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Need Money? 6 Ways To Put Your Home to Work

A rarely used room, yard, driveway, attic or swimming pool could be earning you cash. Learn smart ways to leverage an empty nest into a bigger retirement nest egg.

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illustration of house full of money, nest egg, retirement
Eliana Rodgers
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Watching your kids grow up and move out can be bittersweet. You want them to be independent, but you'll miss having them under your wing. As an empty nester, you'll definitely have newfound time and freedom on your hands — but you'll also have newfound space.

Recent housing trends may offer opportunities to put your home to work and generate income. There’s a race for space, with more folks seeking dwellings than there are people selling. Maybe you’ve noticed another new high-rise apartment complex being built in your area, but few for sale signs on lawns. Though some sisters are saving money by downsizing, empty-nest baby boomers own 28 percent of large homes in the U.S., and many don't appear interested in selling them, according to a recent analysis by real estate company Redfin. At the same time, apartment construction reached a 50-year high last year as rising home prices have pushed more people to rent.

Since renters often have limited parking, storage space, recreational space and other amenities, some may be willing to pay you for the empty spaces your kids have left behind. You already know about short-term rental sites like Vrbo and Airbnb, but here are other ways to cash in on your empty nest.

Give people a place to park.
A house full of people often translates to a driveway full of cars. But if the kids are gone and you now have an empty driveway, it may be worth something to someone who doesn't have a parking space. touts that some people earn as much as $200 per month by renting out their space, and the site provides an estimate of what you might earn based on your location. When I entered my address, the site claimed I could potentially make an additional $1,428 per year – enough for me to plan a nice weekend getaway to the Caribbean. Another site, claims users can make $50-$150 per month renting out whatever spaces they have, whether it be a driveway, garage space or even an unpaved lot. When the kids come home to visit, they'll just have to park it on the street.

Rent out storage space.
Here's another incentive to get the kids to clean out those closets before they leave. If you now have empty closets, a cleaned basement or unused crawlspace, you can charge neighbors money to give them a place to store their stuff. is an online marketplace that lets you set the price and the parameters (i.e., how long they can store their belongings and what types of items they can store). If you need to figure out how much to charge, the site recommends checking the pricing at a local commercial storage facility and charging about half that price.

Take in a college exchange student. If your child is in college and will be home on school breaks and holidays, you probably don't want to rent out their room indefinitely. But you might make some extra money by hosting an exchange student. Host families can make $1,000 per month, according to Apex International Education Partners, a company that matches students with housing.

Host a rentable pool. There are 10.7 million swimming pools in the U.S. If you own one of them and your kids are no longer splashing around in it, you may be able to rent it out by the hour using the website You set your own prices and determine when your pool will be open to customers. Some of the hosts on the site claim to make between $5,000 and $12,000 per month during the summer swim season.

Provide space for dogs. Americans spend more than $100 billion per year on their pets. If you have a big yard and no longer need it for tag, hide and seek, or touch football, you may be able to get a piece of the pie by renting it out as a private dog park. The website Sniffspot lets homeowners rent their space to local dog owners who want to provide exercise for their fur babies. While most of the rates I saw on the site ranged from $4 per hour per dog for a fully fenced yard with 0.06 acres to $15 per hour per dog for a fully fenced acre of space, Sniffspot claims to have hosts earning $3,000 or more per month.

Give gardeners a place to grow their bounty. Some people love to garden but don't own a home or have the space to exercise their passion. They may be willing to pay you for a place to plant their vegetables, flowers or herbs during this summer season. The website YardYum brings together owners and gardeners. When you list your space, you'll answer such questions as whether the plot has been gardened before and whether you'd be willing to water the garden (you may get more money for it if you do.) Depending on where they live, owners typically earn between $30 and $100 per year for about 400 square feet of land. You might even rent out multiple plots if you have a large yard. Some owners request a portion of the produce that is grown as payment.

If you're a renter…
You may not be able to rent out space, but you (along with non-renters) can still make money on your empty nest by doing the following:

  • If you're planning to convert the kids' extra bedrooms into new office space, make a profit by selling bedroom furniture online at sites such as and Facebook Marketplace.
  • If kids are no longer driving your cars, update your auto insurance policy to reflect that; your rate may come down.
  • Get rid of streaming services the kids watched if you never use them.

While we know money won't make you miss them any less, it can help you enjoy your newfound time and freedom even more.

Follow Article Topics: Work-&-Money