With college football season upon us, there will be an influx of people trying to find accommodations in the New River Valley area.  Homeowners may be tempted to rent out rooms to earn a little extra income.  Why not?  It sounds easy enough.  Clean up that spare room or basement and you can rake in the big bucks from people desperate to find lodging.  But there are things you should know before taking this on.  It may not be as simple as it seems.

  • There are several online peer-to-peer marketplaces for renting out your house or a room in your house. Airbnb is one of the largest and most popular. Some others include HomeAway and FlipKey. Your first step should be to investigate the various options and decide which one will work best for you.
  • Educate yourself about the laws involved with renting out a room in your home. When listing your home on a website, they might not indicate whether you’re complying with local laws.  You are responsible for knowing the regulations and following the rule of the law.  Don’t get yourself in a situation like the hosts in New York City who were fined thousands of dollars for renting their apartments through peer-to-peer services.  This type of rental activity is allowed in the Town of Blacksburg, but it is subject to standards adopted by Town Council.  Make sure you know the rules and regulations before placing your room for rent.
  • There may be taxes involved.  Depending on how much you earn by renting out all or part of your home, you may receive a tax form from the marketplaces that list your property.  Regardless, you must report the earnings when filing your taxes.  This is something to consider when deciding if it is worth the cost to start renting out space in your home.
  • Something else to think about when deciding if your profits will outweigh your costs is the expense of having guests in your home.  You will be providing consumables such as soap, toilet paper, shampoo and cleaning supplies. In addition, your utility bills may increase.  You may also want to hire a cleaning service if you don’t have time to clean between guests.
  • To increase your chances of being booked, consider listing on multiple sites.  The more people that see your listing, the better the chance it will be rented.  But remember, each site has its own rules, fee structures and insurance requirements, so you need to know this information for every site you use.

Should you decide to rent out a room in your home, the rental site that you choose will help you get started.  You can also check out College Weekends; a site specific to Blacksburg for renting out spaces for football weekends.  Go Hokies!

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