In today’s harsh economic climate there are many people that are finding their budgets stretched to the limit, especially their home budget. Mortgage payments, utility bills, repair costs and maintenance costs can eat up nearly half of a person’s take-home pay and sometimes more, making our homes the #1 biggest expense that we have. If you’re keen on lowering these costs there’s one thing that you can do that will lower them greatly and that’s to rent out a room (or rooms) in your home.
Indeed finding a roommate can literally save you thousands of dollars a year on your mortgage and other home expenses. If you have a nice home in a safe location(or even if you don’t) you can in some cases charge a third of your average month’s mortgage cost just for the room and then ask more for the utilities and other amenities.
Of course there are a lot of factors that come into play when you rent out a room in your house to strangers. Here are a few good Tips for when you decide to go forward.
- Find a roommate through online roommate searches or by placing a free ad on Craigslist.com
- Interview prospective roommates very well. Ask questions about their lifestyle, their habits and so forth. Remember that they’re going to be sharing your living space. If you don’t think that their views or habits mesh with your keep looking.
- Set specific rules, print them and place them in a place where everyone will see them. Who can come and go, who takes care of the garbage, when the rent payment is due and so forth. Some people have their tenants sign a ‘rule agreement’ so that they have fewer problems.
- Se boundaries ahead of time too so that your new roommate is aware of what he can or can’t use, can’t go or access in your home.
It’s best to check with the local government to see what the legalities are of sub-letting a room in your home before you do. I’m not a lawyer but I know plenty of people that don’t involve any paperwork at all when they rent a room and have no problems with their tenants. It’s your call.
Charging a security deposit or a month’s rent in advance is always a good idea, especially if you have a nice home and you’re going to be renting to young-ish people. It’s just a good idea to protect yourself. After a tenant leaves it’s also a good idea to have all the locks changed on your home, at least for the main entrances.
All in all renting a room can be a slight inconvenience for cutting your monthly home bills down significantly. Many people who do it rent multiple rooms and have almost everything paid for by their renters. You can do that too, or just rent 1 room, but no matter what you’ll save big bucks.