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The Housing Muse: Homeowners Get Creative By House Hacking

The Housing Muse: Homeowners Get Creative By House Hacking

May 13, 2024

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

As home prices surge, more homeowners are looking toward their home as a way to generate some passive income. “House hacking” is a way of profiting off your home, most often done by renting out all or a portion of a property. But there are some other creative forms of house hacking that are popping up, like even renting out a pool or backyard.

Homeowners are earning thousands of dollars extra per year just by renting out some spare spaces in their home. For some, that could be renting out a garage space, like to others looking for an extra spot to park an extra car or even their vintage car. Others are renting out just a spare closet or a backyard shed, like to renters who feel cramped with space.

A growing number of websites and apps are helping homeowners to offer up their spaces and connect with those who want to book it, similar to an Airbnb-like online booking experience. For example, sites like and allow homeowners to list and rent out portions of their house.

House hacking is even attracting pets. Homeowners can rent out their backyard to pet owners who may not have a yard of their own and desire a more private dog park-like experience for their pups to run wild in. One site that helps to facilitate these connections is called Sniffspot. Homeowners advertise their available yard space on the site, like touting fenced-in spacious backyards, and pet owners then can book it online. Elizabeth Morton, a homeowner in Candler, N.C., charges $11.50 an hour per dog, and she earned $36,000 last year renting out her yard to pet owners. She plans to use the extra “house hacking” money she’s earned to purchase undeveloped land, in adding to her real estate portfolio.

For homeowners who have a backyard pool, they can rent that out by the hour. This house hack really took off during the pandemic. Swimply, one popular platform for this, made news headlines when an Oregon man earned $177,000 in less than two years by using the site to rent out his backyard pool. Hosts can charge anything, but Swimply says the average is $45 per hour. Homeowners also can use the site to rent out their home gym or even a portion of their home, all by the hour.

Additional sites like PeerSpace and HomeStudio allow homeowners to rent out their property to be used in films or on photo shoots as well as for parties, meetings and performances.

Homeowners are exploring the many possibilities for house hacking, but as more sites pop up to help do this, they do need to be careful. There could be a limit to what all you can do on your property. For example, beware the city’s zoning laws as well as homeowner association rules. But if you get the green-light, homeowners may find—particularly in these inflationary times—that house hacking can be one way to better afford homeownership, all while earning some extra cash on their home.


Melissa Dittmann Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is an award-winning journalist who covers the latest real estate news and trends. You can hear her weekly on the syndicated radio show and podcast, Real Estate Today, in her housing trends segment, “Hot or Not?” She is the creator of the Styled, Staged & Sold blog and a frequent contributor to and REALTOR Magazine. She’s also the host of The Housing Muse podcast at Follow her on Instagram or X @housingmuse.

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