When Marilyn* was 74, her husband died and he or she wanted to discover a approach to pay her payments and keep in her house. That’s when she heard about house sharing, an more and more widespread association through which a home-owner rents out an additional bed room of their home.
“I had a main bedroom that wasn’t getting used anymore, so I believed, ‘Effectively, why not?’ ” she mentioned.
5 years later, she shares her three-bedroom house in St. Petersburg, Florida, with two housemates who aren’t associated to her — Linda, 65, and Nigel, 53.
It’s made all of the distinction. “I wouldn’t have the ability to keep right here if I didn’t have them,” Marilyn mentioned.
The Advantages of House Sharing
It’s not unusual for younger individuals to have roommates. However in an age of rising rents and spiraling housing prices, a rising variety of older empty nesters are opening up their houses to strangers. It helps the householders keep of their houses, and it helps renters who can’t afford an condominium.
House sharing not solely helps individuals’s pocketbooks. It additionally helps stave off loneliness, which might have an effect on psychological and bodily well being.
“The No. 1 motive why individuals home-share is monetary, however a really shut second is companionship and security,” mentioned Cathy Coomes, program coordinator for Home Share Pinellas, a neighborhood housing company that introduced Marilyn and her housemates collectively.
Responding to the demand for house sharing, plenty of nationwide and regional organizations have cropped as much as assist with technical particulars like persona matching and background checks.
Silvernest and Different House Share Organizations
Right here’s a list of home share organizations in 17 states. They’re scattered throughout. There’s additionally a nationwide group known as Silvernest, which is a roommate finder and residential sharing app and web site. It has extra home listings in some areas than in others.
“We’re a web-based house sharing platform that gives instruments reminiscent of background checks, id verification and, importantly, a compatibility algorithm,” mentioned Amy Ford, a vice chairman at Silvernest. “We’re serving to individuals discover others who share the identical pursuits and values and hobbies.”
A lot of the firm’s shoppers are ladies of their 50s and 60s, she mentioned. Many are empty nesters who’ve been widowed or divorced or who’ve lately ended a caregiving function of some form. “They’re in transition, and so they’re considering, ‘I’ve received 30 to 40 years forward of me, what do I wish to do subsequent?’ ” Ford mentioned.
A lot of Silvernest’s shoppers haven’t had a roommate or housemate in a few years. So, in an effort to match householders and renters, the company asks for his or her opinions on pets, smoking, visitors, cleanliness expectations, home guidelines and even firearms — “all of the little elements that may contribute to a profitable house sharing association,” Ford mentioned.
Rising rents, excessive energy payments, inflation and a scarcity of housing provide are all driving curiosity in house sharing. Ford cites research that say half of older households in America are severely cost-burdened, paying a minimum of 50% of their earnings on housing.
“The vast majority of older individuals personal their very own houses, however they’re cash-strapped for what they want in retirement,” she mentioned. “Additionally, we don’t have sufficient housing stock, not to mention stock that individuals would take into account reasonably priced.”
Though it’s a nationwide group, Silvernest tends to have extra house listings in markets like Los Angeles; Denver; Portland, Oregon; Washington state; Texas; and Maryland. There’s a free model of Silvernest, or a $25 membership that features a background test in your potential housemate.
“Additionally, it doesn’t need to be without end. You don’t have to think about this as a 10-year endeavor,” Ford mentioned. “You possibly can simply strive it out for six months.”
Extra Renters Than Householders
These different house sharing organizations in 17 states? All of them face the identical problem: There are extra would-be room renters than there are householders who’re renting out spare rooms.
“Like anyplace else, there’s extra demand than provide,” mentioned Steven Nagel, government director of HomeSharing Inc., which operates in New Jersey. “We’re in search of people who find themselves prepared to open their houses.”
His nonprofit group makes 50 to 60 house sharing matches a 12 months, with the longest match occurring for twenty-four years now. Most space renters pay $700-$800 a month.
HomeSharing Inc. interviews householders and renters, units up introductory conferences for them, performs reference checks and background checks on them, and facilitates the signing of a shared housing settlement between the 2 events.
One lady has shared her house for 28 years.
“She has had eight matches come by her home,” Nagel mentioned. “The opposite seven have gotten their very own housing. They had been capable of save for down funds as a result of they had been in her house.”
Curiosity in house sharing is surging in varied components of the nation. “We’ve got had a major enhance in seniors who’re reaching out and in search of a spot to reside,” mentioned Tess Fields, government director of Home Share Oregon.
Saving Up for an Condo
It’s an analogous story within the Tampa Bay space, the place House Share Pinellas operates.
Householders sharing their houses there vary in age from 55 to 87, with a median age of 71. Room renters’ common age is 61. They’re usually paying rents of $585-$750 a month in an space the place the common hire is $1,700 a month, not counting utilities.
“Final summer time I positioned 4 individuals who had full-time jobs, however they had been residing in automobiles or in dumpy pay-by-the-week locations,” mentioned Coomes, this system coordinator.
She added that some individuals use house sharing to save cash for a deposit on an condominium or a down fee for their very own house. Additionally, lots of the renters enroll in this system whereas they’re on a two- to four-year wait record for sponsored senior housing.
And, like different applications, there are extra would-be renters than householders.
“Getting householders to ask a stranger into their houses — that’s a tricky nut to crack for lots of people, though they could want it financially,” Coomes mentioned.
They not often remorse sharing their houses, although. “The common match lasts nearly three years. We’ve got individuals who’ve been collectively for 10 years,” she mentioned.
House Sharing Suggestions
When you don’t reside in an space that’s served by a house sharing group, you’re sort of by yourself. To search out housemates, it’s a must to depend on web sites and apps like Craigslist and Roommates.com. Free lease templates may be discovered on-line, and you’ll customise them.
Listed below are 5 house sharing suggestions from Silvernest:
1. Be Selective.
It’s necessary to seek out somebody who’s suitable. Begin by figuring out your standards for a long-term housemate and weigh all candidates towards these requirements. Be particular about what you’re in search of. When you’re retired, it’s your decision somebody who works through the day and isn’t round all the time. Or it could be necessary that they’re tidy, share comparable hobbies or love pets.
2. However Hold an Open Thoughts.
On the identical time, hold an open thoughts about your housemate. Many alternative residing conditions have been proven to achieve success. Don’t write somebody off simply because they’re not what you had in thoughts in the beginning of your search.
3. Display screen Your Housemates.
Vet your housemates earlier than coming into into a house sharing settlement. Ask for references. Google them. Confirm their id. You can too take into account doing a background test to verify there aren’t any large crimson flags. Word that the extra complete background checks typically require the individual’s Social Safety quantity.
4. Spell Out Your Phrases.
At all times doc the phrases of your property sharing settlement. Whereas free lease templates may be discovered on-line, observe that completely different states can have completely different templates. Add an addendum that outlines home guidelines, shared area agreements, communication preferences, and so forth.
5. Begin With a Trial Interval.
As an alternative of coming into right into a one-year settlement off the bat, take into account beginning with an preliminary three-month interval to get to know your housemate and decide whether or not you’re suitable. If issues go properly, you may simply renew for longer.
*We’ve used the residents’ first names solely to guard their privateness.
Mike Brassfield (mi[email protected]) is a senior author at The Nourishmoney.