NewsMaking It In San Diego


Making It in San Diego: Retiree rents home to earn money

Posted at 10:01 AM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 21:18:55-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Unless they have saved and planned well for retirement, retirees may find it difficult to continue living in California in their golden years. But, a San Diego woman discovered a way to beat the odds, contributing to her nest egg by renting out the rooms in her home. It’s just another way to ‘Make it in San Diego.’

It's like something out of a Rockwell painting: a charming Victorian home in the heart of Golden Hill. Built in 1907, it's part of San Diego history. And it might be the best investment Michele McDougal ever made.

"This is my retirement; this is my nest egg that I'm living in. I'm very grateful for it," says retiree McDougal.

McDougal could sell her home for a lot of money and be happy. It’s got character. Instead, she rents out two rooms converted into studio apartments upstairs. Down in the basement is the laundry room for the two tenants.

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"Each tenant has their own kitchen, and bathroom, and tub. It's just like renting a studio apartment," adds McDougal.

But that's not all.

"It was here when I bought the house," says McDougal stepping off her back porch.

In the backyard is exactly what the City of San Diego is encouraging homeowners to do to alleviate the housing shortage; a "granny flat" for a third tenant.

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"It was the only way I could afford the house," exclaims McDougal.

So instead of one mailbox, you'll find four at McDougal's house. She's retired and renting out. Not only helping her cause, but also creating housing for three other San Diegans.

"Michele's done a great job in making things work," says financial planner Jon Beyer of Blankinship & Foster Financial Advisors in Solana Beach.

With the income she makes on the house and the upkeep that comes with it, McDougal also knew she needed help navigating tax and legal issues in retirement.

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"Michele is young and vibrant and active. And, may live many years from now and needs her nest egg to last all those years," adds Beyer.

So instead of being forced to sell in retirement, McDougal is not only able to stay in the home she loves, she also feels as if she has extended family.

"I'm sort of the grandma of the house,” says McDougal with a smile. "It just happened to me. I'm very lucky, to be honest."

For tips on retirement housing options for seniors see this blog from Blankinship & Foster.