Vacant vs Income

Back again, with our special show “Snowbirds….” all about heading South for the winter, and leaving the cold, the ice and the snow – far behind.

But we wanted to wrap up this hour of the show with a question.

When you pack up all your things, and make that long drive South…..and you stay there anywhere from three to six months….what happens to the house – you just left?

And most important – can that house generate any income for you….while you’re not in it?

Wouldn’t that be nice? To be able to head South – and while you’re there – receive a nice, steady income from the place up North?

Sounds pretty good….so let’s take a look at that. Four ways to generate revenue – from a house that would otherwise, be vacant.

There are basically four ways to do that…but before we talk about those – we need to talk about this: you can probably do most of these income-producing techniques IF you live in a single family home, without a homeowners’ association. OK? If you are in a condo, or a coop or a house with an HOA….chances are, they won’t let you do most of these ideas we’re talking about. Now you can try – but, well, good luck, Most boards have been decreasing – not increasing the amount of fexibility owners have – with their properties.

But assuming you are in a home without an association watching over you – here are the four ideas.

One – rent it out! See if you can find a short-term tenant – someone who’s looking for a furnished place. Usually that’s ok in a single family home…but you might want to make double sure. Ask your REALTOR® what the rules are where you live, and whether your hometown will give it a green light – or not.

Again, a short-term rental is probably the most lucrative scenario, because a tenant will be paying you market rates for the entire v time you’re going. If you decide to go that route, again, talk to your REALTOR®. They might be able to market the property, find and evaluate potential renters, draw up the lease, and collect the money.

Next up – if you have a university in town, you might call their housing office to see if any visiting professors, or grad students need housing for the time you’ll be gone. Now if that works out, you might have found a long-term partner,., But – I say professors and grad students because, well….we’ve all seen the movie ‘Animal House.’

OK, now the next idea is red-hot in markets across America. Register your place, with Airbnb, Home away of any of the other short-term vacation rental sites. There’s work involved….since you’ll have to take great photos, and basically turn your home into a ‘destination spot.’ Now it’ll be easier if you’re in a place tourists love to visit….not so easy if it’s a place no one ever comes to, except for the folks that live there.

Finally? find a house sitter. Just someone who can live in your place up North, while you’re down South. This is more common than you might think. Say you know a family friend, who lives in a teeny tiny apartment. They might just LOVE the idea of having a great big house for six months. A real bedroom, real living roo, real deck, real backyard.,…now you can charge them, or not….depending on who they are. Because fact is, they’ll be helping you take care of the place, water the plants and so on while you’re away, so it can be considered kind of a draw.But it’s up to you.

Now about condos, co-ops and HOA communities. Recently, as airbnb exploded across the USA…most boards have put the rules in bold-face font, underlined and italicized: NO short term rentals are allowed. So if that’s you, good luck.

But here’s one idea. If you own a parking space? You might be able to do a short term rental for that – as long as you rent it to someone who lives in the HOA, condo or coop. A great option, especially in a big, expensive city.

So there you go. Four ways to make some income from a house that otherwise might go vacant! Not a bad way to put your Northern house to work – while you’re living it up down south, as a snowbird.

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