3 On Your Side: Shared Housing On The Rise
By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Let’s face it, the cost of living in the U.S. is expensive and isn’t getting any cheaper! To save money and pool resources many people have found new creative ways to put a very nice roof over their heads. The growing trend of house sharing it isn’t just for twenty-somethings.
They are three baby boomers that merged their furniture, their wine glasses, their china and their book collections, selling their old homes and buying a house together. They joined two million other Americans over the age of thirty who have a housemate or roommate.
Shared house owner Jean McQuillin says, “It made amazing economic sense.” McQuillin, Louise Machinist and Karen Bush are all are divorced, in their early 50’s and have professional full time jobs. They met at church and created what they call a cooperative household. Each woman has her own bedroom and bathroom. they share the common areas of the house, chores and expenses. Machinist says, “We are all really busy we’re hardly ever all here at the same time.”
But before they moved in, an attorney drew up a legal agreement addressing issues like: how long visitors can stay, what if a housemate wants to sell or leave, and what happens if someone passes away? According to Bush, “On some level you have to share values in order to make things work.”
For any shared housing situation, experts say you should:
– Create an agreement on how to share expenses and chores
– Set boundaries outlining what you can and can’t live with
– Check references of potential house mates
– And ask why someone wants to move
Shared housing expert Annamarie Pluhar says, “You need to know that people are solid about paying, that they’re going to be a reasonable person to be around.” Also, if you’re considering someone as a house mate, experts suggest running a credit or even criminal background check on the person.