- When Bridget Shirvell moved into her Connecticut vacation home full time, she kept renting it out.
- She makes her home available for the summer and travels, working remotely, while guests stay.
- She says she loves opening her home to guests and having the freedom provided by an extra $20,000.
“Always worship puppy drool”: The phrase is one of the first things my eyes fall on when I walk into our kitchen after a summer away. It’s been spelled out with word magnets on our fridge. By whom? One of the summer people, though which one I’m not sure.
The summer people are largely unknown to me. They’re the people I rent my home out to via Airbnb and VRBO.
I know their names, where they’re from, and why they decided to come to Mystic, Connecticut, where I live when they’re not here, but that’s it.
Apart from the traces they leave behind — forgotten bottles of wine, discarded books, and phrases on the fridge that make me smile — they’re strangers to me.
My plan was always to rent the house, but that didn’t include me living in the home full time.
I purchased the historic shingle-style cottage a few blocks from Mystic’s bustling downtown, less than a mile from the house I grew up in, as a vacation home. It was a retreat from New York City that was close to friends and family and that I rented out for $250 to $500 a night when I wasn’t using it.
For a few years, it was precisely that. But when I moved back to the area full time three years ago, I didn’t stop renting it out.
At first, I kept renting it because I wanted to honor my existing bookings. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t yet sure I was staying. Since graduating from college, I’d never lived in any one place for more than two years. Not renting out the house would mean committing to a home in a way I hadn’t in my adult life.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that continuing to rent out the house — though for only 12 to 16 weeks a year instead of 30 to 40 — not only was feasible but offered some irresistible benefits.
Top among those benefits, unsurprisingly, is the income.
The money from renting out the home offers me greater financial flexibility as a freelance creative. I can make as much as $20,000 a year, depending on how many weeks I rent it out. The additional income means I can say no to work I don’t want to do (and people I don’t want to deal …….