The new trend for boomers and empty nesters is to get into the shared economy lifestyle, and rent out a spare bedroom for extra cash. A single room can average over $9K per year – as much a part time job and so much easier! So why not?
Once you’ve created a listing, how do you know which of the possible candidates is the right match for you? Certainly, when using a wide-open platform like Craig’s List or a newspaper classified ad, there is no initial screening at all, and can be intimidating to know who is responding.
Homeowners who use Silvernest can rest easy that all potential applicants have first passed an ID verification. That means your potential match is a real person! Now it is your turn!
There are no easy answers to finding the perfect roommate, but we have put together our top six tips:
1. Use our built-in background checks.
Silvernest has engaged the top resources available to check and recheck your potential match(es) and it also provides you with a full detailed report. Our five-point background screen is optional, but we highly recommend it. We know you’re a good judge of character, but requesting a background check is really the best way to ensure your match is right for you. We handle all the details, all you need to do is make the request.
2. Follow-up on references
Many people report feeling embarrassed about this, but don’t be! You will learn a lot about someone from calling their references and it may help you learn about particular personal styles or habits that may or may not be compatible with you. It’s easy to cover your bases by talking to those who know them before signing a lease.
3. Use our internal Chat for increased privacy
Our unique in-website chat service is designed to give you the chance to connect with prospective housemates without revealing who you are. This is a great way to get started! After that, chat on the phone! The telephone offers its own rewards of being able to connect with someone in a way that is personal but not direct. Ask some of the trickier questions that you may be uncomfortable asking on our chat or the phone, like: “Do you leave dishes in the sink all night or clean up right away?”
4. Meet in person
If you are feeling good about your match, after connecting via chat and phone, set up a time to have coffee, or go for a walk in a neutral place. Surprisingly, walking can stimulate a more spontaneous and intimate conversation than just sitting. Ask a couple of personal questions that generate thoughtful answers like, “What was the best moment in your life and the worst moment in your life?” Try to get a feel for who they really are and not just their day to day habits.
5. Be Open-minded
Several of our homeowners who have been particularly happy with their roommates report they had to be open to different ages, and types of people. One of our homeowners initially only looked for single women of her same age. After a few frustrating experiences, she decided to expand her criteria; and ended up choosing a young man twenty years younger, who became the best housemate she has ever had.
6. Use Your Intuition
Finally, the best barometer you have is your stomach, your gut, your solar plexus – whatever you call that inner compass. Use your intuition to simply quiet your mind, go within and listen for an inner “Yes” or “No.” If you have a lifted sensation, it is probably a ‘yes’ and if you have a constrained sensation, it is probably a ‘no’.
Studies show that having a roommate is healthy and positive on so many levels. Reducing social isolation, even just by having someone living in your home, is dramatic. The increased peace of mind, the income and the general comraderies can add years to your life. What do you have to lose?
Give it a try. We hope you are pleasantly surprised at the amazing caliber of housemates out there waiting to meet you!