First off, think about friends. Be a trailblazer and raise the topic with friends who might be interested, and within your social networks where someone you know might be a matchmaker. If you are in a situation where taking on a roommate would solve a lot of problems, do you seriously think there aren't other people you know with the same concerns? Be the bold one who starts the conversation.
Don't be shy about mentioning your roommate investigation to any local groups you belong to, such as your house of worship.
If friends or connections don't come through, see if where you live (or want to live) is represented in online sites that match roommates. Silvernest.com is all about matching mature folk. You can search as both a roommate looking for a place to live, or a homeowner looking to find someone to share your place. And give some non-age-specific sites a spin. The SpareRoom website recently shared that its volume of users over age 50 looking for a housing match is growing at twice the pace of other ages.
Insist on a trial run of a month before you commit. Even if you know someone as a friend, that doesn't mean you know much about how they live. And before anyone moves anywhere, run through a very detailed list of the nitty-gritty:
- Will you split grocery bills? Share meals?
- How will the common areas be cleaned?
- Smoking? Pets? Grandkids? OK, on that last one, just make sure you're on the same page about how often and how long your place will be invaded. Yes, you love them. And your roomie may too, but boundaries are how everyone stays content.
- As for payment, the same good financial etiquette that works for the 20-somethings is what you should do as well: Set up an automated direct deposit if you are paying the rent. If you both are paying rent, consider setting up a joint bank account and agree you will both set up automated deposits on a set date each month to cover rent and any other shared expenses. And from that account you should automate payment to the landlord. Sound formal? Exactly. That's how you reduce tension over money.
- Moving out: How much advance notice will you be required to give?
A web search will turn up resources for a roommate agreement. It's a smart step to take, as it will prompt you to consider all sorts of angles that need to be ironed out before they become problems.
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