Extra rooms? Rent them out.

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

Gregory Bull/AP/File
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.

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.

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.