The U.S. economy is slowly staggering out of the Great Recession and employment figures show signs of promise, but after nearly three years of financial drought, many Americans still feel their budgets are under pressure. Faced with depleted stock portfolios and shrunken savings accounts, homeowners looking to pump up their finances may want to turn to their greatest assets -- their homes.

But when we talk about turn your castle into a bank, we're not talking about using it as a home-equity loan cash machine as so many did during the bubble years. We're talking about ways to actually bring in extra income from your property.

The ideas we'll present, while varied, all carry a common theme -- renting out some portion of the property. The degree to which that might intrude on a homeowner's lifestyle varies, too: Renting out your backyard to campers or gardeners, or renting a driveway to frustrated commuters who can never find parking will have more of an impact on your daily life than leasing a 500-square-foot parcel for a cellular tower.

Depending on location, you can potentially make anywhere from around $50 a month to upwards of $5,000, based on some of the ideas we'll present. But before embarking on such a venture, homeowners should thoroughly vet their plans with their insurance broker, check their city and county ordinances -- especially in areas with rent control -- and potentially have a real estate attorney weigh in on the matter if the arrangement with the tenant will be long term.

"Because you are now considered a landlord, you may be liable if a tenant is injured on the property," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the trade association Insurance Information Institute, in an email interview. "Therefore, you may need to purchase landlord insurance. Most landlord insurance policies cover the landlord's legal fees should a tenant file a lawsuit. This type of policy would also pay out in the event of a judgment against a landlord, protecting his or her personal belongings and assets, if the tenant prevails in court." She noted most typical homeowners insurance policies would not cover such events.

Still interested turning your property into an income producer? Then click on the link most relevant to you, and read what industry experts, fellow homeowners and potential tenants had to say to DailyFinance about how to do it:

Renting out the backyard to campers or gardeners

Renting out the driveway or garage for cars or storage

Renting out a slice of land for a cellular tower

How to avoid potential pitfalls


While this list is a starting point, it is by no means comprehensive. Apply your own creative juices to the task of turning your home into an income generator: It could serve your bank account well.

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Shaun Boland

Great article. I would also add www.rentzent.com to the list! They help you rent your House, Guesthouse or back yard for events such as corporate event, weddings, birthdays, engagement or cocktail party etc.! Its a good money making idea to do on the side like these other ones you mentioned. And the good part is that they are free.

January 13 2013 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RichCocovich

There can only be so many cell phone towers per regulation I would guess.

Rich Cocovich
Global Star Capital Funding
www.globalstarcapital.com

April 19 2011 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ray Mauk

Way to go AOL. Another great article with solid ideas. You should write an article on how much free money can be found by simply checking the coin returns on vending machines and especially from phone booths. Last year I found nearly one dollar in change. Keep up the good work AOL. You never fail to amaze me.

April 18 2011 at 1:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
exec2be

Renting is a great idea! After my dad passed in his late 50"s last year, I was faced with what to do with the family's 4k square foot home in california near the beach. It was too large for my mom and she said lets sell it. The Million and a half dollar plus house was paid for. She said lets put the money in the bank. Today if you put that money in a safe bank investment we would get maybe $1500 a month. Renting the house we were able to get $4800 a month. There was no two ways about it....renting was like our own secured investment with a tangible asset. She can sell it later, but our 4% plus return in this market could not be beat. She can take her million and a half later or more as the market goes up and come out way ahead.

April 18 2011 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mkprbint

It seems clear that the author of the article does not own a home or simply doesn't care about property values. How terrific for the neighbors and the entire neighborhood to rent out one's backyard to campers, turn one's driveway into a parking lot, install a cell tower!
Does anyone review these articles? This one is offensive and really, really BAD advise!

April 18 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wmleod

The author is evidently very young and ignorant. They need to check with the local athorities regarding all of these suggestions. None of these are remotely legal. Renting out your garage is not legal in my State unlees you are in a commerical or light industrial zone. Rv parking is premitted only in commerical zones or recereational zones. Please check out your facts or verify your sources before you mislead or lie to the public.

April 18 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon

In New York you can't even rent out viable living space like a finished basement or attic with out the building department laying heavy fines on you - about the only sugggestion here that has some value is renting out a parking spot or garage which I don't thing was news to anyone.

April 18 2011 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pozboys

Does the author live in West Virginia or somewhere were the local and state government doesn't take the time to enforce zoning regulations! Hell, I cant put up a fence or shed without the zoning police cracking down on it, or for that matter, just forget to mow your lawn for a week, and there they are!! Great idea's, no research!!!Hey AOL, can I get paid for my remarks???

April 18 2011 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pozboys

Does the author live in West Virginia or somewhere were the local and state government doesn't take the time to enforce zoning regulations! Hell, I cant put up a fence or shed without the zoning police cracking down on it, or for that matter, just forget to mow your lawn for a week, and there they are!! Great idea's, no research!!!Hey AOL, can I get paid for my remarks???

April 18 2011 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dave dolan

if this fluff was a High School paper it most likely would get a D-

April 18 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply