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Getting roommates?
Old 08-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #1
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Getting roommates?

I have no plans to get roommates, but I see many here suggest getting roommates to save money, but how does it work? Do you have to worry about some kind of liability? Wouldn't be as hard to evict the person as renting a house to a person if s/he doesn't pay up or does things you don't like? (maybe even harder because you have to live with the person until the person moves out?)

Curious mind wants to know.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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I have no plans to get roommates, but I see many here suggest getting roommates to save money, but how does it work? Do you have to worry about some kind of liability? Wouldn't be as hard to evict the person as renting a house to a person if s/he doesn't pay up or does things you don't like? (maybe even harder because you have to live with the person until the person moves out?)

Curious mind wants to know.
These are all non-issues unless you do something dumb, like take just anybody for your roommate, IMO.

When I was young and had to have roommates to save money, liability was not an issue. They could sue me for everything I owned, which was nothing. Then I would have declared bankruptcy, I suppose. But none of them had enough money for a lawyer anyway - - this was a complete non-issue for me at that time.

I usually found my roommates on bulletin boards at universities so they weren't real tough broads. I learned to pinpoint who I could live with, and who I couldn't, pretty quickly. Yes, there were things they did that I didn't like so it was necessary to develop skills in personal interactions. Usually someone can be intimidated persuaded to move out if that is necessary. These skills in initial assessments of people, and in later personal interactions are useful in other venues in life, so overall it was a good learning experience.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:09 PM   #3
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I have no plans to get roommates, but I see many here suggest getting roommates to save money, but how does it work? Do you have to worry about some kind of liability? Wouldn't be as hard to evict the person as renting a house to a person if s/he doesn't pay up or does things you don't like? (maybe even harder because you have to live with the person until the person moves out?)
Craigslist. Although I'd be more inclined to message my local Facebook friends that I was looking for a roommate.

You essentially convert your residence into locked bedrooms/bathrooms with a common area (kitchen, dining, livingroom) that's been sanitized of your personal & valuable possessions. You're running a dorm, not owning a home. I've also seen homes where the roommate had a separate exterior entrance and an interior door (with a lock) separating their "rental space" from the rest of the house. If they don't pay their rent, you lock the interior door.

I don't know that the liability issues are any more complicated than umbrella liability policies for landlords. And even if you're in the process of evicting someone, you could put their possessions in a box (or a storage unit) and change the locks to the room they were renting.

Ideally you'd do a good job of picking a roommate with whom you share a common background and could build some trust. Liability & security issues wouldn't rear their ugly heads.

We joke with our daughter all the time about renting out her room to her friends who are still living in our area. At least she thinks we're joking.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Same as in college or when you first move in with your girlfriend/boyfriend. Either you

(1) Rent an apartment/house and jointly appear on the lease (and have joint liability). Sometimes they may require that your parents also co-sign.

(2) You sublet a room from someone who has leased/owns the entire apartment.

(3) You rent an entire apartment (taking liability) and then find a room-mate. Your lease may require that subletters be approved (or added to the lease). Of course some people do this informally and never notify the owner.

(4) You get placed by something like a university housing office where you sign a lease independently but they give you a room in an apartment and a mate.

This is a fantastic way to cut costs but I don't know anybody who doesn't have at least one room-mate horror story.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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No way, no how. I'll cut budget to the bone before I get roommates.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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No way, no how. I'll cut budget to the bone before I get roommates.
TJ
+1

Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'd considering getting a j*b before I get roomates.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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Thank you for your posts.

I was thinking morein the lines of someone having a condo/house but rent a room to save money (Many of you suggested this to Aaron on his thread - he now has a job, but not as well paid as desired.) So hence my question.

If you are a college student, it probably doesn't matter as W2R said, since you have no assets either, and when you are young, I guess things are a lot different. (I had 2 roommates at one point in a college dorm because there were too many freshmen at the beginning of the year, so three of us were crammed into a tiny 2 person dorm room. I don't know how we did it - sharing 1 bathroom among several people (the bathroom was shared by two rooms)) Even after college, you can share an apartment, but I am more interested in what you would do if you owned a home and were to take in a roommate.

Since many of you were suggesting on Aaron's thread for him to get a roommate (he owns a condo), I imagined it was something many people did, and I wanted to see how you guys did(do) it. I didn't know about putting locks for the bedrooms, but that makes sense.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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I would say that now. But in my 20's, sharing apartments was the way to go.

Even if Craigslist had existed, I would not have used it. I used an internal work bulletin board. That is not perfect, but we all knew where each other worked, and we all knew somebody who knew the potential roomie...so that reliability references were pretty much built-in.

So I was never concerned about safety, little concerned about liability (since none of us owned much) and never worried that the person would lose their job and stop paying rent. I even had a couple of male (utterly platonic - at least on my side!) roomies. They were like watch dogs.

I did run into issues. Though not introverted, I live very quietly. Although I specified this in my ads, I still ended up with roomies who often had noisy friends over. Worse, it was made clear to me that I was expected to have my own social life and go somewhere else! In one case, the woman gave her boy friend a key, and refused to put him on the lease, charge him rent or utilities, etc. because "after all, he doesn't live here." I don't like being ganged up on, and I soon moved out.

Through it all, I gritted my teeth, kept banking that 1/2 of the rent and utilities, working shifts and overtime, and eventually was able to buy my own home. But my teeth aren't as good at "gritting" as they used to be.

