Unused extra bedrooms in Maine worth $2.8 billion, website estimates

The website Finder.com has some interesting data on unused bedrooms across the country and how much homeowners could make renting those spaces out.

The nice thing about it is that the site breaks it down by state as well, and here in Maine, there are 538,918 extra bedrooms kicking around. Rented out for $100 a week — the basic assumption made in Finder’s analysis — that’s more than $2.8 billion of extra revenue for homeowners over the course of a given year.

The site appears to come about its extra bedroom numbers by counting up a state’s population and comparing it to how many bedrooms are in residential homes across that state, but acknowledges that approach probably generates a conservative figure.

“The total number of spare rooms is likely to be even higher since many couples share a bedroom,” Finder reports, in part. “Overall, there are 9.42 percent more bedrooms than people. The simple reality is that if you’re not using a spare room, you can easily score $5,000 a year in extra rental income.”

This could be particularly attractive in a place like Portland, where vacancy rates are between zero and two percent, and demand is through the roof.

The website doesn’t seem to consider factors like how much a homeowner would need to spend in additional insurance to rent out a room, nor additional costs associated with having another person living there, like increased water or electricity bills. Nor does the equation factor in the costs of getting a bad tenant, which can result in expensive property damages or legal fees, not that bad tenants are the norm.

Still, it’s hard to imagine the insurance, utility bills and property maintenance costs would go up by more than $2.8 billion statewide, so there’s likely a profit margin in there somewhere.

Nationwide, Finder estimates that there are more than 33.6 million extra bedrooms worth nearly $175 billion in “untapped real estate.”