Thursday, March 17, 2011

Closing the Loop

After several years of renting out my second bedroom, I made it my full-time home office in January. I had some really great roommates over the years. It was a big chunk of relatively passive income to say goodbye to. But my freelance business is buzzing and needed the space, and I love having my sunny little home all to myself again! I've been finding ways to make up the difference, and still put some money aside for exciting things like fun trips! And home improvement projects! And some day soon, a new car!

Again this year, I will be renting out my entire condo to a graduate's family for the UVM graduation weekend. It's fantastic--a financial incentive to spring clean and then go away for a weekend? Yes, please! I found my renter on craigslist, but this year I decided to give airbnb a spin, too. After listing the whole condo, I figured why not list my newly reclaimed guest room too? With the airbnb system, an interested guest sends a request with the desired nights, and you can see their profile and approve or decline their reservation. What an improvement from craigslist! The 3% cut they take is totally worth it!

Just last night I booked my first guest--a gal from Atlanta will be arriving Sunday for a two-night stay, bringing in a total of $116. And the timing couldn't be better--yesterday afternoon, my water heater stopped heating water. And so my adventure began!
-On Wednesday, my plumber etcetera, Guy Henning, gave it a look and recommended I call a water heater repair company. (He didn't charge me, he's a good guy like that).
-This afternoon, the water heater repair man checked it out, and identified a burned out breaker as the problem. A regular service call is $80, but since he didn't actually do anything, he charged me $50.
-Don from Melody Electric just came and in only a few minutes, replaced the breaker. Original cost: $149. Subtract the $25 coupon from their website, I paid $124.

Total cost $174 minus $116 = $58. One more overnight guest through airbnb, and it's covered! I could not have scripted a better example of making my condo pay for itself, and closing the loop of cost vs benefit of home ownership!

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