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No way, no how. I'll cut budget to the bone before I get roommates.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #9
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I have thought about this too in terms of extra income upon eventual retirement - hopefully 10 years from now. I don't think i could ever do it though. Now when you say roomates I assume you mean renting out a room in your home. What I could see myself doing is renting out a basement suite (in Canada we all have basements of course) if I had one. My current home does not and not well suited to building one. Down the road I could see buying something like a bungalow with fully finished basement with separate entrance. That scenario is OK as i would hardly ever see the renter . In any event I could only see myself doing this in a pinch. Like another response, if I needed the $ I'd rather just work some random PT job
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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There's also something like airbnb. That way if the renter is a dud, well at least they are only there for a few days.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:28 PM   #11
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My friend is 80, and he and his wife (just passed away) rent three rooms in the upstairs of their house and the basement apartment they converted several years ago. They've been renting rooms for years and before that were a B&B. They don't advertise on Craigslist, but instead go to the "wanted" section on Craiglist and pick people to contact based on what they've written. Most of the people are working people rather than college age (it's a college town), although they've had some college kids. One teacher lived with them for over 5 years. I think a lot depends on the personality of the homeowners. They are the type of people whose renters often become friends.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:00 PM   #12
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You can find out more these days than you'd think doing a simple google on someone, especially if they are a professional. If someone had just my name, they could find out all sorts of things about me. If you are a landlord, you usually also want to run a credit report, and maybe even a crime report. That will definitely alert you to most red flags about a renter.

As for what I did about finding roommates, that's really easy. Usually if you need roommates, you don't have much saved up, so no real liability. You can research roommates usually, professionals are the best but as long as they have a steady job, that's a good sign. It also helps I'm a big guy who is essentially unintentionally intimidating to most people, so I'm not worried about safety. Regardless though, everyone I've roomed with has been a mostly good person, and I've had over a dozen different roommates, some of them mostly random.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:22 AM   #13
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Here's a comment from another blog that describes techniques for finding a good tenant. I think the comment applies to this situation too:
Quote:
Love the idea of Facebook, by the way...It helps to see a photo of Prospective Tenant with his boa constrictor wrapped around his waist, or lying unconscious next to a pile of beer cans while his friends draw on his face with Sharpies.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:07 AM   #14
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A number of years back, some friends (both teachers) rented a 3 bedroom house. They had little savings so decided on a roommate. (Family and most friends were against the ideas.) The first one didn't work out and they were going to give up, but decided to be a little pickier and learn from their mistakes. The came up with some good rules, networked with friends to find someone, and ended up with a nurse who did shift work. They gave her the master bedroom with bath that was away from the noisiest part of the house and one stall in the garage. She worked a 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift and lots of overtime so they rarely saw her. This lasted for 3 years and allowed the couple to save enough to make a down payment on a house plus build an emergency fund. It was a win-win situation and I am sure that liability never entered their thoughts.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:27 AM   #15
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One good option for this, if you live near a major university, is to contact the foreign student office and let them know you are willing to provide housing to foreign graduate students or visiting scholars. They often face challenges lining up housing from a distance, and generally are quiet, friendly tenants. A plus if you are interested in other cultures, obviously.

You can also check with med schools and MBA or other graduate programs and see if they have people who are commuting to take classes but going home on the weekends. That way you have a roommate a few nights a week, but privacy on the weekend for the most part.

I haven't done either of these things, but know others who have. It generally worked out well for everyone.

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:46 PM   #16
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I have had roommate on and off for about 1/2 of my adult life. Beside the financial benefits, I have found it nice to have a built in catsitter/house sitter when I am out of time. For ride to airport pick up cars etc. Also they can expand your circle of friends.

Of course that is for the good roommates. The bad ones well not so much.
In general, I have found the friends of friends to have worked pretty well, the craigslist want ads about 50/50 good bad. I have never had an awful roommate the but the guy who was growing Pot somewhere near the house was pretty bad.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:17 PM   #17
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I had roommates till my mid 30's. (Didn't get hitched till late 30's).
In two different houses I owned, as well as rentals prior to that.

Definitely pays to set up rules ahead of time about expectations, shared food, or separate food, who cleans, and when....

With 15+ years of having roommates - only had 1 bad roommate... she was good for the first year - then had a bit of a nervous breakdown - started bringing home random guys... which made me feel unsafe. We had a long talk about it - she stopped doing that, and eventually got engaged to one of the random strangers and moved out.

My best friend was a roommate for 3 years in college/post college. And then again when she and her husband were building their house.
Another very good friend was a roommate when we worked together at a megacorp.

I have no regrets about having roommates. It was a win-win. They helped pay my mortgage, I got company and someone to do half the housework.

If I didn't have a husband and kids - I'd definitely get a roommate again.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:24 PM   #18
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What got me about having roommates. Sometimes, I think I can be fairly dirty about living day to day. LOl, I found out others have a whoooooollllle new meaning about cleanliness. Thus, I learned I am a horrible roommate.

But if you can handle others being different in a living environment you will be fine
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:42 PM   #19
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I wanted to get a roommate, a young lass of about 25 but the wife wasn't too keen on the idea.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:07 PM   #20
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I lived with roommates after college with much success from age 23-33.

They were all either college friends or a coworker.

The best set-up (and one I had for most of those years), was to rent a reasonably upscale 2 BR, 2 Bath apartment in a large building with a professional management company. The one ammenity that was a must have for me was in-unit laundry. Typically, having that meant living in places with a pool, exercise room, etc.

It's a pretty nice lifestyle at a very affordable price. The larger apartment buildings were much better about maintenance and fixing things in a timely manner. I had one bad experience with an individual landlord.

It's generally easier for people with different cleaning habits to get along if they have their own bathroom.
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