Make your house pay for your family gap year

Think you’ve missed your chance to take a gap year now that you have kids? Think again. A growing number of parents are taking a year out to give their children a different kind of education — by travelling the world.

And whether you’re backpacking across continents or staying put in another country, you’ll need to decide what to do with your home. The good news is, it’s relatively easy to rent out your house or apartment to fund your travels.

 

First up, you need to work out whether you want a single long-term tenant or a series of short-term renters — and whether you’ll go through a real estate agent or a website.

Short term rental

The advantage of short term is that you can rent to holidaymakers, and charge substantially higher rates on a nightly or weekly basis — and increase these during popular periods like Christmas or school holidays. You can also keep your home furnished with all your things in it.

However, you’ll also need someone to manage the property during turnover to sort out cleaning, top up on necessities like toilet paper, and hand over keys. If you’re not around to take care of this yourself, it may be tricky or costly to find someone reliable.

Long term lease

Finding a long term tenant can provide you with a stable income from regular rental payments, and you can also charge things like gas and electricity to the tenant. However, you’ll want to consider how this rental income will affect your taxes — so speak to a professional before you make a decision.

The downside to long term rental is that you’ll probably need to empty your home — so be sure to factor storage costs into your budget. As well as personal items, this may also include your furniture, depending on whether you want to rent it out furnished or unfurnished.

7 tips for renting out your home

  1. Use a reputable website or agent. There are a lot of websites and real estate agents out there, so get recommendations from friends or family to find one you trust.
  2. Research prices. Take a look at similar properties in your area to find out what they’re charging. Don’t forget to factor in extras like phone and internet for short term rentals.
  3. Leave your valuables with a friend. You don’t need to clear out your house for short term rentals, but it does make sense to remove or lock up any items of high value.
  4. Make sure your home is clean. Most websites are review-based, so your home will need a proper clean between guests, and you should remove all clutter before you leave.
  5. Leave everything your guests need. Short term guests expect a fairly well-equipped kitchen with things like cooking equipment and crockery, plus they’ll need linen and towels.
  6. Decide on a payment method. For long term rentals, you’ll need to decide a deposit amount and how you want to receive payments — whereas rental websites are likely to specify this for you.
  7. Review your home insurance. Let your insurer know your plans and check whether your current home and contents insurance still applies. You may need to change your insurance or pay a little extra to make sure you’re covered while you rent the property, or to protect against damage by tenants.

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