Looking into Home Sharing? Prepare Carefully
Home sharing is a wonderful way for anyone to remain in their home as they get older or informed. Rather than having an assisted living facility or a nursing home as a first option, how much better it is to have a way to stay in your own home until those options prove necessary. Staying at home is, of course, cheaper, but just as important, is the pleasure of being in familiar surroundings. And, chances are, those surroundings are filled with pleasant memories.
Finding someone to share your home with you takes some work. There are people out there who for a variety of reasons – loneliness, financial difficulties, a desire to help the disabled – want a place to stay where they won’t have a large outlay of money. Putting those people together with someone who wants to say in their own home can be a very beneficial match. But not doing the proper preparation can lead to an unworkable situation
Working with a HomeShare agent is your best bet. These people are dedicated to helping you find the right person. You can do the whole thing on your own, but their expertise is invaluable. Acting as your agent they can do a background check, guide you during interviews, and be the middleman if and when troubles arise. Not everyone is capable or willing to confront someone about possible problems, especially during that trial period before a home share agreement is finalized. And their cost is very reasonable, usually based on your income. It can be as low as $100.
There are some things you need to consider. First of all, you’re having someone, a stranger, living in your home. It’s not so much worrying about danger as it is about your readiness to share your lifelong home. A relative wandering around the house will seem perfectly natural, but an outsider may make you uncomfortable. Chances are, you’ll get over this fairly quickly with the right person, but you need to be sure you don’t mind this.
When getting ready to interview people there’s one more thing to keep in mind. Do not worry about losing the person. This may seem obvious, but it’s very easy, especially if you have a time constraint, to not want to turn them off by expecting too much of them. What you need to do is decide what your expectations are and simply present them. Discussions can lead to accommodations, but don’t be vague from the start. It’s a lot harder to ask someone to start doing the laundry after they’ve moved in. Clear expectations are the key to a happy arrangement.
The topics to cover can be extensive. Remember, you’re trying to get to know this person. How will they fit into your lifestyle? Just assuming the other person is getting a place to live for little money doesn’t mean they’ll accept everything you do or what you want done. You need to discuss, television viewing, guests, overnight guests, music volume, help if you’re infirmed, chores, free time, use of things in the house, food purchases, even things like values, privacy needs, and schedules.
Money can be an issue. Should the person staying in your home pay a stipend to you or would that be waived in return for certain chores. A person who isn’t ready for a nursing home but has trouble getting around may prefer housework to getting money. It’s possible the person staying with you will be expected to do more work than normal so you will need to discuss whether they should be paid. Settle this to everyone’s satisfaction. No one wants to feel they’re being taken advantage of. Being completely upfront on everything will make money matters easier.
Flexibility is paramount. Neither of you know each other. It takes time to build a bond, even a friendship. Annoying things will happen. They need to be discussed immediately. Don’t let them fester. Too many of these issues, even small ones, left untouched can create a poisoned outlook that will doom the whole deal.
Many of these things will be covered by a HomeShare agent, but coming to grips with them early will make the whole process run smoother. And let your family help you get through it. It’s a big step, but one that can turn into something extremely satisfying.