10 Tips for Choosing the Right Housemate

| November 7, 2017 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post
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10 Tips for Choosing the Right Housemate

by Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest

Does your home have an unused guest room? Is your grown child’s old bedroom serving as a makeshift storage room or just collecting dust? Did you know that you could earn approximately $10,000 a year by renting out that underutilized space?

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With the rise of the sharing economy, the age-old concept of taking in long-term roommate has become a new trend called house sharing. House sharing enables boomers, empty nesters and retirees to leverage their homes as an asset to generate extra income. Many also enjoy the companionship and added security that comes with sharing their space with others.

Bringing a new housemate into your home may sound like a daunting task, but taking the time to find the right person will be well worth it in the end. Who knows – you may even make a new friend out of it.   

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Select the Right Housemate

Here are 10 tips to help you select the right housemate and have a positive house sharing experience.

  1. Be picky.

    You want to share your space – as well as life experiences, friendship and companionship – with your housemate, so it’s important to find someone who is compatible. Start by determining your criteria for a long-term housemate and weigh all candidates against it. Be specific about what you’re looking for in your post. If you’re retired, you may want someone who works during the day and isn’t around all of the time. Or, it may be important that they’re tidy, share similar hobbies or keep the same hours as you.

  2. At the same time, keep an open mind about your housemate. Multi-generational living situations have been shown to be highly successful, for instance. Don’t write someone off just because they’re not what you had in mind at the start of your search.
  3. Meet potential housemates in person. If you’re feeling good about them, set up a time to have coffee or go for a walk in a neutral place. Surprisingly, walking can stimulate a more spontaneous and intimate conversation than just sitting. Ask a couple of personal questions that generate thoughtful answers such as, “What was the best moment and worst moment in your life?” This will help you get a feel for who they really are and not just their day-to-day habits.
  4. Be sure to vet your housemates prior to entering into a lease. Ask for references, and check their social media pages for more insights. Always tell your friends and family your plans and ask for their help in assessing candidates. Never give out your personal information or address to someone until they’ve been vetted.
  5. You can also consider doing a background screen to make sure there are no big red flags. Note that the more comprehensive background checks often require the person’s social security number.
  6. Another option is to use a housemate-matching service that vets the person for you, including doing the background screens and identity verification.
  7. Always enter into a rental lease with your housemate. Free lease templates can be found online and you can customize them with your own specifications. Every state has its own general template, so be certain to select one for your state to ensure it meets all the criteria to make it acceptable under legal conditions. Engage a lawyer to review your lease, if you have any special clauses or requirements. Also, consider
  8. Rather than entering into a one-year lease off the bat, consider starting with a three-month trial period to get to know your housemate and determine if you’re compatible. If things go well, you can easily renew for a longer period.
  9. Ask for a security deposit that’s equal to one month’s rent. This way, you’re covered if your housemate causes any damages to your property.
  10. If possible, set up an automatic payment system where your housemate’s rent is transferred to your account on the same day each month. It removes the hassle of collecting rent and ensures your collect in a timely manner.

About the Author

Wendi BurkhardtWendi Burkhardt is CEO of Silvernest, an innovative online homesharing solution that successfully pairs aging homeowners with pre-qualified housemates. In her position, Wendi is responsible for driving the company’s overall direction and strategic growth, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. She boasts more than 25 years of technology experience working with venture startups, emerging technology companies, rapid-growth tech firms and Fortune 500 corporations.

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