Consumer Reports: Listing your home as a rental property

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Consumer Reports: Listing your home as a rental property. Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 6, 2017. (WPVI)

Millions of people worldwide list their homes on websites like Airbnb and VRBO to generate income. In fact, alternative getaways have contributed to a $100 billion dollar industry.

But before you jump into the sharing-economy, Consumer Reports says there are a few things to consider.

Websites like Airbnb, FlipKey, and Homeaway have made it easier than ever for homeowners to rent out their homes. That's what motivated Fred Nelson to post his Catskill, New York vacation abode.

"I bought this as a vacation home, so the thought of renting it out to others who are looking for a vacation getaway made perfect sense. That was kind of a no-brainer, to be able to list it on a site, and let other people enjoy it as well," he said

And the market is strong.

According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 75 percent of people who've never used a Homestay say they'd consider trying it.

How do you start renting your home? Consumer Reports says the first thing to do is make sure it's legal.

"Vacation rentals aren't legal everywhere, so you've got to look into the local laws before you list your home," said Lauren Lyons Cole, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

Your town or city hall can tell you what's legal in your area. And consider a call to your insurance agent and your accountant.

"When you're renting your home you're essentially running a business which means you've got to think about things like the type of insurance you need and whether or not you're going to owe taxes on the income you earn," said Lauren.

As for Fred Nelson, as long as renters keep coming, he'll keep posting online.

"I listed it maybe two weeks ago, it's booked up for the entire summer. So, it can be a nice little way to supplement the income and help defray the mortgage, quite frankly," said Fred.

Consumer Reports also says outfitting your home with a keyless lock, reliable coffee machine, and comfortable mattress will make it a more desirable rental.

For more information on short-term rental requirements in Philadelphia: http://www.phila.gov/li/PDF/Limited%20Lodging%20Information%20Flyer.pdf

To view the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

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