When Phillip and Tina Larusso wanted to get money out of their house they didn’t refinance their mortgage or take out a home equity line of credit. Instead the Westbury, NY, homeowners opened their doors to Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sears (NYSE: SHLD), which paid them to film two commercials in their house. The pay out: $14,000.
“I don’t think it is well known but it’s very easy to go on the websites of location scouts,” says Larusso. “The location scouts are more than willing to have photos of homes to broaden the range of houses they can use.”
From renting out your home for commercials to getting the electricity company to pay you, there are many ways you can put your home to work without relying on a refinancing.
Whether you have a two-room shack or a 17-room mansion, production companies are more than willing to pay to use your home to film commercials, TV and movies. Interested homeowners just need to post pictures of their abodes on production companies’ Web sites and cross their fingers.
“The minimum you’ll ever make for a day of filming is $1,000,” says David Hatfield manager of CAST Locations, a location scout company. “The average family house usually gets between $2,000 and $4,000 a day.” While many production companies will require homeowners and their families to exit the premise while filming , the Larusso’s were only required to board their dogs.
And you don’t have to worry about your house getting damaged or being sued if somebody gets hurt at your home. According to Hatfield, the house is completely protected. “The contract is very specific about putting it back they way they found it. Whether it’s a broken vase or a scratch on the floor they are liable for any damage.”
So what makes the perfect house for filming? Hatfield said it runs the gambit from a modest shack to a mansion and everything in between.
Being green not only helps the environment and saves on electricity costs, but it could also make you money. Whether you have the space to erect a windmill in your backyard or opt to retrofit your roof with solar panels, if homeowners generate excess electricity, they can sell it to utility companies thanks to net metering.
In essence, net metering is when you collect and store excess electricity from your windmill or solar panels and sell it back to the utility company for credit. Don’t expect to get all your electricity for free, but you can save money. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, as of September 2010, 43 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have net- metering programs. The rules governing net metering differ from state to state, although the SEIA is pushing for a unified program.
If you live within close proximity of a stadium, concert hall or other popular venue, look to rent out parking in your driveway or sidewalk.
Renting out your driveway could net you $100 depending on the location of the spot, according to Anthony Eskinazi, founder of ParkAtMyHouse.com, a community for people that have spaces to rent and those that need a parking place.
“If you live a stone’s throw away from Madison Square Garden you could potentially charge $50 to $100 a night,” said Eskinazi. Close proximity to a Subway stop can net up to $20 to $30 a day, he continued.
According to Eskinazi, if you’re interested in renting out your driveway check to see if it’s legal in your town or community. Next check with your insurance company to make certain you will be covered in the event of an accident or damage to your property and finally, make sure you price your spot competitively. “Make sure your offer a fair and competitive price,” said Eskinazi. “Think about what you would pay for parking in that area.”
Bottom line: Some customers of ParkAtMyHouse.com make more than $10,000 a year renting out their parking space, claims Eskinazi.
If you have an extra bedroom not in use try renting it out to a student, traveler or someone looking for a no frills place to park their stuff. Renting out a room will require homework if you choose the do-it-yourself route; you’ll want to conduct a background check and a credit report before letting a stranger into your home. If you don’t feel like doing all the work there’s a host of Web sites to help. AirBNB, the online community that connects renters and rentees, focuses on travelers around the world and not only provides a description of the rental, but also a profile of the person looking to rent.
According to Joe Gebbia, co-founder and chief product officer at Airbnb, rent can range from $30 a night to $5,000 a night for a Villa in Italy. Gebbia says potential renters should research rental prices in their area and set up a list of house rules that both parties agree to before the renter arrives. Just like if you were renting out a parking spot, Gebbia said homeowners should contact their insurance company to make sure they have enough coverage before completing the transaction. “Good communications is the first step,” says Gebbia. “Make sure your description lays out what to expect.”
For the majority of people, their home is the biggest asset they'll ever own--but you don't have to wait until you sell to make money from it. Here are ways to cash in on your home.