Rent Out a Spare Room in Your House
If you happen to have an extra room or two in your house, renting out the room can be an easy way to make money on the side. Depending on the rental market in your area, you could make anywhere from $250 to more than $1,000 per month in rent. You can check classified ads in the newspaper and sites like Craigslist to see comparable prices in your area.
But renting out a room isn't as easy as simply sitting back and collecting the money. You'll have to draw up a lease that protects your rights as a landlord, follow anti-discrimination laws when placing ads and interviewing tenants, do credit and background checks on potential tenants, keep your house compliant with state laws and local housing codes, and follow certain federal safety laws. For example, local codes might require you to purchase a new water heater or update your plumbing, and federal laws may require you to pay to have lead paint or asbestos removed. State and local laws also determine procedures for things that will come up eventually, like eviction and security deposits [source: Fannie Mae]. You will also have to pay tax on your rental income. Obviously, there can also be personal issues with sharing your house, so consider whether you're comfortable sharing your living space with someone you don't know.