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How to use Your Home to pay Your Mortgage

How to use Your Home to pay Your Mortgage

Tips on how to Make Your Home pay for Itself!

I love property and looking at ways you can make money from it either by having a separate investment property or using the property you live in.

When looking at homes I look for the potential to make money from it to reduce the rent or mortgage payments.

Often, I have worked it out so I would be in profit after expenses.

Below is an example of what I am talking about based on a home I was living in, then tips at the end on what to look for and how to do it all.

This was originally published in February 2016.

How to Make Your Home Make Money for you!

I lived in a house in Canberra and was originally going to buy it before I had serious health issues which cost a fortune and I moved interstate. It sold a few years ago and is the perfect example of what I am talking about.

The home had 4 bedrooms, 2 living and 2 dining areas in the main house plus an ensuite and walk-in robe to the master bedroom. It had a one bedroom granny flat attached, a swimming pool, a large driveway and yard.

I rented out rooms, used AirBnB and had other options when I lived here. There are at least 4 scenarios, each putting you in profit with a home like this. The flat rented for $300 and the house for $550 per week. The electricity and water are combined for the properties and previously it was the responsibility of the main house tenants to pay both.

Image of large house with swimming pool and garden. Text reads House Hacking! How to get your home to pay for itself.

1. Live in the Granny Flat and Rent out Upstairs

In homes such as this one, renting out the main home provides a higher income. It’s a great option for a first home buyer/young couple. Be extremely clear when you are renting it out that you are the landlord and live there. See the table below for how this works. Mehaffey is the name of the crescent the house is in.

How to make your house pay for itself

2. Rent the Flat and a few Rooms

I lived in the main house with the flat rented to someone else. By renting out the master bedroom I made $200 to $250 a week with boarders and at other times rented other rooms for between $150 and $200 per week as well.

Realistically, this house can be split into two with only the bathroom and laundry shared because of the design of it. You could easily rent the flat and however many bedrooms you wanted for a total of $500 (flat and one bedroom) through to $950 (flat and 3 bedrooms rented long term).

Alternatively, if you rented rooms through Airbnb, I have rented them for $50+ per night, which nets you more than a long term tenant.

A few tips on Airbnb

Overall, you can make a lot more with Airbnb with a little effort, much of which can be outsourced now. It fluctuates though. If you prefer to know exactly what you are getting each week, get a long term tenant instead. I have a full guide on using Airbnb with my top tips included.

3. Rent Both and Live Elsewhere

You can have any home as a full-time rental property, renting both the flat and main house while you rent elsewhere. I did this with a property in Sydney and rented elsewhere for less than I received in rent. Meaning, I could save the difference.

4. Rent the Flat, a Room and Create a Studio

When I lived here, the front main lounge was also a studio. We had chairs we could set up, a large wall-mounted TV and did workshops on social media, photography, marketing, blogging etc. This provided various work from home options and made part of the house a tax deduction.

Image of living space in a home with a TV, rug, coffee table, decorative ladder then dining table in the background. Text reads how to pay your home off sooner.

Other ways to Make Money From a Home

With any property, there are other options aside from renting a room or making it a rental property. Rent the pool to a swimming or fitness instructor, rent the driveway to someone to store their boat or caravan or check out other options here.

Making money from property doesn’t have to be complicated and if you look with an open mind, thinking outside the box, there are many opportunities to be found!

Read The Ultimate Guide to Make and Save Money at Home for more ideas.

What to Look for in a Property to Make it pay for Itself

With my passion for property, there are specific things I look for. Right now, I am not investing in property but am looking to soon. Properties I buy will be investment properties, not for my kids and I to live in.

1. The floor plan

A floor plan with potential and lots of options is essential. I want to be able to have some privacy, alter the floor plan slightly by doing something such as putting up a wall to create an extra bedroom and options along those lines. As you can see in the floor plan on this home, there are many options.

Make your home pay for itself and live for free - a good floor plan is crucial
Image of house floor plan.

