How to Rent Your Home for Movies


Ever wondered how to rent your home for movies, TV shows, and commercials? I am sharing everything that I have learned so that you can too!

We have been able to rent our home for movies, TV shows, and commercials for years and it has been an incredible experience. I have learned a lot over the years. Today I am sharing both the pros and the cons so that you can decide if you want to rent your home for filming too.

This photo popped up on my Facebook yesterday and was taken exactly seven years ago today. I distinctly remember that it was over 90 degrees that day and we were filming a holiday commercial at our home. The snow scene looks pretty great, especially in southern California on one of the hottest days of the year.

Filming is something that we have done for twenty years that has been fun, entertaining, lucrative, and unusual. I think you might want to think about if you want to rent your home for the movies.

We have filmed movies, commercials, and tv shows at our home for almost twenty years. We filmed a commercial in September and a movie with Ben Affleck a year ago. Although the filming was less in 2020 due to the virus, please know that the film industry is backed up and slowly starting to film again. When the flood gates open, there will be a huge amount of filming.  This means that now is the time to get your home registered with location companies.

Ever since we moved into our home in 1998, filming has been a big part of our lives. 

How to Rent your Home for the Movies

First, let me share how we got started renting our home for movies. Shortly after we bought our home in 1998, someone left a flyer in our mailbox asking if we would be interested in filming a movie called “Thirteen Days” with Kevin Costner. Unfortunately, we were out of town, and by the time I saw the flyer, it was too late. But it got me thinking. Could we make additional income filming in our neighborhood? I had seen movie trucks all of the time in South Pasadena so I thought we might be able to do it.

I talked to some of my friends who had done filming and they suggested I reach out to location scouts and rep companies who basically represent your home to anyone interested in filming. I printed up a flier and mailed out two hundred fliers to a list of location scouts that the Los Angeles Film Commission provided to me.

And I guess you could say, from there it was history.

The History of Filming in Our Home

A Typical Filming Day

Things got kind of crazy in the first few years. When a new home becomes available in the filming market, everybody wants to film at the new location. So we filmed a lot in the early years. And we have filmed every year since.

We have filmed mostly commercials at our home for companies such as Esurance, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Skittles, Ballpark Franks, the Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Schwab, Donato Pizza, Gogurt, Osteo BiFlex, Pillsbury, Nestle, Bank of America, Bounty Paper towels, Leap Frog, Clorox, Lands End, Wells Fargo, Sunny Delight, Linens & Things, Visa, Kelloggs, Safeway and many more.

Some of the TV shows we have filmed include Mad Men, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, CSI Cyber, Back When We Were Grownups, American Dreams, Judging Amy, and the pilot for Disney’s Andi Mack.

Movies filmed here include The Way Back (with Ben Affleck), Raising Helen (with Kate Hudson, Joan Cusak, and Felicity Huffman), A Mighty Wind (with Eugene Levy and Katherine O’Hara), and Fired Up.

The Way Back

The Way Back movie filmed at our home

In December of 2018, we filmed a Ben Affleck movie at our home called The Way Back. It was released on March 6, 2020. The photo above was filmed upstairs in our home! And it’s on pay per view if you want to see it. The scene filmed in our home actually appears in the first five minutes of the movie.

This scene in the movie is Ben arriving at our home.

Ben Affleck at our Home

This is what our kitchen looked like while they were filming. See those lights they put in? Yikes.

And look closely at how they raised the height of the center stool. 

Filming a movie in the Kitchen

Look who needed to appear taller!

Filming in Our Kitchen

In the movie, there is a Thanksgiving scene that takes place on our back porch.

Thanksgiving Scene

I took this photo when the art department was setting up this scene.

This is a scene upstairs in our Master Bedroom.

Ben Afffleck in Our Bedroom

This is what our bedroom normally looks like.

Master Bedroom

This is what the back of our living room looked like on the first day of filming. I am pretty sure this was where the Director of Photography hung out. Yikes!

Look whose chair I found! It was sitting right outside of my craft room.

Raising Helen

Raising Helen

The movie Raising Helen was filmed at our home. This scene takes place in our dining room. ‘

They were at our home for over a week and they filmed all over our home.

To be honest, I have probably forgotten half of what we have filmed here. But the thing you have to remember is that in the film industry, they do crazy things. They often use more than one home to film a movie. In the movie Father of the Bride (which was not filmed at our home even though everyone thinks it was), I have been told they used three different homes. One for the front, one inside, and one for the backyard. I have included links in this post to a lot of commercials we have filmed. In some cases, you might not even recognize our home! They build strange things, add fake walls, paint unusual colors, and add all of their own furniture. Sometimes it makes me wonder why they picked out home in the first place!

Mad Men

Look how funny our living room looks in this scene from Mad Men (season 5, episode 8). Those curtains …


This is what this room usually looks like! Can you believe the difference?


A Mighty Wind

Our family room (which is a dining room in this scene) is normally painted a beautiful gray-green color. Look what color they painted it for the movie “A Mighty Wind”. It is Electric blue! (And yes, that is Eugene Levy and Katherine O’Hara at our table.)


