In the current climate of economic uncertainty, retirees are looking to cut every corner we can find and housing is at the top of our list. If your home is paid for, you’re way ahead of the pack, but you still worry about the cost of electricity and heating your home. Over the long term, we can expect energy costs to rise.
A number of retirees move to other states where the cost of living is less expensive, but for many reasons some of us don’t want to leave our homes and families to strike out for new environments. Families who depend upon each other for emotional support or practical help as with childcare arrangements sometimes choose to combine their families but this living arrangement is not always optimal.
Remember when energy costs first escalated sharply and experts told us to carpool to cut down driving costs? Most of us made faces and turned our nose up at the idea and we bit the bullet and paid high fuel costs. The same principle applies when it comes to housing. It might be wise for some retirees to consider sharing your living arrangements especially if you live in a large home.
It’s understandable that retirees value their privacy and are loathe to give it up, but in times of recession such as the direction the US is entering heading into 2009, rental income is a tried and true option in lowering housing costs. Renting out a spare room brings extra income and is a welcome help in paying energy bills and more. Finding a good match can be a challenge however.
The question of security is foremost in your mind when you consider taking in one or two rooming tenants. You do need to do a background check on the individuals for ability to pay as well as reputable character. It seems like a lot to do and much to surrender for the sake of lowering your housing costs, and it is, but sometimes it can be a bit easier.
Relatives going through difficult times and would be appreciative of an affordable place to live while they’re trying to become financially solvent. You have an advantage with relatives because often you know upfront whether the arrangement would prove compatible and conducive to amiable living.
Students frequently look for low cost housing to offset the costs of their education and you might find a good match with this type of tenant. To find them, you place an ad on the bulletin board at the learning institution (college, trade school, or university) or advertise in the school paper. Careful selection is always recommended with any tenant.
Other retirees, such as yourself, may need affordable housing and may be in desperate need of cutting their expenses to the bare bone. If you belong to senior social clubs or study groups with other retirees, ask around and become acquainted with a number of people. You increase your options of finding the right person to share your dwelling and you can interview them without being obvious.
A relatively painless way to conserve your privacy and living space and rent out unused space is to remodel your basement or attic adding the basic but necessary utilities for apartment living. If you can do this without breaking the bank, you’ve hit upon a viable solution to renting. Many possibilities exist within this framework.
For general savings on housing costs, plug up any drafts in your home, use CV fluorescent light bulbs, and turn your heat down a couple of notches in cold weather. Let the sunshine in to get the added comfort and benefit of natural radiant heat.
The old saying is true, “you don’t know someone until you live with them.” If you’re not flexible in your attitude about your living arrangement, renting out a room or two probably isn’t for you. If however, you’re a person interested in others, the arrangement might work out to be a win-win situation for both parties.