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How to make extra cash from your bricks and mortar

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You can make money without even having to leave the house. Photo: Getty
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By Joanna Simmons

If you could do with a touch more income (and who couldn’t?) maybe it’s worth considering not how much more you can earn, but what your home can pull in for you.

From making use of space that’s doing nothing to hiring out your roof or driveway, there’s money to be made from a property.

Any extra bucks you make will need to be declared to the taxman, but you could earn some useful additional cash from your bricks and mortar, often for minimal effort.

Here are some ideas for squeezing value from your home.

Go in front of the camera

Production companies, advertising agencies and magazines are always looking for locations for shows and shoots.

Maybe your home has star potential? If it has amazing 1970s décor, heaps of original features or exceptionally big rooms, it could be suitable. Off-street parking and a wide front door will also help film crews access your pad.

To find out whether your home has star quality, take a few snaps of it and send them off to location agencies. Find more living room ideas in our photo gallery.

Make your home a movie star. Photo: Houzz
Make your home a movie star. Photo: Houzz/Domus Nova

Do some dog-sitting

Many dog owners are desperate for a friendly human to look after their pooch while they’re at work or away. Set up as a dog minder, though, and you will need insurance and checks, whereas with an informal arrangement between two people there’s no need to be so rigorous.

That said, think about basics, such as what your responsibility would be if the dog was injured or escaped, and work out what you would expect from the owners if the dog damaged your home in any way.

Welcome travellers

Weary travellers are often looking for a budget bed in a friendly home with a cup of tea in the morning thrown in. If you can offer this, you benefit by charging a small fee for putting them up and get to meet interesting people, too.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a spare bedroom; a sofabed or inflatable mattress in the living room might do. Just make clear the level and quality of accommodation you are offering. Airbnb allows you to set your terms, while sites such as Rentasofa are aimed specifically at low-key accommodation.

A canine guest can give you some extra spending money. Photo: Houzz/Moxon Architects
A canine guest can give you some extra spending money. Photo: Houzz/Moxon Architects

Remember, none of these sites will accept responsibility if things go wrong, so take sensible precautions when it comes to valuables and security. Browse a wide selection of sofa beds here.

Offer a parking space

Parking in city centres can be prohibitively expensive and commuters often welcome the chance to leave their car in a domestic driveway or garage for a more modest fee.

There are plenty of websites out there that offer drivers and homeowners an easy way to get in touch. Some even include a parking calculator, so you can get a feel for how much you could earn.

Host a foreign student

Language colleges are often looking for host families to put up foreign students, particularly during the summer. Often, you can choose between supplying a room and nothing more, or offering the student breakfast and even an evening meal, too. The greater the service you provide, the more you can earn.

Make your home guest-friendly and welcome people from all walks of life. Photo: Houzz/Perfect Stays
Make your home guest-friendly and welcome people from all walks of life. Photo: Houzz/Perfect Stays

Take in a lodger

Renting a spare room to a lodger is a great way to make a reliable income from it. You must declare your rental income in your income tax return, but you’ll be able to claim deductions for associated expenses, such as changes to your home loan and insurance rates. Find out more about government guidelines on this hereDiscover thousands of bedroom ideas on Houzz.

Hire out your garden

If you have a large garden but are not particularly green-fingered, consider hiring some of it out as allotment space. It’s probably best if there is secure access to the garden, so you won’t have people walking muddy boots through your home, and it’s sensible to draw up some kind of usage agreement, making clear your liability in terms of health and safety.

Someone else might have a really productive use for your garden. Photo: Houzz/
Someone else might have a really productive use for your garden. Photo: Houzz/Melanie Jackson Garden Design

Rent out roof space

More and more energy suppliers in Australia are offering to lease a roof so they can install solar panels. Although this initiative is still somewhat limited geographically, more and more homeowners are taking this opportunity up.

By signing up to this, you’re agreeing to let the energy company build a PV system on your roof – great if you don’t have the cash to install one yourself. The company pays for installation and maintenance, and you benefit from free electricity whenever the system is producing it. Any excess is sold by the supplier back into the electricity grid.

It’s an interesting option if you don’t have the funds to pay for solar panels, but some experts think paying for your own panels saves you money in the long run, allowing you to earn from the power you produce from day one.

Free solar panels means free power! Photo: Houzz/Cornwall Solar Panels
Free solar panels means free power! Photo: Houzz/Cornwall Solar Panels

Open for campers

Alternatively, if you are blessed with a big garden or some land, you could let people camp on it. Work out what you want to charge and what facilities you can offer, and then search online for garden camping websites on which you can advertise your plot.

Store other people’s stuff

If you have a massive loft, an empty garage or a spare room that’s never used, storing other people’s stuff is one way to earn a little cash. Home storage typically costs between 40% and 60% less than a commercial storage unit.

There are specific websites that link people with storage space to people who have things to store. These set out what cannot be stored in a home, offer advice on insurance and have contracts you can download.

If you've got more space than stuff, make the most of the extra room. Photo: Houzz/Case Design & Remodelling Indy
If you’ve got more space than stuff, make the most of the extra room. Photo: Houzz/Case Design & Remodelling Indy

This article originally appeared on Houzz.

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