And Is a Boarding House For You?
I have a lot of people stop by looking for information about boarding houses, room rentals and rooming houses. It seems people are interested in short term rental properties as a way to earn extra income or to turn an under performing property into an asset that cash flows.
The extra income was the original ticket for me.
I bought my first rooming house with three rooms in 2004, hated it and wanted to shut it down within the first few months. That wasn’t an option, so I modified the original premise to what I can only say was an even better model.
Then within three years I ended up owning nine more rooming properties with 53 rooms that each rented in a range of $150-190 per week.
If you can quickly do the math on that you might understand why I grew it so quick!
Anyway, I’m wondering off the main point of this article, so let’s get back on track by explaining more about boarding house properties and how they fit in the market.
Boarding houses date back hundreds of years and come in a variety of different types and options. Predominately the idea of a boarding house is a property that it includes a room and board . With board being meals and often including services like laundry and cleaning.
My first experience with this was actually with my grandmother. She was a widower and rented out two rooms in her three bedroom home to local workers and provided them evening meals and laundry service.
These two sources of income helped her make ends meet and helped keep her busy as she loved taking care of people. It was a perfect fit for her!
Over the years you’ve probably seen other examples in movies and books without even being aware of what you were looking at.
Boarding Houses – The Original AirBnB
From Sherlock Holmes 221B address being a boarding house to George Bailey’s mothers boarding house seen in it’s a Wonderful Life to more recently in the film Brooklyn where Eilis lives in a boarding house.
Of course all these examples tend to be from previous eras where this was much more common. People tended to be more transient years ago and often followed work and needed cost effective places to stay. Even though things have changed and boarding houses aren’t quite as common, they do still exist and may be a perfect fit for some people.
If you don’t mind sharing your home, enjoy cooking meals and possibly providing cleaning or laundry services (which can be an additional charge). Operating a boarding house style property may be the perfect method to help you make ends meet and put some bonus cash in your pocket.
It just requires a spare bedroom (or two), enjoying having people around and most importantly ensuring you have a solid set of rules in place.
Variations of boarding houses include Bed and Breakfast setups, hosting foreign students and even AirBNB properties and even combinations of these options.
Just in my little circle of friends and relatives I see examples of this every day. My sister-in-law runs a successful Bed & Breakfast, a friend of mine rents out two rooms in her home, one to a foreign student and the other on six months terms. My cousin rents out a room in his home and we have friends who bring in foreign students for eight months at a time.
I even have an acquaintance who helps people convert their vacant rentals into AirBNB spaces.
The important part of any of these though is understanding any local regulations, laws and possibly even zoning that could come into play.
With a single room rented out to help make ends meet, it might be just fine, it might fly under the radar of any by-laws or zoning and be ideal for you.
Once you expand to a full fledged B&B though, or rent out multiple rooms as a full fledged business it can expand into a litany of paperwork and processes to legally operate.
Renting Out Rooms
The majority of my experience with these types of properties involves renting out furnished rooms in a home where the tenants are responsible for cooking their own meals, their own laundry and even their own cleaning (or at least most of the time).
From higher end properties targeting business people, tourists and more upscale clients to mid to lower end properties targeting trades people, individuals caught between places and even simply folks down on their luck, rooms were great for me.
They became a bit of a cash cow for me and helped create significant monthly income for us, but I’ve already written about that previously. If you’d like to find out more, check out this article,
Or, if you would like handy tips on how to run your own rooming house, be sure to check this out,
Or, if you’d like to learn about the Ultimate Mortgage helper,
And finally, if you’d like to learn more about how, where and the basics of locations for setting up your own rooming house,
What are your thoughts on rooming houses, or did you even know they existed? Leave a comment below!