But be aware that home sharing isn’t for everyone. You need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renting out a spare room in your house and make a list of what you want and don’t want in a housemate/renter.
To help you figure this out visit Sharing Housing.com, a website dedicated to understanding home sharing that offers a guide and workbook ($25) to help you find and choose a good housemate.
Finding a match
If you decide to proceed in finding a housemate/renter, your first step is to seek out a home-sharing program in your area.
Home-sharing programs, usually nonprofits, screen homeowners and renters. They check references, handle background checks and consider lifestyle criteria when making matches. They can also help you with the leasing agreement the renter would sign that covers detailed issues like smoking, pets, chores, overnight guests, use of common rooms, quiet hours, etc.
Most home-sharing programs are free to use or request a small donation. Others may charge the homeowner and potential renter a fee. To look for a home-sharing program in your area, visit the National Shared Housing Resource Center website at NationalSharedHousing.org.
These sites work more like online dating sites that require homeowners and home seekers to fill out a profile. Once a match is made, you’ll be responsible for contacting and interviewing prospective renters and making the final agreement.
If you don’t have any luck with any of these home-sharing sites, put a call in to your Area Agency on Aging (call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for contact information) who may be able to offer assistance or refer you to local agencies or nonprofit organizations that offer shared housing help.
You can also check with your local senior or community center, or local church you attend to see if you can post an ad on their bulletin board or in their newsletter. You can advertise in your local newspaper or online at CraigsList.org, SpareRoom.com or RoomMates.com.
If you find someone on your own that you’re interested in renting to, ask the prospective renter to fill out a rental application (see RentalLeaseAgreement.org to download and print one for free) and run a tenant screening and background check, and then call their references. Tenant screening/background checks can be done for free at Naborly.com.