SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — While you’re at the office and no one’s home, your home can work for you in a money-making idea that is catching on in today’s expensive housing market.
In the movie, “Ant Man,” the home of scientist Hank Pym is real-life house of San Francisco resident Matt Leffers and his family.
When Matt and his wife rented their house for the movie, there was one catch. The outside had to match the color in the Marvel comics.
“We were gone for a month while they painted and we came home, the house was purple,” Leffers explained.
Leffers, a general contractor, had just renovated his century-old San Francisco Victorian when location scouts suddenly came calling. From movies to TV shows and photo shoots, the Leffers family has hosted at least one production a year for the last 14 years.
Leffers says they’ve gotten paid between $1,250 and $5,000 a day.
There are also opportunities outside of the movies. Michael Grova started renting his home in the city’s Mission District about two years ago after he left the corporate world.
He’s one of a growing number of Bay Area homeowners who list on Peerspace, which rents out sites by the hour.
“And it blew up, pretty much from the beginning,” Grova said of his Peerspace listing.
Grova offers his house at $150 an hour for meetings and marketing shoots. Clients range from small entrepreneurs to well-known companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yelp.
Grova had about 200 bookings last year mostly during the day when the house would normally sit empty.
“I live in a photo studio,” he chuckled.
In fact, renting out his home has become a business. And he’s even building his own home decor line, Mission Loft, out of the many requests he’s gotten for the wood and macrame pieces on display which he makes.
While renting out your home for media productions can be lucrative, it’s not for everyone, as Film SF Executive Director Susannah Greason Robbins explained.
“You’ve got a lot of people going in and out, moving your furniture around, maybe re-dressing your whole house,” she said.
Leffers agreed. “If scratched floors are gonna bother you, if repainting’s gonna bother you, it’s probably not a good idea,” he said. “For us, I’m a general contractor, it doesn’t faze me at all.
If you’re not fazed and you want to rent out your space, the first step is get the word out. Film SF can post photos of your home on its film commission website.
“We’ll do a blast to locaton managers we work with all the time,” said Greason Robbins.
You can also list on other rental sites. Peerspace CEO Eric Shoup says don’t overthink what production crews might or might not want.
“You probably don’t know what people are looking for. What you perceive as being an amazing or not an amazing space, you’d be surprised,” said Shoup.
In fact, Nick St. Pierre was surprised to have his Mission District home chosen for several shoots, including two for Walmart. He advises using the best possible photos for your listing.
“That pays off huge dividends. You give people an opportunity to see what they can do with the space,” said St. Pierre.
If you are chosen to host a production, keep your neighbors in the loop, and walk-through the property with the crew before and after to survey any damage.
When Ant Man wrapped up, Leffers declined the crew’s offer to paint over the purple color. He re-painted his house himself; a small price for big-screen fame.
“It felt great, it was awesome,” Leffers smiled.