.

Naturally, since you’re renting part of your house, you can be as selective as you want with the tenants. Choose people that you feel comfortable with. You can give a low-rent opportunity to an industrious graduate student. You can charge a higher rent level to a single professional. You control the situation, so you only have to rent in situations you’re comfortable with.

If you have extra rooms in your home, think about renting them out. It can put more money on your plate.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

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