5 Smart Ways to Make Your Property Pay Its Own Way
As an owner-occupier, your home is usually your biggest asset - it’s also your most costly to run. Even if you do nothing to improve your property, as a responsible owner keen to maintain the value of your investment, you’ll be shelling out constantly for bills and the inevitable things that must be done to stop your property falling into disrepair. The least your home can do is help you out with that. Here are 5 smart ways to make it pay.
1: Become a Resident Landlord
If you have a room to spare in your home, consider renting it out. There are many private individuals who, perhaps for financial reasons or simply by personal preference, choose to live in shared accommodation.
You can either share some or all of your living areas or, if your property has the space, you can offer private bathroom and/or kitchen facilities, for example. The market for both types of accommodation in Luton is alive and well. A quick online search revealed a number of lovely rooms available in private homes from around £300-£350 pcm, bills included.
Taking in a lodger is not for everyone - inviting what is effectively a stranger to live in your home can feel a little weird. But anyone who has lived in shared accommodation before knows that mutual respect and openness go a long way in creating a harmonious home. If you are sociable by nature, and can find a lodger with whom you are comfortable, it can be a lucrative option that has a number of significant benefits to offer:
- A lodger can provide company, security and social contact for an individual living alone
- Depending on your agreement, an extra pair of hands can reduce your time spent cleaning and maintaining your home and its outside space
- In a good landlord/lodger relationship there is an opportunity for mutual offers of assistance - perhaps with pet care during time away from the home, or lifts when transportation is problematic, or a sharing of time spent running errands or shopping, etc.
- Even if your lodger prefers to be more private, the financial benefit alone is extremely worthwhile - rent paid gives a financial injection that can help you to cover the costs of your bills, and contribute to the upkeep of your property
- Under the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme, you are allowed to earn up to £7,500 from renting out a room or rooms in your property before paying any tax
Citizens Advice have a useful section on their website here regarding the legalities of taking in a lodger, and other issues you need to consider too.
2: Take a Look at Airbnb
If the thought of giving over part of your home on a medium-long term basis doesn’t appeal, why not consider offering Airbnb? There are currently 238 private rooms in Luton on Airbnb, and the numbers of reviews suggest this market is thriving.
Luton is ideally placed for this type of rental - the excellent travel links that serve our town make it a hub for travellers, and smart homeowners with an eye on their bank balance have been quick to capitalise on that.
There are any number of reasons someone might consider taking an Airbnb in Luton, but among them could be:
- Business people looking for overnight accommodation close to, but outside of, London due to price, or those who have meetings in or near the town
- Students, with or without their parents, coming to look at the Uni, or seeking to secure term-time accommodation in the town once they have been awarded a place
- Non-locals dropping by to visit relatives in the area
- Travellers passing through the airport who don’t want the uninviting, sanitised sparseness of the airport accommodation offerings
- Individuals attending interviews in the area
You typically need to offer a private bedroom and access to bathroom facilities as a minimum, and many owners offer access to their kitchen too. Some homeowners also open up their living rooms and gardens to guests.
A basic room with few other facilities can be found for around £25 a night. Generally, though, it seems that most rooms rent for between £35 and £75 a night, depending on where they are situated, and what’s on offer. Services that can increase your price include offering a private bath/shower room, good Wi-Fi access and free parking, and accepting pets.
The beauty of the Airbnb offering is in its short-term nature.
You’re not tied to any single guest for any length of time. While this makes it less financially secure, it does offer greater comfort to those property owners who may be a little more nervous about opening up their homes to strangers.
3: Rent Out Your Drive or Parking Space
Parking is always at a premium in towns, and Luton is no different. What makes our town so interesting in this respect, however, is its excellent train links into London. Ideally placed for commuters, Luton’s rail services offer access directly to King’s Cross in the heart of the capital in a little as 22 minutes at rush hour.
Commuters wishing to take advantage of this fantastic service must, of course, travel to the station in order to catch their train. And often, that means arriving by car. With car parks full to bursting, and a monthly season ticket costing in excess of £100 for the privilege, commuters are always looking for alternatives.
