How to Rent Out Property to Filmmakers

Industry Observer with NYC Insider Guide LTD

A challenge of all filmmakers is to find locations in which to shoot. Location Scouts are always looking for both commercial and residential properties to film a movie or TV show and they pay fantastic rates! The industry standard for a residential property is usually between $1000 to $5000 per day, as they use the monthly mortgage as a day rate!

If you have a property you know will be vacant for a time, you can work with the owner and a location scout to make a windfall while it sits empty. Plus, imagine the increased value of the property if you get to say something like, "This was Vince's childhood home in the series, Entourage" in your sales pitch? This will return it's value over and over as many times as you move that property. Earning income on a vacant property, or one that can be vacated for a few days, can buy homeowners and agents some extra time to keep the asking price of the home as high as possible. If the property is currently occupied, a hotel stay with meals and parking is often included in the rental contract.

Don't think all locations need to be high end homes with pools and fancy furniture. Filmmakers need basements for kidnapping victims and serial crimes, abandoned buildings, gas stations, storefronts, restaurants, offices and many other types of locations. Sometimes the worse shape a property is in, the better.

Film productions are highly respectful of the locations, are always insured and usually meticulous about how they leave the properties when they are done. Did you know that during a production, still photos are taken of every character mulitple times every day. The makeup artists and stylists do this so there remains continuity over the shooting schedule. The same is done for any location used, photos are taken of every nook and cranny so every time is put back in it's exact place and a production assistant's job is to get it exactly right!

How to Find Location Scouts

There are several ways for owners to register their properties with organizations and local film commissions.

  • is like AirBnb for film locations. lists 1000s of residential and commercial properties available for shooting and is a great place to search.
  • Contact your local film commission - every US State has one, as do 1000s of towns and cities. The more tax incentives are in your zone for filmmakers, the more productions they attract. Governments love having films in their areas due to the "fame" value, increased jobs and economic boost, so they are always looking for ways to encourage more film production. Ask your local commission who the top location scouts are - they are sure to know.

As someone who works regularly with filmmakers, we always tell them to make the most of their location scouting in their film business plans.

Furthing Reading

Need some more stories of how people pay their annual mortgages by renting out their homes?

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Mercedes E. Santana
Santana Property Group - New York, NY
NYC Multifamily Properties

I manage properties in Manhattan and we have had 3 different film shoots. They are insured, and are careful to restore any changes made to the Property. It's a great way to pick up extra funds.

Aug 12, 2019 07:10 AM #1
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Melissa Tracht - Thanks for sharing! This great to know! I enjoyed reading it and the links too!

I recall many years ago before my mother passed away in (old) Chicago, she told me there were people going door-to-door asking if they would be interested in having their homes used in films. This is a great way to save money for filmmakers without having to recreate the sets and for owners to benefit when the homes are vacant. 

Also, before moving to TX the chase scene with all the cop cars in The Blues Brothers was filmed a few miles from where I lived. It was exciting to watch all those cars crash. I was there when they were filming. It really is good PR for the people in the Towns, Cities or communities.

Aug 12, 2019 02:57 PM #2
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Melissa Tracht

NYC Website Publisher & Coach
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