for rent sign outside a window

Why Room Rentals?

Room rentals? Why would you want to make your home into a boarding house? Maybe you shouldn’t. I enjoyed having people living in my house, and most of them became friends. On the other hand, you might not like that arrangement. I hated being a landlord when I owned rentals that were not my home. Each of us is different.


Consider Your Room Rental Options


You don’t necessarily have to live with the room-renters, so consider all the options available. You could do any of the following:


  1. Rent rooms in your own home and share common space with the renters. This is what I did for several years when I was single, and it worked fine for me.


  1. Partition your home so you can rent rooms without sharing common space.You’ll need at least two bathrooms, and separate entrances to make this work.


  1. Add an efficiency apartment for yourself, so you can have privacy, perhaps still sharing a laundry room with the renters. This is what we did when I married. It also opened up one my previous bedroom, increasing the rental income enough to pay for the new apartment in less than a year.


  1. Buy a house just to rent it out by the room. This can be an excellent way to get cash flow out of homes that might not otherwise be such good investments.


  1. Sublet a room in the apartment you rent. If this is okay with the landlord, it can be a way to afford a nicer apartment, or to get past financial hard times.


  1. Use room rentals as a way to afford a house payment. If you are having trouble buying a home because you can’t afford the payments, you can buy a home with extra rooms and rent them out.


Consider The Money In Renting Rooms


The amount you can charge for rent will vary greatly in different parts of the country. Here is what I charged renting rooms in a mobile home in a small town in northern Michigan (a few years ago):


Small Bedroom: $65 per week times 52 weeks equals $3380 per year.


Medium Bedroom : $75 per week times 52 weeks equals $3900 per year.


Large Bedroom : $85 per week times 52 weeks equals $4420 per year.


Potential Annual Income (I had a couple weeks vacancy now and then): $11,700 per year.


This was a home that I lived in, remember. I included all utilities in the rent, and I tracked my expenses closely. Including repairs to the heating system, the refrigerator and roof, as well as utilities, garbage collection, cable television, local phone service, property taxes and insurance, my costs the last year I had the house were $3,900 (I had already paid off the $253/month mortgage).


How do you figure profit when you live in the home? Renting rooms in my home probably added $300 or so to the annual costs. Heating was almost the same cost, as was garbage collection, taxes, insurance, cable television, and phone service. A little more wear and tear and a bit more electricity were the only real additional costs. In other words, almost all the extra income was profit. Or if you want to look at it another way, I lived for free and had $7800 income from the home I lived in.


Do you want to have thousands of dollars of extra income every year? What would you do with that money? Think about that, and you have the answer to why you should rent rooms.

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