Making Money With A Guest Home or an Attached Apartment

8335300100_cd967bd9e1_zWe’ve been shopping online for homes a lot lately to get an idea of what we can afford with our home budget. We have fallen in love with a few homes, and some of the homes even have guest homes on the property.

One topic that has been crossing our mind a lot lately is possibly using a guest home (or a guest suite) as a way to make extra money.

It seems like many people are doing this lately. I even came across a blogger the other day who is adding an “apartment” addition to the back of their home so they can make some extra money by renting it out.

However, how do you know if it’s for you? I’m always going back and forth about real estate and being a landlord, but I’ve always heard that duplexes and suites on the same property as where the landlord live seem to do particularly well.

Below are some different areas to think about if you are wanting to have an apartment, suite, or a guest home on your property to rent out:

Will you rent the property to short-term renters or long-term?

Renting short-term or long-term can be a very different experience, so this is an area you should think hard about.

A short-term rental usually has the potential to make more money, but there is also more work to be done since you will usually have to provide all the furniture, clean the property, give the keys to each renter multiple times a month, and more.

With a long-term rental, the opposite can be said for much of the above. The renter will usually furnish the property themselves, they will do all the cleaning, you really only need to bother them once (signing papers and giving them the keys), then hopefully the rent checks just roll in each and every month. However, you may earn less money by having a long-term renter living in your property instead of a short-term renter.

Do you like your privacy?

Since your renter or renters will be so close to you, you really need to think about how much you like your privacy.

If the person is in a guest house, then privacy might not be as big of a deal since they will be in an entirely different building from you. However, if they are in the same home as you are, then privacy can be a much bigger deal.

Sometimes you can solve this by having a whole separate apartment (such as a basement apartment or an above-garage apartment) with a separate door from yours.

For us, we wouldn’t be interested in a connected suite if we had children. However, a guest home on a different side of the property would probably be different. For example, we found one home on 15 acres that had a guest home around an acre away from the main home. This home is what spiked this whole idea to us.

What rules will there be?

If someone is practically going to be your roommate, then you will probably want to set rules. We have rented out rooms in our house in the past and have always set rules.

Sometimes the rules are completely forgotten about by the renter, while other times the rental situation has worked out well.

Different rules may include:

  • Can they have parties?
  • Can they have friends or family members over?
  • What about sleepovers?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Who cleans?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • What about noise volumes?
  • Where can they park?

What do you think? Would you ever buy a home and rent out a section of it?


Image via Flickr by rowdykittens

5 Ways To Market Your Blog


I know, I know, I’ve been talking about blogging a lot lately. Last week I published Out Of New Ideas For Articles and Blog Posts? This week I’m going to talk about five different ways to market your blog.

This is a question I am often asked by new bloggers. I definitely do not have a big blog by any means, but I do many different things to network and hopefully get my name out there. Thankfully, networking and marketing are some of my favorite parts about blogging.

Below are five ways to market your blog and attract new readers:

1. Create great content.

My top tip to market your blog is to always produce great content. You can market your blog an insane amount but if your content sucks then no one will stay. Instead, they will read a sentence and run away screaming.

Always produce great content, make sure your posts are engaging, do your research, and make your readers want to come back for more.

2. Guest post.

Guest posting is something I will admit I do not do enough of. I do participate in interviews, but I haven’t done an actual guest post in years it feels like.

Guest posting is a great way for new readers to find you. You can reach out to a blog owner you are interested in writing for and ask if they accept guest posts. Usually they will ask for a few topic ideas from you and give you their requirements.

3. Be active on social media.

There are many different social media networks out there. Social media is a great way to market your blog because EVERYONE has some sort of social media account. It’s just another way for a potential reader to find you.

Social media can also be a great way to get your name out there because most people want to see a real face or a real personality when it comes to reading a blog. I know that when I was “semi-anonymous,” a few people actually stopped reading my blog because they felt like they never really knew the “real” me because I never posted any pictures or shared any of my personal social media accounts. I am now completely public, but I do think that being anonymous held me back the first year.

