Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 57° Clear
News >  Business

Tom Kelly: Second-home extra spaces can pay dividends

In a recent column, we addressed the underestimated pool of friends, neighbors and business associates who would rent your getaway because they have an idea that they would like what you like.

There is also an underestimated want and need for a variety of extra space, both by people renting your property and by locals desiring an office or storage space. It seems everybody now wants or needs to work, or store extra gear or business inventory, at home. That also is true in second homes as the number of corporate telecommuters who take at least some work with them wherever they go continues to rise every year.

According to the Small Business Association, the number of entrepreneurs will also rise and often seek a quiet spot to work at some time while on vacation. You know the drill … the kids come in and scream “Who is taking us to the beach … you or mom?” while you are attempting to speak with a client who has taken three months to return your call.

That’s why a second home with an extra room or storage space adjacent to the garage that can be converted to a home office can pay significant daily, weekly or monthly dividends. If you don’t need the space, someone else likely will.

For example, if a woman driving a large pink car suddenly introduces herself while you are pulling weeds from your golf-course retreat, she might be getting ready to ask you to buy her lipstick – and about a place to stow cases of it. A moneymaking cousin of the home office is a simple residential storage space, typically a large garage that neighbors have come to know is rarely used during specific times of the year.

With corporate downsizing pushing some individuals into independent sales positions, friends, neighbors and friends of friends often need extra room to house their supplies and are not afraid to part with a few hundred bucks a month for the space.

The need has become especially keen in second-home and retirement areas where major sales companies are welcoming new representatives to corral a demographic that is huge, healthy and wealthy – largely wanting to stay young. Mary Kay Inc., one of the largest direct sellers of skin care and color cosmetics in the world (and the most famous company providing its top salespersons with pink automobiles for achieving lofty goals) is just one of the home-based business kingpins often seeking space.

When you consider the company’s 950,000 sales force and nearly $2 billion in sales, then toss in locals who represent Avon, Tupperware and Amway, you start to get an idea of the potential your garage – or unfinished basement with its own entry – can bring.

The need for space is not always about sales. For example, a second-home owner near Truckee, California, rents out her small cabin to snow skiers during the winter and kayakers during the summer. The home is very close to the Squaw Valley ski area, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and just steps away from the Truckee River, a favorite Northern California spot for rafters, fishermen and hikers.

While all renters of all seasons have use of the mother-in-law unit above the garage, access to the two-car garage is reserved for a local man who repairs kayaks for a nearby float shop in the summer and stores the kayaks in the garage in the winter.

The repairman keeps an electric garage-door opener in his van for exterior access and has the key to a special deadbolt lock on the interior door leading from the garage to the cabin.

Do you have any extra space in your lakefront basement? Are you thinking about buying an investment property that has a room or two you can’t use? You might be surprised who might want to fill that space.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email