By Marge Schiller, CFP®
Is your cost of housing too large a portion of your income today? Are you having trouble finding an affordable rental in your community? Or is your current home more space than you really need but you like it? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider home sharing. This can allow you to cut your housing costs in half, reduce loneliness and help others too.
If you think of roommates hesitantly because your memories are not positive, there are now a number of non-profits across the country whose job is to facilitate a good match for home sharing. So, how do I find one near me?
The National Shared Housing Resource Center is your starting point. They offer a national directory of non-profit agencies that can help people find a shared housing match and make it work. The primary purpose of NSHRC is to raise awareness of the benefits of home sharing and encourage expansion of these programs across the country.
If you are ready to try home sharing, go to the website and see if there is a matchmaker in your area. Then gather your thoughts:
- What type of housing can I accept (house, apartment, mobile home)?
- What amenities are essential (parking, furnishings, a yard, etc.)?
- What amount of privacy is preferred?(Shared living and dining but private bedroom and bath is common.)
- Can I do chores to lower the rent?
- If you are offering your home to share, what are your priorities for a roommate? What are your “house rules” to follow?
If you establish your priorities, you can explain them more clearly to your “matchmaker” non-profit in the hope of finding a good fit. You also need to provide feedback to that agency on what helped and what failed in the match so they can learn from your experience.