Backyard trick saves couple $3000
When Patrick and his girlfriend Mel moved to Australia from the US two years ago, they wanted to see as much of the east coast as possible.
But renting in the leafy Sydney suburb of Crows Nest on the lower north shore meant the young couple were pretty strapped for cash by the end of each week, quickly putting holidays and weekends away on the backburner.
But after moving into their apartment, Patrick realised there was an asset at their rental that they weren't using - but was in high demand by other residents in the area.
So, after some careful consideration, the pair popped their driveway on rental service ParkHound, and have been bringing in hundreds each month ever since.
"We moved to Australia two years ago without a car and no real funds to buy one either," Patrick, 28, told news.com.au.
Both of us were taking public transport to work and realised we didn't really need a car. Crows Nest is expensive, we didn't need our parking space so decided to find someone who would rent it from us."
Patrick listed the space for $250 a month, which he leased out to a neighbour for two months, before another tenant came forward who has been renting the space for over 12 months.
"We have given this lady a really good rate … most people charge around $350 a month for their car space," he explained. "So we are about $100 less".
Mel and Patrick say that becoming a "house hacker" and renting out their unused space means they have been able to do various weekend trips away without digging into their savings.
From weekends away in Jervis Bay, Byron Bay, the Blue Mountains and Kangaroo Valley - the pair put their $250 a month towards a rental car which they obtain through peer-to-peer sharing serviceCar Next Doorfor a weekend and typically find a camping spot to keep costs low. If, however, they didn't spend their earnings, they'd have at least $3000 saved from an unused space.
"This has allowed us to see most of the places we wanted within three hours of Sydney," he explained.
"We don't have a car so we use the money for car rentals and to fund our weekends away in general.
"This year, we haven't spent a single dollar of our own on car rentals. This car space is paying itself off and we are coming out above. This year we were up $90."
The concept of householders benefiting from a regular stream of income from unused spaces could be enough to pay the mortgage off early - or at least fund areas of a person's lifestyle sucked dry by paying expensive rent.
A study conducted in the UK suggested homeowners could make upwards of $1900 simply by renting out their driveway to tourists - and it requires no hassle or preparation.
Direct Line Insurance Group revealed renting out a driveway has created earnings of up to $6 billion each year in the UK.
Parkhound, the car space rental service that Patrick used to list his driveway, essentially connects drivers who want convenient parking with local property owners who have a space, such as a garage, carport, driveway or allocated space, available.
With more than 40,000 spots available nationally, the service has earnt members - also called hosts - more than $20 million collectively since it kicked off in 2015. According to the service, which is free to list your space on, some of its hosts make as much as $3600 or more a year with Parkhound taking a 10 per cent cut. The service allows hosts to lease spaces for a few hours, a whole week or on a permanent basis.
Car Next Door is a similar economy sharing platform, that enables people without a car to lease one for a set amount of time from someone in their local area. With a reduced insurance excess, it can save hundreds, Patrick said.
When determining the value of your parking space, several factors come into play, including location, availability and the type of space (garage, driveway or simply a carport).
Pat said the extra money from doing nothing had been a crucial income while living abroad.
"If we didn't spend on time away, we would've come up $3000 in savings," he said. "But this has really helped us travel around and see parts of Australia."