Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Having a Roommate for Extra Income

I am kind of surprised I don't get asked more often why I don't have roommates. Here I am living in this big old house and needing to get quite a bit of cash each month; even I have to admit that roommates seem like the logical answer. Yet for me, this is pretty low on my list of ways to earn money, and I haven't even had horrible experiences like Kristy from Master Your Card. Check out her post, A Story of Sucky Roommates. (Warning: you may never want roommates again!)

I'm not actually completely against the idea. If I could find the right combination of right person and monthly rent, I would do it. There have been a few friends I have considered as roommates and I have even looked at the CraigsList postings of people who just need a room for a month or two. A lot of these are folks in between housing - college students waiting for dorms or people whose leases have expired and their new place isn't ready yet. I figure with the short term leases, if it didn't work out, the commitment wouldn't be too long.

If you are the kind of person who likes other people and are willing to take a bit of a risk, having roommates could be a good option. There are several other non-financial advantages as well...

I have talked to friends who like roommates for safety. They like living with someone because it means the house is usually occupied if something should happen. I can understand that - my old house certainly creaks and groans on occasion! The other reason is the social aspect. Many people enjoy hanging out with other folks. I, on the other hand, have admitted that I am a bit of a hermit who likes her space - so much so that I have found alternate ways of paying the bills.

I think it just all depends on the situation. Like being a landlord there are good tenants and bad, and no matter what, it requires work. Even with the best roommate in the world there should be negotiation and an understanding of house rules so everyone gets along. It may not be physical labor, but it does require effort to make it all work.

What about you? How have your roommate experiences been?

Hilarious photo by: Ratterrell


Fit Wallet said...

My experience has been mixed. We bought our house in 2007. At that time, our two friends (a couple) moved into the top floor of our house (2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a hallway). They get cheap rent and we get half our mortgage/utilities paid. We share the kitchen, yard, laundry, etc. It's been a good arrangement for the most part, and since we were friends with them before we knew it would work out okay. But we've all gotten to the point where we want more privacy. My partner and I want to enjoy having the house to ourselves; they want to have their own place. I will really miss the rent money, but I won't miss the dishes in the sink!

Dawn said...

I will be the first to admit, I am a total privacy FREAK. My mom said I was like that even as a kid, so I guess it is just in my blood. The money would be nice, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the cost of my mental health!

K-money said...

I posted about how I ended up with a roommate here:

I am a big-time loner and start going batty if I don't have some time by myself. Luckily my roommate and I are both introverts and feel no need to be in the house at the same time and talk to each other if we don't feel like it. Aside from not being able to walk around the house naked it is at times almost as if I live alone. She also helps me with my cats, I think she loves them more than I do. She stays a month ahead on the rent and has offered to pay more now that her credit card debt is paid off. She also buys cleaning supplies and food, gets me 40% off stuff from her work (day spa) and is always offering to have me in for a free pedicure.

Sometimes I wish my BF and I lived by ourselves and someday we probably will but it has been over four years so far and we are all still getting along. We just got really lucky, I think.

Dawn said...

Wow, it sounds like you have the perfect situation there K-Money. good for you! If all situations were like yours, I'd be a lot more likely to have a roommate!

Kari said...

I've had good and bad and ultimately I found I room best with the opposite sex.

For me I've ran numbers and it is just cheaper for my daughter and I to have a cheap (but run down) apartment by ourselves.

I've been living alone so long I'm not sure I could have a roommate again.

Dawn said...

Kari - I would make the same choice. Having space to yourself can be so important.

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

Man, if I had a roomie like K-Money's, I'd probably change my perceptions too! ;)

I think my story pretty much sums up how I feel about roommates, but I understand everyone else's point, too. I mean, if it was the difference between me being homeless and taking a roommate, I'd take the roommate. However, like Dawn, I'm a bit of a hermit. On the occasions I do go out, it's in very small groups of people I know. Occasionally I'll get a wild hair and do something outside the norm, but mostly I like routine. You'd never know it if you met me because I'm completely random, but there is the dichotomy of my life! LOL.

Thanks for the mention, Dawn!

Dawn said...

Kristy - Exactly!! If it were a choice between losing the house or a roommate, you bet I would be making "Yours" and "Mine" shelves in the fridge.

I would also open up my home to friends who need a place for awhile. I have a couple that might need a pad to crash in for a bit and I would do that for them if they need it.