“People who do not like to live alone, often thrive in a home sharing arrangement. Some will do better with people of their own age, while others enjoy the energy that younger people can bring to a home.”
Your kids have grown up and moved into their own homes. You love your house, but it is a significant chunk of your monthly expenses. As soon as you finish the cleaning, it’s time to start over again. It would be pleasant to have another person in the house. You could get a little rental income, have companionship and perhaps some help with the chores. Therefore, you wonder, should you consider senior home sharing?
What senior home sharing means
Senior home sharing can take several forms. These can include:
- A senior homeowner who let's someone live in a room of the house in exchange for rent payments, help with household chores or a combination of both. The tenant can be a student, a recent graduate, an artist or writer, a middle-aged or older person downsizing and wanting to decrease living expenses, or someone who wants to pay down debt or save up for a down payment on a place of her own.
- Two or more seniors who pool their resources to rent a house or apartment together. This informal arrangement that can be as simple as two or three aging friends living together for companionship. They may split up the housekeeping duties, or each can contribute toward the cost of a cleaning service.
- Private group housing for seniors. This arrangement is more formal and business-like. The seniors may come and go, but the company that owns and manages the private group housing remains. Activities and transportation may be part of the package, besides living space, meals and housekeeping services.
Reasons to consider senior home sharing
If you are the homeowner, you can ease your financial burdens with the rental income of home sharing. Making housekeeping duties part of the monthly “payment”, can lighten your work load. If you are the tenant, you can live in a nicer house than you could afford by yourself while you get your education, pursue your artistic passions, build your savings or pay down personal debt.
People who do not like to live alone often thrive in a home sharing arrangement. Some will do better with people of their own age, while others enjoy the energy that younger people can bring to a home.
An advantage of an informal arrangement in which seniors pool their resources is that they can set their own rules and do things the way they want. Private group housing set-ups are ideal for people who want other people to take care of mundane daily administrative tasks.
Tips for having a good home share experience
If you explore home sharing, you can avoid some pitfalls if you follow this advice:
- See if a home-share agency in your area will do background checks and arrange matches.
- List your likes and dislikes. Do you do not want to share a bathroom? If so, will the sharer have her own bathroom? Be genuine about the level of tidiness you require and the noise levels you find acceptable.
- If there is no local home-share agency to do background checks, hire a company to do one.
- Do not meet with strangers on your own. Do not give them your home address, until you feel safe doing so. Initially, meet prospective tenants or homeowners in a public place.
- Have a written rental contract that states the terms under which you can terminate the lease.
- Put in writing the expectations for the chores, if any that the sharer is expected to do as part of the rent. Spell out the details about food, utilities, parking and other items in the lease.
- Do a trial period of a week or two, before the final rental contract is signed. You are entitled to rent and services during the trial period.
Every state has different laws, so to protect yourself, talk with a local elder law attorney.
National Shared Housing Resource Center. “Why Shared Housing?” (accessed August 16, 2017) https://nationalsharedhousing.org/
Bankrate, LLC. “Home-share programs benefit seniors.” (accessed August 16, 2017) https://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/home-share-programs-benefit-seniors-1.aspx
Senior Homeshares. “Safety Tips For Senior Homeshares.” (accessed August 16, 2017) https://www.seniorhomeshares.com/help/safety
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