our everyday life

How Do I Rent My House for a Movie Set?

by Trudy Brunot, studioD

The entertainment industry rents hundreds of homes for film, commercial, television program and video sets and backdrops. Occasionally the location managers charged with finding these homes also lease private properties as accommodations for their production crews instead of using hotels. Scouts research real estate location possibilities online and through state and local film offices, according to the George Jarvis production company. Although no guarantees exist to put your property on the credits roll, you must take the initiative to get in on this rental action and earn extra cash.

Take photos of the interior and exterior of your home, your front and back yards and other amenities your property includes such as barns, swimming pools and garages. Include shots that show room flow, lighting, furniture and window coverings. According to Scoutsource.com, homes with family rooms that open onto kitchens, large rooms and minimal furnishings interest scouts more.

Create a property profile that describes your home and includes your contact information: name, phone number and email address. Note ways you can accommodate a film crew, such as available parking for at least 10 equipment trucks and 25 automobiles.

Research location registries. Some specialize in a geographic area such as greater New York City; others maintain national databases. Be prepared for your registry service to arrange for professional photography of your property after your initial listing.

Register your home with one or more location services by uploading your photos and entering your property profile. Review any fees that dictate how many photos you can include and how long your listing remains active. Some location registries accept free listings but charge a percentage of what you receive from the studio that selects your home. Still others charge a set monthly fee.

Contact your local film office and state film commission to register your property with them. Many, like Film New Orleans, maintain their own database of photos and descriptions of potential location properties as a tool to attract entertainment industry projects. Use them as a source for advice on things to consider when a location scout shows interest in your home.

Ask lots of questions when negotiating a contract with location scouts, including verifying their credentials with your state or local film office. Find out how many people will be involved in the project, the hours and time period the crew and cast could be in your home, what, if any of your personal belongings the director wants to use and any changes that may be necessary to suit the script. Understand the impact filming may have on your family and your neighbors prior to signing any agreement.

Items you will need
  •  Digital camera


  • Some location registries provide representatives on a commission basis to handle contract negotiation and issues that arise during production.
  • The IRS allows you to rent the house you live in for 14 days each year tax free.
  • Daily rental fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.


  • Haggling over price and fees may turn the studio away.

About the Author

Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.

Photo Credits

  • Callie Lipkin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images