SpareBedroom

Why America’s spare bedrooms are worth $174.9 billion

Information verified correct on January 21st, 2017

Extra rooms are an untapped real estate opportunity.

It’s not unusual to have an extra bedroom in your house. Indeed, a finder.com analysis of United States Census data suggests that there are 33.6 million of them across the nation. If you assume that each of these rooms could be rented out for $100 a week (which would be cheap in many areas of the US), that adds up to a whopping $174 billion in missed opportunities for extra cash each year. According to the Census, there are 357,032,421 bedrooms in America, and 323,391,100 people, leaving a surplus of 33,641,321 rooms. The total number of spare rooms is likely to be even higher since many couples share a bedroom. Overall, there are 9.42% more bedrooms than people. The simple reality is that if you’re not using a spare room, you can easily score $5,000 a year in extra rental income. An extra $400 a month could help you pay off your mortgage faster. Renting became increasingly common across the US, after the wave of foreclosures that followed the global financial crisis. Currently 35.6% of properties are rented, up from 33.8% in 2000. That in turn means rental prices are rising, creating a potential opportunity to rent rooms to people who can’t afford to rent an entire property themselves. Before you take that step, though, consider these issues:

  • Check with your accountant for the tax implications of the extra income and how to handle relevant tax payments.
  • If you’re a homeowner, check on relevant county or state laws surrounding letting spare rooms.
  • If you’re renting, check if the terms of your lease allow subleasing of rooms, and if there are only relevant local regulations.
  • Make sure that your home insurance policy covers tenants as well.
  • Do careful background investigation of potential tenants. Interview them in person and ask for financial records that demonstrate their income.
  • Request a rental bond and two weeks’ rent in advance — this will offer you some security if your tenant proves unreliable.

State by State

StateSpare BeroomsValue
Alabama1,321,528$6,871,945,600
Alaska23,320$121,264,000
Arizona861,069$4,477,558,800
Arkansas592,266$3,079,783,200
California-$0
Colorado790,074$4,108,384,800
Connecticut402,550$2,093,260,000
Delaware252,495$1,312,974,000
District of Columbia-$0
Florida3,026,887$15,739,812,400
Georgia1,668,836$8,677,947,200
Hawaii-$0
Idaho300,681$1,563,541,200
Illinois1,148,023$5,969,719,600
Indiana1,053,296$5,477,139,200
Iowa595,302$3,095,570,400
Kansas536,476$2,789,675,200
Kentucky863,573$4,490,579,600
Louisiana726,372$3,777,134,400
Maine538,918$2,802,373,600
Maryland915,163$4,758,847,600
Massachusetts553,741$2,879,453,200
Michigan2,503,041$13,015,813,200
Minnesota1,043,711$5,427,297,200
Mississippi621,306$3,230,791,200
Missouri1,314,262$6,834,162,400
Montana289,733$1,506,611,600
Nebraska318,176$1,654,515,200
Nevada300,223$1,561,159,600
New Hampshire296,183$1,540,151,600
New Jersey580,386$3,018,007,200
New Mexico323,022$1,679,714,400
New York16,055$83,486,000
North Carolina2,158,152$11,222,390,400
North Dakota165,459$860,386,800
Ohio2,452,231$12,751,601,200
Oklahoma614,909$3,197,526,800
Oregon431,494$2,243,768,800
Pennsylvania2,567,069$13,348,758,800
Rhode Island117,312$610,022,400
South Carolina1,160,745$6,035,874,000
South Dakota182,330$948,116,000
Tennessee1,218,160$6,334,432,000
Texas-$0
Utah208,263$1,082,967,600
Vermont241,172$1,254,094,400
Virginia1,409,495$7,329,374,000
Washington644,256$3,350,131,200
West Virginia547,299$2,845,954,800
Wisconsin1,286,040$6,687,408,000
Wyoming-$0

Note: California, the Dirstrict of Columbia, Hawaii, Texas and Wyoming did not have any surpluss bedrooms according to the data.

Top 10 States

RankStateSpare BeroomsValue
1Florida3,026,887$15,739,812,400
2Pennsylvania2,567,069$13,348,758,800
3Michigan2,503,041$13,015,813,200
4Ohio2,452,231$12,751,601,200
5North Carolina2,158,152$11,222,390,400
6Georgia1,668,836$8,677,947,200
7Virginia1,409,495$7,329,374,000
8Alabama1,321,528$6,871,945,600
9Missouri1,314,262$6,834,162,400
10Wisconsin1,286,040$6,687,408,000

Picture: Kaiscapes, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

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