If you’re aware of all the benefits of living with a roommate, but you’re still unable to really imagine it or come up with plan for actually finding a roommate, here are some things to think about that may help you wrap your head around the whole idea. Regardless of whether you have room to share, or are looking for somewhere to rent, consider these aspects of living with another person:
- First, recognize that while you will both reap financial benefits, house sharing is a human and social relationship as much as a financial arrangement. As a homeowner, be flexible about what you’re charging; it’s more important to find the right match than earn a little extra each month.
- When considering a potential housemate, let go of preconceived ideas or prejudices about others – and by that we don’t mean necessarily racist or phobic beliefs, which may not be part of your profile at all, but rather ideas about careers, interests, style of speaking – in other words, more subtle aspects of a person that you might be judging without even being conscious of it. Be open to differences in people, because this new relationship may be your chance for a whole new life experience.
- Discuss details of the house sharing arrangement ahead of time. You can get a good start by reading the introductory pages of a book called Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates, published by a website called Sharing Housing. Click here to download the preface and introduction. Use this as a template to discuss your rental arrangement as well as sharing of chores, handling of food, use of common areas, and schedules. If you have a need, such as help with groceries or rides to the doctor, discuss these ahead of time and give reductions on rent if your new roommate can help you.
- Don’t fall into the old picture of college roommate living arrangements. You and your home sharer do not need to have the same tastes in music, sleep schedules or personalities, nor do you need to hang out with one another all or even much of the time. Honesty and reliability may be the most important traits in anyone with whom you plan to share your home.
- Finally, if you’re the homeowner renting space to another, learn ahead of time if additional income from rent will affect your tax situation, eligibility for medical insurance subsidies, or any public assistance you receive. Meeting with a financial planner is always a good idea.