I like the room painted this color a lot more.

The Home Depot Commercial

And look at the deck The Home Depot added to the back of our home. They had to replace the back doors with shorter doors to accommodate the height of the deck. And the tree is fake!


The Home Depot photo looks a lot different from what our house normally looks like.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream

I think these animated blue bunnies (added in post-editing) running around in our kitchen are pretty cute! Not to mention, the fake doggy-door!


I like the door better without the doggy door. Our dog Sport likes our home better without the blue bunnies.

Esurance Commercial

We filmed this commercial a few years ago for Esurance with Dennis Quaid. Do you recognize our home?

How to Film Movies in Your Home

They used almost all of our furniture for this commercial. That’s our dining table, chairs, vase and flowers. You can also see my vintage windows hanging on the right wall. 

We have only moved out of our home a few times while they were filming. We try really hard to stay upstairs or on the third floor if they aren’t using the entire home. As glamorous as it sounds to stay a the Hyatt or Ritz-Carlton, just imagine trying to get your car out of the valet to take your kids to school, four athletic practices, and play practice. It is not fun. Not at all.

Click here to see some behind the scenes footage from when we were filming at our home.

Skittles Super Bowl Commercial

Links to Movies, TV Shows, and Commercials Filmed in our Home

Raising Helen

Here is a link from the movie Raising Helen which was filmed all throughout our home. This scene is in our living room and the room behind the french doors (with the curtains) is my craft room!

My favorite commercial they ever filmed at our home was the Paper Airplane Commercial. I laughed so hard when I watched this because I had forgotten they had used our sectional. The one with the ugly flowered slipcover! Plus it’s a bit confusing for me to watch because they used our backyard for both backyards in the commercial.

In 2017, Skittles aired a commercial during the Super Bowl that was filmed at our home. You will recognize the outside of our home right away!

Here are some links to more commercials filmed at our home.


Blue Bunny Ice-cream 

Home Depot 

Osteo bi flex 


Hallmark (different exterior) 

JC Penny 

Bank of America 


How to Rent Your Home for Movies

The first question you need to ask yourself is “Do you really want to rent your home for filming?”. Sure, it’s glamorous. Allowing your house to be used for filming is a chance to meet production crews and famous actors, and get a unique behind-the-scenes view of movie-making magic.

Plus it’s very lucrative.


But it’s also very invasive. If you look closely at these photos, then you know how invasive filming can be. A crew comes into your house, covers the floors, removes a lot of your furniture, adds their own furniture, paints your walls, brings in a ton of filming equipment, and about one hundred people. All of this happens with your permission but it’s still nerve-wracking.

If you are the least bit nervous about one hundred strangers coming into your home, then you probably shouldn’t do it. Until you have filmed a few times, and have seen with your own eyes that they can and will return your home back to the way it was before they showed up, it’s hard. But once you know the drill and realize it will be fine, it is actually fun and exciting.

The good news is filming companies do a great job putting your house back together. They take photos of every angle of your home and use those photos to put everything back in place. But things do happen. Items can get broken. Dents and scratches can appear. Over the last twenty years, we have rarely experienced any damage. On the few occasions where something has happened, the filming company has paid for all repairs.


Reach Out to Your Local Film Commission

Once you are sure you want to rent your home for movies you need to track down your local Film Commission. I did some research and found these resources and lists of all of the Filming Commissions in the United States.

Sag Indie

Contact your local film commission and ask if they have any lists of location scouts or location companies in your area. Location companies and scouts keep a database of homes available for filming. These location companies are contacted by film companies whenever a commercial, movie, or tv show needs a location. Our home is listed with multiple location companies and scouts. 

When I first wanted to get into filming I contacted the California Film Commission. They sent me a list of location scouts and location companies in Southern California. I put together a flier (with color photos of our home) and mailed it to about 300 location contacts. This was the start of our filming multiple times a year for over twenty years.

I could go on and on but I promise I won’t. We have really enjoyed the filming we have been able to do at our home. And it’s not that hard to get your home in the movies. Because it might just work for you and your home if you want to rent your home for movies.

Keep your eyes open. Someday you just might see my hundred-year-old home on your TV!

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How Much do You Get Paid to Rent Your Home for Movies?

This is the most common question I get asked. It is hard to answer because the payment varies a lot.

I have heard some people getting paid as low as $500 per day and as high as $10,000 a day.

I think the average is about $4000 per day. We get paid more than that.

These rates are for filming days. Prep days (where they set up your home) and Strike Days (where they put it back together and clean it) typically pay half of the filming rate.

The rate varies on how much filming a company can do in your home. If they can film multiple scenes (and not need to use another home) then you can likely get a higher rate.

If this sounds interesting to you, I would suggest you find the Filming Commission in your area and at least submit your home to be considered. And an opportunity may present itself and be very exciting.

You always get to decide if you want to do it or not.

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  1. I would love to do this, but I bet in canton S.D. the weather would be to cold! I’d be honored to have my 100 yr d Brick house on tv!

