A mortgage often takes decades to pay off. Although no one looks forward to this kind of financial burden, that is the only road to homeownership for millions of Americans. If you, like most homeowners, had to take out a mortgage to buy your home, you might be wondering if there are ways you can take a short cut and make your mortgage pay itself. The good news is, there are several ways your home can make money for you; however, you may have to do some work, invest some cash, and make a few sacrifices.
Rent out your home
Renting out your home and becoming a landlord is an easy way to bring in some extra cash and make your mortgage pay itself (provided that you have another place to live). If you are moving to another state or country, you’ll need someone to look after your property anyway. Instead of paying someone to do it, your renters can pay you.
The steps to renting out a property are the following:
- Do your research. Learn how to market your home, what kind of insurance policies there are, and what your rights and responsibilities as a landlord are.
- Inform your mortgage lender and insurance provider. They need to know that you are letting out your property.
- Figure out how much you are going to charge your tenants (including the deposit). Making your mortgage pay itself won’t be possible if the rent is too low. You need to be realistic, though.
- Prepare your rental property. Fix or replace anything that is damaged, declutter, clean and decorate your home (or simply get rid of everything and rent it out unfurnished).
- Check if you qualify for any rental property tax deductions and other tax benefits landlords can enjoy.
- Set some ground rules. Make it clear what you expect from your tenants, what is allowed and what isn’t.
- Choose the most reliable tenants. Feel free to check their credit history and public records before letting them move in. After all, they will be occupying your home and your safety comes first.
Rent out a spare room
Another way to make your mortgage pay itself is by renting out a room. The steps are pretty much the same as those for letting out your entire home. If there is a room in your home no one in your family is using, why not let someone else use it? It there isn’t, you can alter your floor plan (put up a wall, for example) to create an extra room. Or, you could do the opposite – live in one room and rent out the rest of your home.
Create a rental studio apartment
The income from renting out living space can significantly reduce your mortgage. You can easily convert unused space into a studio you can rent out to a single person or a student. If creating a studio in your home is not feasible, consider converting your garage or setting up a container home in your backyard. Note that you should be familiar with the regulations in your area. Before you start building or remodeling, check if you need to get a permit first.
What else can you rent out to make your mortgage pay itself?
In many towns and cities, parking permits can be extremely expensive. Thus, renting out your driveway can be a great source of additional income. Make sure you ask your mortgage company first, as some mortgage providers require their permission for renting out a parking space/driveway.
We have already suggested converting your garage into a studio. This would require adding a bathroom and a small kitchen. Alternatively, you can turn it into office space for rent. Of course, you can rent out your garage as it is. There are many people in need of a safe place to keep their car or other items. This is the cheapest option since you wouldn’t have to make any major changes.
This is a bit trickier and less conventional but if you have a pool in your yard, why not rent it to a swimming or aerobics instructor? Similar to renting out any other part of your property, renting out a pool requires preparing a written contract for its users to sign. In the contract, you should specify all your terms and conditions, such as the time when it can be used, what kind of vehicles can be parked, as well as insurance details.
Use solar panels and water tanks
The money you save by reducing your electricity bill can be directed to mortgage payments. The same goes for water. You can use the water tank you have installed for outdoor purposes, such as washing your car or watering your garden. It is amazing how these small changes can help ease your financial burden in the long run.
Grow your own food in your yard
Creating a vegetable garden or an herb garden in your backyard would not only reduce your food bill but also help you earn extra money. You do not even need a spacious yard. Although a garden may not bring you big money right away and make your mortgage pay itself, if you are patient, that money will add up over time.
Need a Home Mortgage in WA, OR, CO or ID?
Sammamish Mortgage is a local mortgage company serving the broader Pacific Northwest region, including Washington state, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon. We are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan.