#RentingOutARoom can be a great way to have a larger #apartment or have more money to pay your mortgage. It's also a convenient way to get extra income if you have run into an emergency like losing your job. Money Crashers.com guides you through the process and helps you avoid possible pitfalls.
The first step is to look at your space and see what you can rent out. The best choices are bedrooms with a private bathroom. It may even be worth it to move out of your master suite if it has an attached bathroom so you can earn more in rent.
Look at local rental rates to find out what is a reasonable charge and then place an ad. Craigslist is a great site to use to advertise a room for rent. Include pictures and be very specific about the accommodations. Include any bonus features like a hot tub or pool. Also, be specific about other rules such as no noise after a certain time or that your renter must be a non-smoker. If you are a woman who lives alone, you may even want to specify females only.
Interview applicants that come from your ad. Request proof of employment or proof that they are a full time student, and ask about their living habits. Be sure to listen to your intuition if someone feels "off". Call references that the potential tenant provides and their previous landlords. Ask if their rent was paid when due every month and if they left their apartment in acceptable condition.
Once you've narrowed the field down to a person you think is the one, do a criminal background and credit check. There will be a cost associated with this, but you can recoup at least some of your expenses through an application fee and there's nothing worse than discovering you've rented your room to someone with a long list of crimes in their past.
Set all the boundaries and regulations for your agreement down in writing and make sure you both sign. Include monetary concerns as well as access concerns like kitchen and common area availability.