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7 May 2019

8 unexpected ways to make money from your home

From turning it into a film set to renting out your belongings

You may have spent a lot of money on your home and everything in it, so why not earn some back? A bevy of new apps and online services gives you more options than ever for making money from your property and belongings.

We round up eight unusual ways to make some extra cash without having to sell up.

And while any extra earnings may be liable for income tax, you can earn up to £1,000 tax-free from renting out belongings and property.

Take a look at some of the more unexpected ways of making your home pay its way.

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1. Make your home a movie star

Letting out your home as a film or TV set is perhaps one of the most unusual ways to make money from your home - but it could be the most lucrative, and it's definitely the most glamorous.

Maurice Fleisher, from South Buckinghamshire, lives in a retro 1960s/1970s detached chalet with a garden. He has let out his home for filming and photography since 2007.

'I became self-employed and thought it might be a useful way of boosting my income,' he told Which? Money.

'It has been used for major feature films and TV shows, commercials, music videos, independent productions, and fashion magazine shoots.'

'It shouldn't be undertaken lightly,' he said. 'But I've found it a positive experience because of the income and the opportunity to meet interesting people, including A-list stars.'

To see your home on the silver screen, get in touch with agencies such as Amazing Space, Lavish Locations, or the BBC's locations department. If they're interested, they'll send someone out to gauge your home's multiplex appeal.

How much could I earn? Maurice told us he can earn up to £1,500 a day. But the income is likely to be intermittent, as you won't always have bookings.

Keep in mind:renting out your home to a film crew can be intrusive and disruptive. Bigger projects can take a long time, with crews unloading vans of equipment and dressing up your home to their liking before the shoot even begins.

On the bright side, they're obliged to return your property to the way they found it, and should be fully insured to cover any damage.

2. Rent out your driveway

Anyone who's ever driven around for hours trying to find parking will appreciate the appeal of having a reserved spot on someone else's drive.

If you have a driveway or parking space that you're not using, you can offer it up to other motorists with services such as Park On My Drive and Just Park.

You can earn more if you live near a city centre, railway station, sports ground or popular attraction. Whereas if you live somewhere less busy, you're unlikely to get many takers.

How much could I earn? The price you can set will vary depending on location. If you charged £2 an hour, you could earn more than £900 by renting out your driveway for two full days on 30 weekends.

Park On My Drive charges a £15 fixed fee per year, and lets you take payment directly from drivers, in cash or via bank transfer, for example.

Just Park processes payments and takes a 3% commission of anything you make.

Keep in mind:if you have a permit to park on the road, rather than a private driveway, check with your local council before renting it out.

If you hire out your driveway, you may be liable for accidents or injuries on your property. Make sure your or your service's insurance policy covers you for this.

3. Turn your living room into an office

The rise in flexible working has driven demand for flexible work spaces.

Your house, or one specific part of it, could be the working environment someone in your area is looking for.

A website like Vrumi lets homeowners list spaces for 'busy professionals' to work from, including living rooms, garden sheds, and even boats.

You can set your price and the dates your space is available, as well as the kind of work you'd like it to be used for.

How much could I earn? Vrumi says typical users can earn £100 a day.

Keep in mind:the majority of spaces appear to be listed around London, suggesting this is where the key market is.

4. Offer up storage space

If your home isn't full to the brim with your own stuff, you can still put any empty garage, spare room or attic space to use.

Services such as Store Mates connect people with spare storage space to people who need it. You can list your space, its size, and your price online.

How much could I earn? To receive Vrumi payments, you'll need an account with the Stripe payment platform.

Looking at current listings, it appears you could make £70 a month for renting half a garage in Birmingham.

Keep in mind: renting out space to storage is unintrusive, and requires little effort, especially when compared to hosting overnight guests or 50-strong film crews.

The downside is other people's belongings may affect your insurance cover, especially if they raise the value of your contents above your insurance limit. Some services may cover you with their own insurance policies, but contact your insurer if you're uncertain about this.

5. Hire out your car

If you have a second car, or just don't drive very often, you can rent out your vehicle through websites such as Hiyacar and Turo.

With Hiyacar, you can fit a 'QuickStart box' in your car. Borrowers can unlock this with the app, meaning you never have to arrange to meet them.

Turo requires you to hand over your keys in person.

How much could I earn? According to Hiyacar, owners could earn up to £1,000 a month from nearby carless motorists. Turo takes a 25% commission of your hire fee, while Hiyacar takes 30%.

Keep in mind: both services need your car to be under 10 years old. You'll also need to have the type of car people want to borrow, in an area with high demand, to maximise earnings.

Some car rental services offer insurance protection. Check the terms and conditions to find out, but don't assume your own insurance will cover another driver.

6. Host a premium dinner party

Keen chefs can host paid-for dinner parties or cooking classes with a service such as EatWith.

You design the event and control the number of guests who can attend. Then you cook them a meal and eat with them.

This is definitely the most social way to make money from your home. It's one of the most rewarding, too, since it lets you improve your cooking skills. Plus, it's the only entry on this list that will prepare you for a stint on Come Dine With Me.

How much could I earn? Hosts appear to charge between £20 to £60 in general, which could add up quickly if you can accommodate a lot of guests. But the costs of food will offset whatever you make.

Keep in mind: to gain approval to use EatWith, you'll need to host a demo event and earn positive reviews.

You'll also be competing with established businesses and restaurants, such as Tube Train Supper Club and The Vaults in London.

7. Let out your caravan

If your caravan or motorhome sits empty for most of the year, letting it out will give other people the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.

Sites such as Camptoo and Camplify allow users to list their motorhomes online to rent out to happy campers.

How much could I earn?Camplify's earnings calculator estimates an RV with an annex, deck, fridge, outdoor furniture, and air conditioning could make £368 a week if it was occupied for 40% of the year.

Keep in mind: there's no guarantee that your campervan will be in demand consistently, especially in the colder months.

8. Rent out everything

Okay, maybe not everything. But services such as Fat Llama and Borrow-it encourage users to list items they aren't using for others to rent.

Current listings include DJ equipment, bikes, games consoles, and even a baby play mat.

How much could I earn?Fat Llama says some users have earned £8,000 a month. However, based on current listings, high-end technical equipment appears to bring in the most cash. The website takes a 15% fee from borrower and lender alike. As with Vrumi, you'll need to have a Stripe account to receive payments.

Keep in mind: this is only a reliable way to make money if you have items that people are willing to pay high rates for, and if you rent them out frequently.

Your home contents insurance is unlikely to cover items while they're rented out, though Fat Llama does guarantee coverage for up to £25,000.

What about renting a room?

Letting out a room in your home is one of the more obvious ways to earn extra income, so it's not one of our unexpected tips. But there are some important things to consider.

If you're also living in the home, and take in a lodger, you can use the Rent a Room allowance to earn £7,500 tax-free, or £3,750 each if you share the income with someone else.

However, you'll need to complete a tax return if your lodger pays more than that over the year.

You may also need to get permission from your home insurance provider and your mortgage provider or landlord before you offer up your room to renters, so it's worth checking your terms and conditions.

Read our guide to the Rent a Room scheme to find out more.

Sarah Ingrams contributed reporting to this article.