If you have a parking space on your driveway, in your garage, or a dedicated spot on the road that you don’t use during weekdays, then you could consider renting it out to a grateful commuter looking to save a few quid. Many Luton residents already are.
There are many portals via which you could advertise, but this website is just one example that currently has 170+ parking spaces available for rent in Luton, at prices typically ranging from £50-£100 pcm. Some are going for even more, and your pricing will depend on how close you are to the train and bus stations, or indeed the town centre itself - not all commuters travel out of Luton: many come here to work too, and they need reliable parking spaces as much as anyone else.
Renting out your parking space could be a nice little earner.
And the Government offers another handy tax allowance for just such an initiative - you can earn £1,000 tax free from your property in this - and other - way(s). Check out the Gov.uk site here for more details on how you could benefit from the property allowance.
4: Offer up an Office Space
Having additional bodies sharing your living space all the time doesn’t appeal to everyone, and that’s fine. There are still creative ways that you can use your home to make a little extra money without feeling hemmed in.
Many people now work from home, but lack the space they need in their own properties to do so effectively and efficiently. Freelancers are often crammed at tiny desks in dark and inconvenient corners of landings and box rooms - not really conducive to being productive, especially during the holidays for those who have kids. Many crave a space outside the home in which they can work in peace.
Co-working offices have started to crop-up to fill this emerging demand - Co.LAB on Park St in Luton is one such example, where individuals can rent workspace and gain access to a thriving community of small businesses that offer support and collaboration to whatever extent you wish.
All sounds great on paper, but can be the stuff of nightmares to any freelancer who chooses to work from home precisely to get away from all that stuff. And that’s where you and your property come in.
If your home is generally empty for some or all of the working day, why not make it work for you in your absence?
If that desk in the spare bedroom, or your lonely dining table, could work as a hot desk, then why not rent part of your home out as office space and maximise the benefit of the Wi-Fi you pay for but which remains untapped during the day?
You can always fit locks to the doors of those rooms in your home that you wish to remain private, and insist on references before you hand over a key. It’s really no different to renting space to a lodger who is free to come and go as they please. The freelancer just does so while you’re not home.
Depending on what you have to offer, you could request anything from £10 per hour to £50 per day, or more. And the booking schedule and access times could be agreed in advance with your client, with a live-stream webcam giving you peace of mind that you - and your home - are being treated with respect.
5: Establish a Home Storage Hub
If sharing your inside space in any way gives you’re the shivers, and preserving your parking space is preferred, then your home can still make you money … provided you’re prepared to think outside the box. Or about it, to be precise.
Not everyone has all the space they need to accommodate all the stuff they have, all the time. So if your home has some unused space, consider renting it out for storage. An empty garage can fetch £60-£90 pcm. People often need such spaces for more than just cars. Other popular requirements are a secure space for things like:
- Motorcycles and Quads
- Small boats
Additional needs may be more obscure, and perhaps even unexpected:
- Storing an individual’s possessions while they travel
- Offering temporary storage for people moving from one property to the next with a few days/weeks in between
- Storing a student’s possessions for the summer holidays
- Responding to the urgent need to house the belongings of one half of a separating couple until alternative accommodation can be found …
Life doesn’t always go to plan, and even when it does we can all use a helping hand to facilitate our plans from time to time. Even if you don’t have a garage, storing boxes for few weeks or months can be done in a spare bedroom, for example. Make your spare space pay, without the need to have your personal space invaded by a tenant or guest.
In Summary …
With all these options you obviously need to consider any legalities involved, such as insurance requirements, home safety checks, and tax implications (including possible capital gains tax in the future). But with so many individuals already reaping the benefits of offering these types of services, it suggests that the bureaucratic hurdles are more than manageable.
At Penrose we’re always happy to help you see the potential in your property, whatever you’re thinking of doing with it. If you’re considering renting it out or offering it up for sale, then please do get in touch and we’ll walk you through the process of making your property shine.
Photo by Nikole Enns on Unsplash