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House Poor? 4 Ways to Earn Income from Your House

Lured in by the optimism of the real estate boom and held captive by the subsequent real estate bust many people now find themselves in a situation where their mortgage payment, property tax, insurance and home maintenance take up a disproportionate amount of their income. This leaves little room for savings, debt repayment or any discretionary spending. It’s known as being house poor. If you find yourself in this situation there are ways to use your house to make money which can help you pay down debt and save for emergencies.

1. Rent a Room

Renting a room is probably most common way to generate some income from your residence. Check out Craigslist to see what similar rooms are going for in your area. You can usually get $400 – $600 a month depending on your location and home amenities. You can then place an ad on Craigslist for free. Also ask your friends and family to put the word out that you have a room for rent. But be sure to know the local laws relating to renting out a room. In California for example, room renters receive the same rights as individuals renting a house or apartment. It’s prudent to perform a background and credit check and to also have the renter sign a rental agreement.

2. Host a Foreign Exchange Student

If you live near a college or university you can apply to become a host family for a foreign exchange student. Homestay hosts are often paid a stipend of $500 – $700 a month. In addition to earning some extra income, hosting a foreign exchange student is also a wonderful way to learn about other cultures or learn a second language. One company that facilitates setting up students with host families is International Homestay America .

3. Rent Your Garage

If you live in an urban area you know that a dedicated parking space is worth it’s weight in gold. If you are one of the fortunate individuals that has garage space you can rent it out for a pretty penny. If you can’t find any listings on Craigslist for garage space I would look at the difference in cost between comparable properties, one with parking and one without and then price it at 50-60% of the difference. Post the ad on Craigslist and put up flyers at shops in the neighborhood since your renter would likely be someone already living in the neighborhood.

4. Offer RV Storage

Similarly, even in suburban areas many people don’t have the space to store their recreational vehicles like boats, trailers and motorhomes. If you have extra land, and especially if you have an enclosed space to store vehicles you can make $50 – $100 a month. Check out rates with local storage companies to determine what you could reasonably charge.


  1. These are awesome ways to make a few bucks on the extra space. I have had friends host foreign exchange students and it was a great experience for all involved. I personally like the RV or Car storage because its a little less intrusive and the overhead ends up being the lowest.

  2. We’ve been renting our house out and it just covers our mortgage, taxes and insurance. At this point, we’re not making anything above that but we’re happy that our basics are covered. But, if we were still in the house and in some money trouble it might lead us to consider renting a room out. It’s not a bad idea.


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