There are plenty of reasons Denver was recently ranked as the #2 Best Place to Live in The U.S by US News and World Report. There’s the amazing natural beauty, outdoorsy fun and hundreds of days of sunshine every year. There’s also a solid and diverse economy, with lots of jobs in technology, aerospace, agriculture and more. We can't forget the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets and Avalanche… and, of course, the fantastic local beer and brewery culture.
Denver has seen explosive growth over the last 10-15 years, but the housing supply has not kept up—leading to skyrocketing prices. According to Westword, the median home price in metro Denver has increased nearly 35% over the past five years. And despite the pandemic, the crazy housing market “remains red-hot.”
Apartment List shows that 51% of apartments in Denver are single bedrooms and that the annual salary needed to comfortably afford the typical 2BR rent should be $45,936 or higher. However, the median salary in Denver, as reported by NerdWallet, is $47,500. The natural conclusion? A large percentage of Denver renters can’t afford to live alone.
In response to these pressures, Denver has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people living in households with non-relatives—including roommates, communal living, shared housing and other creative living arrangements. According to a data visualization created by Apartment List using US Census data, Denver clocked an astonishing 184% rise in non-relative roommate households between 2007 and 2018.
What are the benefits of shared housing in Denver?
Living in a shared house, it’s much easier to take advantage of all the fun to be had around Denver. There’s always someone around (and within your COVID-safe bubble) to head to Wash Park, Sloan’s Lake, the Botanic Gardens and more. Maybe you’ll make a day of it on Cherry Creek Bike Path or run the chutes at Confluence Park. Or just grab some take-out and a local brew to enjoy while watching the game together at home. Why get a roommate? It’s just more fun! Roommates and housemates can even be from different generations and still enjoy living together.
But companionship is only part of the story. In 2020, Smart Asset reported that two roommates in one of Denver’s average-priced two-bedroom apartments can save roughly $563 each, every month ($6,756 per year)—and that's just the rent. Splitting the cost of broadband/cable access, heating and cooling, etc. can also rack up significant savings.
Another solution, homesharing, offers an even more compelling value.
What is homesharing? Put simply, it’s a modern way to roommate. When homesharing, people who own a home rent out extra space to a housemate as a way to gain companionship and additional monthly income. For renters, homesharing offers more options for where and how they want to live—closer to work, for example, more space, access to a private yard and, yes, often much lower rent.
Sixty-one percent of the 723,000 owner-occupied homes in the Denver metro area have spare bedrooms, according to a 2020 estimate from John Burns Real Estate Consulting cited in The Denver Post. That’s about 442,000 spaces that could be perfect for homesharing. (News flash to Denver homeowners: Silvernest, the nation’s leading homesharing platform, is based right here. Let’s talk.)
What's the best roommate finder in Denver?
Times have definitely changed. Gen X and older remember when newspaper classified ads were about the only solution for where to find roommates. These days, The Denver Post doesn’t accept “roommates wanted” ads. Westword still does, but a recent check showed only one actual listing. Digital tools will likely serve you better.
Denverites looking for rooms to rent or potential roommates can leverage a variety of digital “roommate-finder” options. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different platforms.
- Online classified ads like Craigslist and Reddit
Craigslist has a local “rooms and shares” page where anyone can place an ad for rooms to rent. There’s also a corresponding “wanted/rooms and shares” page for those seeking roommates and places to live. You can customize your listing or filter your search results in a few ways—by distance, price and various other criteria. There’s also an r/denverlist community on Reddit for private party classified ads, which does offer some simple filtering as well.
Neither Craigslist nor Reddit, however, offer any sort of structure for homeowners or renters. You might find yourself wondering “Is Craigslist a safe place to find a roommate?”—with good reason. With either one, you’re on your own fending off scammers, screening candidates, conducting background checks, etc. You’re also on your own in terms of setting up a rental agreement, coming to terms, etc.
You may be able to find a few smaller sites geared around specific communities, such as Denver Catholic Roommates, but they pose the same challenges as the bigger players.
- Roommate-finder websites and apps (Roommates.com, Roomster, Roomi, etc.)
There seem to be a million different websites and apps specifically geared around finding roommates, whether you have an existing space or are looking for one. Listings usually have more information than a typical classified ad, including photos and other details. Unfortunately, all you get is a connection with the person who placed the listing—who may in fact be a bot, fake account or scammer. These companies generally don’t offer any way to verify identity, screen potential roommates or set up a lease agreement.
- Facebook Marketplace and Groups
Within its Marketplace, Facebook has developed a system that works a lot like Craigslist, only with a better interface and a few helpful tools. Renters looking for a place can simply search “roommates wanted” or “room for rent.” Homeowners will have to create a listing, choose the right listing style, and then fill out the information form (remember to choose) “room only” as the category type). Like the other options described above, Facebook offers no screening options or lease creation tools. Plus, rentals are often posted with publicly visible addresses, which could lead to unexpected visitors or even a potential safety threat for the owner.
Facebook Groups, such as Denver Area Creative Housing, offer a more casual approach but lack structure in terms of adding details to your post. These groups suffer from the same lack of screening, lease creation and privacy tools as Marketplace.
Finding housemates doesn’t have to be a risky-feeling scramble. The Silvernest platform is a full-service, modern solution that includes ID verification, background checks, private and secure in-app messaging and more. Silvernest even provides a unique compatibility score for both homeowners and potential renters based on their unique personal preferences and lifestyle. And you’ll be able to see that score before you decide whether to connect. Once you decide to move forward, Silvernest gives both housemates peace of mind with a lease generator tool and no-deductible homesharing-ready insurance coverage (enrolled automatically when you set up monthly auto rent payments through Silvernest).
I have a room for rent in Denver–should I homeshare?
We certainly think you should consider it! Silvernest homeowners earn, on average, as much as $10,000 per year through the platform while also enjoying the companionship of having a housemate. If you’re wondering “can I rent a room in my house?,” all you really need is an extra bedroom and bathroom that you can clear out for a renter to use. Typically, the living room, kitchen and other common areas are shared. If you need some inspiration, we're happy to help! Here are some guidelines for creating simple agreements and/or house rules that we've based on what we've seen work for our users.
Tina, a local Denver homeowner, says “Silvernest has saved me SO MUCH time! I have been renting out an apartment in my townhome for 30 years, and now that I've found Silvernest, I will not be going back to Craigslist... I didn't waste time filtering out people who were not serious, or spend hours chatting with people only to find out we weren't compatible. I found the platform very easy to use, and absolutely loved that Silvernest facilitated a background check on my potential housemates!"
Silvernest also provides a rent calculator, a state-specific lease builder, insurance coverage and more.
Sound interesting? Silvernest can help!
If you’re a homeowner seeking to rent out your spare room in Denver, you can find out more about Silvernest or list your home here. If you’re interested in homesharing by renting an available room, you can see all available spaces in Denver here. Happy homesharing!