Make your home work harder for you
With falling house values, dwindling nest eggs and rising inflation, finding ways to make ends meet remains a challenge. So what money-making ventures can you employ to ease the financial strain?
Become a modern-day 'Rigsby'!
The Government’s Rent-a-Room scheme lets you make £4,250 a year tax-free by renting furnished accommodation in your main home, though you won’t be able to claim expenses like wear and tear, heating and lighting. Try house share websites such as www.spareroom.co.uk and www.roombuddies.com. If you live in a university town, register your details with the college’s accommodation officer.
Earning potential: The average UK weekly rent from a lodger is £399 up 9.3% on this time last year says www.easyroommate.com.
Top tip: Popular in commuter belt areas, weekday-only lodgers can offer the best of both worlds - an income and your spare room back at weekends. Check references and have a written tenant agreement about extra bills, off-limit areas and house rules. Try www.fivenights.com and www.mondaytofriday.com
Turn your hand to hosting
Overseas students keen to brush up on their English, often prefer the home comforts of a ‘host’ family to a go-it-alone bed-sit. Contact your local education authority, university or the International Association of Language Centres www.ialc.org.
Earning potential: £150 to £350 per student per week before expenses.
Top tip: Language schools begin scheduling for summer classes mid winter – register well in advance with individual schools to secure a ‘host’ place. The Association of British Language Schools www.abls.co.uk lists accredited institutions.
Bring a little Hollywood into your home
If you have a property with distinctive features, allowing a film crew into your home can prove a nice little earner. Ordinary homes near main filmmaking cities, such as London, Manchester and Bristol are sought-after too. Contact the BBC locations department or your local film commission. You can also register your home on sites accessed by directors and location managers such as www.locationpartnership.com and www.locations-uk.com.
Earning potential: £500+ per day for magazine shoots to upwards of £3,000 for a top-end TV commercial.
Top tip: Contracts require a production company to repair any damage and to leave your property in pristine order. Check the small print.
Park your assets
If you live in a city and don’t mind someone parking their wheels on your driveway, then why not rent it out? It’s essential to inform your insurance company and check that the driver has insurance to cover you for accidental damage. Bear in mind that tenants with a parking space can’t rent it out nor can you rent out a permit holder space. Visit www.parkatmyhouse.com, www.parkonmydrive.com and www.parklet.co.uk.
Earning potential: £50 to £70 a week, depending on proximity to transport links and available parking in the area.
Top tip: Those who live near major sporting venues, such as Wimbledon, Silverstone or Wembley can charge premium rates (upwards of £100 per day) during major sporting events.
Get savvy with space
Self-storage is big business these days, so if you’ve got an empty garage, garden shed or lock up that’s crying out to be filled, place an ad in your local rag or advertise on www.loot.com and www.gumtree.com.
Earning potential: Individual units command anything from £50 to £400 per month. Annual yields of upwards of 20% can be achieved with lock-up garages in prime city centre locations: www.lockupgarages.co.uk
Top tip: Get the first month’s rent in advance. A rental agreement template can be found on the Landlord Protection Agency website www.thelpa.com.
With upwards of 1m holidaymakers undertaking a home exchange this year (a 20%+ increase on last year confirm Lloyds TSB Insurance) house swapping is the official holiday trend of 2012. Standard set-up is for two households who have never met to stay in each other's homes at the same time – free of charge. All you pay are travel costs and the home exchange agency fee. Register your property for home swaps with companies such www.homelink.org.uk, www.ukholidayswapshop.co.uk and www.lovehomeswap.com
Earning Potential: No hard cash - but you stand to make huge savings on your annual holiday – a luxury four-bed villa in the South of France typically rents for £3,500 per week peak season.
Top tip: Notify your insurer. Theft claims are seldom met unless there is evidence of a break in, and accidental damage is normally excluded from both buildings and contents policies. Malicious damage isn’t usually covered by any insurance policy either, regardless of whether a person is lawfully on the premises or not.
* Laura Henderson is a property columnist, author and investment expert. Her latest book Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom (Book Guild Publishing) is out now.