Now, I am active on all different social media outlets. I have Instagram, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can post links to your articles, publish images, use hashtags, etc. in order to attract readers to your blog.

4. Comment on other blogs and in forums.

This is something I love about blogging. I comment on other blogs and forums (I personally love the Mr. Money Mustache forum, for example) mainly because I am nosy and I don’t want to “miss out” on something in the blogging world and in a blogger’s life. Since I work from home now, commenting is pretty much my form of socializing with others.

Also, make sure you reply to comments on your own blog as well. I often go back to blogs I comment on and see if I was replied to. It’s a nice little touch and can go a long way.

5. Participate in giveaways.

This is something many people have mixed feelings about. For me, I enjoy having giveaways. It’s a way for me to give back to my readers, and I know that many readers have also found me because of giveaways.

There are many ways to hold a giveaway. You can give something away (such as cash, a product, a service, etc.) with no strings attached, or you can ask them you follow you in some form (such as asking them to follow you on Twitter or Facebook). You can have a giveaway by yourself, or you can team up with other bloggers and have a huge giveaway.

I’ve found that both ways can work well if you decide to have a giveaway. The key is to promote your giveaway via giveaway websites in order to find new followers. Just type in “giveaway promote” into a Google search and you will find many giveaway companies that will help you do this. Some are free and some cost a little bit of money. I’ve found that the free giveaway promotions work just fine.

How do you market your blog?


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Out Of New Ideas For Articles and Blog Posts?

2987926396_87eb3c3494_zA few months ago, Wes told me he was interested in starting a blog of his own.

We finally bought the domain name the other day, and he already has a few blog posts in the works. He’s had many questions about blogging, and one question that he keeps wondering is how a blogger comes up with blog post ideas.

He didn’t really know where to start, and he didn’t know how people could blog for so long and continually come up with new article ideas.

I won’t lie, there are many days when I sit down to write a post and I just cannot do it to save my life.

However, over the past few years, I have become much better at this. I have over 1,000 published posts on Making Sense of Cents alone, and I still have a few hundred ideas in my notes as well.

Here are my tips to keep the ideas and posts flowing whether you are a brand new writer or you have been writing for years:

Use questions you receive from readers.

Some of my favorite posts have come from ideas I’ve received from readers. Sometimes I receive an email, sometimes a tweet, or sometimes a reader will comment and ask me to expand on a topic.

This is a great way to think of new blog post ideas. You could even create a survey or directly ask your readers if they have any questions they would like you to answer. I’m sure there is something!

Use questions you have had yourself.

I’m sure there have been times where you have Google searched a question you’ve had. Maybe you dived in and completely researched the topic. If this is the case, then you may have a great blog post idea right here.

You know the saying that if you have a question, then others probably do as well?

Well, that’s true! I’m sure there are others who have wondered your very same question.

Think about your life experiences.

One thing I love about have a personal finance blog is that it’s PERSONAL. I can write about whatever I want, and that’s what I always do.

Many of my blog posts on MakingSenseofCents relate directly to my life and what I’m currently going through. These can be positive, negative, boring, fun, and more. It’s whatever I want them to be.

For example, the other day I published the post Easy Ways I’m Currently Saving $1,200 Each Month. This post is all about how I’m saving money in my life right now and that’s how I thought about the idea.

Also, I’m a nerd. Whenever something “interesting” happens, I almost always write it down because it may have the possibility of turning into a blog post.

Have a running list of possible post ideas.

For me, it would take a very long amount of time for me to run out of ideas. I have ideas both in my phone and on my laptop.

My phone is full of ideas I’ve thought about on the go or right before bed (I get a lot of my ideas then). My laptop is full of ideas from when I sit down and try to have a brainstorming/research session.

I probably have a few hundred ideas, which is something I am proud of. While I am not too far ahead when it comes to actually writing these posts, it is nice to know that I have possibilities for when the time comes.


Do you ever feel like you are out of article and blog post ideas?

What do you do to overcome this feeling?


Image via Flickr by Rennett Stowe