Are you an empty nester, divorcee, widow, single parent, or sandwich generation adult? Do you have rarely-used rooms in your house? Could you use an extra $10,000 per year on average? Maybe it is time to rent that extra space to a compatible roommate for a season, a year or long-term. Shared housing (also known as co-living) is a fun and easy way to solve financial struggles and prevent the health risks of social isolation.
Stories from Landlords Who Love Being Landlords
Julie is a single mom who has been renting her basement to a 55-year-old divorced woman. She says, “I love having someone older in my house as I have a 12-year-old girl, and I prefer someone quieter that I can trust. I feel a lot more secure having her here, and I need the extra cash.”
Marge is a 69-year-old woman renting a room in her house to a former coworker who is 64 and semi-retired. “We laughed about being Laverne and Shirley, and wondered if sharing a home would cramp our style," she says, "but all of our fears about sharing space disappeared in the first week. We both love it and would never go back.”
Frank, 72, is aretired business executive renting a room in his house to a medical student. “It is an arrangement that works out very well. He helps me out with some of the lawn care and a few chores around the house in exchange for a portion of the rent, and everyone is happy.”
Top Ten Reasons to Consider Homesharing
- Cash: Extra cash is king. An extra $500-$800/month can make or break a budget and take off the financial edge.
- Camaraderie: Finding a compatible roommate brings new life into an otherwise empty space.
- Health benefits: Studies show one of the greatest risks to our health is loneliness - more than smoking, diabetes or obesity. We are meant to live in a tribe, not solo.
- Better eating habits: Many singles eat out a lot, or slum it with cereal for dinner. Having someone to share in food preparation often results in better meals with less wasted leftovers.
- Travel freedom: With a trusted roommate in the house, it's easier to travel knowing pets and plants are covered and the house is not empty.
- Security: Crazy thunderstorms are easier to handle with someone else around to laugh it off and share a bottle of wine, and it can be comforting to know someone is there in case of illness or accident.
- Expanded social life: Opening up to a new social circle is always stimulating and can be fun!
- Shared chores: Having an extra hand around the house can often be worth as much as the cash. For aging homeowners, selecting a roommate who can clean, handle handyman jobs and mow the lawn saves a lot in not having to outsource that work.
- An extra hand: Getting sick, recovering from an injury or handling stressful situations can be mitigated with another pair of hands to help out and someone to listen for no reason at all.
- The sharing economy is here to stay: With finances being tight for Americans of any age, the concept of sharing is here to stay—and that’s a good thing!
Do you have a great story to share with us as either hosting a housemate or as a roommate? We'd love to hear in the comments below.