Wanted: Trustworthy Sharemate!

So you’ve done your homework, and you think you’re ready to rent out that spare room in your home. But how? Where are the reliable, trustworthy folks looking for a homeshare arrangement? Last week, I provided a fresh overview of homesharing, including methods for determining if it’s right for you. This week, I’ll delve into ways to actually find a sharemate.

Nonprofit Homesharing Programs

A good place to start in your search for a compatible sharemate is through the National Shared Housing Resource Center. This network of independent nonprofit homesharing programs in the United States provides referrals to local agencies. Its goals are to raise awareness of the benefits of homesharing, encourage best practices and cross learning among programs, and foster the development of new homesharing programs. It is developing a member network to share additional information and resources.

While not every state has a nonprofit homesharing program, many of the ones listed on the website include helpful resources for finding a sharemate.

Finding a Match Online

Many companies offering homeshare matching services for seniors have websites. While most offer handy guidelines on how to interview potential housemates, others provide a full screening services and other safety protections. Such services are fee based. In May of this year, The Los Angeles Daily News published a handy list of such companies. Here are four of the better known homeshare matching companies:

  • Silvernest: Besides matching potential housemates, Silvernest also offers tools to help people navigate living arrangements, background screening, and rent autopayments.
  • Senior Homeshares: A national online housemate matching service. It typically pairs people with an extra room in their homes with other older adults in need of affordable housing, either because they’re on a fixed income or have lost a spouse, etc.
  • RoomieMatch.com: This innovative company advertises, “Find a roommate without spam, scam, or scum. We take out the trash for you.” Housemate searches can be one on a number of parameters — for example, roommates over age 50, and such variables as gender and the amount you’d like to earn in rent. RoomieMatch advertises its security features, and boasts a free version and a “cheap version” ($19.95 for up to a year).
  • Nesterly: A company known for its intergenerational housing matches. Nesterly connects older adult hosts with young adult tenants. They charge a matching fee and a percent of the monthly lease. As with RoomieMatch, Nesterly advertises safety as its main priority.

As I mentioned last week, if you want to stick your toe in the shallow end first before plunging headlong into the deep end of shared housing, you might want to try AirBNB hosting. My earlier blog focused on becoming an AirBNB host. But AirBNB hosting by renting out a room in your home also is a good way to try out the idea of housesharing on a short-term basis. To learn more about AirBNB hosting — and to avoid some of the mistakes I made when I started — this how-to guide and training manual is a life saver!

No matter which path you take, it is our time, Baby Boomers, our Third Chapter time! Don’t wait for some undefined “other” to solve our housing problems. We can redefine not only society’s concept of aging, but our own futures as well. Shared housing is a start.

What do you think? Start a conversation in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Third Chapter Living celebrates, challenges, informs and promotes conversations about housing issues affecting the Baby Boomer Generation. Check out our website to learn more about our work. Our Facebook Group is a resource center with tips and recommendations on navigating those issues. Share experiences with others who are looking for Housing Downsizing Tools that allow them to successfully age-in-place.

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