On this floor plan (created by the real estate) the rumpus room, 5th bedroom and ensuite at the bottom are the granny flat. The living area with the green lounges in the image was our studio.

The dining room next to the kitchen has at different times had a wall put up, making a 5th bedroom, which you could also do to the area with the black lounges in the floor plan, creating extra bedrooms if you wanted a large share house or more privacy.

A floor plan with multiple options like this is essential if you want to make your home pay for itself while living in it.

2. Think Up, Not Out

How much space is in the roof and can any of it be turned into an attic? If you want to extend down the home later, are there spaces within the home that would easily accommodate stairs without interrupting the flow of the home?

3. What Else can it be Used for?

When I was a hairdresser, I looked at homes with the idea I could convert a space into a salon to work from home. This didn’t end up happening, however, it did make me think about what else homes can be used for.

4. Think Creatively

I have rented my garage to a small business owner who needed space to sew and leave her designs set up. Other times I rented it for storage from boxes through to a Mercedes.

Other people have selected properties that are large enough they can put a caravan or storage shed on the property to rent it out.

With the space your property has, what can you do with it?

Image of white house with green lawn at sunset. Text reads house hacking, how to make your home pay for itself.

How To Maximise It

Theoretically, with the home I have used as an example in this post, you could earn over $4,000 per week if you maximised every option. Remember, this is theoretical, not guaranteed. Also, you need to check insurance, council regulations and so on before embarking on any ideas.

1. Live in one Room and Rent the Rest

Long term tenants net you $950 in the above example. or if it was fully booked on Airbnb, each room individually and the unit separate you could get over $3,500 a week, more during events like Summernats or when Parliament is sitting. (Based on current rates in the area and what I have previously rented rooms for.)

2. Run Workshops

If you have skills in any area you can fit up to 15 people in the front lounge room to run workshops on anything such as social media, marketing, blogging, photography or 5 – 10 if you wanted to do crafts, cooking, singing, instruments, tuition etc. At $50 per person, you could easily make $750+ per week doing 1 workshop a week.

3. Rent the Pool to a Swim/Aerobics Instructor

This can be trickier and needs specific legalities to be adhered to. They can pay you a flat fee for use and it can be accessed via the side of the house so they do not need to disturb you. Set up a contract with times it can be used, terms and conditions plus insurance details.

From my research, most charge $60+ for 30minutes of at-home lessons for up to 4 children. Check with council regulations if this was an option you went for anywhere though. If you asked for $10 per hour or $10 per session and they did 10 hours or sessions a week that is $100 minimum.

3. Rent The Driveway

With this house, there is ample space for a caravan in the driveway or boat in the carport, along with parking across the front. The highest number of cars we had parked here was 10 (driveway and front lawn, so completely on the property. You could make from $40 per week for renting some of the driveway or carport the space for storage for a boat or caravan.

Of course, the simplest option is to live in the granny flat, rent out the house and let it pay for itself without much effort at all.

How have you made money from a home?

You might also like:
How to rent a room on Airbnb
101 ways to make money from home
50 ways to live for free

Disclosure – I don’t own this house was not paid to promote it. My parents owned the house when I rented it. To me, it is the perfect example of a house with multiple income options for investing long term. I asked dad if I could write about it in this context. The reason my parents  sold it is they had the home for years, it was the family home at one point and they wanted to let it go and move on with the next stage in their lives. 

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Caroline Kelly

Wednesday 3rd of August 2016

Best to confirm firstly how a granny flat can be used. Some councils state that a granny flat can only be used by a member of the owner's household. Hence, renting it out to non-family may not be allowable.

Latoya @ Femme Frugality

Wednesday 24th of February 2016

Never have I even imagined that you could rent your pool out to a local swim instructor to hold classes. That's an incredible idea!

The Thrifty Issue

Friday 22nd of July 2016

One of my friends did it for a while and loved it.


Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

That's such a beautiful house! Multi-units can really bring in a profit if done right. I love how you made use of that space as a studio, too!

The Thrifty Issue

Friday 22nd of July 2016

We loved the studio. It had so many uses and saved a bunch of money.

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