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Well, have you considered maybe renting a room to a student or a friend? In a $400K house, I'd hope that you have a finished basement with a separate bathroom, and a
rental income would be income at no cost but loss of some privacy.

LOL!!! This is heavily dependent on the area of the country you are in. On the Eastern Seaboard or the Mid-west, basements are common. She's in San Diego; I, personally, haven't seen any basements here. (Are there any?) She also implied that this was a newly built home, so I would guess that it doesn't have a basement.

That doesn't prevent her from renting out a room, however. I would guess that this is at least a 4 bedroom home, and a pretty decent size, with no yard. Just the way things are here.

Right near where I live, there are $300,000 homes only a year or two old that are two stories, have no basements, very tiny yards (room for a patio out back, and that's it; you can spit into your neighbor's bedroom window from yours; they might as well be town houses!) and only a crawl space for an "attic."

She hasn't said what area of the county she's in; I'm rather curious.

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