A tempting amount of money can be made by turning an upper floor or basement into an apartment or renting out half of a two-unit residence.

First-time homebuyers who can barely afford their mortgages do it.

Empty nesters worried about running out of money in retirement do it.

Dozens of rock stars, actors and professional athletes who know that fame can be fleeting also do it.

But should your clients do it?

Yes, if they have the right property and the right mentality, said Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property in an interview with Financial Advisor magazine.

If the work is done correctly, homeowners can recoup the money they put into fixing up a property for rental in about five years, he said. The return on investment comes through both rent and home value appreciation, he added.

The ideal home for rental income is one that is easily dividable, with an extra entrance to the rented space or an area where one can easily be created, he said.

Big Victorian homes with several stories are prime candidates, as well as homes that have basements with good ceiling height, large windows and enough room for one or two people to live comfortably.

Being a landlord requires the same type of discipline as running a small business, involving rent collection and administrative acumen, McGillivray said.

A prospective landlord needs to be comfortable sharing his or her home—including the driveway and backyard—with a tenant, he said.

“Landlording is not a one-way street,” he said.

Worries about finding the “right” tenant are overblown, said the TV personality and real estate expert, who has converted hundreds of dwellings into multiple resident homes.

“You don’t find good or bad tenants. You create good or bad tenants by the relationships you form. The ultimate trick to creating good tenants is reciprocity,” said McGillivray.

That includes being helpful to the tenant so the tenant will feel an obligation to be helpful to the landlord.

McGillivray said the cheapest—and most effective—way to do this is to give the tenant a small gift when he or she moves in.

After he started this practice, he found that his fix-up costs when a tenant left at the end of a lease declined by about $500 to $1,000 to nearly nothing because the gift had inspired renters to take good care of the unit.

That said, McGillivray recommends doing credit checks on potential renters. Just the mere mention of credit checks is usually enough to prompt undesirable tenants to look elsewhere, he added.