The abundance of tech jobs. The beautiful natural scenery. The environmentally-conscious lifestyle. There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Portland, Oregon, no matter what you’re into. The City of Roses has a unique culture and universal appeal: it was ranked as both the #1 best place to live for seniors and as one of the 10 Safest Cities for Families with Young Children. It’s also been highlighted as a tech hub in recent years as well as a dream destination for hikers thanks to its 180 miles of trails. While the rain can be a downside, what few realize is that almost any climate you desire is only ever 90 minutes away—beach, year-round skiing, dry desert. It’s all within reach if you need a quick escape.
With such diverse appeal, it’s no surprise that Portland has exploded in popularity and population. In the last decade alone, the city has seen an influx of nearly 400,000 new residents. This growth has led to a spike in rent prices and overall cost of living: the average Portland renter looking for a one-bed apartment can expect to spend $1,500/mo in rent, while home buyers are facing a median home price of $500,000.
High living costs have created a housing crisis in the city, with an estimated 4,100 Portlanders experiencing homelessness and an estimated tens of thousands more considered to be at risk. It just takes a stroll through Pioneer Courthouse Square to see there is a growing problem. Longtime residents are being displaced, no longer able to shoulder the cost burden. This crisis has created longer commutes that regularly place Portland on lists of cities with the worst congestion in the nation.
Given these economic pressures, many Portland residents (and would-be residents) are considering some type of shared housing. If you are among them, here’s an overview of the different shared housing types along with tips for making a roommate/housemate relationship work smoothly.
What are your options for shared living in Portland?
So, what can Portland homeowners and renters do to build a shared home? They’ll have three main choices:
1. Join a co-living community.
Call it a part of Portland’s quirky culture: the city has been known as a hotbed for co-living, where residents have a private bedroom in a specialized property with shared common spaces and other amenities. In fact, Portland is home to some of the country’s most established co-living communities—and to new, innovative urban in-fill housing and co-living projects such as The Outpost and The Village. One of the biggest benefits of the co-living model is that established history and embeddedness in local culture. However, the increasing popularity of the model can make suitable co-living options hard to find. It's also important to consider whether co-living is a fit for your lifestyle, given the space-sharing involved.
2. Use Craigslist or other social media to find a roommate.
Whether your tool of choice is Craigslist, Reddit, Facebook Marketplace or another roommate finder, the same benefits apply: it’s informal, you can connect with a large base of fellow users, and—perhaps most importantly—it’s easy to get started. It’s worth considering, however, that these sites are also infamous for their lack of centralized oversight. When you browse Craigslist, you take vetting and screening into your own hands. Consider all the pros and cons before going with one of these options.
Where co-living emphasizes a specific lifestyle and Craigslist et.al emphasize informality, homesharing provides a combination of flexibility and support. On Silvernest, homeowners and renters can get tools and resources for the entire homesharing journey—they can list a profile/space for rent, screen for compatibility and security, build a lease and more.
When people share a home with a compatible housemate, they tend to see benefits far beyond income or rent savings. Homesharing reduces isolation, offers new social connections, lessens the burden of chores and home upkeep, and gives renters the ability to cut their commute times by moving closer to work in a desirable, affordable home.
Local nonprofit Home Share Oregon has also partnered with Silvernest to disrupt the housing crisis by encouraging and incentivizing homeowners to become a valuable part of the solution, expanding access to affordable housing one spare bedroom at a time.
I have a room for rent in Portland—what should I know?
So, you’re interested in renting a room in your home. That’s great! You’ll be joining a growing community of homeowners helping to create more housing options in the city while earning an average of $850 a month. Before you get started, we’ve got three points of advice to help you find the perfect homesharing arrangement and put your home’s best foot forward:
1. Consider what makes your neighborhood special.
When you’re listing space in your home for rent, put yourself in the shoes of a potential new roommate. In addition to what makes your home special, put the spotlight on the surrounding areas. Is there a park in walking distance or an especially accessible supermarket? What about transportation or other local amenities? You want to make potential housemates feel welcome in your neck of the woods—and besides, Portland has plenty of nooks and crannies to love!
We’ve previously discussed how your neighborhood can affect the rent you can reasonably charge—take a look at our blog on the matter for more.
2. Consider what your roommate could do in exchange for reduced rent.
Keeping up with a house and yard is a lot of work, especially if you are trying to do it alone. Bringing on a housemate can be a great way to get help with some of that home maintenance—just consider what kind of assistance you need and how much you would be willing to reduce your monthly rent amount in exchange for that work. Pro tip: keep the list to non-medical/non-caregiving tasks—things like yard work, dog walking, transportation assistance, etc.
3. Codify your roommate agreement from the start.
Imagine your perfect roommate. What level of interaction are you looking for? Would someone who works nights and weekends be better for your schedule? Would you rather live with someone your own age, or perhaps someone from a different generation? Decide your preferences and stick to your guns. By being transparent but firm up front, you’re much more likely to find a compatible match.
Need a place to start? We recommend Oregon Live’s piece on what to put in a roommate agreement. You can also download the Silvernest Homesharing Agreement Template here.
Sound interesting? Silvernest can help!
If you’ve got a room for rent in Portland, we’re here to help you find your housemate match. Take a look at how Silvernest works today—there’s never been a better time to look for a roommate in PDX. Happy homesharing!