So I was driving to an appointment this week and noticed a big sign in front of a house. I was expecting it to read “For Sale” or “For Rent.” As I got closer, I noticed it read “House to Share.” I have never seen that before. I mean, I’ve seen ads on Craigslist and other sites for people renting out rooms or tenants looking to rent one house with a few different people. But I’ve never seen someone advertise it out front of their home. While I haven’t seen the signs before, it seems as if house sharing is becoming a lot more popular. Given the current economy, it’s a great way to save money.
I actually had a neighbor who invited their current neighbors to move into their home after they sold their home, which they were having trouble keeping up with the mortgage payments. With all the foreclosures these days, people unable to keep up with payments and unable to refinance, this is a potential to save a lot of money.
In fact, there’s even national organizations that help with this. One is the National Shared Housing Resource Center. They are the place to visit find or to help start something in your community to match people looking to share housing. One of their board members is quoted as saying, “Whenever I talk to somebody either back east or in the midwest, I mean, we pretty much have the same kinds of issues throughout the country, where people can’t afford their housing, whether it is someone who is seeking housing or if they have a home, you know, they really are looking for somebody who can help share those costs and share those utility costs as well.”
So for those looking to save money, it’s a great way to do it. You can split housing payments and utilities. For those with pets and kids, it’s even a way to have someone else available to help out while the other one shares with the chores, for example. There are some risks, of course. If you don’t know a possible tenant (or even if you do), it’s important to do a full background check including credit report, possibly criminal background check, get references. You want to make sure they’re going to pay you each month. You’ll also want to have an executable contract in place, like a lease. That way if they don’t live up to their end of the bargain, you can follow the proper procedures for eviction. While it’s hard to do that for family or friends, it’s just as important.
I’m curious to know if you know someone sharing a home or are thinking about doing it yourself. I can imagine that it’s becoming a lot more common, especially among family members. Those taking in an aging relative or combining households with a sibling. But what about you readers who have done it with complete strangers or even just acquaintances? Please leave me a comment or contact me online to share your stories.
I can imagine that the MLS might open up a new category for just rooms available in the near future, given what the economy is doing to people’s bank accounts and the housing situation.