The following is a guest post from Drew Davies.
We all have a overflowing cupboard or a junk room that we never manage to clear out – in a Big Yellow Self Storage survey, 61% of people questioned admitted to hoarding useless items around the house – but did you know that harnessing the space in your home more effectively could also make you money? Here are three top tips to create space and income.
De-clutter and rent out a room
In the same survey, just under a third (26%) of us have a whole room in our home filled with junk and over a third (41%) would definitely rent out a room to make money to help in these tougher financial times. The first step is to empty the spare room. Re-locate anything you really want to keep (to an attic or self storage unit, for example) and then sell the rest of the items online. Two tips for selling on eBay – invest in good quality photographs, and always calculate accurate postage weight ahead of time to stop any nasty surprises at the Post Office.
Before you start letting out your room, however, you may need to tell your mortgage company and home insurers. Also, make sure your home meets safety regulations – ideally with smoke alarms and a gas safety certificate. Make sure the room you are renting out appeals to the right sort of paying guests. Take good photographs to help with marketing and have a clear idea of whom you want to share with. Always ask for references - and check them. Once you've decided on the tenant, agree on key ground rules from the outset, covering other guests, access to rooms and tidiness. Request half the rent before the tenant arrives so that if things go wrong you have protection, and ask for the remainder on the last day of the rental period.
If you don't like the idea of someone living in your house full time, consider short lets for local events. For example, with the Olympics bringing an influx of visitors to the city this July, many Londoners will make extra money by renting out a spare room over the summer. Have a look at what events in your local area will mean an increase of visitors and you could easily make extra money for a short lease.
Prepare your house for sale
Making your home inviting to a potential buyer can really help the process. When you are giving people the tour of your home, the last thing that you want is to make it look a lot smaller by failing to clear out any extra items.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them too. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
Create a home office
With overheads a real concern for small businesses, many professionals are relocating to a home office. Turning a spare room into an office space can cut down on travel and rent costs, but a balance needs to be found to make it a productive place to work. Clearing out anything unneeded is a must and finding a secure way to keep files, documents and invoices for tax returns is vital too.