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5 ways to turn your home into a cash machine

Writer: Jay MacDonald

It’s no secret that home ownership can be expensive these days. By the time you factor in the mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, maintenance and utilities, even the most frugal castle can start to feel like a money pit.

Fortunately, thanks to peer-to-peer technology, there are numerous new ways to turn rarely-used parts of your home into income opportunities. Think of it as a safe and easy way to give your home a part-time job by providing others with a prescreened, dependable, affordable solution to their space needs.

Here are five ways to turn your home into a moneymaker:

1. Rent your home or backyard

Planning a week at the beach? Or perhaps a month abroad? Why not rent your home and let it pay for itself while you’re away?

Online home rental sites, including Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, Wimdu, and HouseTrip, have exploded in popularity by offering turnkey, prescreened homes, apartments, condos, yurts and pretty much everything in between on an as-needed basis. You can even rent your backyard to campers seeking a less-traveled, more tranquil setting in which to pitch their tent.

2. Rent your home office

Want to earn a paycheck from your unused home office, loft or den without, you know, actually working for it? Virtual employment has created a movable peer-to-peer market for inexpensive office and meeting space. Such co-working hookup sites as Desktime and ShareDesk can help you convert your home’s dead office space into a virtual ATM.

3. Rent your garage

Here’s the weird thing about garages: those who need them desperately want them, while those who have them often don’t make best use of them. In fact, if you’re among the latter, your garage may well be the biggest money loser on your property.

Enter Garage Pointer. This clever matchmaker unites garage owners with car collectors in need of a safe, secure, affordable place to store their prize vehicles away from the ravages of weather, vandalism and random mishaps. Frequent business travelers also find Garage Pointer the perfect way to store an out-of-town car.

4. Rent your unused attic or cellar

Our attic and cellar contents traditionally ebb and flow with the milestones of family life: kids move out, kids move in, kids move up and parents move on. If you’ve noticed an ebb in your attic or cellar space, Roost can help you rent it to homeowners whose castles temporarily runneth over.

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5. Board pets

Once all of the unused portions of your home and garden are earning their keep, why not celebrate with some four-legged, tail-wagging fun? Canine concierge sites DogVacay and Rover provide your online link to local party animals with which to expand your range of home services to dog boarding, dog walking or daycare.

GARAGED CARS RETAIN A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF VALUE

Most of us think that preventative maintenance like regular oil changes are the key to a car retaining its usefulness and value over the long-haul. That’s important, but as the old saying goes, appearances count and maintaining a car’s cosmetics is the key to getting the most for it at trade or sale time. Nothing makes that easier than simply garaging the car.

Dave Kinney, a veteran automotive appraiser, and co-founder of Garage Pointer, the first peer-to-peer garage-sharing service believes that simply garaging a car regularly can increase its value by 20% or more over a non-garaged used car.

“I can generally spot a car that hasn’t been garaged in about 30 seconds” says Kinney. “The signs are really pretty obvious. Some people think that vandals are the biggest hazard to un-garaged cars, that may be true, but it’s not the teenaged ones, it’s the feathered flying vandals. Bird droppings are kryptonite to cars. The acids in them can literally eat through automotive clear coats. Un-garaged cars always have at least moderate clear coat damage from bird droppings” says Kinney.

And it’s not just the paint that suffers according to Kinney: “Automotive interiors are made up of plastic, rubber and leather or vinyl. All of these things react badly to UV rays from the sun. Over time, plastics dry out and crack, rubber rots, leather shrinks and gets hard from the natural oils drying out, even the threads used to stitch seats together weaken and give way.”

The obvious answer is to garage your car. Sometimes though that’s easier said than done. If you live in an urban area and don’t have access to garage-parking or just have more cars than garage space, you need Garage Pointer. It gives you access to safe, convenient and reasonably priced vehicle storage in your neighborhood. Home owners can utilize it to put spare garage space to work for them by listing it and renting it out on Garage Pointer.  www.GaragePointer.com