  2. This is fantastic, thank you for sharing:) I have a lovely 15 acre home with a sweet little barn that is magical in the winter. Not sure a filming crew would love our Minnesota winters though! Haha! Your home is lovely and inspiring❤️

  3. I love your blog & social media! We did HGTV’s House Hunters & had a blast! We will be looking into renting our little surf bungalow in San Juan Capistrano for film. You never know! Thank you for being so positive & fun!

  4. Oh, my gosh. This was an amazing eye-opener for me.

    I know nearly every one of those links – YOUR beautiful home – how extraordinary!

    Well no film crew would EVER want to film in mid-Ohio, haha, and their changes would probably be an improvement – but boy-oh-boy is it neat to learn about yours!

    Thanks for sharing – I am so in the dark about these things.

  5. I wonder who I’d have to track down to get on a list for Canada. I too have a really cute 100 year old home in Thunder Bay. People always comment on how unique it is. I’ll have to check to see if there is a film commission of some sort here. I love this idea!! Thank you for always being so thoughtful and generous with your stories!!

  6. That’s fascinating! Which Criminal Minds episode? My uncle in Florida lived up the road from the neighborhood used to film Edward Scissorhands. All the houses were painted candy colors with topiaries in the yards.

  7. Hi Leslie,
    My husband has used your home many times in his commercials & loved filming commercials in your home( Greg Ferguson from Gartner, he says hi)! I took an art workshop with you and was in awe of your beautiful home! So enjoy reading your blog! ❤️❤️Melanie

    1. Wow, Melanie, what a small world! Please tell him I say hi! Thank you so much for following along 🙂

  8. I love your story! Thank you so much for sharing. I am interested in reaching out to companies in Georgia. I’d love guidance on how I should approach the companies?

  9. I just shot some commercials for “My Pillow” Products. But these were self shot with a iphone and tripod… They should start airing this fall. The production company asked to do more but my husband is afraid they might damage property… I guess he’s been on today film shoots and knows what can happen. ;-( Good for you for allowing them in, your home is FABULOUS!!!

  10. Leslie, back in the late 80’s, my home was rented for the movie “In Country” starring Bruce Willis and directed by Norman Jewison. It was such an interesting and memorable experience, loved it! I have never thought about registering my home with film companies, did not know you could! Hollywood reached out to us and knocked on our door for our filming experience – I will definitely look into this. Thank you for sharing and for the references of how to go about this process!

  11. Oh my goodness!! I live in a bubble 😂 you’ve opened me up to a whole new world!! We’re in eastern NC. One of the family homes is 100 years old but with a lot of original walls/floors…. bead board and all in a pecan grove. I’m researching! You’re awesome and thank you for all you do! You’re an inspiration!! ❤️

  12. This is so interesting. I had no idea this was a thing! We live in the outskirts of Boulder and our house is surrounded by 20 some giant blue spruce trees. It’s magical in the winter. In fact this morning the trees look sugar coated from yesterday’s snow. How fun to see your home on film and in commercials. Thanks for sharing and for your wonderful blog! Lots of great ideas!

  13. Wow! It makes me wonder how many times I have seen your home. I watched The away Back on the plane flying out to CA to see my daughter who I’ve mentioned lives in Pasadena. That just strikes me as funny. I am not sure if I can handle the invasiveness. Not that I’m as concerned about our home. It’s honestly, not as nice as yours, but I’m such a homebody whose house is my sanctuary. I’m not sure if I could handle my/ our routine being disrupted. How did your sons handle it? Did they just think it cool?

    1. It is fun to see a commercial or movie and spot our home! My boys were usually at school so missed most of the action, but they did think it was very cool Cheryl!

  14. This is the most interesting post. I did not know this happened with locations. There is some connection between the industry and Boulder, I think some people actually commute from here. It would be tempting as we have a large house with amazing views, but I would probably not be able to tolerate the chaos and would worry about some expensive art. So cool that you do this! I think the Blue bunny one would be a simple type of experience…does not look like they changed too much.

  15. When I lived in a co-op in Washington Heights in Manhattan, NY we had film crews often for Law and Order SVU. Even got a nod from Elliot!

  16. Thanks for the info! So informative.
    Few Quick questions typically how many days for one shoot do they use your home? Typically how many days for set up, shooting, and clean up? Also, are there times you are asked not to be at your home (as to not disturb shooting)? One last question were you ever able to meet any of the actors that shot at your home (added bonus☺️)?

    1. Coutney, the timing is based on what kind of shoot it is. It can be a few days for a photo shoot/commercial to a week or weeks for a major film. Sometimes, it includes relocation fees due to the amount of disruption that the filming will cause for my family and yes, I have met some of the actors which is definitely an added bonus!

  17. Hi Leslie! Thank you for posting this great information. I have always wanted to have my home used for movies/film. Where to start!? Did it take a long time to gather all the info, contacts, and get placed on a location list? I am in So Cal and great neighborhood. What do you suggest is the first, best step? Thank you! Maureen

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