Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. If Silicon Valley is the center of technology, Los Angeles is the hub for entertainment content creation. And there is a lot of content being created, along with commercials to sell products while you are watching. Although there is a lot done in the quiet of a studio, filming takes place every day in homes, on streets, and in public places throughout the Southland. It is a big business.
The decision to rent your house for a film location can be quite lucrative. Fees paid to homeowners are in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 per day, and money earned from 14 days or less of filming is tax-free (please consult your tax professional for details). In addition to the fee, homeowners are usually reimbursed for hotel costs and miscellaneous expenses like dog boarding.
To rent your house for a film location, you also need to expect some hassle. The process of transforming your home into a set could be rather involved. Depending on what they are trying to achieve, set designers might paint your walls and change out your furniture and artwork. They make every effort to return your house to its original condition (including any damage), but it is a bit chaotic. Our home has been used several times and was featured in a Whirlpool commercial (see below). They made some significant changes to our house, so I had to put a lot of trust in the production company. Since I was gone for all of the filming, I had no idea what to look for. When it popped up on my T.V. screen, I almost didn’t recognize it. It was quite a thrill!
Not every home is ideal for filming and there are certain cities that are more “film friendly” than others. In order to rent your house for a film location, the production company will need to get a permit. Some cities, like Altadena, City of Industry, Monterey Park, Diamond Bar, and Monrovia, have partnered with Film L.A., a private, nonprofit organization that coordinates and processes permits for on-location motion picture, television, and commercial production. This makes these cities favored locations. Because the filming process can be quite disruptive, other cities like San Marino make getting a permit much more difficult.
Some homes, like one I represented in 2018, have a steady flow of filming gigs each year and provide a reliable income stream to the homeowners. Good light, attractive architecture, and plenty of parking certainly are a plus, but these houses just seem to have an “it” factor similar to an actor who makes it big. The Peloton commercial below is just one of many things filmed at this beautiful Pasadena historic home.
The easiest way to make your home into a movie star is to hire an agent. These professionals work with location managers and scouts in their search for good places to film. Charging a percentage of the location fee, they facilitate the process, make sure you are fairly paid, and ensure that your home is returned to its original condition. They act as the go-between between you and the production company. A popular agent in the Greater Pasadena area is Russ Fega with Home Shoot Home.
So, buying a home in Greater Pasadena might not have some great financial side benefits. If you are ready to start the process, let’s chat. To learn about why I like Pasadena CA so much, go to This is Why Pasadena CA is so Amazing!
Carrie Benuska, Keller Williams Realty, 251 S Lake Ave, Suite 150, Pasadena, CA 91101