Downsizing, equity release, renting out your attic: how older people can make money from their home

It's more than just a place to rest your head at night – you can also use your home to boost your bank balance in your later years.

There are all sorts of reasons someone may want to boost their finances as they get older.

It may be that their pension pot is not quite big enough to deliver the quality of life they wanted in retirement, and so needs a bit of a helping hand.

Perhaps someone has always dreamed of travelling the world once work is finished, and they need to raise the money to cover the costs.

Or perhaps it’s a case of planning for the worst, and ensuring that there is a stack of cash on hand to help with the cost of care should they fall ill.

Whatever the reason, one of the biggest assets many older people have is their property.

And there are numerous ways that it can be used to raise some money, no matter what the purpose may be.

I need a lot of money

Let’s start by running through the options for people who need to raise the most cash, in the tens of thousands.

Downsizing

Probably the easiest way to make money from your existing property is to downsize.

This is where you sell your home and move somewhere cheaper, and most likely a bit smaller. It’s an attractive move for many older people who are still living in the family home, with additional bedrooms they no longer need and which are becoming more of a challenge to maintain.

One of the oft-mentioned hurdles for those looking to downsize was the fact that the older person would have to pay Stamp Duty on their new property, but the current changes introduced by the Government should remove this as a concern.

Equity release

If you don’t want to leave your home, you can still release some of the money you’ve built up in it through equity release.

It’s effectively taking out a loan against the value of the property, but one which usually doesn’t have monthly repayments, instead being paid off once you pass away or move into long-term care.

It’s become incredibly popular of late, as it allows people to shore up their own financial position or hand over an inheritance to loved ones ‒ perhaps to help them purchase a home ‒ while they are still alive.

It can be expensive though, and mean that once the loan is paid off there is no money left from the sale of the property to pass onto the rest of your family.

For more, check out our guide on how equity release works.

I need to raise a moderate amount

If you want to bring in a decent amount of cash from your property, then you have different options, and they are likely to be less dramatic than selling up or committing to a new form of borrowing.

Take in a lodger

If you have a spare bedroom in the property, then renting it out is one way to make money from your home without having to take on any new loan or downsize.

What’s more, thanks to the Government’s Rent a Room scheme you can bring in up to £7,500 from rent without having to pay any tax on it, making the idea even more lucrative.

Of course, this is assuming you are comfortable doing so given the COVID pandemic.

Rent it out

Alternatively, you might want to rent the property out in its entirety when you are away.

Sites like Airbnb have blown up in recent years, with plenty of travellers preferring the experience of staying in an actual home rather than a hotel when they are on the move, whether as part of their own holiday or if they are away for work.

While it can be an excellent moneyspinner ‒ particularly if you live near a tourist hotspot ‒ it can have implications for your home insurance and any outstanding mortgage you may have, so be sure to speak to your insurer and lender before going ahead.

Check out our guide on how to make the most from Airbnb.

I need a small amount of money

If you are simply looking for a modest top up to your finances, then there are plenty more small steps you can follow to raise cash from your home.

Rent out your attic

Understandably, you might not fell comfortable opening up your home to someone else by taking on a lodger.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t turn any spare space in your home, from the attic to under the bed, into a revenue generator.

Sites like Storemates.co.uk allow you to turn whatever spare space you have into storage for your neighbours who need somewhere to keep those possessions that they simply don’t have room for, but don’t want to get rid of.

It won't make you rich but it can prove a nice little side earner.

Put that driveway to use

Along similar lines, if you have a driveway that isn’t always being used then you can rent it out.

This is particularly useful if you live near a sports or entertainment venue, or close to a train station - some people are able to make thousands each year through renting out their driveway.

Read our piece on how to rent out your driveway.

 

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