Imagine returning from an overseas holiday or a trek around the Aussie interior, after burning through all your savings, only to find a chunk of someone else’s hard earned cash waiting for you. 

It’s all about using your greatest asset while you are away: an empty property. For most of us, the home is the most valuable and sought after thing we can offer to others. Listing your home as a holiday rental will offset your own travelling expenses, kind of like a tax return for your time off.

If you are planning a trip, or even have to spend some time away for work commitments, you can register to host guests through several online companies. Sites that facilitate such opportunities offer secure payments, insurance for any damages caused or accidents, and all administration, so you don’t personally have to deal with strangers or waste your own time chasing payments or bookings. Both hosts and guests must register and have their identification verified, so that laws and rights are upheld and scammers are kept at bay.

You just have to provide basic furnishings and clean your property between guests. This could include just washing and changing linen and giving the place a once over here and there, or, if you want to charge more money or just add a nice touch, you could include food, use of recreational equipment and other extras.

Benefits for guests include staying in a good location for a cheaper price than booking a hotel. An added bonus would be access to appliances such as a washing machine, or the internet, without the exorbitant fees that laundry or net services might attract at a hotel. A lot of people also enjoy the comfort of recreating their own home in another location.

Of course, the idea of complete strangers sleeping in your bed and using your home like their own will not appeal to everyone; and you are required to give guests privacy- there’s no pop ins to pick up something you need or to check that the place is being looked after. However, if you are comfortable with someone else using your second best cutlery and stretching out on your banana lounge, you can holiday in some nice places for a pretty reasonable net price.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and
Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.
His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at


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